Sunday, May 9, 2004

The many facets of faith
D. R. Chaudhry
Sociology of Religion in India
edited by Rowena Robinson. Sage Publications, New Delhi. Pages 360. Rs 350.

MOVING spirits behind various belief systems have emphasised the life-giving traits of religion. Yet, religion has often been a seat of strife and violence causing untold misery to mankind. Ethnic cleansing in erstwhile Yugoslavia and Rawanda, pogrom of the Sikhs in 1984 and communal genocide in Gujarat in India are a few of the latest examples. This book is an attempt to unravel this paradox in the Indian context.

Chann kithain guzaari aayi raat vay
Roopinder Singh
Songs Remembered: Folk Songs of Punjab
by Shan Gurdev Singh. Illustrations by Tito Singh Metge. Flying Fig, Two Lions, USA. Pages 95. Rs 595.

FOLK songs of Punjab, made practically omnipresent by new singers who are more of performers, have a rich heritage to draw from. It goes back centuries and folk songs are expressions of felt experiences of the community and the individuals who form it.

He swept his way to success
D. S. Cheema
...And Dignity for All
by James Despain and Jane Bodman Converse. Pearson Education Inc. Pages 198. £ 20.

THE story of success honestly told is always fascinating. However when the achieverís first step is as humble as that of James Despain, it inspires many who aspire to fulfil their dreams. Despain, who joined Caterpillar over 43 years ago, turned around the track-type tractor division and rose to be its vice-president during this period. It is a story with few parallels.

A pregnant pause
Abhilash Philip
The Unheard Scream: Reproductive Health and Womenís lives in India
edited by Mohan Rao. Zubaan and Panos Institute, India. Pages 312. Rs 400.

ONE area where the media has been truly successful is in communicating the Malthusian idea that the cause of all problems in the country is related to unbridled population growth. Even today, the ruling political class uses population as an alibi for their failures on the development front.

Ecstasy cut short
Jaswant Kaur
by Surendra Kumar. Har-Anand Publications, New Delhi. Pages 136. Rs 250.

WOMAN is generally considered the "woe of man", to be maltreated by him in every aspect of life. From the day she is born till she is married off, she is a "burden on the family". After marriage, she is a slave to her husband and his family.

Imprisoned minds
Meera Rajagopalan
The Virgin Fish of Babughat
by Lokenath Bhattacharya. Translated from Bengali by Meenakshi Mukherjee. Oxford University Press, New Delhi.
Pages 139. Rs 195.
The Uprooted Vine
by Swarnakumari Debi. Translated from Bengali by Rajul Sogani and Indira Gupta. OUP, New Delhi, Pages 253. Rs 395.

AN unusual, thought-provoking, unpleasant novel of punishment for crimes that are incomprehensible even to the players. Meenakshi Mukherjee says in the Translatorís Note that it was the importance of language and the fear of losing oneís language that attracted her to the book.

Tales of effective heads
Deepika Gurdev
Leadership & Talent In Asia
by Mick Bennett & Andrew Bell. John Wiley & sons, 2004. Pages 224. $50.

WHAT does it take for a company to keep its employees motivated and excited about heading to work each day? It is definitely a whole lot more than getting the right people. Every organisation wants the people it picks to deliver, but this doesnít always happen.

Short takes
Cricket trivia
Randeep Wadhera
both by Tapan Joshi, Anjali Doshi and Sanjay Jha. Rupa & Co., New Delhi. Pages 109 and 126. Rs 50 each.

FOR ages, people have gone gaga over the game of cricket. Historian George Macaulay Trevelyan pronounced with typical English self-righteousness, "If the French noblesse had been capable of playing cricket with their peasants, their chateaux would never have been burnt."

  • Starry future
    The Power of Planets
    by P Khurrana. Rupa. Pages 226. Rs 150.

  • Key to joyful homes
    Secrets of Happy Families
    by Luis S.R. Vas. English Edition, Mumbai. Pages 211. Rs 150.