Sunday, May 23, 2004

The story of an open book
Rahul Singh has penned an engaging biography of his father Khushwant Singh, says Roopinder Singh.
In The Name of the Father
by Rahul Singh.
Roli Books, Delhi. Pages 144. Rs 395.
KHUSHWANT SINGH, the man and his writing, what he exposes of himself, fascinate the readers of his columns. They far outnumber the readers of his books, over which, one suspects, he labours much more. To say that Khushwant Singh’s life is an open book is a cliché. He has written so much about himself that there is hardly a facet of his life that his fans are not familiar with.

Poignant memories of war
Aradhika Sekhon
by Sorayya Khan. Penguin.
Pages 223. Rs 250.
OOR is an extremely imaginative novel in which the author, Sorayya Khan, delves into the hidden subconscious of the mind of a family, which has buried its secrets so deep that even the family itself does not acknowledge these anymore—or even want to recollect these. Yet they must come to terms with these past experiences if they are to be at peace with their present and the future.

A political Acharya’s pen pricks
R. L. Singal
My Times: An Autobiography
by Acharya J. B. Kripalani.
Rupa & Co., New Delhi. Pages 986. Rs 995.
Y Times by veteran Gandhian Acharya J. B. Kriplanai is an important political document that has been published 22 years after the author’s death in 1982, the year when he also completed the manuscript of this book, but could not get time to revise and systematically rearrange the contents.

Too heavy for kids
Gitanjali Sharma
Where Doves Fly
by Kamlesh Rajesham.
Frog Books. Pages 65. Rs 60.
HE blurb mentions that this is Kamlesh Rajesham’s first book in the children’s category. Undeniably, the story is about children, and the main protagonist, too, is a child, but the "ten truths" highlighted in the book seem more appropriate for the consumption and comprehension of adults rather than grade-four students.

Paradise lost
Samra Rahman
The Land of Naked People: Encounters With Stone Age Islanders
by Madhusree Mukerjee. Penguin. Rs 250. Pages 238.
THE unlikely author of this book on the Andaman group of islands, its original inhabitants and their encounters with outsiders, is an expatriate Indian, who holds a doctorate in Physics from the University of Chicago and works for the Scientific American. And yet The Land of Naked People is not just a potpourri of vignettes from the usual tourist spots.

He believes in the oneness of man
Rajkumar Singh
HE Madhya Pradesh Jan Parishad has chosen Dr Naresh, an eminent writer of the region, for this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award as a recognition for his contribution to literature during the last five decades. Naresh feels that while no writer writes for an award, but recognition certainly inspires him to aim for excellence.

Hindi review
Making of a martyr
Harbans Singh
Bhagat Singh Ke Sampooran Dasatvej
edited By Chaman Lal. Adhaar Prakashan, Panchkula. Rs. 495. Pages 478.
THE book is a remarkable collection of intimate letters, opinions, articles and expositions on subjects as wide ranging as anarchy and socialism, language and atheism, love and suicide and, of course, patriotism and martyrdom. At the end of it all one is left marvelling at the hectic pace at which this legend among Indian revolutionaries lived his short but eventful life.

Short takes
The sound of impotent fury
Randeep Wadehra
Bewatna & other novels
by Fakhar Zaman. Translated from Punjabi by Khalid Hassan. Unistar.
Pages 314. Rs 495.
FAKHAR ZAMAN is a much-acclaimed Punjabi writer from Pakistan. His writings protest against military dictatorship, in particular of Zia-ul-Haq who had ousted the democratically elected Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and hanged him on trumped up charges. Consequently, his books remained banned for 18 years on charges of, hold your breath, obscenity.

  • Into Punjab
    The Punjab: An Overview
    by Dr S.P. Gupta. Ess Pee Publications. Pages 390. Rs 395.

  • Teen troubles
    Age of Adolescence: A Challenge
    by Dr S. Kumar. The Laxmi Devi Memorial Charitable Trust. Pages 70. Rs 30.