Catalysts of change
Icons from the World
by S. Ananthanarayanan.
Puffin, New Delhi. Pages 138. Rs 175.
of us are like atomic
particles—positively charged, negatively charged or neutral. However,
scientists are different; they are like photons. Photons, or particles
of light, can rise at will. Their number is not fixed. Over the ages, the process
of atoms getting squeezed close together resulted in the creation of
heavier elements that have been detected in the stars. It means, if you
crush a star, a bigger star is born. J. C. Bose, Srinivasa Ramanujan, C.
V. Raman, S. N. Bose, Meghnad Saha, S. Chandrashekhar, Homi Bhabha,
Hargobind Khorana, E. C. George Sudarshan and Jayant Narlikar are stars
in their own right.
Torchbearers of tolerance
Sufis and Sufism:
edited by Neeru Misra.
Manohar, New Delhi.
Pages 160. Rs 400.
connected with the origin of
Sufism are varied, some even contradictory. Yet the most widely accepted
version is that the movement grew as a reaction to the strict formality
of orthodox Islam. It shows a spiritual path to mystic union with God.
The movement reached its peak in the 13th century and now there are a
number of Sufi orders all over the world, the best known among them
being the Darveshes of Turkey.
A volatile relationship
by J. Sri Raman. Common Courage Press, Monroe, Maine. Pages 306. $18.95.
threat of nuclear weapons
has haunted mankind ever since America wreaked havoc on Hiroshima and
Nagasaki in August 1945. During the Cold War, many a times, especially
during the Cuban missile crisis, a nuclear war seemed imminent between
the two superpowers. By the end of the last century, the battleground
for nuclear weapons had shifted to South Asia, where the atmosphere had
become volatile after India and Pakistan conducted nuclear tests in May
The big Afghan question
The Afghan War and
its Geopolitical Implications for India
edited by Salman Haidar.
Manohar, New Delhi.
Pages 197. Rs 425.
Iraq War has pushed out
events in Afghanistan from the public view. The Afghan situation,
however, remains pivotal to the fight against terrorism. Afghanistan had
been sponsoring terrorism, acting as a training ground for terrorists
and a refuge for the likes of Osama-bin-Laden.
Meet the author
Faceless in Oxford
Vargas Llosa, Peruvian
writer and social activist, was recently appointed the Weidenfield
Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Oxford. I had
the pleasure of attending his five lectures on Les Misrable which
were given at the Said Business School.
Enduring appeal of Greek myths
The War on Troy
by Lindsay Clarke. HarperCollins. Pages 450.
myths have their continuing power because they are constantly fresh and evocative. Here they are again, then, primed for a new generation.
Peter Preston on the never-fading fascination of Greek heroes.
by Alison Naisby. Unistar, Chandigarh. Pages 126. Rs 70.
management has come a long
way from being a static, nebulous concept that was occasionally employed
for postmortem purposes whenever a project failed to measure up to
stipulated parameters. It’s now an accepted fact that performance
appraisal’s an essential part of comprehensive management activity.
tales from wizard of suspense
Chetna Keer Banerjee
The Adventures of
Feluda: The Golden Fortress,
Incident on the Kalka Mail
The Secret of the Cemetery
The Criminals of Kathmandu
Puffin. Pages 119, 95, 110, 89. Rs 99
a time when Harry Potter and
his brand of wizardry are the flavour of the season, Satyajit Ray’s
Feluda adventures may not quite be the idea of a thrilling read to many.
But even after J.K. Rowling’s wonder boy has seduced bibliophiles,
there are geniuses like Ray’s inimitable, sharp-witted sleuth Feluda
— with his trademark blue notebook and packets of Charminar —whose
charm still burns bright, much in the manner of an old flame. His
adventures continue to thrill not only for their true-to-life,
person-next-door characterisations but also for the subtle build-up of
suspense without the prop of literary special effects.
Those who make a difference
Prophets of New India
A Man of the Year Compilation from The Week. Penguin Books India, New
Delhi. Rs 395. Pages 269.
of us go through life
without realising that we have choices. Conforming to the unspoken norm,
we try to acquire a good education, a comfortable well-paying job,
settled married life, security for our children and so on. Yet there are
a few rare individuals who not satisfied with achieving only personal
comfort have worked towards bettering the lot of the society’s
Age of regret
Gulzar Singh Sandhu
by Surjit Hans. 21st Century Publications, Patiala.
Pages 114. Rs 100.
is the theme of many a poem. Surjit Hans describes the characteristics
of this stage of life. An old man goes to another room, but does not
remember what he came for. He is seldom alert. At times he is sorry for
the mistakes of his youth.