Catalysts of change
Aditya Rishi

Icons from the World of Science
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
Jaswant Singh

Sufis and Sufism: Some Reflections
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.

Books received: Hindi

A volatile relationship
Ivninderpal Singh
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 1998.

The big Afghan question
Padam Ahlawat

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
Shelley Walia
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.

Short takes
Management guides
Randeep Wadehra
Appraisal & Performance Management
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.

Thrilling 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
Rajdeep Bains

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 shunned.

Punjabi review
Age of regret
Gulzar Singh Sandhu

Kandhi Uttai
by Surjit Hans. 21st Century Publications, Patiala.
Pages 114. Rs 100.

-age 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.