Making the connection
Belu J. Maheshwari
Readings in Indian Government and Politics: Class, Caste, Gender
edited by Manoranjan Mohanty.
Sage Publications, New Delhi.
Pages 439. Rs 395.

T
his
book is fifth in the series titled Readings in Indian Government and Politics edited by the prominent social scientist. What first catches the attention when you pick up the book is the list of contributors. A galaxy of the most distinguished and eminent scholars have contributed the research papers. Most of these scholars have pioneered research in their respective fields and contributed significantly to the understanding of social and political changes in contemporary India.

Books received: English

A woman who wonít tell
Meeta Rajivlochan
A Podium on the Pavement
by Jaya Jaitly.
UBSPD, New Delhi.
Pages 401. Rs 495.

T
his
collection of essays by one of the most pugnacious political lieutenants of our times makes for an interesting read. Written over the past two decades and published in various newspapers, the 69 essays that make up this volume are in the nature of comments on contemporary events.

Mughals, the great and their subjects
Kuldip Kalia
The Socio-economic History of Mughal India
by Dr Pramod Sangar.
Abhishek Publications, Chandigarh.
Pages 160. Rs 295.

A
mong the most interesting features of the Mughal period was perhaps how the emperors were sometimes bribed by their high officials. There are many others such instances, which not only throw light on the socio-economic history of the Mughals in India but also sustain our interest in studying that period. Prof Pramod Sangar has meticulously pinned together various aspects to translate this task into a discursive, lucid and wonderful treatise.

Views that liberate
Parshotam Mehra
Tibet and Her Neighbours: a History
edited by Alex McKay
Hansjong Mayer, London.
Pages 239. Price not stated

O
ddly, even though Tibet as a distinct political entity in its own right has disappeared, its relevance and recognition as a land with a unique culture of its own has never been greater. This volume is a compendium of contributions by leading historians on the interplay of relationships between the land of the Lamas and the world outside.

Travels that transformed humanity
Ambika Sharma
Journeys, Heroes, Pilgrims, Explorers
edited by Geeti Sen and Molly Kaushal.
India International Centre, New Delhi.
Pages 300. Rs 495

A
part from exploring the geographical terrains, some journeys have the distinction of marking a turning point in a life. Containing in-depth accounts of some of the famous voyages undertaken by mythological figures, trekkers, lensmen, explorers etc., the book has enough to tickle the taste buds of those having a penchant to dig into the details of journeys which transform a mere event into a historical date.

Centenary Tribute
Pablo Neruda: Yug Purusha
Rana Nayar
M
ost poets are known by the age to which they belong, but there are some whose age is known by virtue of their towering presence. Transcending the narrow bounds of moment, race and milieu, such poets often belong to the common heritage of mankind. Valmiki, Vyasa, Homer, Kalidas, Virgil, Dante, Shakespeare, Milton, Goethe and Whitman were essentially such poets. Their Weltanschauung was the defining moment for their age as much as it was for the successive generations.

Hilarious tales of creepy-crawlies
Priyanka Singh
The Caterpillar Who Went on a Diet and Other Stories
by Ranjit Lal. Puffin.
Pages 184. Rs 175.

T
hose who have grown up on Roald Dahl and P.G. Wodehose, know their kind of wit and story construction is above board. Ranjit Lal is not in the same league but his ingenuity is just as remarkable. To weave not one but 14 marvellous stories ó each better than the other ó on omnipresent, non-exotic insects like beetles, mosquitoes and flies is no mean task. The stories are so original that it is a virtual treat to read and savour each word that creates a delightful and peril-filled world of these tiny creepy crawlies.

Hindi review
History from the heart
Ashok Malik

Smundari Hawaon Ka Mausam
by Kasmiri Lal Zakir. Unistar Books, Chandigarh.
Pages 110. Rs 100.

L
iterature, especially fiction, can be seen as history written from the heart rather than the head. These short stories by Kashmiri Lal Zakir have been woven around the twists and turns of India-Pakistan relations. True to his stature, Zakirís canvas has panoramic dimensions and his strokes have an informality that comes naturally to masters.

Signs and signatures
A love like none other
Darshan Singh Maini
W
estern literature, like Oriental, abounds in stories of great tragic love, both in poetic and prose forms, but in nearly all such works, religion as such is seldom a driving force. All secular in character. But to find one such story of tragic but erotic love in the 12th century monastic literature of Christianity is to come across a sui generis phenomenon. And that story is the story of Abelard and Heloise published in the form of their love letters.

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