Off the shelf
Lessons from an educational disaster in Pakistan
V.N. Datta
Social Science in Pakistan in the 1990s
edited by S. Akbar Zaidi.
Council of Social Sciences, Pakistan, Islamabad.
Pages 319. Rs 150.
IN his latest work, The Challenge of Education, Dr Amrik Singh, by taking a holistic view of our education system, has highlighted some of the failures that adversely affect the quality of education in the country. Save a few universities, especially the central ones, the situation in Indian universities is deplorable; and the Executive Councils, which are expected to uphold and safeguard the autonomy of universities, have become virtually departments of the government due to the official control exercised on them.

A journalist’s unconventional solutions for an ailing country
Jaswant Singh
India: Issues and Ideas
by Arvind Bhandari.
Inter-India Publications, New Delhi. Pages 330. Rs 450.
HERE is a collection of newspaper articles written over a period by a versatile journalist. No wonder it tackles a vast variety of topics and issues that tax the mind of an average Indian. But a thread that runs through the pages is the writer’s belief that India, after Independence, has more failed than succeeded. He sees India as a rusty, corruption-ridden vehicle, crawling unwieldy.

Chandigarh’s Randeep Wadhera has recently come out with a work of fiction, Walls and Other Stories. Aradhika Sekhon catches up with the writer and Aruti Nayar reviews the book

A profile in courage
OT only do you look like Napoleon, you also talk like him," said the Brigadier as he towered over the diminutive Indian-Army aspirant.
Varied shades of life
Randeep Wadehra’s anthology of 15 short stories, Walls And other stories, does not have a single theme or linear thread that binds them.

Thurman resurrected, actually
Nibir K. Ghosh
The Collected Writings of Wallace Thurman: A Harlem Renaissance Reader.
edited by Amritjit Singh
and Daniel M. Scott III. Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick. Pages 499. $ 30
DR Samuel Johnson may have been right when he suggested "great works of art must create their own audiences." But Dr Johnson did not have to contend with the complexities of racial dilemmas. In a nation constantly at loggerheads with the shadows and spectres of the colour line, one cannot ignore that many literary reputations have not always been based on artistic potential or achievement.

Alien troubles
M. Rajivlochan
The Death of a Passport
by Iqbal Ramoowalia. Ajanta, Delhi. Pages 239. Rs 150.
Punjabis never went in search of El Dorado, the famous land which the 16th century Spaniards thought existed in South America. For good reason too: they knew that the land of immense wealth and opportunity did not exist in South America. It existed in the north and included both USA and Canada. Ever since the Punjabis determined its location they have spared no efforts to obtain a share of that wealth and partake of its opportunities.

For those who worship the Congress
Parkarsh Singh
Manmohan Singh, a Profile
by Satish Yadav. Hope India.
Pages 176. Rs 120.
Satish Yadav’s book on Manmohan Singh is like a mirage. The beginning promises to quench the thirst for insights into the mind of the Prime Minister, but trite facts and unimaginative writing rob the reader of a chance to know him better. In his quest to release the book on time, Satish Yadav has strung together information about the PM in a crude form that incites political rhetoric and digresses into a pro-Sonia campaign with every turn of the page.

Punjabi review
Slice of real Punjab
Shalini Rawat
Khehde Sukh Vehde Sukh
Avtar Singh Billing. Publishers Ravi Sahit Parkashan, Amritsar. Page 396.
Price Rs 350.
THE novel under review is a specimen of the forgotten Punjabi novel. Further speculation and research reveals definite traces of a unified form, a concentric plot and a set of unique, well-defined characters. Deliberate simplicity has been sustained over the three-quarters-of-a-century slice of time that the novelist delineates can be compared to the writings of Pearl S. Buck and Nanak Singh.