Undivided gender
Archana Shastri
Ardhanarishvara, the Androgyne
by Alka Pande. Rupa.
Pages 192. Rs 1500.
IT was in the autumn of 1984 that I had sighted my classmate in the London's Royal College of Art, with his false eyelashes, desperately trying to tighten his corset for the weekend party. Cross-dressing was common enough, and I remember one of the posters for the weekend bash featured a young man lounging around in lingerie. At the party, one of the rabid feminists ripped open the cross-dresser's clothes — she was violently opposed to such "gender-benders" and their invasion of the feminine domain.

New ground on globalisation
P. K. Vasudeva
Globalisation and South Asia Multidimensional Perspectives
by Achin Vanaik
Academy of Third World Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, Manohar, New Delhi.
Pages 362. Rs 745

his volume is the outcome of a seminar on Globalisation and South Asia held by the Academy of Third World Studies of Jamia Millia Islamia. Globalisation is often perceived as economic process of global integration, but in the conference, it has been envisaged that globalisation involves not only economics but also society, culture, politics, education, science and so on.

Crouching tiger, hidden dragon
Parshotam Mehra
The India-China Relationship: Rivalry and Engagement
edited by Francine R. Frankel and Harry Harding. Oxford University Press, New Delhi. Pages XII+377. Rs 595.
As the two major emerging powers of Asia and the world, both India and China have gradually evolved over the past couple of decades from a policy of conflict and confrontation to one of engagement, if not cooperation. Their contested borders, nuclear rivalry, competition for influence-and not only in Asia-growing economic clout if also domestic problems and preoccupations make for a complex if also complicated scenario.

Ayodhya: myths demolished
Harbans Singh
The Legend of Ram-Antiquity to Janambhumi Debate
by Sanujit Ghose.
Bibliophile South Asia in association with Prgmilla & Co. Pages 1-261. Rs 595.

t is a fascinating study of the variations of the myths relating to Ram that have been in vogue since times immemorial. The author, Sanujit Ghose, takes the readers through the Iranian and the Babylonian epics as well as the thousands of folktales that have gained currency to the times when Tulasidas appeared on the scene to deify Ram for all times to come.

Excuses for enmity
Manju Jaidka
Husband of a Fanatic
by Amitava Kumar. Penguin. Pages 328. Rs 295.
When Amitava Kumar married a Pakistani Muslim, he began a process of discovery that culminated in this "fiercely personal essay" entitled Husband of a Fanatic. This work examines the complex relationship between Hindus and Muslims on the one hand, and India and Pakistan on the other.

Rich life, poor account
Shastri Ramachandaran

The Voice of the Heart. An Autobiography.
by Mrinalini Sarabhai. HarperCollins. Pages 316. Rs 495.

his is a book that one would pick up with high expectations. It is the story of and by an extraordinarily accomplished dancer who has an assured place in the history of dance, if not art and culture too. Covering, as her story does, nearly three quarters of the last century when Indian performing arts moved out of exclusive, elitist circles as well as from their traditional ‘lower’ origins, such as devadasis, Mrinalini Sarabhai has much to tell, and teach too.

Dappled light on the Enlightened One
Rajnish Wattas
An End to Suffering: The Buddha in the World
by Pankaj Mishra. Picador. Pages 422. Rs 495.
“I now saw him in my own world, amid its great violence and confusion, holding out the possibility of knowledge as well as redemption — the awareness, suddenly liberating, with which I finally began to write about the Buddha.” — Pankaj Mishra
The more things change the more they are the same and life comes a full circle.

Hindi review
Stories told with sensitivity
Ashok Malik
Soyee Hui Heer
by Kartar Singh Duggal. Bhartiya Jnanpith. Pages 179. Rs 40.

he common thread running through the selection of the more than two-dozen stories from the master storyteller of Punjab and Punjabi, Kartar Singh Duggal, is that he touches the innermost feelings of his principal characters. His stories explore layers of their innermost thoughts in a very subtle way which shows his empathy for the characters.