Jinnah and Indian nationalism
V.N. Datta
Jinnah’s Early Politics: Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim Unity
by Ian Bryant Wells. Pennanent Black.
Pages VIII+269.

While attending a meeting during the discussions on the Cabinet Mission proposals in the Viceregal Lodge, Simla in 1946, Mohammad Ali Jinnah left his scribble which read: "Money lost, nothing lost; courage lost, something lost; honour lost, much lost, but when soul lost, all lost." Though lauded and revered as the Quaid-e-Azam and the architect of Pakistan, Jinnah is equally condemned as a self-seeking power-hungry, rigid politician whose activities and polices unleashed communal forces, which resulted in Partition.

A well-stocked literary kitty
Rajdeep Bains
The HarperCollins Book of New Indian Fiction: Contemporary Writing in English.
Edited by Khushwant Singh. HarperCollins India. Pages 208. Rs 295.

once in a while one comes across a book that seems to transcend borders, languages, cultures and styles, a book that offers a consortium of talent and oodles of thought-provoking ideas. The Harper Collins Book of New Indian Fiction is one such. Edited by Khushwant Singh, this collection of short stories allows us a peep into the rich panorama of modern Indian writing.

Tale of a Bhutanese woman
Kamaldeep Kaur
The Circle of Karma
by Kunzang Choden. Zubaan-Penguin Books.
Pages 316. Rs 295.

novel explores Bhutanese culture from a woman’s point of view. The author delves into this patriarchal society and shows how women are made to suffer due to the faults of men. The novel has tragi-comic elements and presents a realistic picture of a woman trapped in a ritualistic society that staunchly believes in karma—a philosophy wherein a person is rewarded or punished according to his actions in the past life.

From the battlefield
Rajendra Nath

The War, Worry and the Way Out.
by Lt Gen K.K. Nanda.
Lancer Books. Pages: 381. Rs 650.

is important in all fields but it is crucial in war, for the commanders play a decisive role in the battlefield. The title of the book, which is both interesting and intriguing, deals with the problems faced by the commanders during wars and how they deal with them.

In defence of the Dragon
Parshotam Mehra

China’s Use of Military Force: Beyond the Great Wall and the Long March.
by Andrew Scobell. Cambridge
University Press. Pages xiv + 299, Price not stated

HIS unique and in many ways path-breaking study of Chinese military behaviour examines Beijing’s use of military force in Korea (1950), India (1962), Vietnam (1979) and the Taiwan Strait (1995-96). And nearer home in the course of the Cultural Revolution (1967) and the Tiananmen Square massacre (1989).

‘Ghettoism can be dangerous’
of the best-known names in the contemporary Indian writing in English, US-based Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is also the founder of Maitri, a support service for South Asian women on the West Coast. A prize-winning writer and teacher at Houston University, Divakaruni, she introduced her latest book Queen of Dreams recently in Kolkata. In an interview to Ranjita Biswas, she says that the trauma and the triumphs of living in an alien land, combined with her own roots in Bengal, help her weave magic realism into her works, some of which are autobiographical. Excerpts.

Power and consent
Satinder Kaur

Who wants democracy?
by Javeed Alam.
Orient Longman. Pages XIX+143. Rs 175.

democratic polity is often identified by the existence of constitutional government, where the power of leaders is checked and restrained; and representative institutions are based on free elections. But how does democracy work in India? For more than 50 years, political scientists have been trying to understand this but with little success. The reasons: huge population, marked differences between the haves and the have-nots, persistence of caste system, diverse cultures and religions, sectarian violence, regionalism, etc.

J Lo's celeb-help book on paparazzi
the paparazzi increasingly becoming a big problem for celebrities these days, pop singer Jennifer Lopez has decided to take the bull by the horns by writing a self-help book for celebs to deal with them. Lopez, who thinks that she is the perfect person to pen the book, said that it was strange that even though celebrities were fed up of the paparazzi, no one had thought of writing on the subject.

Da Vinci Code: Book of the Year
Louise Jury
Brown’s The Da Vinci Code has been named the book of the year at the British Book Awards. Its reclusive author was not there in person but a pre-recorded acceptance was broadcast at the recent star-studded ceremony in London, where he stressed there was no truth whatsoever in the story of a plot by the Catholic Church.