Philosopher’s soul
Roopinder Singh meets Ramchandra Gandhi and reviews his latest book, which reminds him of Philosophy Society meetings with the author.
Muniya’s Light: A Narrative of Truth and Myth
by Ramchandra Gandhi.
IndiaInk/Roli Books. Pages 248. Rs 350.
Bose Sahib, the legendary teacher, philosopher, cricketer of St Stephen’s College, Delhi, often came to the college campus long after he had retired. He attended the Philo-Soc (Philosophy Society), meetings at the residence of his protégé, R. K. Gupta.

‘All is self, a variation of that form’

The seeds of discord
Meeta Rajivlochan
Identity and religion: Foundations of Anti-Islamism in India
by Amalendu Misra.
Sage Publications, New Delhi. Pages 262. Rs 295.
The conclusion of this book is that the government should ensure dialogue between the leaders of the Hindus and the Muslim to reduce hostility. Having been part of the conduct of such dialogues, I can say that confabulations have a limited value. There is always that one man, group or political party, which insists, often without basis, that it has been slighted and would therefore want to break someone else’s head, burn property and, in general, create nuisance.

A large slice of cheer
Manju Jaidka
Piece of Cake
by Swati Kaushal, Penguin. Pages 367. Rs 250
Let me try to recall – when was it that I last laughed out loud while reading a book? Laughed not just once but several times? I think it was more than fifteen years ago, while reading Anurag Mathur’s bestseller The Inscrutable Americans.

Deep down, it’s brilliant
Gagandep Singh Ghuman
Along the Ganga: To the Inner Shores of India
by Ilija Trojanow. Translated by Ranjit Hoskote. Penguin. Pages: 184. Rs 250.
Successful travel writing depends on the writer’s ability to "show rather than tell". If the travelogue can "transpose" the readers to the unfamiliar, acquaint them with the sights and sounds, smells and rhythms of that world, give them a feeling of vicarious "get-away" to that unknown, it has achieved its purpose.

Doctor on your bookshelf
Jaswant Singh
A Compendium of Family Health
by Dr Ishrat Syed and Dr Kalpana Swaminathan.
Rupa & Co, New Delhi. Pages 843. Price 395.
At a national seminar I attended recently, a session of interaction between doctors and patients was a welcome item. Medicine, like all sciences, is systematised and ever-evolving knowledge.

Charismatic leader or ruthless zealot?
Gayatri Rajwade
Pol Pot: The History of a Nightmare
by Philip Short. John Murray.
Pages 656. £12.99
Philip Short’s biography on Pol Pot deals with an enigmatic man, complex and shadowy. The attempts to recreate Pol in his historical, social and political milieu interpret Cambodian history without playing on the accepted notions of the man.

Punjabi Review
Valley’s Sikh connection
Dalbir Singh
Kashmir Laee Qurbani
by Himmat Singh, Akali Kaur Singh Trust, Patiala. Pages 458. Rs 900
This book by Himmat Singh focuses on the role played by Sikhs in Kashmir, from 1499 to 1999. The writer stresses that the association of the Sikhs with Kashmir goes back to Guru Nanak Dev, who visited the place during his travels across the subcontinent. Later, other gurus also visited the valley and had a good following there.

A mirror for mad times
Boyd Tonkin
Frédéric Beigbeder’s Windows on the World, an extraordinary novel-essay-memoir about September 11, 2001, and its cultural aftermath, has won this year’s £ 10,000 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in Frank Wynne’s scintillating translation.

Troubled Tennessee’s Sad Song
Andrew Buncombe
He would go on to become one of America’s most celebrated playwrights. But believed people thought him talentless. He also knew he was about to fail his Greek exam. The man who would soon change his name to Tennessee poured out his heart in a 17-line poem that he scribbled on the back of his exam paper. He then got up and left the room.

Short Takes
Making of a go-getter
Randeep Wadehra
Agony and Ecstasy
by T.R. Kakkar. Siddharth Publications. Pages: 196. Rs 250
He was merely four years old when his family was uprooted from Pakistan during the Partition. He was orphaned when very young. He toiled in a factory, but his never-say-die spirit impelled him to better his lot. He failed to get a bus conductor’s job with the DTU. Poor physique disqualified him for the Army.

How to be a High Performance Manager
by Rajesh Chadha, Unistar, Chandigarh. Pages: 151. Rs 125.

The Feminist Sensibility in the Novels of Thomas Hardy
by Manjit Kaur. Sarup and Sons. Pages: ii + 147. Rs 300.