Short Takes
A novel treat
Randeep Wadehra

Beyond The Call of Voice

by Asita Prabhushankar. Frog Books, Mumbai. Pages 200. Rs 245.

Anuradha Satyan’s father is a professor at Banaras Hindu University. There, she meets Pavan with whom an enduring friendship ensues. While doing her postgraduation in engineering from California, she’s wooed by a blue eyed, tall blonde Daniel Cooper. But she marries Deepak. The marriage turns into a nightmare for her, and ends in divorce. Deepak replaces her with Roopa who soon realises what a monster he is. One day Deepak’s found dead in his car. Suspected homicide. Suspects? Anu and Roopa first, and, later on, Pavan. Daniel, the detective, investigates. The novel’s interesting. Prabhushankar’s bunged in lots of culture in the narrative. Worth a read when it’s raining outside and you’ve nothing else to do.

by Anthony D. Smith. Atlantic, N. Delhi. Pages ix + 182. Rs 375

With the withering away of feudal system in Europe, nationalism came into its own. In its early stages, this movement went hand in hand with religion-based national consciousness. However the French Revolution created a more rational and multi-dimensional type of nationalism that eventually gave it the present face.

Smith gives various meanings of the term ‘nationalism’ and goes on to trace its histories, while examining various theories that seek to explain this concept. You’ll find the contents quite absorbing. However, what’ll stimulate your thought processes is the end-of-the-book contention that weakening of national consciousness will facilitate a global culture.

by Ruth Lister. Atlantic. Pages xii + 238. Rs. 450

Poverty’s certainly acute in the Third World, but prosperous countries too have their share of it, viz., 10 per cent in the USA, 15 per cent in EU and 20 per cent in the UK. Overall more than 50 per cent of the global population is suffering from "deep poverty". In order to eradicate poverty, it’s essential to understand it. Lister points out that there’re any number of concepts, definitions and measures propounded periodically. However, conceptualisation helps in policy formulation for eradicating poverty.

She’s examined in detail not just poverty’s theoretical aspects but also the methods adopted to deal with it, taking into account various social, economic and other factors. You’ll find her correlation of human rights with poverty alleviation efforts quite enlightening. The analyses presented are impressive.