Back of the book

A Biography of Rahul Dravid
The Nice Guy Who Finished First
by Devendra Prabhudesai
Rupa. Pages 221. Rs 295

A Biography of Rahul DravidIT is a remarkable story of Rahul Dravid’s illustrious career in international cricket that commenced in 1996 and continues to flourish nine years later. It tells that tale of a young man who has succeeded in his chosen profession through an ardent faith in the three ‘Ds’: dedication, discipline and determination.

The biography reconstructs the incidents and events that have contributed to making Rahul Dravid an epitome of grace, humility and commitment to his team’s cause. Dravid’s moments of triumph are described, as also his trials and tribulations. The book narrates the epic battle, one that he eventually won, to break free of the stereotypes that haunted him in his early years at the international level. His efforts to emerge from the intimidating shadows cast by his teammates and contemporaries are illustrated in great detail. The author is assisted by reminiscences from his mentors, seniors, teammates and even opponents, all of whom witnessed the making of a cricketing legend from close quarters. There are photographs, some of the best ever, which showcase, quite literally, the genius of one of India’s all-time greats. The author is presently Content Editor of, India’s first cricket coaching website.

Imagined Manuvad
The Dharmasastras and their Interpreters
by Shashi Sharma
Rupa. Pages 402. Rs 595.

Imagined ManuvadTHIS book is a contribution to the study of the Dharmasastras. The texts belonging to the Dharmasastric tradition, both Sutra and Smrti, have been studied and evaluated with sensitivity and critical acumen.

The Dharmasastras have been regarded by the Hindus as a record of the moral, ethical and socio-political traditions of their large and widely spread-out community. They are viewed as temporal and historically grounded reflections on many important aspects of mankind’s social life. These works are a record of eclectic discussions held on the nature and value of dharma, the problems of inter-personal relationships, and the method of the state’s interaction with civil society.

This book challenges these interpretive paradigms. The author has very cogently argued that dharma is not ‘law’ and the Dharmasastras, including the Manusmrti, are not the law books of the Hindus. The Dharmasastras do not sanction or ‘create’ a ‘caste system’, and the ascription of negative values to these works is a much later product of a colonial experience.

Shashi S. Sharma, an IAS officer from the Bihar cadre, has been studying the history of religions for more than a decade.

Strangely like warStrangely like war
The global assault on forests
by Derrick Tensen, Natraj Publishers,
Rs 250.

IT is a timely expose of the global ‘war on trees’. The authors of this path-breaking book highlight the horrifying consequences of industrial forestry, which is supported by a corrupt and rigged system. The book unveils the many lies and much misinformation propagated by those who defend deforestation and profit from it.

This book lays bare in stark terms the grave ecological crisis faced by each one of us and calls for an urgent return to a saner and more sustainable world by suggesting ways in which we could all save our fast depleting forests, here and now.

The Elephant’s Child & Other StoriesThe Elephant’s Child & Other Stories
The delightful world of Rudyard Kipling.
Edited by Sudhakar Marathe. Puffin Books. Pages 193. Rs 225.

HOW did the elephant get his long trunk? What happened when the little butterfly stamped in anger? How did the dog, horse and cow become man’s first friends? Who wrote the first letter and invented the alphabet? In this collection of well-loved tales by Rudyard Kipling, we read of many such wonderful happenings. There are stories here from the Jungle Book, about Mowgli and his friends Baloo and Bagheera, and about Rikki-Tikki Tavi, the brave mongoose. Also included are some of Kipling’s stories about children, from Just-So Stories, Plain Tales from the Hills and elsewhere — featuring the irrepressible Tods, the charming Lispeth and creative little Muhammad Din.

For those who have read these stories earlier, this book contains some old favourites as well as some unusual ones; and for those reading Rudyard Kipling’s stories for the first time, this is the perfect introduction to a world that is witty and imaginative, sensitive and rollickingly funny.