The health scene in colonial India
Randeep Wadehra
Old Potions, New Bottles
by Kavita Sivaramakrishnan. Orient Longman. Pages xiv + 280. Rs 795.

Expunging Variola
by Sanjoy Bhattacharya Orient Longman. Pages xv + 327. Rs 750.

Reproductive Health in India
edited by Sarah Hodges Orient Longman. Pages ix + 264. Price Rs 620.
Literature on health scene in India is not exactly abundant. Empirical studies – both at macro and micro levels – have been less than adequate, and are certainly not systemised. Public discourse has been lacking too. The scenario pertaining to pre-Independence India is equally dismal in this regard.

Books received: ENGLISH

Rainbow of dreams realised
Roopinder Singh
California Dreams: India Shining in the Land of Hollywood
by Gurmukh Singh. British Columbia Books, BC, Canada. Pages 208. Rs 999.
THE four Sikhs who landed in San Francisco on April 5, 1899, were the precursors of a wave that reached near its crest a century later. Indians were considered white, but suffered the same discrimination as blacks in the US a century ago. At one point, they were good enough to serve in the US army, but not to be citizens, as Bhagat Singh Thind found out.

War for oil supremacy
Himmat Singh Gill
Global Rivalries from the Cold War to Iraq
by Kees Van Der Pijl Vistaar Publications. Pages 459. Rs 650
AFTER his best-selling book "The Making of an Atlantic Ruling Class" (Verso, 1984) had set the English-speaking western world a notch apart from the rest, Professor of International Relations at the University of Sussex, Kees Pijl, in this book dexterously makes the point that western expansionism has led to rivalries and strife around the globe, and that today a "Lockean heartland" finds itself challenged by contender states that will stop at nothing in their fight for political and economic supremacy.

Brilliant tale of growing up
Deepika Gurdev
Black Swan Green
David Mitchell. Sceptre. Pages 304. Rs 622.
EVEN if you are not into coming of age tales, you would do well to pick this up. It is a literary master piece, handled so much differently from David Mitchell’s earlier works, Ghostwritten, number9dream and the spell-binding Cloud Atlas.

Clairvoyant commentator
M. S. Unnikrishnan
Tragic Idiom—O. V. Vijayan’s Cartoons and Notes on India
Editors Sundar Ramanathaiyer, Nancy Hudson-Rodd. D C Books, Kottayam (Kerala). Pages 261. Rs 1150
THERE has always been this debate about O.V. Vijayan’s standing as a cartoonist and writer. Though Vijayan straddled both worlds effortlessly, one school of thought firmly believed that he was a better cartoonist than a writer (at least in his Malayalam fiction).

Difficult daughters
Shalini Rawat
Whither Justice: Stories of women in prison
By Nandini Oza. Rupa. Rs 195. Pages:188
A UN representative in Turkey observed a strange phenomenon—that of forced suicides of women. Women who are supposed to have brought ‘shame’ to the family name are locked alone in a room—with a rope or a loaded gun at their disposal. The end is quiet. The dispute resolved. Honour restored.

Through the biotech lens
Jayanti Roy
Science, Agriculture and the Politics of Policy: The Case of Biotechnology in India
by Ian Scoones. Orient Longman. Pages 417. Rs. 795.
THIS book is the outcome of a project coordinated by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex (UK) one of the world’s leading organisation to explain real-world challenges through application of academic skills.

Voice of a subaltern subject
Gaurav Kanthwal
Collected Poems (1970-2005)
by Keki N Daruwala. Penguin. Rs 350. Pages 355
A major contribution towards the consolidation of Indian literature in English. Besides consolidation, the anthology traces the development and the maturity of the poet. Many leading publishers have already come up with anthologies of major poets like A.K. Ramanujan, Nissim Ezekiel, Dom Moraes and others. It is a welcome step to turn the public perception towards the marginalisation of Indian English poetry.

US library battles bigotry
winnett County, Georgia, is not the first place to debate public library services for immigrants. Last summer, opponents of illegal immigration gathered outside Denver Public Library to call for the resignation of the city librarian, who they said was providing services for illegal immigrants at taxpayers’ expense.

Back of the book

  • The Brief History of the Dead
    by Kevin Brockmeier John Murray £3 6.90

  • Debts of Dishonour: The Return of Imogen Quy
    by Jill Paton Walsh Hodder and Stoughton Pages 284. £3 6.90