OFf the shelf
The last Emperor
V. N. Datta
Bahadur Shah Zafar and the War of 1857 in Delhi
S. Mahdi Husain.
Aakar Books, Delhi.
Pages. IXIX + 451. Rs 800.

his new edition is a reprint of the book brought out by the author in 1958. Next year, the country is going to celebrate the 150th centenary of what has been called the ‘Indian Revolt of 1857’. To celebrate the occasion, a spate of literature is likely to be published by way of biographies of individuals, who had played a vital role in the events connected with the revolt or on some issues connected with it.

He always strikes the write note
As Khushwant Singh turns 92, the ‘Punjab Rattan’ continues to work at the pace he always has. Humra Quraishi talks to the man who has written with malice about one and all, and even been unsparing about himself.
f you believe that the pair of eyes relay all, then do look at Khushwant Singh’s eyes and you will know what I’m trying to convey. Even at 92, his eyes are that of a schoolboy’s. There seems to be no contradiction between what he says and what he thinks. A few years back when I was convinced that the hackneyed wine-and-women image did not tally with Khushwant’s conservative way of living I had asked him why that image when he is not only rather conservative but so involved with reading and writing. To that he’d said "That’s because I’m outspoken. I talk very openly and praise the quality of wine or the looks of a woman. I have been candid in my writings and speech."

The voice of a woman
Harbir K Singh
I Have Seen That Face Before
Shomshuklla. Rupa.
Pages 63. Rs 296.

oft, sensuous and sensitive poetry touches the heartstrings, while aesthetics in poetry brings transparency of emotions, desires, and attracts attention towards what poet wishes to convey. IHave Seen That Face Before by Shomshuklla is a collection of 50 poems, in which she brings out myriad colours of emotions. Though in few of her poems, she seems to be in a meditative mood, thinking of her childhood memories, at times confesses about her deep-rooted desires.

Gunning for growth
Prakarsh Singh
Propelling India from Socialist Stagnation to Global Power (Vol. I Growth Process and Vol. II Policy Reforms).
Arvind Virmani. Academic Foundation. Pages 372 and 436.
Rs 795 and Rs 895, respectively.

rvind Virmani’s book is an amalgamation of three years of research as director of the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER). It seeks to fill the void in empirical research of India’s growth process and policy lessons it can learn from China.

Old tales retold
Kanchan Mehta
The Rupa Book of Favourite Fairy Tales
Ed. Ruskin Bond. Rupa.
Pages 174. Rs 150.

his book brings for readers a body of picturesque and quaint fairy stories, chosen and edited by the famed writer Ruskin Bond. Ruskin Bond’s favourite fairy tales incorporate tales from allover the world, while tales from India dominate in number. They delight both the children and the adult tickling their imagination. They combine the past and the present, the individual and the society, the human and the divine and the natural and the supernatural world. Each story inspires the reader embodying some useful lesson. The atmosphere of mystery and magic adds to the appeal of the stories.

Journeys in verse
Last Bus to Vasco Poems from Goa
by Brian Mendonca
Published by Brian Mendonca
Pages 68. Rs 150.

or me, poetry is like a photograph in words. The capture of a fleeting moment in time and space to which you may want to return to, to savour in this brief existence." This is what poetry means to the writer. A senior editor with a publishing house, he finally found his poetic voice when the Sahitya Akademi published his poems in its journal. Even in Chandigarh, when he read aloud his poems at the Creative Circle, people could identify with the themes despite the geographical and culture divide. The audience clapped to the verse sang to the tune of his guitar.

Creative tones
Surinder Singh Tej
Nadi Nu Vehna Paya
by Amarjit Ghumman
Lokgeet Parkashan, Chandigarh
Pages 96. Rs 120.

marjit Ghumman had already made a name as a poetess of substance with her first collection Dupehar da Janam in 1994. After a hiatus of some 12 years, she has made a comeback with another volume Nadi Nu Vehna Pya

Back of the book
Decentring Empire Britain, India and the Transcolonial World
Ed. by Durba Ghosh & Dane Kennedy
Orient Longman.
Pages 406. Rs 745.

his volume charts a new direction in the study of British imperialism, its impact on India and other colonial territories, and its influence in propelling the forces of globalisation. Moving beyond the standard model of a bilateral circuit between imperial centre and colonial periphery, it highlights instead the web of transcolonial and transnational networks that spread across and beyond the empire, operating both on its behalf and against its interests. It suggests that these networks worked in effect to decentre empire, shaping the multidimensional contours of the global modernity we contend with today.