Pilgrimage to Gandhi’s South Africa
It was in South Africa that the seeds of Mahatma Gandhi’s Satyagraha, the potent weapon of non-violent resistance that helped to overthrow the British, were sown. After he was kicked out of a train compartment reserved for whites in Pietermaritzburg, Gandhi resolved to fight injustice. A.J. Philip visits the Phoenix Settlement to see the milestones which marked the Mahatma’s journey.

A FIFTEEN-MINUTE drive from the hotel at Durban took us to the Pentrich railway station. A small group of officials, people of Indian origin and security personnel were at the station decked up with buntings and driveways freshly marked with lime powder. An air of expectancy hung around as we journalists were asked to keep our camera bags, laptops and all other belongings on the ground.

Pietermaritzburg station where Gandhi spent a night in the waiting room shivering in the cold
Pietermaritzburg station where Gandhi spent a night in the waiting room shivering in the cold.

Souza sells and how
Prasun Sonwalkar
Paintings by Indian artists are increasingly in demand in Britain. A painting by noted Indian artist Francis Newton Souza bought in 1967 for £50 has fetched its Devon-based owner a whopping £173,000.

Rise and rise of Indian art
Christie’s sale of modern and contemporary Indian art, with a F. N. Souza topping the auction, fetched a fantastic $17,811,360, the highest-ever total achieved in this field. The record-breaking sale, which has raised the field of Indian art sales to new levels, is a market endorsement for Christie’s commitment to the category and its collectors, said a Christie’s official.

Sacred writings on silicon
Arun Kumar
An Indian American scientist is leading a project to digitally restore a 700-year-old palm leaf manuscript containing the essence of Hindu philosophy by using modern imaging technologies. P.R. Mukund and Roger Easton, professors at Rochester Institute of Technology, are working on the project to digitally preserve the original Hindu writings, known as the Sarvamoola granthas attributed to scholar Shri Madhavacharya (1238-1317).

The wonder isle of France
A visit to Mont St Michel was once considered so dangerous that people made their will before going there. K. J. S. Chatrath on the most frequented tourist haunt after Paris

From Persia, with love
Prema Thakur
Musicologists ascribe shehnai to Persian origin, although similar equipment has been known in India since time immemorial. ‘Nai" is a blowing device of a type depicted on ancient Egyptian tombs dating from 3000 B.C.

Ash is tops: Kingsley
Rai has been showered praise from none other than Ben Kingsley, who co-stars with her in The Last Legion and calls her an "excellent and outstanding" actor. Kingsley, who won an Oscar for Gandhi, said Aishwarya would surprise movie buffs with her performance in the film.

Faith accompli
Ramesh and Asha Seth visit the magnificent El Sobrante gurdwara in California
Out of more than 130 gurdwaras that we visited in America and Canada, the most beautiful location was that of the El Sobrante gurdwara. Standing on its verandah, one can see the main street below, snaking its way through the town, and the valley beyond the street.


Food Talk: Malawa’s king
by Pushpesh Pant

by David Bird

ULTA PULTA: Alarm bells
by Jaspal Bhatti


Nationalism revisited
Pankaj K. Singh

Myths of the Nation: National Identity and Literary Representation.
Rumina Sethi. Oxford, New Delhi. Pages 221. Rs 375.

invariably bears the imprint of its time, which may become explicit during certain phases of history marked by intense political thinking and activism. Cutting across languages and genres, Indian literature written during the freedom struggle clearly represents the nationalist consciousness of the time.

State of a Model
V.Krishna Ananth

Kerala: The Paradoxes of Public Action and Development
Ed. Joseph Tharamangalam
Orient Longman
Pages 450 (Hardback, Rs 650)

Kerala Model of Development, as it came to be known, was celebrated by a section of planners as something that could be emulated in other parts of the country. It is no longer the case. There are, however, many who still argue in favour of some aspects of the "model" even while rejecting the larger framework. But then, there is no such thing as the framework. In other words, the development experience in Kerala did not follow a framework at any stage.

Larger than life
Roopinder Singh
St. Stephen’s College: A History
by Ashok Jaitly
Pages 141. Rs 395

Stephenian went to pick up his gold medal from Delhi University. He had topped in the MA course. "I have never seen you before," said the head of the university department. "Maybe, that’s why I won the medal," said the Stephenian, who himself heads a department in the college. For all you know, one of his students might be doing the same.

Authentic and shocking
Untouchability in Rural India
Ghanshyam Shah, Harsh Mander, Sukhadeo Thorat, Satish Deshpande and Amita Baviskar
Sage. Pages 216. Rs 295.

17 of the Constitution abolishes untouchability in any form in the Republic. The practice of it is a cognizable offence and the offender may get punishment as well as a fine, yet it is practiced unabashedly in many parts of this "Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democrat Republic". Right from the struggle of Dr B. R. Ambedkar, chairman of the committee that framed the Constitution, efforts have been made to eliminate this evil.

The greatest social revolution
Himmat Singh Gill
Percussions of History
Jagjit Singh.
The Nanakshahi Trust, SAS Nagar
Pages 377. Rs 595.

as Prof Mohan Singh’s soulful poetry and Giani Gurdit Singh’s masterly description of village life in Punjab in Mera Pind have become literary classics in their time, eminent Sikh scholar Jagjit Singh’s reissue of Percussions, which houses his twosome of The Sikh Revolution and In The Caravan of Revolutions, should also rate as one of the major works in a critical yet fair analysis of the Sikh ethos, way of life and religious and political perspectives.

More sinned against
M. Rajivlochan
The Naxalite Movement in India
by Prakash Singh.
Rupa. Pages 318. Rs 295.

is currently the generic name for any armed movement of peasants and tribesmen in India. It is also the tag for anyone insisting on providing justice to peasants and tribesmen by snatching the privileges of landowners.

Fall of a chessboard king
Aamer Hussein
The Last Mughal
by William Dalrymple
Bloomsbury. Pages 580. £25

13th edition (published in 1942) of Begamat ke Aansu is a collection of chronicles of what befell members of the Mughal court during and after the Indian Uprising of 1857. Unrelenting and spare, the book is all the more compelling for its simplicity. Known to several generations of readers of Urdu, and part of oral lore as well, its plain tales of arbitrary punishment, displacement and uprooted lives record the devastation of a thriving culture.

Struggle of the matriarchs
Aditi Garg
Queens of Mahabharata
Kavita A. Sharma.
Rupa. Pages 126. Rs 150.

every successful man, there is a woman. Even though the age-old adage holds true for many, there is no dearth of believers who think that the opposite is more appropriate. Many would rather believe that the female bastion is more likely to be the cause of downfall.

Starry lives & poetic prose
Surinder Singh Tej
Naqsh - Nigar
by Gurmukh Singh Sehgal
Sangam Publications, Samana
Pages 141. Rs 20
Singh Sehgal is a prolific and versatile writer. Besides penning four novels, he has tried his hand on biographical sketches, travelogues and other literary forms. Being a teacher by vocation, he has had a long stint in a Mumbai college where his literary talent provided him many an opportunity to get close to the stars of the Hindi film industry, especially those with Punjabi roots. This close interaction also gave him a rare insight into the whims and fancies of these personalities.

  • Manobal, Atam Vishvas Ate Jitt
    by Joginder Singh Principal
    Lokgeet Parkashan, Chandigarh
    Pages 160. Rs 150

  • Daftar Vich Bhoond
    by K. L. Garg
    Chetna Parkashan, Ludhiana
    Pages 128. Rs 140

Back of the book
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox
by Maggie O’ Farrell
Headline Review. Pages 245. £6.00
Edinburgh in the 1930s. The Lennox family is having trouble with its youngest daughter. Esme is outspoken, unconventional and repeatedly embarrasses them in polite society. Even Kitty, Esme’s beloved sister, is beginning to lose patience. Something will have to be done.

  • Every Mother’s Son
    by Lyn Andrews
    Headline. Pages 410. £32.99

  • The Indian Masters
    by Bill Ricquier
    Lotus Collection, Roli Books
    Pages 209. Rs 295