Of Mughals and the maharaja
Randeep Wadehra

Foreign Trade Under Mughals
by Dr Mohammad Idris
Shree Publishers and Distributors, N.Delhi. Pages: V+184. Rs 400

History books tell us that the Indian subcontinent had trade links with foreign lands even before 300 BC. With the passage of time, offshore trade developed markedly enough to create Indian presence in the Far-East as well as Central Asia, Arabia and elsewhere. Much depended upon the attitudes of the rulers in determining the nature and extent of trade. The Mauryas and the Guptas are cited as great patrons of such trade as they had developed relevant structures and systems. Later on, Mughals also encouraged trade, especially with Islamic countries. This book studies the nature and scope of foreign trade under Mughals. It also dwells upon the various ways and means employed in the conduct of commercial transactions. Further, it studies trade-related administrative institutions and procedures during the Mughal period. The author has taken pains to access original sources in order to gather material for this well-researched book.

Foreigners at the Court of Maharaja Ranjit Singh

by Devinder Kumar Verma Arun
Publications, Patiala.
Pages: ix + 98. Rs 250

Even as the British power was on the rise in India, Maharaja Ranjit Singh had realised the importance of adopting European methods of civil administration and military training. He had more than 60 officers from France, Portugal, America, Russia, Greece, Prussia etc. in his employment. This helped him streamlining the functioning of his administration, the upgrading of military hardware and its usage as well as deployment. This book primarily offers pen-portraits of important western functionaries in the Maharaja’s court. But it also provides us with insights into the Sikh ruler’s shrewd mind. Some inferences also can be drawn about the contemporary political-geostrategic scenario in the sub-continent.


by Sushil Kumar Batra. Ocean Books, N. Delhi. Pages 231. Rs 250

It is generally believed that we all have at least one novel within us – one story that is personal, unique and yet worth narrating. It depends upon the narrator’s art and craft to ensure that his listeners or readers can relate to the contents of the story. Batra has chosen to tell us a love story using the time- tested flashback device. While reading it you are reminded of Hindi cinema of the 1960s and 1970s wherein coincidences were contrived to make the boy meet the girl, sow the seeds of romance, create uncertainties and then come up with a happy ending. So far so good. However one wishes Batra had hired the services of a professional re-write artist or done a course in creative writing from a good institute before writing this book.