Mahatma’s vital concern
A.J. Philip
Brahmacharya: Gandhi & His Women Associates
by Girja Kumar
Vitasta Publishing Pvt. Ltd
Pages 411. Rs 695
A MOBILE exhibition that visited our village during the centenary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth in 1969 depicted dozens of his photographs from that of a toddler in Porbandar to his last journey on a gun carriage in New Delhi. However, the image that remained etched in my mind was that of a toothless old man with a beatific smile on his face and clutching at a staff.

Harvest of nature
Rumina Sethi
Democratizing Nature: Politics, Conservation, and Development in India
by Ashwini Chhatre and Vasant K. Saberwal.
Oxford University Press, New Delhi.
Pages 267. Rs 575.

s Vandana Shiva has memorably said, the world’s resources are at the hands of a small number of multinational companies who "want to sell our water, our genes, our cells, our organs, our knowledge, our cultures and our future."

War that was
Ramandeep Singh
The Iraq War: A Military History
by Williamson Murray and Maj Gen Robert H. Scales Jr.
Natraj Publishers, Dehradun. Pages 312. Rs 350.

he March 2003 invasion of Iraq had its roots in the 1991 war to liberate Kuwait from the illegal occupation of Iraqi forces and preempt any further adventure into Saudi Arabia. The Americans and their numerous allies had spectacularly routed the Iraqi forces and infrastructure in 1991 using air power in a way never seen before in the history of warfare.

Sensitive societal narrative
Puneetinder Kaur Sidhu
Gulabi Talkies & Other Stories
by Vaidehi.
Penguin. Pages 227. Rs 250.

aidehi is the pen name of noted Kannada writer Janaki Srinivasa Murthy. She is hailed by critics and readers alike for her prolific short stories, poems, plays, biographies and translations. Her deep and compassionate understanding of the inner world of women allows her to meaningfully mirror the ordinariness of their lives, and yet eloquently depict their resilience in the face of sorrow and poverty.

A classic whodunit 
Shalini Rawat
The Menagerie and other Byomkesh Bakshi Mysteries
Saradindu Bandyopadhyay
Translated by Sreejata Guha
Penguin. Rs 295 Pages 315
When Saradindu Bandyopadhyay created Byomkesh Bakshi’s character in 1932, little did he expect him to become so popular that almost a century later a translation of his work would be so welcome. The detective branch of fiction was rather looked down upon in those days. But as is true for the Indian psyche which gravitates towards most things termed ‘commercial’ topped with a little masala, this indigenised version of Sherlock Holmes too, was soon lapped up.

Useful reckoner for journalists
Media and Law
A Reporter's Handbook
by Swati Deshpande. Published by AMIC-India and Unesco. Pages 206. Rs 50

he book could not have come at a better time, because it is needed in the scenario where the focus is on breaking news, sometimes at cost to professionalism. That the writer, the legal correspondent of The Times of India for seven years has put her experience to good use is apparent.

Wings of Fire goes magical 
Illusionist Gopinath Muthukad has created a magical version of Wings of Fire, the widely admired autobiography of President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
itled, Wings of Illusion, the new programme is going to be the first magical translation given to the visionary’s autobiography. Muthukad said this is a magical venture that visualises the successful life story of Kalam, a boy who was born and brought up in a rustic ambience of inadequacies but still became the country’s president.

Writers on the works that influenced them
Carole Goldberg
ou could think of it as a big bag of literary potato chips. Bet you can’t read just one. In fact, there are 71 essays to savour in The Book that Changed My Life (Gotham Books), a compilation edited by Roxanne J. Coady, founder of R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison, Connecticut, USA and Joy Johannessen, who has been an editor at several major publishing houses. Every essay has something interesting to say, and the books that are praised make a valuable guide to good reading.

Last of the titans
Ashok Malik
Poochte hai vo ki JP kaun hai by Dr Chandra Trikha.
Yugmarg Publications, Chandigarh, PP ix+117, Paperback. Rs 150.

hat the acclaimed hero of the Emergency is becoming a forgotten "JP who?" for the 20-something young men and women of today is enough to shock any witness to that era. Jayaprakash Narayan, who as a poor student in Chicago had to sell fairness cream to take care of his expenses, rose to dizzy heights in the Indian political firmament. 

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

istory 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. 

Books received