The forgotten master
Amrik Singh
The Raj, Lahore and Bhai Ram Singh
by Pervez and Sajida Vandal. National College of Arts, Lahore. Pages 268. Rs 1,500.
ASK anyone in Punjab about Bhai Ram Singh and you would invite blank stares, even in Amritsar, where there should be good reasons to remember him. He was the man who designed Khalsa College, Amritsar, in 1892. Even the persons connected with the college (I have been a student there for four years and a teacher for six years) hardly know anything about him.

Books received: PUNJABI

UP unravelled
Shahira Naim
Region, Nation, "Heartland": Uttar Pradesh in India’s Body Politic
by Gyanesh Kudaisya, Sage Series in Modern Indian History –Volume X, Sage Publications. Pages 471. Rs 595
WITH a population of 166 million, if Uttar Pradesh were to secede from India and declare itself as a ‘Republic’ it would be the sixth-largest nation in the world. A provoking thought indeed. But surely it is neither its geographical size nor its population density that makes the state the subject of three of the ten volumes in the ongoing Sage Series in Modern Indian History.

Subcontinental Nights
Harbans Singh
Wonder Tales of South Asia
by Simon Digby. Oxford. Pages 303. Rs 295.
Simon Digby offers a bouquet of wonder tales from the subcontinent to readers who have a lust for romances and anecdotes from the mediaeval period. The tales also cater to the tastes of persons who like to study with scholarly devotion the subject of immortal beings, their love for the mortals and the tales that straddle the world of morality and worldly wisdom.

A plethora of visions
Himmat Singh Gill
Blind Faith
by Sagarika Ghose. HarperCollins. Pages 273. Rs 295.
THIS is a novel about many plots, many characters and many messages, and it goes to the credit of Sagarika Ghose that, whether on the banks of the Ganges at the Kumbh or on a burning beach at Alqueria in Goa, she is able to paint life in raw reality and confront readers with the eternal truth that "without one’s own true vision, one may as well be blind".

Mystical revelation, a twin treat
Manmeet Sodhi
The Stone Laughs and Atonement
by La. Sa. Ra. translated from Tamil by Padma Narayanan. Katha. Pages 250. Rs 200.
La Sa Ramamirthan (La Sa Ra) is a much-loved Tamil writer. His two sequential novellas, The Stone Laughs and Atonement, are expertly translated from Tamil by Padma Narayanan. Both novellas are infused with mystical elements, philosophical truths as well as ordinariness of the events. At the background, these are studies of human relationships. La Sa Ra, through his character Dharamrajan, explores various predicaments of life.

Flavours of compassion
Kanchan Mehta
Selected Short Stories
by Mulk Raj Anand. ed. Saros Cowasjee. Penguin. Pages 262. Rs 250.
"Anand’s main forte has been to awaken us to the realities of life in India, which we already know, but to which we have turned a blind eye," asserts Saros Cowasjee, expert on Mulk Raj Anand, who has selected and edited with an introduction this cluster of stories by that stalwart in Indo-Anglican fiction. The majority of the stories, portraying agonies and woes of the underdogs, touch us deeply.

A lucid account of Iraq war
This book will stand the test of time, writes Paul Rogers
The Occupation: War And Resistance In Iraq
by Patrick Cockburn Verso, £15.99
THE recent comments by General Dannatt brought into the open concerns about Iraq expressed repeatedly by senior military figures and civil servants alike. They were almost never willing to go public, given Tony Blair's absolute conviction of his rightness. Most would accept just about all the analysis in Patrick Cockburn's new book, and would hope that Blair might have the wisdom to read and learn from it.

Songwriter wins Dylan prize
Christina Patterson
Dylan Thomas might have been happy to "labour by singing light/Not for ambition or bread" but he died in poverty. Most writers have to be rather relaxed about paying the rent—or the bar bills. Rachel Trezise, who recently won the EDS Dylan Thomas Award, can now breathe easy for quite a while.

Koestler: Insider who walked away
Darshan Singh Maini
HE position of Arthur Koestler, "a naturalised British Citizen of uncertain and mixed racial origin," to use his own words, is unique in so far as the political novel in England is concerned. The fact that he has had to express himself in a foreign language, which incidentally he has mastered as few foreigners, makes him unique among the political novelists.

Racy read
Randeep Wadehra

  • Trust Me
    by Rajashree Rupa. Pages 242. Rs 95

  • Strange Meeting
    by Saros Cowasjee Vision Books. Pages 152. Rs 190

  • Mona Begum
    by Rummy Nandlal Abhishek, Chandigarh. Pages 126. Rs 295