A search for identity
Rachna Singh
Mercy In Her Eyes: The Films of Mira Nair
by John Kenneth Muir.
Westland Books. Pages 290. Rs 295.

through a collection of films in a Music World outlet one day, I happened to look out of the glass window and saw to my amusement three city urchins engrossed in dancing to Hrithik Roshan’s hit number Ek pal ka jeena of Kaho Na Pyar Hai fame. This little vignette, so reminiscent of a ‘frame’ from Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay, sent me willy-nilly to get hold of a DVD of the film.

Books received: Punjabi

Inside cricket
Aditya Sharma

A Maidan View
by Mihir Bose. Penguin.
Pages 372. Rs 295.

book defies classification. Broadly speaking, it can be categorised as ‘the history of Indian cricket’. However, once you start perusing the volume, it branches off in different directions. Beginning with the chronological facts of cricket, the book unfolds several significant historical events of 19th and 20th century British India. It is against the backdrop of Sepoy Mutiny, Civil Disobedience Movement, Jallianwala Bagh massacre and the affairs of princely states that the author embarks on describing the relevant incidents that led to the development of cricket in India.

Trials and tribulations of travel writing
Deepika Gurdev
The Lonely Planet Story
by Tony and Maureen Wheeler.
Periplus. Pages 375. $16.95.

all started with wanderlust. In the early 1970s, a recently married couple took off on a trip to remember in a bid to get travel out of their system before settling into their "real" jobs. Their trip began in Asia and ended in Australia where they landed with just 27 cents to their credit.

Vision of a modern-day sage
Rekha Jhanji
Swami Vivekananda: The Living Vedanta
by Chaturvedi Badrinath. Penguin Books. Pages 452. Rs 375.

is an interesting book on Vivekananda, it attempts to bring into focus the relationship between the life and the thought of this unique sage of modern India. It is the product of research into Vivekananda’s life and thought. The author has done a deep study of Vivekananda’s letters and other writings to give an exposition of the relationship between his life and his spiritual journey. He has tried to bring out the existential dimension of Vivekananda the man and not the icon.

Diaspora documented
Angad B. Sodhi
Sikhs in Britain
by Gurharpal Singh and
Darshan Singh Tatla.
Routledge, Zed Books. £17.99.

You can be assured to find a Sikh presence anywhere you go in the world. There are an estimated 16 to 18 million Sikhs around the globe, at least one million located abroad, predominantly in three countries, Canada, the USA and the UK. Of the three, the UK has the largest Sikh presence in terms of population.

Go Green
Subhakant Mohapatra
Ecological Security: The Foundation of Sustainable Development
ed. Samar Singh.
Shipra Publications, Delhi.
Pages XIV+208. Rs 495.

debate on environment and development is now four decades old. Heads of governments congregated thrice at Stockholm (1972), Rio (1992) and Johannesburg (2002) to thrash out the nuances related to this complex issue.

Fight to the finish for honour’s sake
Harbans Singh

Izzat Ke Naam
by Mukhtar Mai in collaboration with Marie-Therese Cuny; Pages 107. Rs 100. Arvind Kumar Publishers, Gurgaon.
zzat Ke Naam
chronicles the saga of a human spirit that refuses to yield to adversity. The woman fights back not only to reclaim her honour but also embark upon a mission that is the first step in empowering an individual. The story of Mukhtar Mai, her horrific rape in that part of Pakistan where tribal customs take precedence over civil laws, is now all too well known.

Audit of the emotional stock-room
James Urquhart

The Lay of the Land
by Richard Ford
Bloomsbury £17.99
It’s amazing how much Richard Ford can pack into a national holiday. The Lay of the Land is a massive, ruminative, poignant and cathartic novel that unpacks an awful lot of luggage into the few days of America’s Thanksgiving holiday in the fall of 2000. The Clinton-Bush electoral farrago rumbles on in the country at large but 55-year-old Frank Bascombe’s problems are all intimate. His twenty-something daughter Clarissa is living with him again, which is good; but she moved in to support him after his shocking prostate diagnosis. Worse still, she then ditched her smart girlfriend to experiment with men again, and her "woogling" now disturbs the calm of his sequestered Jersey Shore home.

Gift for Mandela
do you give former South African president Nelson Mandela for Christmas? Well, football ace David Beckham solved that problem neatly by deciding to send an autobiography of himself to the freedom fighter. The hardback copy of David Beckham: My World, published in October 2000, is just one of the many X’mas presents that have been pouring into the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg.

Travails of a trailblazer
Randeep Wadehra
Gulab Bai
by Deepti Priya Mehrotra
Penguin. Pages: viii + 318. Rs 295.

a pleb earns elite’s respect, one sits up and takes notice. And, if that pleb is a Dalit woman, a legend is born to earn the nation’s unstinting homage. Gulab Bai belonged to Bedia caste of UP’s Balpurva village. As a twelve-year old in 1931 she stormed the then male bastion when she became the sole female performer in a nautanki troupe, only to set up her own company subsequently.

Impact of Partition: Refuges in Pakistan
by Amtul Hassan.
Manohar. Pages 141. Rs 260
Path to Nirvana
by Gursharn S Zal
Trafford, Canada. Pages 209.
Price unstated.