RJs and civilisation
Randeep Wadehra

Incantations and other stories
by Anjana Appachana
Penguin. Pages 178. Rs 195.

Incantations and other storiesWomanhood in different situations forms the main theme of this collection of eight short stories. My Only Gods is about a girl-child who is possessive about her parents to manic extent. Her insecurities have been highlighted with great sensitivity. Bahu highlights an educated, employed woman’s dilemma who marries for love and gets caught in an insensitive exploitative joint family situation. The Prophecy is a story of two college-hostel inmates. One of them becomes pregnant leading to situations laced with irony. When anklets tinkle is humorous and resolves a prejudice-filled dilemma with unexpected twist in the tale. Incantations is a heart-rending story of dream-marriage gone sour with sexploitation resulting in a tragedy that affects several lives. Similarly Her mother is about illicit love but with a sober ending. Two stories, Sharmaji and Sharmaji and the Diwali sweets provide comic relief through an anachronistic character’s work-shirking antics. Overall, an enjoyable read.

The Radio Jockey Handbook
by Simran Kohli
Fusion Books, N. Delhi. Pages XXVI+200. Rs 195.

After languishing in the shadow of television for decades, radio has made a strong comeback thanks to FM channels and the government’s privatisation policy. This has opened up new avenues for employment, viz., radio jockeys, script-writers, technicians etc. This handbook is a comprehensive guide to becoming a successful RJ. It also provides technical details of radio programming, formatting, presenting etc. This book is certainly of use to wannabe radio professionals.

Indus Civilization
Ed by Toshiki Osada
Manohar, N. Delhi. Pages: 269. Rs 750.

Indus CivilizationThe Harappan or the Indus Valley Civilisation covered an area of more than 1.25 million square kilometers of the subcontinent’s northwestern parts – spanning India and Pakistan. Today out of 1500 sites only 30 have been excavated. Periodically, research papers on different aspects of the civilisation get published. This volume is an attempt to study the impact of local and global environment on the Indus civilisation throughout its life. Thus the different activities like trade, industry, town-planning, and language and various other cultural ingredients owe a lot to environmental influences. It also hints that ‘environmental problems’ were one of the causes of its downfall.

In this volume J.S. Kharakwal provides an overview of various Harappan sites excavated so far and the archaeological findings there-from. Yo-Ichiro Sato dwells upon rice cultivation in the Indus area but points out that "a lot of questions about the staple food-crops in the Indus Civilization still remain unknown." Michael Witzel posints out that South Asia is not an isolated entity but has been an acculturation of Central Asian and other influences like Munda, Dravidian, Indo-Iranian, Tibeto-Burmese etc.

A great reference book for students of history, archaeology and related disciplines.