Votary of freedom
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Sarmad
by V. N. Datta. Rupa. Pages 49. Rs 295.
is a growing interest
among intellectuals to understand the leaders as well as events of the
past. Rightly so, for there is a new generation of readers who are
ready to accept bare facts put in the right perspective. Historians
and other writers are helping by satiating this demand of their
readers. This has only led to further search and research.
The woman behind the Bard
Was she blind? Was she illiterate?
Germaine Greer has fun with the posthumous reputation of Ann Hathaway,
writes Min Wild
by Germaine Greer.
Bloomsbury. Pages 416. £37.41.
Whatever do we have here?
Biography? Social history? For a heartstopping moment it could be a
novel, as the jacket photograph of a headless Tudor-clad woman with
carefully manicured hands might suggest. The blurb is misleading, with
its crashingly inaccurate assertion that this book is different
because, in previous discussions of the Shakespeare marriage,
"social historians have avoided becoming embroiled in the
Shakespeare industry and Shakespearean scholars have steered clear of
Look East for the other Sikh
Diaspora is any group that has been
dispersed outside its traditional homeland. The Sikhs in Calcutta
certainly qualify as diaspora. Like other people in similar
situations, they identify with the "home" culture and have
played a significant role in the politics of Punjab, including in the
Punjabi Suba movement. A Punjabi weekly magazine, Desh Darpan,
reflected their sentiments. However, not all Sikhs in Calcutta trace
their roots to Punjab, there are also Sikhs from Assam, Bihar and
Orissa, whose traditions are at variance with those of the Punjabi
Gripping tale of survival
K. Rajbir Deswal
There, Where the Pepper
by Bem Le Hunte. HarperCollins.
Pages 296. Rs 295.
This is a masterly work of purposeful
fiction in the backdrop of a historical perspective, advocating
tolerance and fellow feeling. A saga of atrocity, intensity, conflict
and despair, it finds a happy ending; while throughout the narrative,
the uprooted Jewish characters had "no sense of belonging"
to any place in the world till they reach Calcutta by chance, and the
place becomes their "Palestine and Jerusalem."
The making of a legendary club
Chelsea Football Club: The Official
History in Pictures
by Rick Glanvill. Headline.
When the "billionare from
nowhere," Roman Abramovich, bought Chelsea football club
"lock, stock and barrel" on July 1, 2003, many fans believed
that he was yet another "money bag" out to dunk his wealth
on a sinking ship. But the tycoon was no dumb gambler out to play
Russsian roulette with his wealth. He was out to make money no doubt,
but he was also determined to make Chelsea turn the corner. Once
Abramovich was in charge, he embarked on the "biggest act of
wealth distribution in world football" to hire prized players at
a mindboggling cost.
Satire and surrealism
The President’s Last Love
by Andrey Kurkov.
Harvill Secker. Pages 400. £12.99
Is jet-black humour the best
way to confront oppressive regimes? Certainly, Russia and its former
satellite countries have groaned under a series of unprepossessing
political grandes from ages. And Russian-language writers from Gogol
onwards have wielded the scalpel of humour to flay the pretensions of
India: A Journey Through a
by Shashank Mani. HarperCollins, New Delhi. Pages XIII + 213.
1997, the author organised a chartered
train journey that started from Mumbai with 200 young men and women.
The aim of the journey was to see what India has achieved so far and
what remains to be done and how it should be done. The 13 chapters of
the book tend to describe the encounters at different places,
including Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Tilonia, Jaipur, Amritsar, Delhi,
Lucknow, Bodh Gaya, Jamshedpur, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Aurangabad. In
all, 15 cities and two villages were covered in 22 days.
Power of Gandhi’s truth
book on Mahatma Gandhi by a Trinidadian has raised a new debate on the
relevance of Gandhian philosophy in the 21st century. Darryl
Naranjit’s Truth and Power: Gandhi’s Political Philosophy gives
a cogent analysis of the political, economic, social and spiritual
strategies of Gandhi in his quest for equality for the Blacks and
Indians in South Africa.
Story from the Raj
An Australian academic, self-confessed Indophile, Ralph Crane, is
resurrecting the writings of a forgotten Anglo-Indian novelist Maud
Diver. Diver (1867-1945), author of more than two dozen books, was a
regular on the bestseller booklist in Britain during her lifetime.