Jinnah & the maharaja
Randeep Wadehra

Jinnah and Punjab
Ed Amarjit Singh
Kanishka, New Delhi. Pages xlv+354. Rs 850

It’s a known fact that in pre-P artition Punjab it was the secular Unionist Party that had popular support whereas the fanatical, Jinnah-led, Muslim League was struggling to secure a toehold in the region – something it eventually achieved thanks to British machinations. Nevertheless, Jinnah’s own efforts too proved decisive in the League’s ascendancy, resulting in blood-drenched Partition. This book contains a collection of the Qaid-e-Azam’s correspondence with such leaders of Punjab Muslim League as Nawab Iftikhar Hussain Khan, M. Rafi Butt, Abdul Hamid Iqbal, S. Sadiq Hassan, Syed Aslam, Mumtaz Daultana etc on topics ranging from collection of funds to strengthening of the party’s organisational structure. References to ‘our enemies’ give us insights into his phobias. The editor could’ve done away with fluffy social epistles, from and to Lady Vicky Noon for example, which are bereft of any political significance and aren’t, in any tangible manner, in consonance with the book’s theme.

Contemporary and later perspectives on Maharaja Ranjit Singh
by Radha Sharma
Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. Pages: ix+170. Rs 200.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s persona continues to evoke academic interest. Although a devout Sikh (his government was referred to as Sarkar-e-Khalsa) he kept the Akalis in check and "by destroying the misls and allowing the gurmata to decay" he transformed "the whole constitution of the Sikhs from an irregular theocratic commonwealth of a loose federal type into an absolute monarchical type`85" thus uniting Punjab under his rule and extending his sway beyond the state’s frontiers. Merit and not caste, community or creed decided employment and promotion in his empire. This book contains writings by assorted chroniclers on the Maharaja during his reign as well as after Punjab’s annexation, depicting the changing scholarly perceptions in the process.

Sophistry of Dr. WH Mcleod
by Dr. Amarjit Singh Bal.
B. Chattar Singh Jiwan Singh,
Amritsar. Pages xxii+215. Rs 250.

Every organised religion is a mix of history, theology and mythology; the latter two act as its bedrock. Theology provides doctrine and principles to be adhered to by the followers while mythology provides inspirational tales and role models in order to keep the pious perpetually enthralled and inspired. History shapes a community’s outlook even as it lends authenticity, no matter how tenuously, to theological and mythological literature. But, it’s a historian’s scientific temper that irks the faithful. Something similar is indicated by this book’s contents. However, readers may like to judge this for themselves.