Global guruism
Rachna Singh
Guru English: South Asian Religion in a Cosmopolitan Language
by Srinivas Aravamudan. Penguin Books. Pages 330. Rs 395.
THE ‘guru’ culture in India is deeply embedded. The historical ‘guru-chela’ tradition has translated into a global guru-ism in the modern milieu. We have Hollywood and Bollywood stars swearing by their gurus and we have a spate of ‘Acharyas’ propounding theories of bliss and spiritualism through an omnipresent media.

Whiff of the North-East
Lunatic in my Head
by Anjum Hasan. Penguin. Pages 291. Rs 295.
A novel of very ordinary people, each reflecting a little of the people we see around us. The story is set in the small picturesque town of Shillong. One is transported to mist-covered hills as one reads the story. In fact, you can feel the cold breeze on the face while working your way up a hill, lost in your thoughts.

Books received: HINDI

Paying a price for progress
Rajesh Kumar Aggarwal
Development-Induced Displacement and Human Rights
by Ashirbani Dutta. Deep and Deep Publications, New Delhi. Pages 248. Rs 750.
THE displacement on account of development is a cause for concern, for developmental economics often result in violation of human rights by way of landlessness, joblessness, homelessness, marginalisation, food insecurity, increased morbidity and mortality, loss of access to common property and social disarticulation of the displaced population.

Glitz and glamour unveiled
Amarinder Sandhu
A Girl Named Indie
by Kavita Daswani. Puffin Books. Pages 189. Rs 200.
THE protagonist Indie has been named ‘Indira Gandhi’ after India’s first lady Prime Minister, but she hates her very Indian name and prefers to go by the name Indie. She is a carefree 15-year-old residing in suburban Los Angeles with her neurologist father, a mother who is a housewife and Dinesh, her baby brother.

Life of the chosen one
Kuldip Dhiman
Dalai Lama: Man, Monk, Mystic An Authorised Biography
by Mayank Chhaya. Mapinlit, Ahmedabad. Pages 342. Price not stated.
WHAT is it like to be born into a poor family in a small village of Tibet, and then to be catapulted to the heights of spiritual power even before you are not old enough to know the significance of it? This has happened many times in the past, and it happens all the time in Tibet, which is known for a long tradition of its spiritual heads called the Dalai Lama.

Sultan of the story
A. Saj Mathews pays a tribute to legendary writer Vaikom Muhammed Basheer in his centenary year
ATHER, for what purpose Christ who was nailed to death needs a golden cross" pleads the petty thief who was caught red handed for stealing the golden cross from the local church. There is another one who mistakes a sleeping elephant as a heap of cow dung and tries to clear it by transferring it into a bamboo basket to dispose off.

Katha tales for kids
ATHA, a New Delhi-based non-profit publishing house, released two new children’s books The Famous Smile and Kaleh and the Singsong Castle in the capital. The books deal with nature and conservation. Releasing the books, chief guest Mike Pandey, a renowned conservationist, said the books were an attempt to highlight to importance of reading "especially in times when the television is soaking up attention of our children.

What makes a person desirable
In their new book The Psychology of Physical Attraction, psychologists Viren Swami and Adrian Furnham claim, at last, to have unlocked the secrets of attraction. Esther Walker explains what they discovered Are looks everything?
ES. Sadly, it seems, we really are as superficial as we seem. "Study after study shows that people think that what is beautiful is good," says Adrian Furnham, co-author of The Psychology of Physical Attraction. (Routledge) The more attractive you are, the more likely you are to get jobs and have people be nice to you. "It’s a slightly shocking finding," Furnham says.

No to stereotypes
Syed Nooruzzaman
Rising India: Friends and Foes
Ed Prakash Nanda. Lancer Publishers. Pages 392. Rs 795.
THERE was a time when India viewed almost every development at the international level against the backdrop of Third Worldism, nonalignment, Cold War politics and other such viewpoints. No policy initiative was considered worth taking if it did not fit into the Nehruvian frame.