Gains that were chipped away
Vijay Mohan
India’s National Security: Military Challenges and Responses
by Maj Gen Kuldip Singh Bajwa (retd). Har-Anand publications, New Delhi. Pages 372. Rs 595.
DESPITE considerable armed power, India’s national security environment has become increasingly fragile. Over half a century of wars, conflicts and battle against externally-sponsored internal strife notwithstanding, the world’s largest democracy has failed to usher in durable peace. Shifts in geo-strategic environment coupled with deteriorating internal situation in some nation-states have thrown up greater, multi-dimensional challenges for the security establishment.

Books received

Sentimental journey
Rajbir Deswal
Mr and Mrs Dutt: Memories of our Parents
by Namrata Dutt Kumar and Priya Dutt. Roli Books. Pages 200. Rs 695.
More moments of pain than deliverance are recounted in this book. All through the narrative, Namrata and Priya present insights into the life and times of the legendary actor-couple Nargis and Sunil Dutt with adulatory but honest references which are mostly taken, besides their own reflection, from the letters, souvenirs, documents and photos in the family memorabilia. The readers’ interest is maintained by the information shared, as also by the pictorial sumptuousness.

Slice of rural life
Satinder K. Girgla
by Rohithari Rajan. Indialog Publications. Pages 272. Rs 195.
INDIA has two contrasting worlds—one that rests in its villages and the other that breathes in cities. The book is an attempt to bring both the worlds together. It gives a slice of rural life knit together by a number of mirthful incidents and characters who add colour to an otherwise simple story.

‘George Bush shaded truth on Iraq’
ormer White House press secretary Scott McClellan charges in an explosive new book that President George W. Bush shaded the truth and manipulated public opinion to make the case for the "unnecessary" Iraq war. McClellan, the first Bush insider to write a book criticising his former boss and fellow Texan, drew instant condemnations from former White House colleagues who wondered why he stayed on the job.

How society responds to change
Rajesh Kumar Aggarwal
Economic Reforms and Social Transformation
Ed. S. R. Ahlawat. Rawat Publications, New Delhi. Pages 434. Rs 875.
THIS book is written with a belief that social transformation by way of social development is one of the essential pre-requisites for percolating the benefits of economic reforms across all sections of the society. It argues that economic reforms have encouraged some social vices and problems, particularly in agriculturally advanced states. Prominent among these vices are rising consumerism, alcoholism and drug addiction and rising expenditure on social ceremonies such as marriages.

Power and perception
Arun Gaur
Think India: The Rise of the World’s Next Superpower and What it Means for Every American
by Vinay Rai and William L. Simon. Dutton (Penguin). Pages 304. $ 25.95
This book seems to have been written essentially for the Americans to reassure them that the Indians would soon become the largest potential customers worldwide for consumer goods and services and that "For American businesses, India, instead of posing a threat, in fact offers remarkable new opportunities".

The name’s Bond, James Bond
Sarah Churchwell
Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks brings back the superspy created by Ian Fleming
More than 40 years after the last adventure, a new James Bond book, Devil May Care, has arrived with its writer, Sebastian Faulks, warning that the spy is "not a slick superhero." According to a 1958 New Statesman review of Dr.No, the James Bond novels consisted of "three thoroughly English basic ingredients: sadism, frustrated adolescent, and the crude, snobbish cravings of a suburban adult." These ingredients no longer seem particularly English. Sex, snobbery and sadism are a global phenomenon, while the schoolboy bully, frustrated adolescent and snobbish suburban adult sound like Hollywood market research.

Forgotten heroes
Randeep Wadehra
Indian Prisoners of War in Pakistan
Compiled by Nafisa Ali et al
The Assn of the families of the Indian Prisoners of War &Trishul Publications
Pages: xvii+264. Rs 195
It’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ ‘Chuck him out, the brute!’
But it’s ‘saviour ‘ is country’ when the guns begin to shoot
Rudyard Kipling
When we idolise a soldier we rob him of all human attributes. We term him a sentinel, a saviour and expect him to lay down his life for us while we rest snugly in our homes. But a soldier is also a human being with expectations. He too needs to be assured that his family would be looked after well in his absence; that the government would come to his rescue if he became a prisoner of war; that in life and in death his dignity would remain sacrosanct.

  • Ambedkar in Retrospect

  • Ugly Duckling