Young and restless
Rumina Sethi
Fireflies in the Mist
by Qurratulain Hyder.
Women Unlimited, New Delhi. Pages 378. Rs 350.
My only interaction with Qurratulain Hyder was in Chandigarh in the late 1980s when as a young student I was writing my Ph.D in Cambridge, paradoxically on Indian literature. Starved as I had been for contact with experts in this area in an all-white academic environment, this particular visit to India was fruitful in putting me face-to-face with Hyder at the auditorium of the Fine Arts Museum, where she was introduced to me by Mulk Raj Anand.

Books received

Helpful manual
Roopinder Singh
Indian Garden Flowers: Home Gardener’s Guide
by Amarjeet Singh Batth.
Prakash Book. Pages 212. Rs 495.
A former Army officer, Amarjeet Singh Batth’s offering is "an amateur gardener’s handbook for identification, propagation and care of garden flowers". This subtitle sums up the book quite well. The author’s academic grounding in biology obviously lends the book a scientific gravitas, and his keen photographic eye is evident in the colour pictures that are extensively used.

Emigres’ world
Aradhika Sharma
The Last Dragon Dance: Chinatown Stories
by Kwai-Yun Li.
Penguin. Pages 122. Rs 199.
The book has special meaning for those who have lived in the city of Calcutta. And I say Calcutta deliberately as opposed to Kolkata because that’s what the spirit of the book demands. The Last Dragon dance is about the emigre community of Chinese who settled down in Calcutta and who lived and worked there, making the city their own and giving it their own flavour.

Dark side of capitalism
Shalini Rawat
Decolonisation and Empire: Contesting the Rhetoric and 
Reality of Resubordination in Southern Africa and Beyond
by John S. Saul. Three Essays Collective.
Pages 201. Rs 200.
‘ON s’engage, puis on voit’—We engage, then (only do) we see. It is no coincidence that the line from the conclusion of the book should be the opening line of the review. It is only those who engage themselves in the fundamentals that affect our lives notice that the forces which fashion the world around us wear mere masks of benevolence.

Hindi review
Modern verses
Harbans Singh
Angaron Par Nange Paon
by Madhav Kaushik.
Penguin .Pages 93. Rs 75.
Angaron Par Nange Paon is a landmark publication since this is one of the first books of Hindi poetry to be published by Penguin Books and has understandably aroused considerable curiosity. The author, Madhav Kaushik, versatile as he is, is by his own confession, primarily a ghazal writer. This puts him at the risk of constantly being judged in comparison with such consummate artists as Jigar, Asghar, Faiz, Fani or Firaq.

Broad field of policy issues
S. S. Johl
Glimpses of Indian Agriculture: Macro and Micro Aspects
Ed: S M Jharwal, R S Deshpande, Vijay Paul Sharma, R P S Malik, Brajesh Jha.
Academic Foundation, Pages 1608. $149.95
Problems of the agriculture sector in India are too varied, vast and vexed and are ever changing. Any policy prescription becomes, if not completely, then at least partially obsolete and irrelevant within a couple of years and often earlier. Glimpses of Indian Agriculture... is a collection of write-ups, published and unpublished, by economists from agro-economic research centers in India.

Adult Brits love Enid Blyton’s kid stuff
Dipankar De Sarkar
n a poll outcome set to delight children worldwide, British adults have voted Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl and J.K. Rowling as their three favourite writers, putting them well ahead of authors of the critically acclaimed "serious stuff".

Lid off White House secrets
U.S. journalist Bob Woodward's fourth book on President George W. Bush is titled The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008 and will be released on September 8. Woodward is well known for his investigative work with fellow reporter Carl Bernstein that played a key role in forcing President Richard Nixon to resign in 1974 in the Watergate scandal.

Architect as artist
Randeep Wadehra
Architecture, Life And Me
By Sangeet Sharma. Rupa & Co. Pages: xviii+164. Rs 195.
According to Christopher Wren, architecture "has its political use; public buildings being the ornament of a country; it establishes a nation, draws people and commerce; makes the people love their native country`85" However, this architect’s musings-cum-autobiographical account portrays the concept's more individualistic dimensions.

  • The Unforgettable Decade (1938-1948)

  • Sir Chhotu Ram: the last days
    & Ch. Matu Ram

Al Deen remembered
Some prominent writers from West Bengal joined their counterparts in Dhaka to pay tributes and evaluate the work of Bangladesh’s legendary dramatist-theoretician-organiser, Selim Al Deen.