God’s own land
The magnificence and beauty of Kashmir is unrivalled and undisputed. This paradise on earth, a unique blend of divinity and romance, has inspired poets, philosophers and seers over the centuries, writes Pran Nevile
Kashmir, nature’s most spectacular work on earth, has, for centuries, enamoured seers and sages, merchants and missionaries, emperors and scholars, adventurers and travellers, artists and poets alike. They have all glorified this picturesque land — a paradise on earth. A meeting ground of different cultures of Asia and beyond, Kashmir has essentially inherited the Indo-Aryan traditions.
The Char Chinar or the Island of Four Trees, Srinagar The Char Chinar or the Island of Four Trees, Srinagar

On road to literacy
Women of Jirania in Tripura have motivated hundreds of uneducated people and school dropouts to enrol themselves in adult education centres. As a result, 97 per cent of the area’s population is literate, which is higher than the state’s average of 82 per cent, reports Soma Mitra
THE remote administrative block of Jirania in west Tripura, with its mixed population of tribals and non-tribals, has, in a truly remarkable way, turned a large proportion of its population literate.

Time to buy pearls
The best place to buy pearls is Hyderabad, where there are about 30,000 dealers. 
The prices have crashed by nearly 20 per cent. This is the right time to buy,
says Nandita Shorey
THIS is the time to buy pearls as the prices in Hyderabad, the pearl capital of India, have crashed by nearly 20 per cent due to worldwide recession.

Camel country
Known for its sand dunes and bhujia, Bikaner forms the third part of the famous desert triangle, writes Tanushree Podder
ituated in the heart of the desert belt, Bikaner is famous for its picturesque golden sand dunes, striking red sandstone forts, imposing palaces and beautifully sculptured temples of red and yellow sand stones.

Trouble for ibex
Overgrazing by livestock is creating food shortage for the Asiatic ibex in
Himachal Pradesh, writes Vishal Gulati

Livestock in the Pin Valley National Park in Himachal Pradesh is threatening the survival of a wild goat species, Asiatic ibex. This, in turn, is crucial for the snow leopard population in the area, says a conservationist.

First Lady’s first date
Priyanka Tikoo
Michelle Obama, who will become America’s First Lady on January 20, opened up about how she first met her husband, a "no-frills guy," in a television interview.

The changing chimes
EW sounds are more characteristic of Italy than the peal of church bells from the local campanile, but traditionalists in Rome are lamenting the disappearance of the art of bell ringing.

Faith accompli
M. L. Dhawan on how the subject of communal harmony has inspired many a filmmaker
N our country where there are many religions and cultures, the theme of unity in diversity has often been of interest to filmmakers who have used this subject in their films. Incidents of terror, too, have often inspired many a filmmaker to make films on the subject of communal harmony.

Dandi March revisited
The Salt Stories points out uncomfortable truths about Gandhi’s relevance
in today’s India, writes Shoma A. Chatterji

HOW relevant is Mahatma Gandhi in today’s India within the ambience of shopping malls and multiplexes and skyscrapers with helipads? Do younger Indians, chewed up, swallowed and consumed by that giant dragon called globalisation, know about his contribution to non-violence as a means to political freedom of the country from British rule?

Golden dreams
MUSIC maestro A R Rahman created history by becoming the first Indian to win the Golden Globe award for his music score for Slumdog Millionaire at a prestigious award ceremony in Beverly Hills in California.


'ART & sOULThe little mermaid
by B. N. Goswamy

TELEVISIONSpiritual journey

Food talk: Vada break
by Pushpesh Pant

CONSUMER RIGHTS: Railways liable for denying seat on reserved ticket
by Pushpa Girimaji

by David Bird

ULTA PULTAWeighty matters
by Jaspal Bhatti


There’s no ‘final truth’
Belu Maheshwari
Historical Diversities: Society, Politics and Culture
(Essays for Professor V. N. Datta)
Eds. K. L. Tuteja and Sunita Pathania.
Pages 468. $72.

Books received

Far lands, familiar sights
Nonika Singh
(Un)settled: Notes From a Shifting Life
by Kamini Karlekar. Tranquebar.
Pages 184. Rs 295. 

Ethical dilemmas in workplace
Kuldip Dhiman
Ethics for the Real World: Creating a Personal Code to Guide Decisions in Work and Life
by Ronald A. Howard and Clinton D. Korver.
Harvard Business Press.
Pages 240. $24.95.

Deadly legacy
G. S. Bhargava
Militancy in Jammu and Kashmir: The Uncovered Face
by Luv Puri.
Promilla & Co., Publishers in association with
Bibliophile South Asia, New Delhi, and Chicago.
Pages 116. Rs 350.

Forging ahead in adopted land
Kavita Soni-Sharma
The Other Indians: A Political and Cultural History of South Asians in America
by Vinay Lal.
Pages 159. Rs 295.

Athill bags Costa book award at 91
The former literary editor is the oldest winner of the prize, for her book, which drew plaudits for its honesty, writes Arifa Akbar
91-year-old who wrote an unflinching memoir encompassing the end of her sex life, the intimacies of ageing and the prospect of death has become the oldest writer to win a Costa prize.

Laura’s memoirs
S First Lady Laura Bush has inked a deal with Scribner to write her memoirs for publication in the spring of 2010. The memoirs will include her experiences in the White House and Texas governor’s mansion along with some "very personal" details like having a strong-willed mother-in-law, dealing with loss and raising children.

Gay view of life
Photographer Sunil Gupta has a different focus on his camera lens. It pans the life and times of his generation — the happening 70s when alternative sexuality was coming out of the closet and young itinerants were journeying the globe in search of love.

Voice against drug abuse
Randeep Wadehra
Narcotics: Crime, Terrorism and Control
by SP Kar. K.W Publishers.
Pages: viii+296l. Rs 780.

  • A Multi-Splendoured Sage
    by K.S Duggal. Swami Rama Gurmat Mission.
    Pages 198. Rs 265.

  • Indo-US Nuclear Deal
    by P.G Sharma.
    Pages 109. Rs 100.