A window on Benares
Varanasi or Kashi — the heart of Indian religious ethos for centuries — has always mesmerised visitors with its unique and colourful persona. Benares Illustrated takes one on a trip to the city of the early 19th century, seen through the eyes of Englishman James Prinsep, whose love for the holy city earned him the name of “Benares Prinsep”. Excerpts:

HE celebrated French traveller, Victor Jacquemont, happened to visit Benares in early 1830, and wrote in his diary: "Attended two dinner parties where even the champagne that was drunk in abundance could not melt the ice of etiquette which prevails at those reunions; everyone the next day complained of the dullness of the proceding evening. There is one man, however , who compensates for the antisocial disposition of his fellow countrymen — James Prinsep.

Ganga & the ghats

No place for history

The land of Chaparh Jhiri (Sirhind) — where the first known open confrontation between the Sikhs and the Mughals took place in 1710 — is being converted into a golf course and a lake. No memorial has been raised in honour of Banda Singh Bahadar, who established Sikh raj in Punjab following victory in the Battle of Sirhind, writes Naveen S. Garewal
HREE hundred years after Baba Banda Singh Bahadar shook the foundations of the 1000-year-old Mughal empire in India by defeating and killing Wazir Khan (Faujdar of Sirhind) in the Battle of Sirhind that established Sikh raj in Punjab, the Punjab Government has yet to do anything substantial to preserve history for posterity.

The Indian Madame Tussauds
Quaid Najmi
Children studying gurukul style in the shade of a tree, farmers having lunch in the fields, cowherds milking their cows...The scene is that of a typical Indian village - yet not a soul stirs. With its lifelike sculptures, the Siddhagiri Museum in Kolhapur district, around 400 km south of Mumbai, is India’s answer to Madame Tussauds in London.

Look stunning... always
The bride is now being given an attire that will make her look beautiful on the
all-important day, and will also help her retain the gorgeous look on other occasions with the same clothes, says Parimala Jain
THERE is a sea change blowing in the case of wedding trousseau for gals. Statistics reveal that the gorgeous dress you wore for your wedding can rarely be used again.

Living it up in the Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is not a typical beach lovers’ paradise but its therapeutic appeal transcends its uninviting atmosphere, write Hugh and Colleen Gantzer
THERE's nothing dead about it today. Our hotel was alive with vacationers in assorted variations of beachwear.

Taking up the challenge
Films dealing with disabilities — mental as well as physical — are becoming
quite a rage with filmmakers, writes M. L. Dhawan
hese are really exciting times for the Hindi cinema. Many directors and filmmakers have helped in evolving a different kind of cinema.


’Art & soul: The magical world of string puppets
by B. N. Goswamy

TELEVISIONExtreme survival

HOLLYWOOD HUES: Action unlimited
by Ervell E. Menezes

Food talk: Saffron seduction
by Pushpesh Pant

rights.htm Safety tips for Divali
by Pushpa Girimaji

by David Bird

ULTA PULTA: Flying rats
by Jaspal Bhatti


Our kids are the smartest ever
Roopinder Singh
Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation
is Changing Your World
By Don Tapscott.
Tata McGraw-Hill. Pages 368. Rs 595.

Teasing and tender tales
HAT happens when "plain Jane" Paolomi next door armed with a volume of Persepolis 2 meets Bollywood superstar Sartaj Khan, the man of her dreams, on the sets of a publicity still? She binges at the studio lunch, munches chocolates, dozes off on a corner seat and dreams that she has been transported back in time to 1977 to a government guest house used by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands with Sartaj Khan for company — a year after the Emergency.

A unique journey
Ravia Gupta
Don’t Ask Any Old Bloke for Directions
By P.G. Tenzing.
Penguin Books.
Pages 218. Rs 250.

The literary voice of Anne Frank
Francine Prose
writer’s voice is something readers instinctively respond to but don’t pay much attention to unless they also happen to be writers. Voice is what makes Hemingway sound like Hemingway and why, after a few sentences, we can tell the work of Alice Munro from that of Flannery O’Connor.

From despair to hope
Laxmi Kant Verma
That Hardly Happens to Someone!
By Rajesh Singh.
Diamond Pocket Books.
Pages 240. Rs 100.

A rejoinder
Functioning of Panchayati Raj
HIS refers to M. Rajivlochan’s review of our book Functioning of Panchayati Raj Institutions: Status, Issues and Options (The Tribune, Spectrum, September 27, 2009). While the reviewer is entitled to his views, there are certain things we wish to point out.

Islam as template for diplomacy
Randeep Wadehra
Islamic fundamentalism, Pakistan and the Muslim World
By Surendra Chopra & Kusum Lata Chadda. Kanishka.
Pages vii+384. Rs 995.

By Kiran Chopra.
Hind Pocket Books.
Pages 240. Rs 195.

Dalai Lama: A Study
By Som Ranchan.
Indian Publishers’ Distributors.
Pages 108. Rs 395.