In pursuit of excellence
Reviewed by Shelley Walia
Reflections on Cambridge
By Alan MacFarlane.
Social Science Press.
Pages 223. Rs 450.
AS one approaches Cambridge, one begins to breath an air that is infused with the wonders of knowledge and learning, with the romance of history and culture, with curiosity, openness, awe, humour and tolerance, and an insatiable desire for the world of progress through freedom.


Continental drift
Reviewed by Roopinder Singh
Adrift: A Junket Junkie in Europe
By Puneetinder Kaur Sidhu.
Pages 106. Rs 150.

SOMETIMES you can judge a book by its cover. The light-hearted graphic impressions of various important European landmarks, including items of food and drinks, standing out against a dark background—well, the story is like that only. ‘Life gone temporarily wrong’ becomes a backdrop. To escape it, the author wings her way to the Continent, making sure that the capital of romance, that certain Paris, is last on her itinerary.

Sufism and politics
Reviewed by Pran Nevile
The War that Wasn’t: The Sufi and the Sultan
By Fatima Hussain.
Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers.
Rs 695. Pages 257.
SUFISM through the ages has emerged not only as a moral but also a vibrant socio-religious force. We cannot define Sufism or explain it theoretically, since it can be understood only through participation and practise. A Sufi abstains from worldly desires and material possessions and surrenders his ‘Self’ to the Almighty so as to be one with Him.

Evocative tales
Reviewed by Kamaldeep Kaur
Laburnum for my Head: Stories
By Temsula Ao.
Pages 107. Rs 150.

HE Naxalite movement has occupied a lot of mind space and news space in recent times. More often than not the Naxals are hordes of faceless, nameless, ghostly figures that ‘infest’ (sic) an area and have the power to unleash unimaginable terror with their intelligent strategy and meticulous planning.

Mystic’s mystique
Humra Quraishi
As his 150th birth anniversary celebrations get going, a look at the impressions Rabindranath Tagore left on some writers and translators
FOR this present generation, Rabindranath Tagore holds out through his writings and verse and, of course, through those images. In fact, today there are only a few around who’d met him, interacted with him and can narrate tales of his charisma.

Inner radiance
In his book Reforming Vaishno Devi …, former J & K Governor Jagmohan recaptures his first visit to this cave shrine. Excerpts…
Infinity extends inward as well as
Outward – the world within is as vast
As world without.
— Oppenheimer

THE entry into the Vaishno Devi cave was an emotional and spiritual experience of its own kind — unforgettable, unique. The tiny, narrow, curving and dimly lit tunnelled path, with ice-cooled water hissing my feet, created a gripping atmosphere — mysterious, awesome, and elevating.

Manuscript to script
Madhusree Chatterjee
Writer Advaita Kala's novel to be an offbeat film soon
HICK-LIT writer Advaita Kala is a having a golden run with two of her "creative projects" — a standalone script and a book — set to appear in their cinematic avatars in Bollywood.

Dark side of literary criticism
John Walsh
HE use of libel law by academics to threaten the press has been condemned by a leading literary figure. Sir Peter Stothard, editor of the Times Literary Supplement, spoke out against Orlando Figes, the historian and author, after Figes’s wife confessed to writing several reviews for, praising her husband’s work and trashing that of his rivals.