Vintage vignettes
Pran Nevile presents some rare snapshots of India from the US Library of 
Congress collection
THE invention of the camera in 1839 was hailed for its ‘exact’ reporting of reality. The invention caught on like wildfire and within a year, it surfaced in Calcutta. Photography also received support from the government.

Simply stereographs
HE most rewarding outcome of my wanderings in the Prints and Photographs Division was the discovery of a remarkable collection of stereographs of the Indian panorama, dating from the 1870s to the 1920s.

Mystique of Cleopatra
This queen of Egypt continues to inspire, confound and intrigue even after centuries, says Kanwarjit Singh Kang
LEOPATRA, the queen of Egypt, has drawn the attention of artists of almost every genre. She is portrayed in paintings, in stone, metal, caricature, songs, on the screen. So much so that some companies use her name to sell their cosmetic products.

The Guru’s brave Banda
The battle of Chapper Chiri is a daring saga of Sikh valour, which broke the myth of invincibility of the Mughal army. Banda Singh Bahadur’s triumph was the victory of the good over the evil, writes Maj-Gen (retd) Kulwant Singh
URING the very first meeting with Guru Gobind Singh at Nanded in 1708, Madho Dass, then 38, declared: "O Master, I am thy slave (banda)." The Guru soon saw the immense loyalty and potential in him, and baptised him into Sikhism, renaming him Banda Singh Bahadur.

Balm for men
Several laws have been passed in the name of women's empowerment. The All India Men's Welfare Association aims to protect men from domestic violence and other forms of abuse, reports Nivedita Choudhuri
SK someone about the problems of women, and a list would emerge that would never seem to end. Ask about men's problems, and you see only blank faces. Does that mean that men do not have any problem?

Keep it simple
Simple clothes with contemporary patterns are in vogue today, writes Ritusmita Biswas
NDIAN fashion does not need to mean exotic with a capital E any more. Fashion trendsetters seem to have taken a respite from the usual fare of jewel-studded lehengas and halter tops.

Land of red river and blue hills
With its emerald-green tea gardens, sanctuaries and carpets of green paddy fields stretching to the horizon, Ranjita Biswas finds Assam’s natural beauty quite exquisite
SSAM, stretching across the Brahmaputra valley and surrounded by garlands of hills is the land of the ‘Red river and blue hills’. The red refers to another name of the mighty Brahmaputra — Lauhitya (Luit as the Assamese fondly call it) and the blue from the hills simmering in the distance creating a blue haze.

Kashmiri students’ window to art
Aamir Nowshahri

THEIR art thrived in the shadow of militancy but was never visible to the world. Now, at last, nearly 70 young artists from the Kashmir Valley will get to display their works thanks to a clutch of students based outside the troubled state.

Dare to be different
Filmmakers like Rajkumar Hirani, Vishal Bhardwaj and Dibakar Banerjee have debunked the bogey of Bollywood facing a bankruptcy of ideas and have come to represent the brave new face of Indian cinema, writes Derek Bose
Conventional Bollywood wisdom holds that commercial success and critical acclaim cannot go hand in hand. Barring a few notable exceptions like V. Shantaram, Guru Dutt and Bimal Roy in the past, by and large, this has held true.

Sci-fi duds
Abhishek Kaul checks out why Bollywood movies based on the science fiction genre fail to work at the boxoffice
udraksh, Alag, Love Story 2050 and Prince — all belong to the sci-fi genre, but the other common factor linking these movies is they were duds at the box office. The sci-fi genre suffers due to lack of good storyline and technology, say experts.


NATURE: Camera, collars, marks
by Biswajit Choudhury

TELEVISION: Re-visiting King Tut

Globoscope: Not so funny
by Ervell E. Menezes

Food talk: Quick-fix lunch
by Pushpesh Pant

by Pushpa Girimaji

by David Bird

ULTA PULTA: Techno troubles
by Jaspal Bhatti


Enchanting tales
Reviewed by Aradhika Sharma
One Amazing Thing
By Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Hamish Hamilton, an imprint of Penguin Books.
Pages 224. Rs 450.

From Kohlapuris to ear piercing
Reviewed by Rajbir Deswal
Right Fit Wrong Shoe
By Varsha Dixit.
Pages 234. Rs 95.

Indian reality
Reviewed by Charu Soni
Lanterns on their Horns
By Radhika Jha.
Pages 471. Rs 399.

The lost cause of Eelam
Reviewed by D. S. Cheema
Lost Victory: The Rise and Fall of LTTE Supremo V. Prabhakaran
By Maj Gen (retd) Raj Mehta.
Pentagon Security International, New Delhi.
Pages 431. Rs 995.

Searching for the essence
Reviewed by Randeep Wadehra
The Missing Rose 
by Serdar Ozkan
Wisdom Tree.
Pages 192. Rs 245.

The Mahabharata
(Vol. 1) translated by Bibek Debroy.
Pages xxxviii+495. Rs 550.

Social Transformation of an Island Nation
By Rani Mehta & S. R. Mehta.
Pages 256. Rs 690.

Rising above rivalry
Lalit Mohan
Our founding fathers were men of uncommon decency, as revealed in a collection of old letters published by Nehru
HERE is something about a struggle for freedom that brings out the best in men and produces some of the titans of history. But it is also a fact that these men are, after all, human and the clouds of euphoria that surround such strivings often hide some of their baser and meaner qualities that are common knowledge to their close contemporaries.

Art through the lens
Nonika Singh
IS presence as the chairperson of the Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi might make one forget who Diwan Manna really is. As he goes about extolling the qualities of invited artists at the akademi’s hugely successful and exceptionally well-organised functions, only too happy to let others bask in the limelight, one is likely to overlook the eminence of Chandigarh’s very own artist.

Pearson plans social network
Nick Clark

THe publisher Pearson is preparing to launch its own social network to capitalise on the success of a website designed to encourage reading among teenagers.