For better and for verse
A woman of verse and verve. Not only did poetess and writer Kamala Das’ works articulate unconventional views and beliefs, but as a woman, too, she shattered stereotypes, writes Humra Quraishi
AMLA Das was one of those poets whose verse and words spread out. Maybe, it’s because of the image she’d built or the unconventional views she aired, not to forget the personal upheaval she’d been through – falling in love with a Muslim doctor and converting to Islam. 

Inside story
ocumentary filmmaker, publisher and poet, Suresh Kohli, had known Kamala Das and her family from way back in the 1960s. He had also co-authored with Kamala Das the volume Closure (HarperCollins), which dwells on her verse.

Suave sarpanch
Chhavi Rajawat, sarpanch of Soda village, near Jaipur, is an educated young woman, who wears jeans, drives an SUV and rides horses. She is honest in her work and transparent in her dealings, writes Renu Rakesh
T is the first gram sabha (village council) meeting. The sarpanch baisa (village council headwoman), dressed in handprinted kurta and jeans, drives to the panchayat bhawan building, which is only half a kilometre from her home.

Burqa and history
During the Mughal rule, women did not wear the burqa. Yet, today, in most Islamic countries, they are required to wear the garment, says Vimla Patil
LL across the westernised countries in the world, there is a huge debate on whether their Muslim women citizens or residents/visitors should be allowed to wear the burqa in public spaces.

The pull of Magnetic Island
D. B. N. Murthy visits this tropical paradise in Queensland, which has a huge variety of native wildlife and is home to northern Australia’s largest colony of koalas
HEN I booked my accommodation at Townsville, I was told the Youth Hostel Australia (YHA) was situated at the nearby Magnetic Island off the east coast of Queensland or the "Sunshine State" as it is known as.

Old-age home for horses
Sugandha Pathak & Shweta Srinivasan
Beautiful stallions and sturdy mares that once worked for the Delhi Police but are now injured or too old have found a perfect retirement home at a sprawling sanctuary on the outskirts of the national Capital.

Politics of trafficking
Ananya Chatterjee’s award-winning documentary is a long journey of shocking discoveries about the tragic reality, which is often brushed under the carpet, writes Shoma A. Chatterji
nanya Chatterjee’s documentary Understanding Trafficking, which recently won the Best Documentary on a Topical Issue issued by UNFPA-Laadli Media Award for Gender Sensitivity 2009-2010, uses the legend of Sita and the Lakshman Rekha that defined the limits of her mobility as an analogy to encourage women to cross this line that separates them from their legitimate desires, aspirations and freedoms.

Randhir Kapoor is back
Ranjan Das Gupta

Randhir Kapoor, who remains the most under-rated actor of the Kapoor clan, is all set to return to the big screen after a gap of about two decades in Rahul Dholakia’s Society, which also stars his cousin Aditya Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia.

The new action heroine
Andrew Johnson
ollywood may be a man’s world but there are some films that would be nothing — or at least a lot less — without a woman in the lead role. Producers of a spate of new films and television series are ditching male actors and casting women for roles originally written for men.


’ART & SOUL: Vatavriksha: Tree with aerial roots
by B. N. Goswamy

NATURE: Vulture restaurants

TELEVISION: Extreme adventure

Globoscope: Dull show
by Ervell E. Menezes

Food talk: Kofta on course
by Pushpesh Pant

Read carefully your policy on insured goods
by Pushpa Girimaji

by David Bird

ULTA PULTA: Paper waste
by Jaspal Bhatti


OFf the shelf
An ill-starred Maharaja
Reviewed by V. N. Datta
Sovereign, Squire and Rebel: Maharajah Duleep Singh
By Peter Bance.
Cornet House, London.
Pages 200. $49.

Of roots and wings
Reviewed by Shalini Rawat
Becoming Indian: The Unfinished Revolution of Culture and Identity
By Pavan K. Varma.
Penguin Books.
Pages 275. Rs 499.

Blood against blood
Reviewed by Kuldip Dhiman
Empire of the Moghul: Brothers at War
By Alex Rutherford
Hachette India.
Pages 436. Rs 495.

On a holy trail
Reviewed by Harbans Singh
Reforming Vaishno Devi and a Case for Reformed, Reawakened and Enlightened Hinduism
By Jagmohan.
Pages 305. Rs 395.

Defying physical mortality
Reviewed by Kavita Chauhan
Royal Tombs of India: 13th to 18th Century
By A. S. Bhalla
Mapin Publishing.
Pages 152. Price not mentioned.

Speaking of Sonia
The process of making Sonia Gandhi learn Hindi and turn her into a public speaker entailed a lot of team effort, says Rasheed Kidwai’s book, Sonia: A Biography. an excerpt…
ONIA tried to master Hindi from various sources before taking the plunge into politics. She had begun learning Hindi at home soon after her marriage. Indira had arranged for a tutor from the Hindi Institute at Green Park to teach her to read and write in the Devanagri script, and slowly, she developed a liking for the language. Her teacher found her a good learner, who seldom missed her homework.

Out of Africa
Madhusree Chatterjee
Few humorous books come out of Africa, says Nigerian Commonwealth Writers Prize-winner

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize 2010 for the best first book in the Africa region, says she has fulfilled her dream of "writing the kind of humorous book that I have always wanted to as a child".

Back of the book
Soaps, seasons and sprints
Sinking, Not Swimming
By Nalini Rajan.
Penguin-India. Rs 299

Seasons of Flight
By Manjushree Thapa.
Penguin-India Books. Rs 299.

Johnny Gone Down
By Karan Bajaj.
HarperCollins-India. Rs 99.

Sprint of the Blackbuck: Writings of Wildlife and Conservation in South India
edited by S. Theodore Baskaran.
Penguin-Books India. Rs 299.

Dance O' Peacock
By Aruna Jethwani.
Cedar Books. Rs 175.