enduring pain
Inspiring tale of a family that sticks together through thick and thin
Balwinder Kaur
Does He know a Mother’s Heart?
How Suffering refutes Religions
By Arun Shourie
HarperCollins. Pages 435. Rs 599.
PAIN is the universal equaliser. Who among us hasn’t suffered pain and loss that has left us feeling helpless? Most look heavenward for help and hope in dire times. Scholar, author, ex-editor and minister Arun Shourie goes beyond the "Why me?" to "Why?" and looks for the explanation for human suffering in numerous religious texts and discourses of revered sages. In his book, he investigates how a kind, benevolent and all-knowing God can allow innocents to be in agony.


Hard-hitting satire
Uma Vasudeva
The Book of Answers: A Novel
By C. Y. Gopinath.
HarperCollins. Rs 499. Pages 337.
PATROS Patronobis, the hero of the novel, has a bland and boring life, which is further shattered when he inherits a book with answers to the problems of the world. All that Patros wants is to be left alone—to live his ordinary, simple, lacklustre and unremarkable life with Rose, the woman he has not married, and Tippy, the son he has not fathered. Tippy, a 17 years young lad, has been shown as a casual brat "wearing insufferable, sack-like trousers and pierced navel" not interested in education.

The sacred feminine
Harbir K. Singh
Women Awakened: Stories of Contemporary Spiritually in India
By Swati Chopra.
HarperCollins. Pages 328. Rs 399.
THIS book explores the idea of feminine spirituality through the lives of women gurus who were able to renunciate and break the social bonds such as matrimony, children, families and extended families to move further in their chosen field with courage and determination. Divided into three parts, the book unfolds the lives of eight awakened women—Sri Anandamayi Ma, Sri Sarda Devi, Mata Nirmala Devi, Nani Ma, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, Mata Amritanadamayi, Ven. Khandro Rinpoche and Sadhvi Bhagwati.

Leaf from history
Shalini Rawat
The Prince and the Sannyasi
By Partha Chatterjee.
Hachette India. Pages 650. Rs 395.
JAIDEBPUR, a mofussil town in Dhaka in Bangladesh, was once home to the zamindars of the prestigious estate of Bhawal in British India. It was also a backdrop for a complex legal battle which captured the popular imagination at that time and was later brought alive in gossip, songs, plays, ballads, "jatras" and even a film starring Uttam Kumar.

Driving force of dhrupad
Leading artistes and scholars recapture the legacy of dhrupad exponent Ustad Rahim Fahimuddin Dagar
S. D. Sharma
HE Indian classical music heritage has been constantly enriched with the contribution of ancient masters, among whom was dhrupad exponent Padmabhushan Ustad Rahim Fahimuddin Dagar (84), who passed away recently. Born in 1927 in Alwar, Rajasthan, Rahim Fahimuddin Dagar hailed from an eminent family of dhrupad musicians.

Diva of classical music
Nonika Singh
O one word can describe young classical vocalist Meeta Pandit. Lovely, vivacious, spirited, articulate, gifted and, of course, hugely talented and a mellifluous singer, the qualities of this daughter of Gwalior Gharana scion Pandit L. K. Pandit and granddaughter of Pt Krishna Rao Shankar Pandit are very many.

Short Takes
Sexploitation, cops and verse
Randeep Wadehra

  • Masooma
    by Ismat Chughtai (Translator: Tahira Naqvi)
    Women Unlimited. Pages: 143. Rs. 250

  • Human in Khaki
    by Ashok Kumar with Lokesh Ohri
    Diamond Books. Pages: 198. Rs. 140

  • Pearls and Pebbles
    by Lalit Mohan Sharma
    Books Plus. Pages: 78. Rs. 200