Maximum love for Maximum City
Michael Edison Hayden
’ve often wondered. Why must a story begin at the beginning?" starts Sharada Dwivedi’s novella The Broken Flute. "Why can it not start from the end?" But despite her untimely death early last month, the end of Dwivedi’s own story has still not yet fully been written. Such is the case with any author who leaves behind a collection of work that will long outlast her own life. Writing must be pored over. It must be discussed. Therefore, in approaching the still-unfinished legacy of one of India’s most accomplished historians, it might be better to start not at a beginning or end, but a symbolic aside, a point that describes not the work she did, but what it represented.

The other side of

Reviewed by Aruti Nayar
Agnostic Khushwant There is no God!
by Khushwant Singh with Ashok Chopra. Hay House. Pages 245. Rs 299
This is not vintage Khushwant Singh of wine, women and risqué humour. Neither are there any digs and asides that leave a lot to imagination. There is no double entendre and stress on sex and sexuality, another Khushwant-defining feature. On offer is a well-written book that is immensely informative. Agnostic Khushwant. There is no God! is an easy read about the different religions—-Sikhism, Islam and Buddhism. With great skill and dexterity, he unravels the complex philosophy underlying religions in a lucid style which is readable. The book has been divided into 14 chapters for a macroscopic view on various aspects of different religions, their scriptures and even internecine problems that beset religions and their practitioners.

Music is food for their soul
SD Sharma
s a part of the ongoing commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, the Sangeet Natak Akademi, the apex body of performing arts in India, has conferred the one-time honour of Akademi Rattan and Akademi Puruskar awards to maestros in the realms of art. The honour, to be  presented by the President of India shortly, carries a purse of Rs 3 lakh and Rs 1 lakh, respectively, besides a citation, shawl and memento. The following awardees have got Akademi Rattan awards.

Hard-hitting book on North-East
Reviewed by Parbina Rashid
The Judgement That Never Came: Army Rule in North-East India
by Nandita Haksar and Sebastian M Hongray. Chicken Neck. Pages 380. Rs 495
July 14, 2004—In a most unusual protest, some 40 women stripped naked and staged an angry demonstration in front of the Assam Rifles base at Imphal, Manipur, shouting slogans, "Indian Army rape us", "Indian Army take our flesh." They were protesting against the alleged rape, torture and custodial death of Thangjam Manorama by the Indian Army.

Batting for gendered progress
Reviewed by Rajesh Kumar Aggarwal
Harvesting Feminist Knowledge for Public Policy: Rebuilding Progress
by Devaki Jain and Diane Elson, jointly published by International Development Research Centre and Sage, New Delhi. Pages 347. Rs 795
The book corroborates historically and empirically, the fact that , it is often women who bear the bruntwhen an economic crisis hits. The 14 essays in the book draw attention towards growing gender inequalities under the ‘triple crises’ of food, fuel and finance, besides pointing out the crises of water, energy, climate change and women’s unpaid care work.

Of curses and elixirs
Reviewed by Balwinder Kaur
Bali and the Ocean of Milk
by Nilanjan P. Chowdhury. Harper Collins. Pages 306. Rs 199.
The epics Mahabharata and Ramayana have captured the hearts and minds of generations. They have inspired numerous reimagining’s and retellings. Bali and the Ocean of Milk by Nilanjan P. Chowdhury is the latest in a long line of such works.

Book excerpts
More lives than one
Reviewed by Ruth Vanita
The Women’s Movement In India: Making A Difference
Edited by Ritu Menon. Women Unlimited. Pages 386 . Rs 350
For a decade, I unwittingly followed Virginia Woolf’s advice to women writers, by leading the life of a secular nun, celibate, putting most of my earnings into Manushi, with virtually no personal or social life, working for a cause not related in any immediate way to my own being. I did a lot of writing in Manushi anonymously or using pseudonyms. My main pleasures were writing verse, reading and conversing with friends, who were colleagues either at college or at Manushi.