Reinventing right-wing politics
Reviewed by Rumina Sethi
Margaret Thatcher: The Authorised Biography. Vol. I: Not for Turning
by Charles Moore
Allen Lane. Pages 859. £ 30
I WAS studying in England when the infamous Poll Tax was enacted and we students began to receive intimidating notices from the Home Office asking us to pay the required tax. Many of us ignored these notes till one day I received a hostile letter saying if I did not pay £480, a bailiff would shortly visit my residence. That worried me, but I still ignored it. However, nothing happened. The student demonstrations all over the country had sent out the message that such a tax was too feudal and autocratic and must be stopped.

Travel & Adventure

Trailblazers who stood the course
Reviewed by Priyanka Singh
Women of Vision
by Alam Srinivas.
Roli Books. Pg 110. Rs 140
In a country where women empowerment is still a notion, there are women who have been trailblazers in men-dominated fields, busting stereotypes and steering their organisations through challenging times to new growth. The common thread running through all these stories is one of endless struggle; and that nothing comes from nothing.

Itís worth the weight & watch
Reviewed by Renu Manish Sinha
The Diet Doctor ó The Scientifically Proven Way To Lose Weight
by Ishi Khosla
Penguin Books. Pages 215. Rs 250
The past quarter of the century has seen advancements in all fields ó technology, communication, medicine, even nutrition. Liberalisation (in the 1990s) and the opening up of the Indian economy brought many foreign goods to our shores. If machines from abroad made our work easy, then imported ready-to-eat variety of food, made life easy. For the rising number of women in the nationís work force, it seemed a godsend. Easy availability of such goodies blinded us to the extent that we forgot our eating habits and home-cooked food culture. Thus, progress was more of a curse.

A unique Indian legislative privilege
Reviewed by Khushwant S. Gill
Public Money, Private Agenda
The Use and Abuse of MPLADS
by A. Surya Prakash
Rupa. Pages 287. Rs 395
To the uninitiated, the acronym MPLADS stands for Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme. Started in 1993, this scheme is unique among parliamentary democracies of the world as it provides each MP with a sum of Rs 5 crore each year to be used to develop the infrastructure of her or his particular constituency. At face value this seems a perfectly sound method to ensure development at a local level, but as A. Surya Prakash elaborates, things are not so simple. For students of Indian polity, this controversy makes for informative reading.