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The Peacemakers

The Peacemakers

The Peacemakers Edited by Ghazala Wahab. Aleph. Pages 250. Rs 799

Book Title: The Peacemakers

Author: Ghazala Wahab

WHENEVER violence rears its head, there are always individuals who stand up against the powerful and protect those under attack. ‘The Peacemakers’ profiles some of these extraordinary individuals who acted when it counted. Rajmohan Gandhi chronicles the closing years of Gandhiji’s life as he worked to stop violence in Bihar and Bengal soon after Independence. Nandita Haksar writes about the challenges in fostering peace in conflict zone Nagaland. Rahul Bedi recalls the killers and saviours as witnessed by him during the 1984 Sikh massacre. Chronicling the peacemakers from Kashmir to Chhattisgarh and Delhi to Assam are writers such as Sunil Kumar, Uttam Sengupta, Ramani Atkuri, Natasha Badhwar and Oishika Neogi, Teresa Rehman and Shivam Mogha. These stories offer us hope that it is possible to rise above the hatred and violence.

Sido Kanhu: The Santhal Hul, Bharat’s First War of Independence by Tuhin A Sinha and Clark Prasad. Rupa. Pages 201. Rs 595

NEARLY 50,000 Santhals participated — of whom 10,000 died — in the Santhal rebellion, which has long been vying to be recognised as the first war against the imperialist rule in India. Tuhin A Sinha and Clark Prasad’s ‘Sido Kanhu’ is a celebration of the bravery of four brothers — Sido, Kanhu, Chand and Bhairab — from a Santhal Murmu family. They were the architects of one of India’s biggest subaltern uprising against the British, both in terms of geography and impact, which played out in present-day Jharkhand. A dramatised recreation based on historical facts, the book is a testament to the complexities and nuances of India’s struggle for Independence and a beacon of hope for all those who seek to break free from oppression. The Santhals’ story is a reminder that even the smallest group of people can stand up to the mightiest of empires.

Everything changes: A Memoir by Sreemoyee Piu Kundu. Bloomsbury. Pages 252. Rs 499

GROWING up, Sreemoyee Piu Kundu had no tangible memory of her biological father. She was four when he died by suicide. In her memoir, ‘Everything Changes’, she embarks on a path of self-discovery by recognising the scars of her childhood lived under the shadow of his death. Her gnawing abandonment trauma, which most survivors of suicide grapple with, and an abusive first love see her leave Kolkata and land in Delhi, finding her feet as a journalist. After decades of inner conflict, as she turns 40, she performs the last rites of her biological father, finally acknowledging his simultaneous presence and absence in her life. Will it help her relinquish her sense of betrayal and grief over a man she never truly knew, but whose death haunted her? The memoir tells the arduous story of rebuilding one’s life over and over again.

Hidden Links: How Random Historical Events Shaped Our World by Sangeeth Varghese and Zac Sangeeth. Penguin Random House. Pages 270. Rs 399

RANDOM discussions between authors Sangeeth Varghese and his 12-year-old son Zac Sangeeth gave birth to this book, which traces the historical connections that built our world. Will climate change wipe out and reset our world, as it did in 1700 BCE? How are the Rajputs of India related to the Kims of Korea? How was misogyny injected into our DNAs by a band of nomads? Unravelling thread by thread, this book investigates the disproportional effect of historically unconnected and random events like climate change, imperial pursuits, pandemics, and nomadic migrations on our modern lives in the most unbelievable ways. Insisting that the appeal of the book lies in the investigative thread that runs through it, the authors invite readers to uncover shocking secrets that could make them doubt everything from the past they thought they knew.