Reviews

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Journalist Rana Ayyub and the cover of her latest book “Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a cover up” India’s Twitter friendly Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who has embarrassed the government several times recently through his over enthusiastic slip of tongues, be it in the Pathankot or the JNU issue, recently made a very interesting statement. Asked by a journalist about the Narendra Modi government’s approach to Islamist terror, Singh said that this government departed from the previous government’s approach of indiscriminate arrests and persecution of Muslims. His government followed, what he called “a balanced and a nuanced approach”. The statement was

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Non-fiction/2016: The Ivory Throne: Chronicles of the House of Travancore by Manu S. Pillai, Harper Collins, 694pp; Rs 699 (Paperback) Manu S. Pillai is aged twenty-six, when he has produced this most remarkable work on the extraordinary life and deeds of Sethu Lakshmi Bayi, the last and popularly unknown queen of the House of Travancore – “The Ivory Throne: Chronicles of the House of Travancore”. Knowing it took him six years to conceptualize and complete this book in maiden attempt, one has to really applaud the resurgent Asian intellectualism, where the age for serious historiography is now touching the base

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No Regrets by D N Ghosh, Rupa Publications, 375pp, Rs 695 (Hardback, Non-fiction) For those who are not aware: D N Ghosh has been an extraordinaire bureaucrat, banker, professor and corporate leader. Moreover, he is a known authority in banking and financial history, and accordingly his autobiography offers to his readers, a vast array of literature on the said topic besides the narrator’s reminiscences. Not in usual stodgy bureaucratic fashion of writings, Ghosh presents interesting anecdotes from his time as Secretary to the Government of India (GoI) and Chairman, State Bank of India (SBI). A remarkable policy maker and an

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A still from the movie, Qissa. Qissa – Directed by Anup Singh. Cast: Irrfan Khan, Tilottoma Shome, Tisca Chopra, Rasika Duggal The air was thinner in the defeated ‘homeland’ and it was difficult to tell whether the village was waking up after a silence of centuries or snuggled into a slumber finally. Once which had dined together in nights of splendor, was now dressed uprooted and usurped at nightfall, as death was having the time of its life in the dying embers of the hearth that had known many a merry ‘once’. As the days departs, the patriarchs make haste

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  Vishal Bhardwaj’s obsession with the Bard is common knowledge. After the seamless adaptations of Macbeth to the Mumbai underworld and Othello to the crass Uttar Pradesh heartland, Bhardwaj’s muse this time around is Hamlet. Shakespeare continues to fascinate the literary intelligentsia and laymen alike, for his plays are timeless and transcend geographical boundaries. Perhaps there couldn’t have been a more potent backdrop to Hamlet than what we have here – the tumultuous Kashmir of the 1990s. The movie both fascinates and disappoints, though in its entirety it is sure to leave the audience with a lingering feeling of uneasiness

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Residue.  Author: Nitasha Kaul;  Rupa Publications.  Pages: 324.  Price: Rs 343 The world of exile has spawned literature of various hues. Residue, the debut novel of academic, poet and author Nitasha Kaul is an important contribution to the literary works on exile, providing a rare insight into the prejudices, inhibitions and the litany of woes associated with it. Like the author herself, the protagonists of the novel are Kashmiris who grow up outside of Kashmir. Leon Ali is born in Kashmir but grows up in Delhi. Named after the revolutionary Trotsky by a Communist father who vanishes just before his

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Book Review: Fiction/Maps for a Mortal World: Selected prose by Adil Jussawalla—Edited & introduced by Jerry Pinto, Aleph, 340pp; Rs495 (Paperback) The worst thing about being a human being is being a human being. ‘I wish I was bird’, as the railway clerk in Nissim Ezekiel’s poem says. But if I were, the worst thing about being a bird would be being a bird. Adil Jussawalla supremely talented literary world is uniquely diverse and unwaveringly at peace with others’ writing—so you read many such good pointers while turning the pages of this beautiful book. Jussawalla, a prolific poet, columnist, critic—and

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While surfing the net I stumbled upon the title of a book “The Great Weaver from Kashmir” by Halldor Laxness. A sheer curiosity, a result of sighting Kashmir in the title of a book that too by an author who was a Noble laureate induced me to place an on-line order for the book which was delivered in good time. Having completed the reading of the 436 pages of this immensely readable novel which is part biography and part  criticism of various thought systems studied by the author in the prime of his youth, an attempt shall be made to

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Aruni Kashyap   Aruni is among those few, who practically objected the stereotypical portrayal of Northeast India as a ‘subject matter.’ These seven states, otherwise, are far too diversified to be approached with narrowly preoccupied views. But from the ‘mainland,’ any attempt of correction remained elusive so far, alas! The House with a Thousand Stories is set in the backdrop of turbulent Assam, especially on the killing years in the late 1990s-early 2000s. Politically conscious albeit modestly judgmental, Aruni weaves many stories into a complex fold that intricately separates the soft notions from real tragedies in action. The novel is

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India Since 1947 : Looking Back at a Modern Nation by Atul Kumar Thakur (ed.) Niyogi Books 2013 English Non-Fiction   A young and inexperienced India that began its tryst with destiny as a sovereign, socialist, secular democratic republic has come a long way in the last sixty six years. The blue-eyed optimism of the early fifties gave way to pragmatic realism as the country coped with a population explosion, spiraling inflation, lukewarm growth and widening gap between the haves and have-nots. Indeed the events of the last few decades have shaped India into where it stands now– the high

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