Ghalib, it has been said, was not merely a poet, but a marker of an era. He has also been vested with the responsibility of being one of the first modern Indian poets. While he is the representative of a culture and a tradition, he is also a poet conscious of change, and the arrival of a new order of existence.
Perumal Murugan, the Tamil writer who famously declared himself dead in 2014, came back to life a couple of years ago with a poignant fable for adults called Poonachi: The Story of a Black Goat. In using this two-part title, Murugan harks back to Tamil novels of the late 19th century, as he explains in his introduction.
After her translation of the seventh century Sanskrit classic Kadambari by Banabhatta, which also won a Sahitya Akademi award, this is a fresh venture in the same field by Padmini Rajappa. It is of a no less famous but much older Sanskrit play. Hopefully other works will follow from her, as the field for such translations still remains vast.
Chakravorty’s work is an interesting romp through decades of Bollywood and reality show dance styles. Occasionally, she takes time out to link her observations to traditional Indian aesthetic theories such as those put forward by Abhinavagupta.
In traditional Indian dance, the emphasis is on bhava (feeling), rasa (taste), bhakti (devotion) and shringara (erotic expression).
In the preface to his classic book on cricket Beyond A Boundary (1963) CLR James wrote: ‘What do they know of cricket who only cricket know.’ Living up to this challenge James wrote a book on West Indian cricket which explored cricket’s association with race, class and politics, briefly sketched the careers of canonic cricketers like W G Grace, Learie Constantine and George Hadley apart from some lesser known greats, and treated cricket as an art form, establishing its relationship with the theatre, ballet, opera and dance.
Maps of Delhi by Pilar Maria Guerrieri is a handsome publication collecting predominantly handmade maps of the city from 1803 to present day. A brilliant testimony to our erstwhile technical skills in cartography, the book is far more than just a souvenir of beautiful drawings. Instead, it is a visual history of one of the world’s largest cities in 44 maps told over two centuries.
This autobiography, resurrected by Ruchi Ram Sahni’s great-grand daughter, makes for fascinating reading. Ruchi Ram Sahni is well known at the Panjab University in Chandigarh as one of the revered academics. In addition to his contribution to the subject of Chemistry and to the well-being of Panjab University, are remembered the contributions of his sons Birbal and Mulk Raj and more so his grandson, Ashok.