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.
Asfar Moin’s work, The Millennial Sovereign: Sacred Kingship and Sainthood in Islam is a study of the articulation of sovereignty in Mughal India. But in looking at sovereignty, he eschews textual narratives and focusses on the practices of sovereignty. So one of the departures this book makes is to move away from the theories to the practices of sovereign power. In looking at the practices of sovereignty, Moin develops the notion of sacred kingship arguing that the Mughal kingship was invested with sacrality.
This is a work based on the PhD the sis of the author submitted to a university of Pakistan. It studies the challenges faced by the All India Muslim League (AIML) during the period which is generally not considered to be of bigger significance for the growth and development of the Muslim League.
The word ‘evil’ is generally avoided by contemporary writers. Or it is reserved for deeds that almost everyone can unhesitatingly condemn. Nonetheless it is an accepted synonym for ‘wrongs’ or ‘wrong’ and an antonym for ‘good’ or ‘right’, even if others would rather use ‘wrong’, ‘iniquity’ or ‘injustice’. Along with two other significant words, Vinit Haksar employs ‘evil’ in the title of this important book on Gandhi’s thought.
The widespread contemporary availability of research studies is unprecedented. Researchers have taken their work into ever more detailed aspects of their subjects; extended this across the ages, from prehistoric times all the way into the future; as also spanning continents and civilizations, in the search for the hidden nooks and crannies, as it were, all the possible areas as yet unexplored.
The book under review investigates the ideology of the ISIS and its worldview, its recruitment strategy, its financial system and its appeal. It also studies the war against ISIS and its challenges. Edna Fernandez argues that the ISIS aims to destroy the ‘greyzone’ (a place where the Muslim and non-Muslims live together).
The blood-strewn saga of the Bhutto clan exemplifies the tortuous political history of Pakistan. The books under review are political biographies of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his equally illustrious daughter, Benazir Bhutto, by an Indian and a Pakistani author respectively. Benazir became Pakistan’s as well as the Muslim world’s first female Prime Minister at the dramatically young age of 35 in 1988, within a decade after the brutal hanging of her father in 1979.