Pakistan’s Tortuous Political History

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.

Impact Of Communal Mobilization

This book is about three riots—two in eastern UP, one each in Mau (2005) and Gorakhpur (2007) districts, and the third one in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli (2013) districts in western UP. It largely draws upon secondary sources, interviews, discussions and field work, and attempts to address changes in political economy and communal mobilization in eastern and western UP, the former in the urban and the latter in rural settings.

Contingent And Contestable

Matthew Mutter’s book examines four literary writers—Wallace Stevens, Virginia Woolf, WB Yeats and WH Auden—for the intricacies of modernist relations to secularism in this erudite and well-researched work. He argues, following Charles Taylor’s ‘subtraction theory’, that these writers constructed ‘new imaginaries’ to modify, redistribute, and privatize religious ideas in a ‘new, secular cosmology’
(p. 8).

Polyvalent Art Forms

Thumri’s relationship with dance is evi¬dent even in its name which many musicians consider to derive from the word ‘thumak’—roughly translatable as the gait of the dancer, at once graceful, coquettish, sensuous. And almost all thumri singers will also say that thumri is (gale se bhav batana, gale se nirat karnd), showing bhav, dancing with the voice. So at the very deepest, inmost level, in its essence, thumri is dance.

Sci-fi With A Difference

An enormous metallic container of an unknown alloy, and a perfect cube at that, is uncovered during excavations for a deep underground gravity experiment. A scientific curio to be left to scientists to examine? But the container has strange carvings and symbols on its surface and is self evidently a relic of the past which only the archeologists should be able to decipher. Given this start a straightfor¬ward sci-fi tale would have a joint task force start work without much ado.

The Way They Were

There is something strangely appropriate about Anjolie Ela Menon’s painting which is featured on the cover of Mrs. Baig’s book. A female, oddly nun-like, with a portrait on her lap, and another on a locket, stands framed in a window, seeing through shut eyes. Mrs. Baig is, of course, far less detached in her observa¬tions on the people she has known but she is at a secluded distance when she writes.