One of the few authentic terrors of walking unguardedly into a bookshop in these dark times is that one is almost immediately trapped by an enormous phalanx of thoroughly amiable Spiritual Books on the Inner Self which profess to alleviate all one’s worldly ills, in twelve steps or less, through a sort of spiritual enema:
‘Sir, sir,’ said an excited M. Phil student to me recently, ‘did you see that Naipaul has said he killed his first wife?!’ That was, of course, how the newspapers had headlined the report that an authorized biography of Naipaul had come out, while omitting to say, naturally,
This book has caused much controversy in the US because it deals with a theme that is sensitive. It is considered ‘politically incorrect’ to talk about the Israel Lobby and its influence on US foreign policy. But in a living democracy it should be possible, and often, it is unavoidable, to talk about what is considered ‘politically incorrect’.
This book assesses the condition of inter- and intra-state affairs of India and its neighbours in the post-Cold War period. This analysis is vested in the post- 1990s period because during that decade South Asia was overcome by ‘liberal internationalism’ that left the region largely peaceful.
Rajat Sen, a bright, idealistic student, the only son of a well to do family, believes in an egalitarian society rather than an elitist one. This belief in the young engineering student drags him to become a part of the Naxalite movement in Bengal in the early seventies, which was a violent movement for creating an egalitarian society.
Jhalkaribai, in Brindavanlal Varma’s novel and dalit historiographical discourse, is Laxmibai’s maid-servant, the woman responsible for the Rani of Jhansi’s halo in history. Jaishree Misra’s novel, Rani, is another such metaphorical interpretation of the Mutiny, not ‘description’, as the philosopher-historian Frank Ankersmit would emphasize, but ‘proposal’, what Misra calls ‘mere interpretation’.