Janet and Sayeed Rizvi

Sayeed and Janet seem to be an unlikely couple to write a cook book. Sayeed is a thinking administrator and Janet is a genuine intellectual who has written seminal books on Ladakh. At the same time Sayeed is a gourmet and Janet is the type of cook whom gourmets dream of and the lucky ones marry. On second thought, therefore, this book is no surprise.

Reviewed by: M.N. Buch
Major General D.K. Palit

Old soldiers like Monty Palit do not fade away. They become prolific writers and lead active lives, both physically and mentally, after retirement. Several of Palit’s books like Essentials of Military Knowledge have sold well, and I believe that his War in High Himalaya: The Indian Army in Crisis, 1962 is probably the best book written about the Sino-Indian border conflict.

Reviewed by: P.R. Chari
Leila Seth

Autobiography and memoir—are they the same? In the subtitle the book is an autobiography, in the author’s preface it is “a memoir”. If you go by the COD, an autobiography is the story writing of one’s own life. But a memoir is just a record of events or history written from personal knowledge or special sources of information. It is only memoirs that become synonymous with (auto) biography.

Reviewed by: M.S. Ganesh
Heta Pandit

Goa is a seductive place—it offers each what they are looking for. The young come for sun, fun and the sea while others enjoy the idle amongst the lush green and magnificent buildings. This little conclave was ruled by the Portuguese from the 16th century until it was occupied by Indian forces in 1961.

Reviewed by: Ramu Katakam
Nilima Chitgopekar

This set of three volumes aims to cover the salient features of God and God-alike appearing in different religions, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh. The contributors have given a comprehensive bird’s eyeview of their origins along with anecdotes that manifest their awesome personality. The cultural settings of the three religious heads vary considerably.

Reviewed by: Malabika Majumdar
Johanan Grinshpon

This scholarly and imaginative study of the Upanishads makes a significant point: It argues that the Upanishadic texts have been traditionally viewed as consisting of two distinct and separable parts—“metaphysics” and “story”.

Reviewed by: Kunal Chakrabarti
Rana Nayar

It’s one of those unsettling questions endlessly asked: what makes immigrants stay on in their land of adoption (generally western) if they end up unhappy, can’t strike roots, feel alien, homesick or abused; if the culture shock is hard, if memories of the motherland wring the soul…

Reviewed by: Latika Padgaonkar
Tapan Basu

Translating Caste is a significant addition to the literature of caste now available in English. The first English-language anthologies of dalit literature, such as Barbara Joshi’s Untouchable! Voices of dalit Literature (1986), Arjun Dangle’s Poisoned Bread (1992), and the Anthology of Dalit Literature by Mulk Raj Anand and Eleanor Zelliot (1992) have served very well as windows on Dalit writing, especially the radical literature of protest that appeared in Marathi and other languages from the 1960s.

Reviewed by: Gautam Chakravarty
Richard F. Burton

Benjamin Disraeli could well have had Sir Richard Francis Burton in mind when he remarked in his novel Tancred that the East is a career. Following his expulsion from Oxford for unruly behaviour, the young Burton headed East under the auspices of the East India Company, to become at various points of time an explorer, diplomat, soldier, translator, poet, writer, linguist, Sufi mystic and a most remarkable Victorian.

Reviewed by: Satyajit Sarna
Vijay Nambisan

In the wake of numerous little publishing houses opening up to cater to a vast English market, translations on the one hand and creative takes on contemporary concerns, usually in the format of essays have become the prime products of these houses.

Reviewed by: Nandini Chandra
Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy has a long history of evoking extreme reactions from those who have read her, and even more extreme reactions from those who haven’t. People either hate Roy or love her. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing for a writer, it makes almost impossible any pretensions to objectivity on the part of the reviewer.

Reviewed by: G. Sampath
Mariam Karim

My Little Boat is a promising first novel that offers a delightful read. Set in contemporary India, it is primarily concerned with its female protagonist’s search for selfhood and subjectivity.

Reviewed by: M. Asaduddin
Sanjay Nigam

The Transplanted Man of the title is the Union Health Minister of India who has so many transplanted organs in his body he can proudly say he truly represents India. Once he was very corrupt but having often been close to death he has begun to actually feel the pain of the mother of a dying child and is determined to do some good for his country before he dies, except that he is not sure he will survive his latest illness.

Reviewed by: Shobhana Bhattacharji
Molly Daniels-Ramanujan

A.K.Ramanujan, the poet, was discovered by Oxford University Press. Jon Stallworthy, a considerable poet himself, who edited the now-defunct Oxford Poets Series for the London office, responded to the typescript of this unknown poet with enthusiasm.

Reviewed by: Girish Karnad
B.S. Minhas

The assessment of socio-economic develop ment of a country requires reliable and comparable information on aspects of development reasonably comprehensively over time and space at meaningful levels of disaggregation and with adequate frequency.

Reviewed by: Vikas Chitre
Ravi Kanbur

Poverty and its underlying causes has been the subject of intense research in recent years attracting researchers from a variety of disciplines. Attempts at investigating poverty in its different ramifications have been undertaken under alternative methodological perspectives.

Reviewed by: D.K. Srivastava
Satish Chandra

This volume is an anthology of valuable essays by Professor Satish Chandra, published earlier in different journals and books. Since the earliest of these essays was written in 1946, the shape and direction of history writing have undergone a tremendous change. The essays in this collection reflect – and have also been responsible for determining – new currents in history writing over the last five decades.

Reviewed by: Meena Bhargava
Romila Thapar

This up-dated and significantly expanded edition of Thapar’s most widely read book, Early India, is now available in paperback. Incorporating the essentials of new data and fresh explanations besides retaining the relevant among older arguments, the book is yet structured mostly within the original edition’s framework of worldwide recognition.

Reviewed by: Rajan Gurukkal
Romila Thapar

An event takes place. It impresses different people in different ways. Situated at different points in time and with differing interests, they talk about it or ignore it variously in their writings.

Reviewed by: Kesavan Veluthat