Anushka Ravishankar

I’ve read To Market, To Market! greedily for the fourth time, absolutely delighted with the beautiful illustrations, but also because I couldn’t really remember the text terribly well the first time around. To Market…is undoubtedly a wonderful work visually, but I found myself thinking, at various points,

Reviewed by: Anjana Raghavan
Prem Chand

A Winter’s Night and Other Stories is a sleek production of ten stories, supposedly for children. In the ‘Translator’s Note,’ Rakhshanda Jalil makes two irreconcilable remarks. ‘This selection has been made especially for young readers of the age group twelve to fifteen years

Reviewed by: Anisur Rahman
Kumar Prasad Mukherji

Kumar Mukherji died just as this book was published. The enthusiastic reception (Ram Guha in his column in The Hindu called it one of the most significant non-fiction books written in post-independent India) would have pleased him enormously. He was certainly keen to share his vast fund of stories and knowledge with a wider Indian audience.

Reviewed by: Partho Datta
Naiyer Masud

Naiyer Masud is a great scholar of Persian and has three collections of short stories to his credit which include Seemiya, Itre Kaafoor and Taa’uus Chaman ki Mayna. A two-time winner of the Katha Award (1993 and 1997) for his stories ‘Ray Khandan ke Asar’ and ‘Sheesha Ghat’ and the winner of the Presidential Certificate of Honour

Reviewed by: Nishant Shah
Priti Kumar Mitra

Kazi Nazrul Islam is a legendary poet in the modern literature of India in the twentieth century. Inspite of the fact that Rabindra Nath Tagore was active and alive, he became the most popular poet of Bengali of his time. Unfortunately, for those who are not able to read him in the original Bengali

Reviewed by: Ashok Vajpeyi
Akhtar Husain Raipuri

Akhtar Husain Raipuri’s memoir The Dust Of The Road offers a varied fare to its readers. The wide range of his experiences and the eventful times through which he lived makes Raipuri’s memoir interesting. A man of sound secular upbringing and Marxist leanings, Raipuri’s account of his travels and travails is in fact a retrospective glance cast over a life lived to its full.

Reviewed by: Deeba Zafir
Francesca Orsini

Dil e nadaan tujhe hua kya hai Akhir is dard ki dava kya hai? Ghalib.
Sringara, viraha, ishq, prem, love—these are the themes of this cultural history of love in South Asia. The only way to succeed in such a mammoth venture is frankly to admit your limitations, which is exactly what the editor Francesca Orsini does.

Reviewed by: Gillian Wright
Christine Spittel Wilson

Memoirs fascinate me: not just because like most humans I have an insatiable curiosity about other people’s lives but because of the landscapes embedded in memories that emerge defiantly from nostalgic syrup and startle you with a rare insight. Often, whole cities,

Reviewed by: Ira Pande
Kokilam Subbiah

Mirage first published in 1964 as Thoorathu Pachai (the Green of the other side/ Distant Green) in Tamil has now found its English avatar. Written by someone who was involved in unionizing Tamil labourers in Sri Lanka, the novel is a hard-hitting account of the suffering of women on tea estates.

Reviewed by: G.J.V. Prasad
Ameena Hussein

Ameena Hussein’s collection of short stories Zillij is an interest ing read that takes up disturbing issues without unduly disturb ing the reader’s mind over the said issues. It lives up to its name, for Zillij is a traditional art of creating a mosaic design using hand-cut tiles.

Reviewed by: B. Mangalam
Yasmine Gooneratne

This voluminous novel brings together the literature student, teacher, critic and social thinker in Yasmine Gooneratne. Set very close to the experiences of her generation in the last years of colonialism and early dawn of the new nation called Sri Lanka, the novel unfolds the growing up of Latha from a young girl to that of a scholar with a doctoral degree from Cambridge.

Reviewed by: A. Mangai
Qadri Ismail

Responsibility. Being based in the UK but working within a field that might be delineated as Sri Lankan studies, I have thought a lot about that word recently. What responsibilities impress themselves upon the writer/researcher who works on/in Sri Lanka? Do these vary according to whether one is outside or inside its borders? As an ‘outsider’,

Reviewed by: Tariq Jazeel
B.K. Zahrah Nasir

The Parwan Wind is a book about the revisiting of a revolution. The book records the second visit of the Scottish author, B.K.Zahrah Nasir, to the country of Afghanistan which has been in the grips of turmoil for a long time now. Having first been there in 1983 to cover the Mujahideen revolution, she enters the country again in 2004 after 21 years with great trepidation.

Reviewed by: Baran Rehman
Khaled Hosseini

Let me confess at the outset: I have not read The Kite Runner. I therefore began reading this, Khaled Hosseini’s second book on wrecked and ravaged Afghanistan, unburdened by the weight of expectations.

Reviewed by: Rakhshanda Jalil
Indrani Mukerjee

The recognition of women as important contributors to the world of work and economy is rarely matched with the spirit of inquiry this book shows. Stitching scattered facts and data together it presents a holistic picture of globalization as it impacts the women workers.

Reviewed by: Maya Sharma
Shahnaz Khan

Your fear Of my being free, being alive, and able to think might lead you, who knows, into what travails. Kishwar Neheed (Feminist Poet from Paksitan) The imposition of the Zina Ordinances and the subsequent resistance to it by the Pakistan Women’s movement has been a significant moment in the history of Feminisms in South Asia.

Reviewed by: Shohini Ghosh
Brinda Bose

This is the fourth in the series by Women Unlimited on ‘Issues in Contemporary Indian Feminism’. Each volume so far, other than providing a range of excellent writing on key issues, has tried to explode the myth of a singular feminist position on an issue by bringing out the nuances of divergent positions within the women’s movement.

Reviewed by: Manjima Bhattacharjya
Kalpana Kannabiran and Ritu Menon

From Mathura to Manorama invites us to think critically of how feminist projects opposed to violence against women are con- structed. This exciting book shows us how feminist politics against violence has been varied in its forms, strategies and premises. This important book must be read and taught especially since the authors demand reflexivity by re-visiting

Reviewed by: Pratiksha Baxi
Veena Das

Much scholarly work, particularly from feminists, engages with different aspects and dimensions of violence, and with the aftermath of what are now episodes of history, such as the partition, the massacre of whole communities, particularly the Sikhs and Muslims, following the assassination of Indira Gandhi, the demolition of the Babri Masjid and the Godhra train carnage, to name a few.

Reviewed by: Padmini Swaminathan
Maitrayee Mukhopadhyay and Navsharan Singh

The book’s conceptualization of gender justice as both an outcome and a process is a refreshing departure from the conventional approach where one or the other is high-lighted. After all it is the process that shapes the outcome. It is the means and ends connection. In the current overemphasis on so called empowerment of women, this critical insight is lost sight of.

Reviewed by: Maithreyi Krishnaraj
Saman Kelegama

This book is based on weekly commentaries on economic issues published in a Sunday newspaper for about 10 months from the last week of May 2005 to March 2006. Most of these commentaries were written under the pen-name Economist by the author of this volume.

Reviewed by: A.D.V. de S. Indraratna
Muhammad Yunus with Alan Jolis

This is the autobiography of Muhammad Yunus, winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize and the creator of the Grameen Bank, the micro-finance institution that revolutionized lending to the poor. Naturally, perhaps, the book focuses on the Grameen Bank and how it came into being, ignoring, some may cavil, more personal aspects of Professor Yunus’s life.

Reviewed by: Prabal Roy Chowdhury
Zafar Shaheed

This book, based on a significant Ph.D work in an area where academic work is sparse, has been brought to our attention through its belated publication by the Pakistani Branch of the Oxford University Press. Despite the fact that it deals with events which took place 35 years ago, it is not cast as an exercise in social history (more on this later).

Reviewed by: Nasir Tyabji
John Briscoe and Usman Qamar

This book is a compendious account of the situation in respect of water resources in Pakistan. It packs an impressive amount of material into 126 pages, and both the presentation of information and the discussion of issues are lucid and highly readable. It is an extremely useful book.

Reviewed by: Ramaswamy R. Iyer
Tridivesh Singh Maini

The book under review looks at the South Asian Cooperation and India-Pakistan relations through the prism of the relationship between Indian-Punjab and Pakistan-Punjab. Maini belongs to the post-India—Pakistan partition generation and, therefore, does not carry the mindset of hate of the pre-partition generation and hence his perspective, is important.

Reviewed by: Paramjit S. Sahai
Rajiva Wijesinha

‘The corrosive effects of authoritarianism, on people and countries and in particular on those who perpetrate it needs constant attention.’ It was this need for constant attention that propelled the author to bring out this book, which is an updated version of his earlier two books. The underlying theme of the book is to answer the key question: what exacerbated violence in Sri Lanka?

Reviewed by: N. Manoharan
Achin Vanaik

Americans would have you believe that America is exceptional. Its aims are unlike those of lesser countries. Its foreign policy, for example, is rarely about pragmatic material interests. It is more of a mission, even a moral crusade. America fought the costly

Reviewed by: Bhupinder Brar
Ayesha Siddiqa

The Pakistani military—or the ‘fauj’ as it is better-known in Urdu—has a very distinctive place in the 60 year old tragedy- scarred history of that nation and alas, this institution has contributed in no small measure to this trajectory.

Reviewed by: C. Uday Bhaskar
C.E. Baxter

For the Oxford University Press to publish in 2007, a nearly 600- page diary of Field Marshall Ayub Khan, covering only the period 1966-72, evokes suspicions of fulfilling a promise to his expired son Gohar. However, the Press managed to persuade Professor C.E. Baxter to edit the dated diary.

Reviewed by: Jagat S. Mehta
Rudolf C. Heredia

‘Conversion is a complex and emotionally charged issue. Fundamentalists exploit it, liberals complicate it, many do not comprehend what the fuss is about, and others shy away from getting involved’.

Reviewed by: Prakash Louis
Zahid Hussain

The Lal Masjid episode in the first week of July this year in Islamabad is the culmination of the policies pursued by the establishment in Pakistan during the last several decades and they are the subject of the book under review.

Reviewed by: Kalim Bahadur
Francis Robinson

South Asian Islam has a unique and fascinating history. Quite unlike many other places in the globe that came under Islamic influences the multicultural and plurilinguistic tapestry of South Asia made it necessary for Islam to negotiate and often cohabit with a host of local customs and traditions which gave the religion a special complexion and a special flavour.

Reviewed by: M. Asaduddin
Chakravarthy Ram-Prasad

Of late, there has indeed been a discernible intellectual ques- tioning of certitudes and the present work, it is only fair to say, contributes quite splendidly to that project. Its first intention is to cast doubt upon commonly accepted constructs like ‘Eastern Philosophy’ for, arguably, there is no one such thing that would qualify as such.

Reviewed by: Amiya P. Sen
Ananda Abeysekera

Abeysekera has given us a cogent political anthropological study of postcolonial ideological formations in the guise of an anthropology of religion in Sri Lanka. He explores these formations in chapters on the relation of theories of religion

Reviewed by: Mangalika de Silva
Lal Khan

Contemporary writings have enormously widened and enriched the field of ‘Partition Studies’, shifting the focus away from the politics of the ‘high table’ to subaltern perspectives, from meta-narratives to the regions partitioned and from attention to the causes of partition to concern about its human consequences.

Reviewed by: Rita Manchanda
Dipesh Chakrabarty, Rochona Majumdar and Andrew Sartori

Anthony Low in dramatic syntax announces in his fore- word that the academic world of post-1947 Indian subconti- nent was dominated by political ‘scientists’, while historians only dealt with events happening prior to that year.

Reviewed by: P.K. Datta
Tariq Hasan

The Muslims after the Indian Mutiny ceased to be the country’s ruling class and became one of the many minority communities. It was not only a change of status in political and social standing but the new rulers of the country also distrusted the community under the mistaken belief of it being the perpetrator of the armed convulsions in 1857 against the growing might of the East India Company.

Reviewed by: Sanjoy Bagchi
Tahir Mahmood

If you want to understand the background to the recent brouhaha over the admission policy of St Stephen’s College, here is the book for you. Contributors to this volume—all eminent legal experts, scholars, judges, administrators, and educationists—weigh in with their analyses of what plagues minority education in South Asia.

Reviewed by: Malini Sood
Ruby Lal

More than three decades back feminist historio- graphy had suggested that the devaluation of women in mainstream writings was connected to their exclusion from the public sphere and their identification with the domestic.

Reviewed by: Monica Juneja
William R. Pinch

In 1996 William Pinch offered us a brand new insight into the peasant societies of Gangetic north India. In his hugely influential book, Peasants and Monks in British India, he showed us how religion in its non-denominational sense defined peasant action in colonial India.

Reviewed by: Seema Alavi
Meena Khandelwal, Sondra L. Hausner and Ann Grodzins Gold

The first thing that strikes one about this collection is that the essays represented in it were not written sitting in libraries. It is quite clearly not a historical or sociological perspective on women ‘breaking away’ from conventional paths.

Reviewed by: Vijaya Ramaswamy
Richard Davis

This book belongs to an emergent genre of scholarship that has come to represent the latest, most prominent face of South Asian cultural studies. The main concern of the genre has been with the popular public cultures that have shaped the complex histories of modernity and nationalism in 19th and 20th century India,

Reviewed by: Tapati Guha-Thakurta