Qaisra Shahraz

At first glance, both the books under review appear to be slick Mills and Boons, the perception reinforced in no small measure by the titles.

Reviewed by: Malati Mathur
Khushwant Singh

Acollection of spiritual-religious hymns, translated from the vernacular in English always anticipates criticism and even dissatisfaction because the original is deemed sacred and by that rule evokes divinity and any attempt to translate is considered an academic exercise which precludes any spiritual insight.

Reviewed by: Surbhi Goel
Fahmida Riaz

Fahmida Riaz is a Pakistani feminist, a crusader for human rights and an iconoclast. Apart from being a well-known poet, short story writer and a novelist in Urdu, she has been closely associated with the women’s movement in Pakistan.

Reviewed by: Anjana Srivastava
Moazzam Sheikh

Pakistani writers are of course in fashion. They are writing in all genres—the serious novel of note, rambunctious social novels, epic sagas, and of course, the simplest and yet the most complex writing form of all—the short story.

Reviewed by: Anuradha Kumar
Musharraf Ali Farooqi

‘It is a truth universally acknowledged,’ writes Jane Austen in the opening lines of Pride and Prejudice, ‘that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.’ The same alas cannot be said of a woman of good fortune,

Reviewed by: Rakhshanda Jalil
Kamila Shamsie

On August 9, 1945, Hiroko Tanaka’s life changed forever. As she rejoiced at the thought of her future with Konrad, her German lover, a mushroom cloud enveloped Nagasaki. Hiroko survived, the design on her silk kimono burning its imprint on her back.

Reviewed by: Deb Mukharji
Tash Aw

Tash Aw, the Malaysian novelist living in England has been making waves. His The Harmony Silk Factory won the Whitbread Award for a first novel, and also the Costa Award. Incidentally he was reported to have been paid an advance of 500,000 Sterling for that one, though he has denied it.

Reviewed by: Keki N. Daruwalla
Tarun J. Tejpal

The languorous beginning of this 500-page novel complements the aura of indolence that also marks its unnamed first person narrator.

Reviewed by: Nivedita Sen
Sadia Dehlvi

Several years ago when I was still a green, young and aspiring editor, Ravi Dayal, then editorial head of the Oxford University Press, gave me my first book to edit.

Reviewed by: Urvashi Butalia
Azra Raza & Sara Suleri Goodyear

Epistemologies of Elegance is a book comprising twenty-one ghazals of Ghalib that are favourites of Azra Raza and Sarah Suleri Goodyear. Raza is, surprisingly, a research scientist and cancer specialist who was born in Karachi and now lives in Manhattan.

Reviewed by: Gillian Wright
K. Natwar Singh

Diary writing is a very personal and spontaneous recollection of and reflection on everyday life events. A true diary is never written with the intention of publishing it and only rarely assumes importance to people beyond one’s immediate periphery.

Reviewed by: Swaran Singh
Dibyesh Anand

The book is the South Asian edition of Geopolitical Exotica: Tibet in Western Imagination which attempts to bring together representations of Tibet and the study of international relations.

Reviewed by: Parshotam Mehra
Stephanie Roemer

The work under review is a carefullyresearched resource on the Tibetan movement in exile, focusing in the main on the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA)—for all intents and purposes, the Tibetan government-in-exile—based in Dharmasala in Himachal Pradesh, India and headed by the 14th Dalai Lama.

Reviewed by: Jabin T. Jacob
Nandita Haksar

The story of Burmese resistance to military junta’s oppressive rule and its democratic struggle has been chronicled by many scholars, journalists and activists from different perspectives and preferences.

Reviewed by: Baladas Ghoshal
Marie Lecomte-Tilouine

As a student of ‘ethno-nationalist’ conflicts in South Asia, it was with a sense of awe and challenge that I watched Nepal’s Maoist revolutionary upsurge unsettle conventional conflict theories.

Reviewed by: Rita Manchanda
Willem van Schendel

Until just a few years ago history had still not escaped the overpowering influence of Leopold van Ranke, the great German historian of the nineteenth century.

Reviewed by: I.P. Khosla
P.R. Chari

Joint studies of conflictual issues by the protagonists is always a useful exercise in conflict resolution. This little volume, was sponsored by the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, Delhi and has been authored by two Pakistani scholars,

Reviewed by: B.G. Verghese
S. Sivasegaram

Although small, the book under review encompasses everything one wants to know about the Sri Lankan ethnic crisis. It traces the historical development of ethnic and national consciousness in Sri Lanka,

Reviewed by: N. Manoharan
Rajiva Wijesinha

Liberalism is the most desired popular ideology for governance. Yet, the task of achieving it is not easy. The experience is that states enjoying democratic credentials often pursue illiberal policies and behave in an undemocratic manner.

Reviewed by: P. Sahadevan
V.R. Raghavan

Civil societies are increasingly playing a significant role in the politics of the developing world. It is known in different countries by different names—non-governmental organizations, citizen sector, independent sector, initiative sector, social economy sector and voluntary sector.

Reviewed by: V. Suryanarayan
Sanjib Baruah

The Northeast has come to occupy a pivotal position in India’s foreign policy as a future ‘gateway to Asia’; yet despite a policy reorientation towards the Northeast, the region continues to suffer from festering low intensity armed conflict.

Reviewed by: Devyani Srivastava
Shrikant Paranjpe

This book, in the shape of an edited volume of fourteen papers presented in the two-day seminar organized by the Department of Defence and Strategic Studies of the University of Pune, has attempted to address the various issues of internal security in terms of the need for evolving appropriate ‘security policy’, particularly in the context of ‘political, economic and socio-cultural dimensions’.

Reviewed by: T. Ananthachari
Jaya Arunachalam and U. Kalpagam

Starting from the inception of women’s studies at a visible level after 1975, the primary focus of scholars in South Asia has been the identification and examination of certain aspects of society which situated women in a different context from those of the western countries.

Reviewed by: Paramjit S. Judge
Sumit Sarkar and Tanika Sarkar

At a time when minorities and women of different classes are facing all manner of threats in the name of nation, culture and religion it is important for historians and non-historians alike to revisit the complex dynamics of social reform and the ‘women’s question’ in modern India.

Reviewed by: Sumi Krishna
Urmila Pawar. Translated by Maya Pandit

The writings of dalit women are gaining greater visibility today, especially through translations. The Weave of My Life, Maya Pandit’s English translation of Urmila Pawar’s autobiographical work Aaydan (2003), is a welcome addition to this fast-growing archive.

Reviewed by: Radha Chakravarty
Gail Omvedt

The book under review with its intriguing title is by Gail Omvedt, the pioneering historian of Jotiba Phule and his movement. Since the publication of Cultural Revolt in a Colonial Society (1976) Omvedt has maintained a steady stream of publications on Ambedkar and lower caste movements which have enlarged our understanding of dalit resistance and assertion.

Reviewed by: A.R. Venkatachalapathy
Ravikumar. Translated from the Tamil by R. Azhagarasan

The essays in this book reflect the general intellectual climate of the 1990s in India. Ravikumar’s essays—as Susie Tharu eloquently puts it in the Foreword entitled ‘Labour of Theory’—‘even in the black and white of print .

Reviewed by: Nalini Rajan
Nonica Datta

‘Subhashini’, the author declares at the beginning of the book ‘is all but absent from history, though history is not absent from her life’. A cryptic statement as this carries us nowhere. Who is it who does not have history in their lives, although not all lives are in history or are material for history?

Reviewed by: Rahul Ramagundam
Anne F. Broadbridge

This book by Anne Broadbridge is an interesting portrayal of diplomacy and kingship in the medieval Islamic world. Written in a narrative style, the details on the dynasties and the Sultans sometimes get monotonous but this does not take away the importance of the details that she provides lucidly on the role of ideologies,

Reviewed by: Meena Bhargava
Kesavan Veluthat

The title of the book is not the Early Medieval of South India—which would have implied that the author is studying one phase amongst the many phases in the history of South India.

Reviewed by: Jaya Tyagi