Anne F. Broadbridge

A heart-wrenching account of a child who gets trapped in a flesh trade circle and her relentless struggle to get out of it, Prem Nagar is much more than a work of fiction.

Reviewed by: Sampurna Dutta
Ranjani Neriya

These lines from the opening poem, titled ‘Episcope’, instantly give the reader a sense of richness of words and images that the volume under review abounds in. Poem after poem, Ranjani Neriya weaves an intricate tapestry of myriad images, metaphors and vivid visual verse pictures in a tirelessly flowing stream of sonorous sounds and fecund expressions.

Reviewed by: Nishat Zaidi
Ratna Vira

My narrative will not be your’s. I will live my life. You have to live with your demons.
Daughter by Court Order

In a country like India, it is still the norm in many parts of the country to cut women off from all aspects of family decision making processes, or even from decisions involving their own lives—marriage, family planning etc.

Reviewed by: Madhumita Chakraborty
Bidyut Chakrabarty

Bidyut Chakrabarty sees the mass uprisings of 2011 in West Asia as reconfirmation of the relevance of nonviolence. Barely three years after the exhilarating successes of the Arab Spring, however, nonviolence is far from the minds of the numerous factions engaged in seemingly interminable conflict for control of those troubled lands.

Reviewed by: Govindan Nair
Ramchandra Guha

In that 1971 classic essay, ‘After the Revolution: The Fate of Nationalism in the New States’, Clifford Geertz alluded to the ‘darkened mood’ that had descended upon the new states. The great cultural anthropologist talked of a creeping ‘disenchantment with party politics, parliamen-tarianism, bureaucracy, and the new class of soldiers…

Reviewed by: Harish Khare
Sukanya Agashe

Sukanya Agashe’s attempt to definitively locate Lanka and to establish a physical geography for the Sanskrit Ramayana covers an astonishing amount of ground, literally and metaphorically. Her documentary research is meticulous and wide ranging, her physical journeys and empirical investigations equally so.

Reviewed by: Arshia Sattar
Shonaleeka Kaul

Ideally a Reader is intended to showcase a selection of iconic essays which have contributed directly to the configuration of a particular thematic. This is not easy when the subject at hand is as broad as a cultural history of early modern South Asia and especially so at a time when the idea of cultural history itself has gone through several modifications and mutations.

Reviewed by: Lakshmi Subramanian
Gabriele Koehler

Despite the significant achievements in poverty reduction made by the South Asian countries, the region remains home to over 40 per cent of the developing world’s total poor. More than 570 million people survive on less than US$1.25 a day and over 60 per cent live without adequate sanitation. To compound the challenges of population growth and poverty, environmental degradation and climate change, South Asia has also been exposed to increased frequency of natural disasters, which is undermining the sub-region’s economic performance. With a rising interest in the role of public policy and the role of the state in the developmental process, Development and Welfare Policy in South Asia is a welcome addition to the development studies literature.

Reviewed by: Rajeev Ranjan Chaturvedy
David Kilcullen

British Army General J.F.C. Fuller, architect of the great tank battle at Cambrai, described the cities as impregnable in conventional wars. Tanks could never enter the narrow streets of the built up areas and should they succeed and move deep, it was easy to cut their supply line by the defending forces.

Reviewed by: Bibhu Prasad Routray
C. Raja Mohan

Unresolved territorial disputes with neighbours have been a major part of India’s life since Independence. Nearly seventy years after the great Partition and many wars, India is struggling to find a solution to the Kashmir question with Pakistan. Although Delhi took a big step towards cleaning up the boundary with Bangladesh in 2011 it is finding it hard to get it approved in the Parliament.

Reviewed by: Itty Abraham
Lezlee Brown Halper

As clearly expressed in the introduction, Tibet: An Unfinished Story attempts to present the ‘story of two Tibets: one the Tibet of discovery and aspiration; and the other, a Tibet buffeted by powerful Cold War currents and treachery denied the independence gained by others’ (p. 3). Undoubtedly, the authors, Lezlee Brown Halper and Stefan Halper have done an excellent job as far as the presentation of the two stories are concerned.

Reviewed by: Tshering Chonzom Bhutia
Christine Fair

Reviews of books about an adversary army can sometimes be misleading and biased. Strongly resisting that temptation I read Christine Fair’s 347 page long book with increasing fascination and also discussed it once in a session at CLAWS with Christine Fair herself in the panel of speakers.

Reviewed by: Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain
Sudhir T. Devare

Emerging China: Prospects for Partnership in Asia analyses and assesses the rise of China and its impact on Asia’s politics and economy, from the perspective of scholars from various countries—especially India. The book is, accordingly, divided into three sections—Asian Multilateralism, Engaging China, and China-India Equations.

Reviewed by: Prashant Kumar Singh
Shishir Gupta

Shishir Gupta says clearly at the beginning that the ‘book is not about China but its policies and mindset towards India as perceived by the top Indian leadership, political parties and the public’ (p. xi). Within this framework he tries to give an organized picture of the ebb and flow of Sino-Indian relations during the UPA regime.

Reviewed by: Jabin T. Jacob
Nyla Ali Khan

Here is a public figure who was the subject of unbridled encomiums and equally intemperate condemnation, who was at the epicenter of the intensely convoluted politics of the space and time she inhabited, around whom a country’s full-fledged intelligence apparatus claimed to have a ‘rock-solid’ case implicating her and a large network of associated political personalities in a foreign-sponsored conspiracy to foment a coup.

Reviewed by: Ellora Puri
Rakhshanda Jalil

These lines perfectly sum up the lives of two people that played an important role in the improvement of the status of women—Rashid Jahan and her father Shaikh Abdullah or Papa Miyan as he was fondly remembered, by generations of women.

Reviewed by: Semeen Ali
Salman Rushdie

A call by the police on Valentine’s Day in 1989 alerts the British-Indian author that his life is in danger due to a fatwa declared on him by the dying Ayatollah Khomeini over his ‘blasphemous’ novel The Satanic Verses. He takes on the alias Joseph Anton (after Joseph Conrad and Anton Chekov), goes into hiding under protection of the British Secret Service…

Reviewed by: Shane Joseph
Arun Kundnani

Like its subject, this is a book that will stir strong feelings. It is not a dry, objective examination of its subject. It is a polemic, deeply felt and passionately argued, a diatribe against the assumptions which underpinned the war on terror in the UK and US and a denunciation of the tactics with which it was fought.

Reviewed by: Satyabrat Pal
Tridip Suhrud

Mirabehn herself was deeply implicated in Quit India. Early in the summer of 1942, she had taken Gandhi’s draft for a Quit India resolution to the Congress Working Committee, which was meeting in Allahabad. At Gandhi’s instance, Mirabehn had also informed Sir Gilbert Laithwaite, the Viceroy’s secretary, of his intentions.

Reviewed by: Rajmohan Gandhi