Alok Bhalla

What is poetry? Is it as Wordsworth says a spontaneous overflow of emotions recollected in tranquil­ity? If so, is it possible for language to reflect these emotions? Which leads us to the more troubling question as to what language is.

Reviewed by: K.B.S. Krishna
Madhuri Banerjee

Banerjee, a bestselling author, came out with her first book in the year 2011. The Mumbai based author has also doubled up as a screenplay writer for Bollywood, having written the script for Hate Story 2, and for another yet-to-released film.

Reviewed by: N. Kalyani
Keki N. Daruwalla

Daruwalla has written an entire vol­ume of stories on islands. The sto­ries extend to looking at people as islands spread across this world. The first story Island Sermon involves a nameless nar­rator who is visiting India to see a hermit and has certain fixed notions about what constitutes a good story. The swami reveals self-destructive tendencies and suffers from dementia. Further into the story, the inner ramblings of the mind are revealed—‘I have been obsessed with islands, their solitary ex­istence, the way they cope with themselves.

Reviewed by: Semeen Ali
Raji Narasimhan

You know that a discipline has come of age when academics and practitioners talk the same talk. They discuss ap­proaches and strategies to and of their com­mon area of interest, and find that they are actually on the same page and not at the extreme ends of the spectrum.

Reviewed by: N. Kamala
K. Natwar Singh

Natwar Singh’s book is like the man himself—to the point, sparse and understated. It covers mostly his public life and carefully spans over the pri¬vate in measured words. If there are expecta¬tions that he will ‘spill the beans’ and come out with juicy details over private life happenings…

Reviewed by: Seita Vaidialingam
Malavika Karlekar

Malavika Karlekar has produced an¬other work for the ‘Common Reader’, as Virginia Woolf called the general reader, who would have special¬ized or lay interests in a multivocal world. Colonialism has been read for the last hun¬dred years from many vantage positions. What Karlekar attempts to do is to compress her erudition, while dispensing with foot¬notes…

Reviewed by: Susan Visvanathan
Joy L.K. Pachuau

As a narrative which relies on photo­graphs to communicate, The Camera as Witness is a remarkable book of his­tory. Possibly one of the first academic his­tory writings of its kind on North East In­dia, it traces the history of Mizoram from the colonial to the contemporary times.

Reviewed by: Manjeet Baruah
Rajesh Rajagopalan

The book is a long awaited one on three counts. One is that it fills a gap in South Asian strategic affairs litera­ture and on that score will be valued by stu­dents and initiates among the attentive pub­lic.

Reviewed by: Ali Ahmed
Tom Bailey

Jürgen Habermas has been a sine qua non social theorist of contemporary times. Habermasian political theory is one of the critical/crucial defences of moder­nity in the era of absolute subjectivism and sheer positivism. Habermas defies time and space. His ‘universal’ is eternal and location free.

Reviewed by: Dhananjay Rai
Purushottama Bilimoria

The conversation around Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s seminal work A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: To­ward a History of the Vanishing Present refuses to die down.

Reviewed by: Simi Malhotra
V. Venkatesan

Ideas and practices associated with India’s living document, the Constitution of In­dia have remained central to the politi­cal imagination and assessment of democ­racy in contemporary India. Recent writings on ideas, institutions and processes in In­dian politics have attempted to foreground the language of democracy in deliberations involved in the making of India’s Constitu­tion.

Reviewed by: Vikas Tripathi
A.G. Noorani

Public memory is short. A regime of public accountability requires safe-guards against the brevity of memory. For a nation such as India, where the governmental presence is looming and large, disclosure norms are of recent vintage and their functioning leaves much to be desired.

Reviewed by: Sukumar Muraleedharan
Tabir Kalam

For several decades now, historians have hotly debated the socio-economic and political developments in the eighteenth century in South Asia, with some viewing it as a period of chaos and decline, and others describing it as marked by economic growth and socio-cultural efflorescence.

Reviewed by: Shivangini Tandon
Rana Behal

Before North East India got identified with political unrest, Assam was known for its tea. In fact Assam teas a global brand name. It took years of frantic search, botanical experiments, massive entrepreneurships, colonial machinations and above all the blood and toil of millions of labourers to create that brand name.

Reviewed by: Sajal Nag
Shukla Sanyal

To get rid of poison, a stronger dose of poison is required. This poison is Revolu-tion.’ This powerful message, among many others, from revolutionary literature of early twentieth century Bengal sought to impress upon people that colonial rule was irredeemable and only a revolution could bring change.

Reviewed by: Ranjana Sheel
Harleen Singh

Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi is perhapsthe most prominent of the iconic figures of the revolt of 1857. Her outstanding heroism became the subject of alarge number of literary productions fromthe late nineteenth century onwards. It is atheme that continues to interest novelists,producers of comic-books, and film-makersdown to the present day.

Reviewed by: Amar Farooqui