Francis Robinson

The Muslim World in Modern South Asia: Power, Authority, Knowledge consists of a dozen articles (including an introduction) along with a roughly equal number of book reviews written by one of the leading historians of South Asian Muslims during the modern period.

Reviewed by: Barbara D. Metcalf
Simon Wolfgang Fuchs

The South Asian subcontinent counts a significant Shi’i population, with Pakistan having the word’s second largest number of Shi’is. Yet it has so far received limited scholarly attention. This book, adapted from the author’s PhD dissertation.

Reviewed by: Julien Levesque
S. Irfan Habib

With the establishment of the dominance of the Hindu Right over Indian politics, their attempts to rewrite the history of Indian anti-colonial movement and appropriate its icons have intensified. Bhagat Singh has been an icon who has long been favoured by the Hindu Right.

Reviewed by: Sunny Kumar
Anna L. Dallapiccola, Brigitte Khan Majlis and George Michell with John M. Fritz. Photography: Surendra Kumar

This book presents a fairly comprehensive primary coverage of the heart of the Lepakshi temple town where lay its religious and trade basis. Its richly painted ceilings take us beyond an identification of religious iconography to tell us about the shifts.

Reviewed by: Naman P. Ahuja
Aakash Singh Rathore and Ashis Nandy

The 2019 General Elections confirmed the hypothesis that the broad consensus over the ‘idea of India’ forged at the time of Independence no longer holds and a fundamental shift has taken place in favour of values that are the antithesis of this consensus.

Reviewed by: Janaki Srinivasan
Paul Wallace

India’s 2019 elections result deepened the fundamental transformation of politics since 2014. The BJP not only witnessed a surge in quantitative terms but it also penetrated into new territories that were largely dominated by regional parties.

Reviewed by: Vikas Tripathi
Sanjoy Chakravorty and Amitendu Palit

The contestations over land continue to remain relevant in the age of capitalist industrialization. While in the pre-industrial world, land clearly maintained a central role in the generation and accumulation of wealth, modern industrialization and the subsequent upheaval.

Reviewed by: Arindam Banerjee
T.C.A. Sharad Raghavan

Money as a medium of exchange, and a store of value, has gone through many avatars as civilizations have surged and ebbed. Precious metals, precious stones, cowrie shells, rice–at various times in various places, these things have been used either as currency.

Reviewed by: Devangshu Datta
Puja Mehra

The Indian economy has been lurching from crisis to crisis for more than a decade now. The latest crisis is unfolding as we speak, with the COVID-mitigating country-wide lockdown already taking an economic toll on industries with factories closed, and a huge population dependent on the informal economy unable to earn its daily wage.

Reviewed by: T.C.A. Sharad Raghavan

It is with a deep sense of sorrow that….

Swami Nirviseshananda Tirtha

To label this book the biography of a spiritual figure would be a misnomer. On the contrary, it is an inner exploration into a universalism that transcends caste and creed and therefore religion in our conventional understanding of the term.

Reviewed by: Vijaya Ramaswamy
A.M. Shah

The emergence of the ‘biographical turn’ in social science tradition inaugurated a new intellectual movement in capturing the nuances of economic and social change and the ruptures in institutional histories. The past few decades of biographical research.

Reviewed by: Ratheesh Kumar
T.M. Krishna

Sebastian & Sons is the intriguing title of a book on the brief history of mrdangam makers. The striking photograph of Madurai Ratnam, Sebastian’s first cousin, adorns the cover. When Krishna was asked who Sebastian was, he responded: ‘Sebastian was the oldest.

Reviewed by: Aruna Roy
Shanta Acharya/Jennifer Wong

Shanta Acharya exercises her poetic licence by quoting Elizabeth Jennings, ‘We have a whole world to rearrange.’ While she dismantles our perceptions, she rearranges her sentiments and opinions as poems laced with observations. A reason is given.

Reviewed by: Yogesh Patel
Nikhil Govind

Given the interest in emotions in understanding human behaviour more fully than ever before, researchers in recent times have been looking at the crevices between thought and word, cracks and gaps through which meaning can slip unnoticed by readers.

Reviewed by: Rakhshanda Jalil
Suchethana Swaroop, translated from the original Kannada by N.S. Raghavan

A very intriguing title with the promise of opening up grand vistas of history. Let us see how far it succeeds.

The author starts out with the premise that the great epics, even in their oral form, have played a decisive role in the making of the history.

Reviewed by: Meera Rajagopalan
Thingnam Anjulika Samom. Translated from the original Manipuri by a translators’ collective.

The book under review brings together the work of twenty-six women writers from Manipur. Translated into English from the original texts in Manipuri by a small group of translators, this anthology tries to locate a politics of the everyday across a wide.

Reviewed by: Arpana Nath
Nabaneeta Dev Sen, translated from the original Bengali by Tutun Mukherjee

During the mid-1970s, Nabaneeta Dev Sen wrote a trilogy of Bengali novellas for the Annual Puja Festival numbers of different magazines. Passing through the turbulence and the aftermath of the Naxalite movement that had swept over Bengal during that decade.

Reviewed by: Somdatta Mandal
Khalil Ur Rahman Azmi

Khalil Ur Rahman Azmi’s monumental and definitive study on the Progressive Movement in Urdu Literature is now available in English, thanks to his daughter and translator, Huma Khalil. It must indeed be a joyful experience for researchers and scholars alike.

Reviewed by: Catherine Thankamma
Chitra Mudgal, translated from the original Hindi by Priyanka Sarkar

In 2007, when Giligadu was originally published and was available to the Hindi readers, it was received warmly as yet another socially relevant realistic novel by activist-writer Chitra Mudgal. It was hailed as a critical portrayal of the disintegration of family.

Reviewed by: Meenakshi Shivram

Githanjali’s book of short stories, The Rock That Was Not, deals with Indian women who are striving hard to stay afloat in wedlock, while claiming their own identity. Marriage becomes a tool for patriarchy to suppress their identity.

Jhimli Mukherjee Pandey

In 2004 directors Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman, having photographed and filmed children of the prostitutes of Calcutta’s red-light district Sonagachi, released their documentary Born into Brothels: Calcutta’s Red Light Kids to the public. It opened.

Reviewed by: Nabanipa Bhattacharjee
Nayantara Sahgal

The Fate of Butterflies by the redoubtable Nayantara Sahgal is another testimonial to the author’s versatile imagination. Interweaving the personal and the political like many of Sahgal’s earlier novels, the novel narrates a history of the present from a fast receding liberal-secular perspective.

Reviewed by: Meenakshi Malhotra