Category Archive: Books

Ved Prakash Sharma and the ‘pulp’

The Hindi belt exists in twin extremes- there is a Hindi high culture represented by what is known as Hindi literature and there is Hindi pulp. In a largely semi-literate context, Meerut publishers filled the gap with their embrace of the popular/filmy/Bazaar language.

Begum Akhtar: The Tormented Soul Who Rose to be the Ghazal Queen

Begum Akhtar was no ordinary singer. Sarojini Naidu praised her that she was brilliant; the legendary Gauhar Jaan predicted she would be a great ghazal singer. And much later, as she became a household name with her sublime voice and mellifluous singing, she remained humble, though moody and unpredictable.

एक मुखरता का मौन होना

बंगाल के सांस्कृतिक इतिहास में ऐसे अनेक व्यक्ति हुए हैं, जिन्होंने न सिर्फ उस इलाके के, बल्कि पूरे देश की चेतना पर गहरा असर डाला है. महाश्वेता देवी इस सिलसिले का संभवतः अंतिम नाम है.

Chris Harman’s ‘A People’s History of the World: From the Stone Age to the New Millennium’

A People’s History of the World is a fascinating and comprehensive analysis by a well-known British historian, Chris Harman, that traces earliest human history to the Roman Empire, from the Middle Ages to the Age of Enlightenment, from the industrial Revolution to the end of the Millennium. Focusing on the development of technology, its impact on the society and conflict, he dwelt on how the society has changed and developed, what possibilities are for further radical change in the 21st century.

The crisis in the global economy

The crisis in the global economy is a subject that engages many and affects most of mankind. Like all such issues we find little clarity but a lot of fire and brimstone. Few have tried to seek feasible solutions. Even fewer are qualified, experienced and with a usefully cosmic view of the world we live in to write about it. Fortunately we still have people like Mervyn King. King was the Governor of the Bank of England from 2003 to 2013, a tumultuous period that saw the world economy expand at a record pace and then arrive at the precipice in 2008. We are still seeking to find new pathways to get over it. And clearly we are struggling.

Tales of A Continuing Carnage

Look at the officers and that Kodnani featured in ‘Gujarat Files’. No one is sorry for his or her role. All are playing victim card. That is chilling. The overarching personality terror of two top guys, then and now, is terrifying in those pages. The fear and submission at large, after Gujarat, now all over, is becoming a normal. India is becoming Gujarat of the post-2002 years. Rana Ayyub’s book is a profound indicator of that. Not the content of the book, but its publication story. The content is important for its evidential value. All is known for too long.

तपिशे-शौक़ और ख़ुलूस का क़िस्सा

उसकी आवारगी में लय है, उसकी घुमक्कड़ी में धुन है, बाहर-भीतर उठती तरंगों की ताल है. अनुराधा रक़्स में है. इस रक़्स में उम्मीदों की रवानी है. उसके रूमान से गुज़रना अपनी हदों से परे झाँकना है. इस लिहाज़ से अनुराधा की किताब को पढ़ना मेरे लिए मेरी अपनी बंदिशों से दो-चार होने का अहसास भी है.

JFK, China and India

Reidel writes with immense knowledge and access to hitherto top secret documents, but with eloquent brevity. He tells all and says all without using up many lines of wordage. He has an eye that can focus with hawk like precision on the relevant detail and keep looking at the big picture also.

On World Poetry Day, Support Imprisoned Poets

Write a letter: Your voice matters. Spread the word: The simplest and most effective response to censorship is to spread the word.
“Your voice matters.”

Nivedita, My Teacher

It would be good for the journalists, instead of targeting Nivedita Menon, if they spend their energy in researching over the issues she raised during her lectures. A few people are of view that they should be allowed to attend some of her classes. I am against it because as her student, I know she expects hard work from her students, and insists them to read original literature. Both requirements would not suit the sadist journalists who are experts in maligning others by disseminating wrong information through doctored video clips.

The forgotten stanzas of Jana, Gana, Mana

India’s national anthem is only one of the five stanzas, composed and penned by Rabindranath Tagore. The remaining four stanzas can be heard here. This video is from a Bangla film Rajkahini (Srijit… Continue reading