Courage, war & Allah on bookshelf (IANS Books this Week)June 9th, 2012 - 3:39 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, June 9 (IANS) This week, the book case is a mixed narrative of valour, jihad, conspiracy and Allah. Browse with IANS….
1.Book: “A Soldier’s General: The Autobiography”; Written by General J.J. Singh; Published by Harper Collins-India; Priced at Rs.799
Joginder Jaswant Singh, India’s first Sikh army chief — and the first from the elite Maratha Light Infantry Regiment to reach the rank, was only 15 when he joined the National Defence Academy.
The journey since then has been hard work for he was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. His grandfather was a sepoy and his father was a colonel in the Indian army. General J.J. Singh gave his 100 percent and he got more than his fair share of operational assignments. During his 47-year stint in the army, he commanded two infantry battalions, and was closely associated with the planning and execution of the Kargil war at the army headquarters. As brigade commander in Kashmir in 1991-93, Singh followed an innovative strategy of addressing people in villages and explaining to them how militants were leading them astray. He puts down his life and work in his memoirs for posterity.
2.Book: “The Unravelling: Pakistan in the Age of Jihad”; Written by John R. Schmidt; Published by Pan Macmillan; Priced at Rs.399
How did a nation which was founded as a homeland for South Asian Muslims following a tolerant form of Islam, become a haven for Al Qaeda and a rogues’ gallery of domestic, jihadist and sectarian groups? This groundbreaking history of Pakistan’s involvement with radical Islam places the blame on rulers of the country, who thought they could use Islamic radicals to advance their foreign-policy goals without having to pay a steep price.
But the government’s plans began to unravel in the wake of 9/11, when the rulers’ support for US war on terror caused many of their jihadist allies to turn against them. The book is a clear account of the complex relationship between the leaders of Pakistan and jihadist groups - and how the rulers’ decisions have led their nation to the brink of disaster and put other nations at risk.
3.Book: “The $100 Startup”; Written by Chris Guillebeau; Published by Pan Macmillan; Priced at Rs.499
You no longer need to work 9-to-5 in a big company to pay off your loans, send your kids to school and afford that yearly holiday. You can quit the rat race and start on your own again. The book is a manual to a new way of living. Still in his early 30s, the author is on the verge of completing a tour of every country on earth - he has visited more than 175 nations and yet he has never held a real job or earned a regular pay cheque. Rather, he has a special genius for turning ideas into income and he uses what he earns to support his life of adventures and pay back. There are many others like Chris. The book offers crucial insights from 50 successful entrepreneurs.
4.Book: “The Taj Conspiracy”; Written by Manpreet Sodhi Someshwar; Published by Westland Ltd; Priced at Rs.250
Mughal scholar Mehrunnisa Khosa stumbles on a conspiracy to destroy the Taj Mahal when she discovers the murder of the Taj supervisor, and the Quranic calligraphy on the tomb of Queen Mumtaz altered to suggest a Hindu origin of the Taj Mahal… That urban legend had always existed. Now, though, someone was conspiring to make it come true. In the case of the famed marble monument, all was not on the surface. A vast labyrinth ran underneath - closed to visitors - where Mehrunnisa was trapped once. In a series of suspenseful twists and turns, the action traverses from the serene splendour of Taj Mahal to the virulent warrens of Taj Ganj, from intrigue-laden corridors of Delhi to snowy Himalayan hideouts… As a right-wing Hindu party ratchets up its communal agenda and Islamic militants plot a terror attack, in the dark corners of his devious mind a “behrupiya”, a shape-shifter, is conniving to divide the nation in two.
To save the Taj Mahal, Mehrunnisa must overcome a prejudiced police and battle her inner demons as she sifts the multiple strands that lead to the conspirator.
5.Book: “Iqbal: Taking Issues & Allah’s Answers”; Written by Iqbal/Translated by Mustansir Dalvi; Published by Penguin Books India; Priced at Rs.299
When Muhammad Iqbal first recited Shikwa (Taking Issue) in 1909, his audience was enraged by his effrontery. Iqbal, in his lament, took issue with Allah directly, audaciously implicating Him for the sorry state of Muslims worldwide and ruing the lost glory of Islam.
In recompense, Iqbal composed Jawaab-e-Shikwa (Allah’s Answer) in 1913. Here, Allah responds to the poet, first berating his community, then offering hope for Islam in the world. Iqbal’s mellifluous words greatly assuaged those angered earlier. Over time, the poems have found their place in the canon of South Asian literature, and, through recitation, repetition and selective use, have forwarded a variety of agendas in the subcontinent. In this elegant translation by Mustansir Dalvi, these classics by the most influential poet of his generation come alive once again in a language that is contemporary and immediate.
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Tags: army chief, army general, army headquarters, history of pakistan, indian army, infantry battalions, islamic radicals, jaswant singh, joginder, kargil war, light infantry regiment, national defence academy, pan macmillan, radical islam, rogues gallery, sectarian groups, sepoy, sikh army, silver spoon, south asian muslims