Excitement on bookshelf with arms, new writers and history (IANS Books This Week)

November 11th, 2010 - 6:03 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 11 (IANS) Spend the weekend with a load of exciting and profound books.

1. Book: “Arming Without Aiming”; Written by Stephen P. Cohen and Sunil Dasgupta; Published by Penguin-Viking; Priced at Rs.499

India’s growing affluence has led experts to predict major re-armament effort. The second most populous nation in the world is beginning to wield the economic power expected of such a behemoth. Its border with Pakistan is a tinderbox — the sub-continent remains vulnerable to religious extremism and a military confrontation between India and China could erupt in the future. India’s armed forces want new weapons worth more than $100 billion.

But most of these arms must come from foreign suppliers due to the failure of India’s indigenous research and development. Against this backdrop, the book probes India’s military modernisation to find lack of direction and organised planning.

2. Book: “First Proof: The Penguin Book of New Writing”; Compiled by Penguin-India; Published by Penguin-India; Priced at Rs.250

In the sixth volume, the selection of new writings includes essays, short stories, poems, memoirs and ethnographies and profiles. The reader will discover exciting first-time writers and come across familiar names in writings in new genres and outstanding translations.

Some of the writers who have contributed to the volume are Annu Jalais, Anindita Ghose, Anis Kidwai, Sunanda K. Dutta-Ray, Andre Beteille, Sonia Faleiro, and Annie Zaidi, among others.

3. Book: “Mansuri Macabre”; Written by Sudhir Thapliyal; Published by Westland Limited; Priced at Rs.250

In Barrackpore near Calcutta, three men with good reason to escape their past come together and decide to disappear in the wily world of godmen. The artful charlatans converge on the holy city of Allahabad to prey on the insecurities of the pious.

The journey does not stop here - the picturesque Mansuri captures their fancy where they set a grand money-laundering ashram and weave a web of sleaze, crime, greed and deception.

4. Book: “Dara Shukoh - A Play” ; Written by Gopal Gandhi (Reprint); Published by Westland/Tranquebar Ltd; Priced at Rs.250

Gopal Gandhi’s wonderfully moving and insightful tragedy elegantly revisits one of Indian history’s greatest what-if moments making us ask how different things might have been if the heterodox mystic Dara Shukoh rather than the puritanical bigot Aurangzeb had won the civil war and led India.

Would Islam and Hinduism been able to bridge the divide?

5. Book: “Nightrunners of Bengal”; Written by John Masters (Reprint); Published by Penguin-India; Priced at Rs.350

First published in 1951, only four years after the end of the British Raj and a prequel to Bhavani Junction, the writer recreates the horror of the great revolt of 1857.

Captain Rodney Savage of the 13th Rifles of the Bengal Native Infantry celebrates the start of 1857 with his wife and friends in the cantonment of Bhowani, but the mutiny tears their lives apart. Savage’s wife and family are killed in the outbreak and Savage escapes the outbreak with his infant son and Caroline Langford - a visitor from England.

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