Books to look for­ward to in Dec

The Hitavada - - PASTIME - ■ By Saket Su­man

IT'S THE last month of 2018, a year that saw the re­lease of sev­eral im­pres­sive nov­els and non­fic­tion works on sub­jects of con­tem­po­rary in­ter­est. De­cem­ber will ring the fi­nal bell be­fore the ar­rival of lit­er­ary fes­ti­vals, and these new of­fer­ings across var­i­ous sub­jects and tastes will keep you com­pany. If po­lit­i­cal books are mak­ing much noise lately, brace for some more as for­mer Prime Minister Man­mo­han Singh, who is on a spree of re­leas­ing books crit­i­cal of the rul­ing dis­pen­sa­tion, will be pub­lish­ing Chang­ing In­dia, a unique se­ries chron­i­cling the coun­try's chang­ing econ­omy and polity over seven decades. This set of five vol­umes of­fers a se­lec­tion of his writ­ings, speeches, in­ter­views and press con­fer­ences from his days in academia dur­ing the 1950s, through his ca­reer in the civil ser­vice dur­ing the 1970s and 1980s, as In­dia's Fi­nance Minister in the early 1990s and as Prime Minister of In­dia from 2004 to 2014.

Pub­lished by Ox­ford Univer­sity Press (OUP), the up­com­ing se­ries is said to re­veal the evo­lu­tion of Man­mo­han Singh's thought, lead­ing to the rad­i­cal re­forms of the early 1990s that trans­formed the In­dian econ­omy and placed it on a tra­jec­tory of high growth. The pub­lisher in­formed IANS that Singh has pro­vided in­sights into cru­cial so­cial, eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal is­sues of na­tional and in­ter­na­tional im­por­tance, and has ar­tic­u­lated his vi­sion for In­dia and the world.

Read­ers of mythol­ogy will not be dis­ap­pointed as Dev­dutt Pat­tanaik, who has au­thored over 30 books on sub­jects re­lated to an­cient In­dian scrip­tures and mythol­ogy, is re­turn­ing with a new book. It is a pop­u­lar be­lief that the Ra­mayana is ide­al­is­tic while the Ma­hab­harata is re­al­is­tic.

“Yet these two epics have iden­ti­cal build­ing blocks, iden­ti­cal themes, and iden­ti­cal his­tory,” be­lieves Pat­tanaik, who in Ra­mayana vs Ma­hab­harata,

ex­plores the sim­i­lar­i­ties and dis­sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween the two epics in a ‘play­ful anal­y­sis’ ac­com­pa­nied by his sig­na­ture il­lus­tra­tions.

Whether it is the fam­ily struc­ture, for­est ex­ile, or war, the com­par­i­son be­tween the two epics, its pub­lisher Rupa said, proves a star­tling point -- that the Ma­hab­harata is in fact a re­ac­tion to the events in the Ra­mayana.

Why I Am a Liberal: A Man­i­festo for In­di­ans Who Be­lieve in In­di­vid­ual Free­dom, by Sa­garika Ghose, will ask its read­ers whether they are liberal, or dis­like lib­er­als. It ar­gues that what­ever the case may be, the liberal is at the cen­tre of pub­lic de­bate to­day.

“From dis­cus­sions on na­tion­al­ism to re­li­gion, free­dom of speech, free­dom to dis­sent and women's rights, the liberal is re­garded as a cru­cial voice. How­ever, once in­flu­en­tial, the In­dian liberal is un­der at­tack from many who feel lib­er­als have got it all wrong. Lib­er­als stand for in­di­vid­ual free­doms and ar­gue against Big Gov­ern­ments. Yet, to­day, are in­di­vid­ual free­doms such as the right to eat, wor­ship, dress, love, marry, set up busi­nesses, free speech, have opin­ions, read and write what you want in se­ri­ous dan­ger? Is the dom­i­nance of a Big Gov­ern­ment or Big State stamp­ing out in­di­vid­ual free­dom in an un­prece­dented man­ner?” asks Ghose. The au­thor shows how deep liberal tra­di­tions in In­dia are and how the found­ing vi­sion of In­dia was a thor­oughly liberal one. This is a com­pelling and thought-pro­vok­ing book, a book one might want to read to know about in­di­vid­ual free­doms.

And then there is A Ru­ral Man­i­festo: Re­al­is­ing In­dia's Fu­ture through Her Vil­lages, by

Varun Gandhi. The book, pub­lished by Rupa amidst a na­tional con­ver­sa­tion on ru­ral dis­tress, high­lights the po­ten­tial solutions to putting the vil­lage econ­omy on an even keel, while ex­plor­ing how the vast ma­jor­ity of In­dia ekes out a liv­ing.

“In this heart­felt and timely book, cover­ing facets of the In­dian ru­ral econ­omy, Feroze Varun Gandhi shines a bright light on the tra­vails of the mar­ginal farmer and asks search­ing ques­tions on why the ru­ral econ­omy re­mains in dol­drums, six decades af­ter In­de­pen­dence,” the pub­lisher said.

The book is said to ex­plore ru­ral In­dia's in­nate per­se­ver­ance and high­light po­ten­tial solutions in de­vel­op­ment pol­icy with a fo­cus on mak­ing the ru­ral econ­omy re­silient. Where Some Things Are Re­mem­bered: Pro­files And Con­ver­sa­tions - Dom

Moraes, edited by Sarayu Sri­vat­sava, will em­pha­sise that Dom Moraes was not only one of In­dia's great­est po­ets, but also an ex­tra­or­di­nary jour­nal­ist and es­say­ist. He could cap­ture essence of peo­ple he met, and in ev­ery sin­gle pro­file in this col­lec­tion he shows how it is done. “The Dalai Lama laughs with him and Mother Teresa teaches him a les­son in em­pa­thy. Moraes could make him­self at home with Lalu Prasad Ya­dav, the man who in­vented the self-ful­fill­ing con­tro­versy, and ex­change writerly notes with Su­nil Gan­gopad­hyaya. He was Indira Gandhi's bi­og­ra­pher -- paint­ing her in de­feat, post-Emer­gency, and in tri­umph, when she re­turned to power. He tried to fathom the mind of a mys­te­ri­ous ‘su­per cop’ -- K.P.S. Gill -and also of Nax­alites, da­coits and gan­glo­rds,” pub­lisher Speak­ing Tiger said, giv­ing a back­round of the book.

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