by Salman Rushdie
About the book: Time Magazine's Best Book of the YearBooker Prize-winning author Salman Rushdie combines a ferociously witty family saga with a surreally imagined and sometimes blasphemous chronicle of modern India and flavors the mixture with peppery soliloquies on art, ethnicity, religious fanaticism, and the terrifying power of love. Moraes "Moor" Zogoiby, the last surviving scion of a dynasty of Cochinese spice merchants and crime lords, is also a compulsive storyteller and an exile. As he travels a route that takes him from India to Spain, he leaves behind a tale of mad passions and volcanic family hatreds, of titanic matriarchs and their mesmerized offspring, of premature deaths and curses that strike beyond the grave.
by Salman Rushdie
About the book: Just before dawn one winter’s morning, a hijacked aeroplane blows apart high above the English Channel and two figures tumble, clutched in an embrace, towards the sea: Gibreel Farishta, India’s legendary movie star, and Saladin Chamcha, the man of a thousand voices. Washed up, alive, on an English beach, their survival is a miracle. But there is a price to pay. Gibreel and Saladin have been chosen as opponents in the eternal wrestling match between Good and Evil. But chosen by whom? And which is which? And what will be the outcome of their final confrontation?
by Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions Wendy Doniger,Doniger
About the book: An engrossing and definitive narrative account of history and myth that offers a new way of understanding one of the world's oldest major religions, The Hindus elucidates the relationship between recorded history and imaginary worlds. Hinduism does not lend itself easily to a strictly chronological account: many of its central texts cannot be reliably dated even within a century; its central tenets karma, dharma, to name just two arise at particular moments in Indian history and differ in each era, between genders, and caste to caste; and what is shared among Hindus is overwhelmingly outnumbered by the things that are unique to one group or another. Yet the greatness of Hinduism - its vitality, its earthiness, its vividness - lies precisely in many of those idiosyncratic qualities that continue to inspire debate today. Wendy Doniger is one of the foremost scholars of Hinduism in the world. With her inimitable insight and expertise Doniger illuminates those moments within the tradition that resist forces that would standardize or establish a canon. Without reversing or misrepresenting the historical hierarchies, she reveals how Sanskrit and vernacular sources are rich in knowledge of and compassion toward women and lower castes; how they debate tensions surrounding religion, violence, and tolerance; and how animals are the key to important shifts in attitudes toward different social classes. The Hindus brings a fascinating multiplicity of actors and stories to the stage to show how brilliant and creative thinkers - many of them far removed from Brahmin authors of Sanskrit texts - have kept Hinduism alive in ways that other scholars have not fully explored. In this unique and authoritative account, debates about Hindu traditions become platforms from which to consider the ironies, and overlooked epiphanies, of history.
by Jaswant Singh
About the book: The issues concerning the Partition of India in 1947 have long been debated both by Indian and Pakistani historians, but now a leader directly responsible for the Defence and Foreign Affairs of India has come forward with a historical appraisal that helps both countries come to a better understanding of the contentions between them. Jaswant Singh has not written a hagiography of Jinnah, but focused on him as a key figure in the final deliberations preceding Independence.
by Taslima Nasrin,Anchita Ghatak (Tr.)
About the book: A savage indictment of religious extremism and man’s inhumanity to man, Lajja was banned in Bangladesh, but became a bestseller in the rest of the world. The Duttas—Sudhamoy and Kironmoyee, and their children, Suranjan and Maya— have lived in Bangladesh all their lives. Despite being members of a small, vulnerable Hindu community, they refuse to leave their country, unlike most of their friends and relatives. Sudhamoy believes with a naive mix of optimism and idealism that his motherland will not let him down. And then, on 6 December 1992, the Babri Masjid is demolished. The world condemns the incident, but its immediate fallout is felt most acutely in Bangladesh, where Muslim mobs begin to seek out and attack Hindus. The nightmare inevitably arrives at the Duttas’ doorstep, and their world begins to fall apart.
by V.S. Naipaul
About the book: THE FIRST BOOK IN V.S. NAIPAUL’S ACCLAIMED INDIAN TRILOGY – WITH A NEW PREFACE BY THE AUTHOR An Area of Darkness is V. S. Naipaul’s semi-autobiographical account – at once painful and hilarious, but always thoughtful and considered – of his first visit to India, the land of his forebears. He was twenty-nine years old; he stayed for a year. From the moment of his inauspicious arrival in Prohibition-dry Bombay, bearing whisky and cheap brandy, he experienced a cultural estrangement from the subcontinent. It became for him a land of myths, an area of darkness closing up behind him as he travelled . . . The experience was not a pleasant one, but the pain the author suffered was creative rather than numbing, and engendered a masterful work of literature that provides a revelation both of India and of himself: a displaced person who paradoxically possesses a stronger sense of place than almost anyone. ‘Brilliant’ Observer ‘His narrative skill is spectacular. One returns with pleasure to the slow hand-in-hand revelations of both India and himself’ The Times
by Hamish McDonald
About the book: Dhirubhai Ambani's life is a rags-to-riches story, from Bombay's crowded pavements and bazaars to the city's extravagantly wealthy social circles where business tycoons, stockmarket speculators, smugglers, politicians and Hindi film stars mingle, make money, make and break marriages and carry out prolonged feuds. This is the story of a rising capitalist group in post-independence India. Until the arrival of Ambani, and now more like him, India's big business scene was dominated by a few industrial houses from British times. Ambani's Reliance group has risen to rival these houses in just 26 years since its foundation. By 1995, the group had 2.6 million investors, one in every eight Indian sharemarket investors, and is now so large that it has to hold its annual general meetings in football stadiums. Along with expansion, however, have come the intricate political connections, a whole raft of corruption charges and a rollercoaster of booms and crashes for Ambani and his company. This study shows how capitalism emerges by fair means and foul in the new industrial countries of the Third World and explores the life of an Asian tycoon.
by Frank Richards
About the book: From the author of the celebrated Great War memoir Old Soldiers Never Die, Old Soldier Sahib is Frank Richards' account of his experiences as a Royal Welch Fusilier in India and Burma at the dawn of the 20th century. Richards recounts with brutal honesty the everyday life of a common soldier in the Indian Empire, where prostitutes beckon, alcohol flows freely, and deadly diseases threaten to strike down even the hardiest of men.