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Books of the Week - Saturday 25th December, 2021

The Kashmir Conundrum: 
The Quest for Peace in a Troubled Land
by General N.C. Vij 

About the Book
In The Kashmir Conundrum, former Indian Army chief General N.C. Vij – who himself hails from the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir – gives the complete picture. Starting with a history of Kashmir and its people, he covers the invasion and accession of the kingdom, the wars India and Pakistan have fought, the Pulwama attack of 2019, India's surgical strike at Balakot, and the various formulae that have been tried to settle the issue, right up to the controversial abrogation of the state's special status. In doing so, he draws on his own experience of dealing with the subject closely – as DGMO during the Kargil war; as vice chief of the army during the Parliament attack of 2001; and then as the chief at a time when Pakistan-sponsored infiltration was at its peak.
Informed by a field expert's astute perspective, this is a comprehensive and up-to-date account of Kashmir from an army man who has engaged with it at the highest levels.
About the Author
General N.C. Vij was the Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army from 2003 to 2005. Previously, he was the Director General of Military Operations during the Kargil War in 1999 and was responsible for coordinating the withdrawal of Pakistani troops from the war zone. After his retirement, he set up the National Disaster Management Authority and was subsequently Director of the Vivekananda International Foundation, a New Delhi think tank.
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Book of the Week - Saturday, 18th December, 2021

Justice for the Judge: An Autobiography
by Ranjan Gogoi

About the Book
"Clear-eyed, inspiring and incisive, this is the story of a man of consummate ambition, who made a significant and lasting mark on India’s judicial landscape.
The Supreme Court of India has witnessed a succession of larger-than-life chief justices in its seven-decade history. But it has never seen the likes of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. Fiery yet charming, and simultaneously principled and pragmatic, Gogoi is a fascinating man of contrasts who has intrigued observers across the political and social spectrum.
Now, for the first time, Gogoi tells the dramatic story of his life in fascinating detail in Justice for the Judge. He traces his journey from Dibrugarh in Assam to the highest court of the land through people, landmark cases and his own judicial ambition, and reveals the lessons he learnt along the way about the country’s legal system.
Never one to shy away from contentious issues, Gogoi provides a no-holds-barred account of the extraordinary events that characterized his tenure in the apex court—the ‘infamous’ press conference prior to his elevation as the most powerful judge in the land, unsubstantiated allegations of sexual harassment and the impact of tabloid journalism.
He also takes readers through the important meetings, intense interactions and private confrontation that preceded the landmark verdicts authored by him—Rafale and the contempt proceeding initiated against Mr Rahul Gandhi, Sabarimala, NRC and Ayodhya.
Justice for the Judge is also a definitive insider’s account that fills a large gap in our understanding of the drama and majesty of the nation’s highest court. "

About the Author
" Son of a former chief minister of Assam, RANJAN GOGOI remained steadfast in the practice of law, which he chose to join after graduating from the Faculty of Law, New Delhi, in 1978. Earlier, he had spent five years in University of Delhi studying history at St Stephen’s College.
He preferred to wait for the call from the Bench instead of plunging into electoral politics, as many expected. The call came in February 2001 when he was appointed a judge of the Gauhati High Court. After serving as a judge for nearly two decades, he demitted office as the 46th Chief Justice of India on 17 November 2019.
Essentially a family man who has always kept a low profile—away from the limelight, Gogoi did not hesitate to answer life’s challenges whenever they arrived. Fiercely independent, he refused to be overawed by the series of controversial issues that had confronted him in and out of Court.
Criticized and revered in equal measure, he will be remembered for the undiluted verdicts in the Rafale and NRC cases and, of course, the litigation of the decade if not the century—the Ayodhya case."
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Books of the Week - Saturday, 11Th December, 2021

India Reckoning:
 
Rewards and Discontents of Democracy
by Dr Bimal Jalan 

About the Book
As India enters its seventy-fifth year of independence, conventional policy is unlikely to combat the breadth of its economic challenges. Across a range of areas-human capital, technology, agriculture, finance, trade, public service delivery and more-new ideas must now be on the table. The COVID-19 pandemic has not only cost India many lives and livelihoods, it has also exposed major structural weaknesses in the economy.
A huge farm and jobs crisis, rising and massive inequalities, tepid investment growth, and chronic banking sector challenges have plagued the economy, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. It has also exposed the limitations of the Indian state, which tries to control too much-and ends up stifling the economy and the inherent energies of its young population. Climate change is no longer a distant threat, while disruptive technology has huge implications for India's demographic dividend. In addition, the dangerous lurch towards majoritarianism will cast its shadow on India's pursuit of prosperity for all.
Unshackling India examines the question: Can India use the next twenty-five years, when it will reach the hundredth year of independence, to restructure not only its economy but rejuvenate its democratic energy and unshackle its potential-to become a genuinely developed economy by 2047? The book argues that India can foster a prosperous and inclusive economy if it sets its mind to it, acknowledges the hard truths, and lays out the clear choices and new ideas India must adopt towards that end.

About the Author
Ajay Chhibber is Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Institute of International Economic Policy, George Washington University, and Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council. He was Distinguished Visiting Professor at the National Institute for Public Finance and Policy and India's first Director General of Independent Evaluation with the status of Minister of State in 2013-14. From 2008-2013 he was UN Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant Administrator at UNDP. He served as the World Bank's Country Director in Turkey and Vietnam and led the 1997 World Development Report on the role of the state. He has published five books on economic development and many articles in international journals and in major newspapers. He has a PhD from Stanford University, a master's degree from the Delhi School of Economics, and has done advanced management programs at Harvard University and at INSEAD, France. He has also taught economics at Georgetown University and the University of Delhi. He won the David Rajaram Prize as best all-rounder at St. Stephens College, New Delhi.
Salman Anees Soz is an economic development consultant, author and commentator. He has extensive experience across a range of economic development issues in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. He serves as a consultant to multiple World Bank teams and was previously a consultant at the Asian Development Bank. He is a recipient of the World Bank President's Award for Excellence. His commentaries appear in a avriety of media outlets. He also speaks on politics, economics and international affairs at universities, think tanks and conferences. He is Deputy Chairman of the All India Professionals' Congress and serves as an advisor to other institutions. He holds a master's degree in business administration from Yale University, a master's degree in economics from Northeastern University, and a BA (Hons.) in economics from St. Stephen's College, where he was the president of the Students' Union Society.

Books of the the Week - Saturday, 04th December, 2021

India Reckoning: Rewards and Discontents of Democracy
by Dr Bimal Jalan 

About the Book
For Jalan, there are two clear priorities for the future: to continue and benefit from the dramatic global changes in technology, trade, and investment over the previous three decades, and to get rid of the deadweight of the past in order to maximize the benefits from our economic and political strength.
Jalan offers a blueprint for the government to launch reforms to reduce corruption and administrative bottlenecks in the delivery of services to the people, such as by
  • Reducing corruption in the administrative system
  • Improving the role of the legislative, executive and judiciary in policymaking
  • Improving governance and politics in a resurgent India and
  • Strengthening the functioning of the financial and banking sectors.
In nine succinct chapters, Jalan with his characteristic insight and brilliance, discusses a range of political and economic issues which will help India realize its full potential as one of the fastest-growing, emerging economies in the world.

About the Author
Dr. Bimal Jalan is a former Governor of the Reserve Bank. He has previously held several positions in the Government including those of Finance Secretary and Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to Prime Minister. He was also a nominated Member of Parliament from 2003 to 2009. He was Chairman of Expenditure Management Commission during year 2014-16. He also represented India on the Boards of the IMF and the World Bank. In 2019, he was the Chairman of the Committee on "Economic Capital Framework", set up by the RBI in association with government.
Bimal Jalan has been associated with a number of academic and public institutions including the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata; the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi; Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram as Chairman; and as President of National Council of Applied Economics and Research, New Delhi.
His books on India include India's Economic Crisis: The Way Ahead (1991); The Indian Economy: Problems and Prospects (1992); India's Economic Policy: Preparing for the Twenty-first Century (1996); India's Economy in the New Millennium (2002); the Future of India: Politics, Economics and Governance (2005); India's Politics: A view from the Backbench (2007); Emerging India: Economics, Politics & Reforms (2012); Politics Trumps Economics: The Interface of Economics and Politics in Contemporary India (Edited, 2014); India: Priorities for the Future (2017); India Ahead: 2025 and Beyond (2018); Resurgent India: Politics, Economics and Governance (2019); India Then and Now: An Insider's Account (2020); and India After Liberalisation: An Overview (2021).
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Books of the Week - Saturday, 27th November, 2021

Contested Lands: India, China and the Boundary Dispute 
by Maroof Raza

About the Book

The India–China border dispute, going back a century and a half, predates Independence. As complex as the issue is, it pivots on two key questions: Who does Aksai Chin belong to? Will China accept the McMahon Line—which separates it from India's north-eastern front regions—as the international border between the two countries?
Despite several attempts, the two Asian neighbours have not managed to move beyond talks and towards a resolution. Why have bilateral talks not translated into concrete measures? Is there a lack of trust between India and China? How do the individual histories of these two nations contribute to their particular aggressive stances? Are there any other players pulling the strings of this strained equation?
In Contested Lands, Maroof Raza dives deep into the history of this long-standing territorial dispute, going right to the root of the problem. Clear-sighted, measured and rigorously researched, this is a necessary addition to the literature on India–China relations.

About the Author
Maroof Raza, a former Indian Army officer, was educated in India and in the UK. He is now a well-known media commentator on global, military and security issues, and is currently the consulting editor of India’s Times TV Network (for strategic affairs), where he has hosted award-winning shows like Line of Duty and Tales of Valour. Maroof’s areas of interest include the Kashmir issue, Sino-Indian relations and insurgencies. His published works include Kashmir’s Untold Story(co-authored with Iqbal Chand Malhotra), Shourya Gatha: Bharat Ke Veer Senani (co-authored with Lt. Col. Sheodan Singh) and an anthology of essays that he co-edited, Confronting Terrorism. He has also lectured in India and abroad on India’s security challenges, and on what India should do to become a great power.
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Books of the Week - Saturday, 20th November, 2021

The Promise: Winner of the booker prize 2021 
by Damon Galgut

About the Book
The Promise charts the crash and burn of a white South African family, living on a farm outside Pretoria. The Swarts are gathering for Ma's funeral. The younger generation, Anton and Amor, detest everything the family stand for - not least the failed promise to the Black woman who has worked for them her whole life. After years of service, Salome was promised her own house, her own land... yet somehow, as each decade passes, that promise remains unfulfilled.
The narrator's eye shifts and blinks: moving fluidly between characters, flying into their dreams; deliciously lethal in its observation. And as the country moves from old deep divisions to its new so-called fairer society, the lost promise of more than just one family hovers behind the novel's title.
In this story of a diminished family, sharp and tender emotional truths hit home. Confident, deft and quietly powerful, The Promise is literary fiction at its finest. 
About the Author
Damon Galgut is the author of nine novels. He won the Booker Prize 2021 for The Promise, having been shortlisted for the prize twice before (The Good Doctor and In A Strange Room). He lives and works in Cape Town. 
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Books of the Week - Saturdauy, 13th November, 2021

The Custodian of Trust: A Banker's Memoir 
by - Rajnish Kumar 

About the Book
He was silently managing the crisis in India's banking sector then.
Now he shares these stories in his memoir.
It began from a modest house in one of the narrowest lanes of the old city of Meerut. From being a probationary officer in the State Bank of India (SBI) in 1980 to its Chairman in 2017, Rajnish Kumar had an amazingly interesting journey in which he saw the many changes in India's banking sector that greatly impacted the country and its economy.
As the Chairman of SBI, Kumar recounts, his term was rather momentous as the period-from 2017 to 2020-during which he shouldered this responsibility was rather unique under any circumstances. The Indian banking sector was going through one of its most tumultuous phases. The problem of non-performing loans (NPLs) had severely impacted the balance sheet and profitability of banks, especially those in the public sector.
In the aftermath of demonetization, the YES Bank fiasco, the crisis in Jet Airways and NPLs, among others, The Custodian of Trust is a candid memoir by the former Chairman of India's largest commercial bank. Anecdotal, engaging and evocative, this book is an unputdownable memoir of a former banker.
About the Author
With four decades of service in the State Bank of India (SBI), the country's largest commercial bank, Rajnish Kumar retired as its Chairman in October 2020. Credited with steering SBI through a very difficult period for the bank and the banking industry in India, he played a stellar role in saving YES Bank and led from the front to resolve the problems faced by many high-profile stressed assets.
An MSc in physics, Kumar is a Certified Associate of Indian Institute of Bankers (CAIIB), an avid traveller and is passionate about badminton.
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Books of the Week - Saturday, 06th November, 2021

PRIDE, PREJUDICE AND PUNDITRY 
by Shashi Tharoor 

About the Book
Shashi Tharoor is one of India’s greatest living writers. In the course of a career that has lasted more than half a century (his first short story made it into print when he was ten), he has published over five million words—in books, newspapers, magazines, journals, and online media—on a variety of subjects. Pride, Prejudice, and Punditry brings together the very best fiction, non-fiction, and poetry from his published books and journalism—as well as many pieces that have been written specially for this volume.
There are ten sections in the book, each devoted to a particular topic. ‘In the Company of Giants’ looks at some of the most important figures of modern Indian history; ‘Into the Maelstrom of Indian Politics’ contains work on the Indian political scene; ‘Our Unruly World’ covers international relations and diplomacy; ‘The Hindu Way’ examines various aspects of the faith; ‘Musings of a Cricket Tragic’ includes some of his finest writing on the sport; ‘You Cannot Be Serious!’ is a light-hearted take on sundry matters; ‘Fragments of an Autobiography’ has poignant essays about his parents and an evocative look at his Kerala heritage; ‘The Spoken Word’ is a selection of his most famous speeches; ‘The Writerly Life’ comprises ruminations on writing and writers; and ‘Selected Fiction and Poetry’ showcases his masterpieces of fiction and poetry.
This book will give those new to the author’s work a panoramic view of the range and depth of his writing. Long-time fans will find fresh material to delight them as also ageless pieces that continue to enchant. Dazzling, inventive, and exuberant, Pride, Prejudice, and Punditry presents readers with the essential work of a literary genius. 

About the Author
Shashi Tharoor is the bestselling author of over twenty books, both fiction and non-fiction, besides being a noted critic and columnist. His books include The Great Indian Novel, India: From Midnight to the Millennium and Beyond, An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India, The New World Disorder and the Indian Imperative (co-authored with Samir Saran), The Paradoxical Prime Minister: Narendra Modi and His India, The Hindu Way: An Introduction to Hinduism, and, most recently, The Battle of Belonging: On Nationalism, Patriotism, and What It Means to Be Indian.
He was a former Under Secretary-General of the United Nations and a former Minister of State for Human Resource Development and Minister of State for External Affairs in the Government of India. In his third term, he is the longest-serving member of the Lok Sabha from Thiruvananthapuram and chairs Parliament’s Standing Committee on Information Technology. He has won numerous literary awards, including the Sahitya Akademi Award, the Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Books (non-fiction), the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and the Crossword Lifetime Achievement Award. He was honoured as New Age Politician of the Year by NDTV in 2010 and won the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, India’s highest honour for overseas Indians, in 2004. 
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Books of the Week - Saturday, 30th October, 2021

The Fractured Himalaya: India Tibet China 1949-62
by - Nirupama Rao

About the Book
Why did India and China go to war in 1962? What propelled Jawaharlal Nehru's 'vision' of China? Why is
it necessary to understand the trans-Himalayan power play of India and China in the formative period
of their nationhoods? The past shadows the present in this relationship and shapes current policy options, strongly influencing public debate in India to this day.
Nirupama Rao, a former Foreign Secretary of India, unknots this intensely complex saga of the early years of the India-China relationship. As a diplomat-practitioner, Rao's telling is based not only on archival material from India, China, Britain and the United States, but also on a deep personal knowledge of China, where she served as India's Ambassador. In addition, she brings a practitioner's keen eye to the labyrinth of negotiations and official interactions that took place between the two countries from 1949 to 1962.
The Fractured Himalaya looks at the inflection points when the trajectory of diplomacy between these two nations could have course-corrected but did not. Importantly, it dwells on the strategic dilemma posed by Tibet in relations between India and China-a dilemma that is far from being resolved. The question of Tibet is closely interwoven into the fabric of this history. It also turns the searchlight on the key personalities involved-Jawaharlal Nehru, Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and the 14th Dalai Lama-and their interactions as the tournament of those years was played out, moving step by closer step to the conflict of 1962.

About the Author
Nirupama Menon Rao is a former Indian Foreign Secretary (2009-2011) and was Ambassador of India to China (2006-2009) and to the United States (2011-2013). She was High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka from 2004 to 2006 and also served as Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs from 2001 to 2002. During her diplomatic career, she spent significant time working on the bilateral relationship between India and China and specialized on the history and problems concerning the India-China border, and the question of Tibet. In retirement, she has taught at Brown and Columbia Universities, and was a Pacific Leadership Fellow at the University of California at San Diego. She is currently a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington D.C. Rao is also the founder of the South Asian Symphony Orchestra, a project to promote dialogue and habits of cooperation among young South Asians and the South Asian diaspora, through music.
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Books of the Week - Saturday, 23rd October, 2021

The Nutmeg's Curse:
Parables for a Planet in Crisis
by Amitav Ghosh 

About the Book

Before the 18th century, every single nutmeg in the world originated around a group of small volcanic islands east of Java, known as the Banda Islands. As the nutmeg made its way across the known world, they became immensely valuable - in 16th century Europe, just a handful could buy a house. It was not long before European traders became conquerors, and the indigenous Bandanese communities - and the islands themselves - would pay a high price for access to this precious commodity. Yet the bloody fate of the Banda Islands forewarns of a threat to our present day.
Amitav Ghosh argues that the nutmeg's violent trajectory from its native islands is revealing of a wider colonial mindset which justifies the exploitation of human life and the natural environment, and which dominates geopolitics to this day.
Written against the backdrop of the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests, and interweaving discussions on everything from climate change, the migrant crisis, and the animist spirituality of indigenous communities around the world, The Nutmeg's Curse offers a sharp critique of Western society, and reveals the profoundly remarkable ways in which human history is shaped by non-human forces.
About the Author
Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta in 1956. He grew up in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India. He studied at the universities of Delhi and Oxford and published the first of eight novels, The Circle of Reason, in 1986. The first novel in his Ibis trilogy, Sea of Poppies, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He received the Jnanpith Award in 2018.
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Books of the Week - Saturday, 16th October. 2021

Veer Savarkar: The Man Who Could Have Prevented Partition
by Uday Mahurkar  & Chirayu Pandit 
About the Book
If India looks forward to its 75th year of Independence, it is also looking at 75 years of the country’s partition. Perhaps the biggest human tragedy of the twentieth century, it was marked by unparalleled violence that was suppressed by interested parties for their own political and ideological reasons. In the analysis of the real factors that led to Partition lies the lesson to protect India’s unity and integrity, as exemplified by the relentless but unsuccessful attempt by Veer Savarkar to prevent the birth of Pakistan.
Arguably the greatest symbol of India’s national integration, Savarkar’s warnings on the threats to India’s security have come true in the past seven decades. Veer Savarkar: The Man Who Could Have Prevented Partition uncovers Savarkar, the thinker and the father of India’s national security who has shown the best possible pathway towards one nation that rises above religious, caste and regional feelings. It also proves the falsity of charges levelled against Savarkar from time to time and exposes the motives behind them. It reveals, for the first time, the manner in which the Narendra Modi-led government has implemented Savarkar’s national security and diplomatic vision.
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Books of the Week - Saturday, 09th October, 2021

India vs UK: The Story of an Unprecedented Diplomatic Win
by - Syed Akbaruddin

About the Book
From the revolt of 1857 and the freedom movement to duels on the cricket pitch, India and the United Kingdom have been on opposing sides on numerous occasions. A less known instance when this dynamic played out was the 2017 election for a seat on the International Court of Justice.
Unwilling at first, India was prompted to enter the ring in the wake of the Kulbhushan Jadhav case. The contest that followed proved to be a 'second war of Independence' in the words of then foreign minister Sushma Swaraj - and a David-and-Goliath fight against the permanent members of the Security Council, who all put their might behind the UK.
Syed Akbaruddin, India's Permanent Representative to the UN at the time, presents a behind-the-scenes account of India's coming-of-age in world affairs through the prism of this momentous election.

About the Author
Syed Akbaruddin has been amongst the most visible faces of Indian diplomacy in recent times. In a diplomatic career spanning thirty-five years, he spent more than a decade engaged in multilateral diplomacy―both as an Indian diplomat and an international civil servant. He served as India’s Permanent Representative to the UN from 2016 till his retirement from the Indian Foreign Service in 2020. Now the Dean of the Kautilya School of Public Policy, he lives in Hyderabad with his wife, Padma Akbaruddin.
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Books of the Week - 2nd October, 2021

My Life in Full: Work, Family, and Our Future 
by Indra K. Nooyi 

About the Book
An intimate and powerful memoir by the trailblazing former CEO of PepsiCo
For a dozen years as one of the world's most admired CEOs, Indra Nooyi redefined what it means to be an exceptional leader. The first woman of colour and immigrant to run a Fortune 50 company – and one of the foremost strategic thinkers of our time – she transformed PepsiCo with a unique vision, a vigorous pursuit of excellence, and a deep sense of purpose. Now, in a rich memoir brimming with grace, grit, and good humour, My Life in Full offers a first-hand view of Nooyi's legendary career and the sacrifices it so often demanded.
Nooyi takes us through the events that shaped her, from her childhood and early education in 1960s India, to the Yale School of Management, to her rise as a corporate consultant and strategist who soon ascended into the most senior executive ranks. The book offers an inside look at PepsiCo, and Nooyi's thinking as she steered the iconic American company toward healthier products and reinvented its environmental profile, despite resistance at every turn. For the first time and in raw detail, Nooyi also lays bare the difficulties that came with managing her demanding job with a growing family, and what she learned along the way. She makes a clear, actionable, urgent call for business and government to prioritize the care ecosystem, paid leave and work flexibility, and a convincing argument for how improving company and community support for young family builders will unleash the economy's full potential.
Generous, authoritative, and grounded in lived experience, My Life in Full is the story of an extraordinary leader's life, a moving tribute to the relationships that created it, and a blueprint for 21st century prosperity.

About the Author
indra K. Nooyi served as CEO and chairman of PepsiCo from 2006 to 2019. Her prescient strategic thinking, insight into consumer behaviour, and wisdom on managing a vast, global workforce make her one of the world's most sought-after advisors to entrepreneurs, executives, and governments. She is also revered as a role model for women and immigrants, and celebrated for her empowering messages on inclusivity. She is also the first female independent director of the International Cricket Council. Nooyi has been awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's third-highest civilian honour, and the U.S. State Department's award for Outstanding American by Choice, and has received 15 honorary degrees, including an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Yale University in 2019. She is married to Raj Nooyi and has two daughters, Preetha and Tara.
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Books of the Week - Saturday, 25th September, 2021

Home in the World: A Memoir
by - Amartya Sen 

About the Book
Where is 'home'? For Amartya Sen home has been many places - Dhaka in modern Bangladesh where he grew up, the village of Santiniketan where he was raised by his grandparents as much as by his parents, Calcutta where he first studied economics and was active in student movements, and Trinity College, Cambridge, to which he came aged nineteen.
Sen brilliantly recreates the atmosphere in each of these. Central to his formation was the intellectually liberating school in Santiniketan founded by Rabindranath Tagore (who gave him his name Amartya) and enticing conversations in the famous Coffee House on College Street in Calcutta. As an undergraduate at Cambridge, he engaged with many of the leading figures of the day. This is a book of ideas - especially Marx, Keynes and Arrow - as much as of people and places.
In one memorable chapter, Sen evokes 'the rivers of Bengal' along which he travelled with his parents between Dhaka and their ancestral villages. The historic culture of Bengal is wonderfully explored, as is the political inflaming of Hindu-Muslim hostility and the resistance to it. In 1943, Sen witnessed the Bengal famine and its disastrous development. Some of Sen's family were imprisoned for their opposition to British rule: not surprisingly, the relationship between Britain and India is another main theme of the book. Forty-five years after he first arrived at 'the Gates of Trinity', one of Britain's greatest intellectual foundations, Sen became its Master.
About the Author
Amartya Sen is Professor of Economics and Professor of Philosophy at Harvard. He was Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, from 1998 to 2004, and won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1998. His many celebrated books including Development as Freedom (1999), The Argumentative Indian (2005), Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny (2007), and The Idea of Justice (2010), have been translated into more than 40 languages. In 2012 he received the National Humanities Medal from President Obama and in 2020 he was awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade by President Steinmeier.
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The Books of the Week - Saturday, 18th September, 2021

The Violence in our Bones : 
Mapping the Deadly Fault Lines within Indian Society
by - Neera Chandhoke

About the Book

The Buddha, Ashoka, Gandhi—the three greatest Indians who ever lived—were emblematic of non-violence. Yet, paradoxically, their country of origin is one of the most violent places on earth. Do ‘we, the people of India’ have violence in our bones? This work explores different aspects of our society to answer the question. Despite a blood-soaked Partition coupled with many other challenges that all emerging democracies have had to negotiate, India’s record in upholding the democratic values enshrined in its Constitution has been impressive. Yet, violence remains an inextricable part of everyday life. Parts of the country are rocked by ‘low-intensity’ operations against various insurgencies. Our society is also scarred by caste violence, communal riots, and viciousness against women, children, the transgender community, and minorities. The country’s large size, a highly differentiated population, uneven economic development, linguistic differences, regional imbalances, class and caste hierarchies, the politicizing of religious identities, appropriation of tribal lands, agrarian distress, joblessness, poverty, and deep inequality all breed frustration. Violence underlies almost every social and political interaction within Indian society, from the violence of everyday life to the brutal actions of the state or those ranged against the state. The Violence in Our Bones maps the assorted kinds of violence in India, and explores why, even as a successful democracy, violence continues to be endemic in the nation.

About the Author
Neera Chandhoke taught Political Science at the University of Delhi. She is a Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Equity Studies, Delhi. She writes about civil society, secularism, revolutionary violence, and democracy. Her latest work is Rethinking Pluralism, Secularism and Tolerance: Anxieties of Coexistence.
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Books of the Week - Saturday, 11th September, 2021

The Silent Coup: A History of India's Deep State
by - Josy Joseph 

About the Book

‘They were not expected to behave like the terrorists they were hunting. Even in the thickest fog of war, the law-abider and the law-breaker must be distinguished.’
India is justly proud of a parliamentary democracy that has never been threatened by a military coup. No mean feat in a neighbourhood where coups are common and notions of constitutionality shaky. However, for decades now, India’s democratic standing has been steadily declining. An international analysis recently rated the country as only ‘partly free’, while another deemed it an ‘electoral autocracy’.
Josy Joseph investigates this decline and comes away with a key insight: that the process of confronting militancy has warped the system. As insurgencies erupted across India, and grew increasingly more sophisticated in the 1980s and ’90s, the security establishment struggled to keep up. Increasingly overwhelmed, the police forces, intelligence agencies, federal investigation agencies, tax departments and the like came up with ingenious—at times sinister—solutions: from faking and framing evidence to staging massive terror attacks and even creating terrorist organisations. Over time, militancy became a flourishing, multi-faceted business enterprise.
From the Kashmiri militancy to the Sri Lankan civil war, from the attack on Mumbai to the long-term unrest in the Northeast, India’s ‘war on terror’ has made its security institutions more nationalistic and chauvinistic and, inevitably, more corrupt. Most dangerously, there is a near-complete capture of the security apparatus, whether investigative agencies, police or intelligence, by the political executive—serving as stormtroopers with no accountability, rather than as defenders of the Constitution.
The result of more than two decades of reporting on insurgencies, terrorism and the security establishment, The Silent Coup is a wake-up call to the nation. You do not need a military coup to subvert democracy, Joseph says—in India, it has already been subverted.
About the Author
Josy Joseph is a writer-journalist based in New Delhi, and founder of Confluence Media, a platform-agnostic investigative journalism outfit. His first book, A Feast of Vultures: The Hidden Business of Democracy in India, won the 2017 Crossword Award for the best non-fiction book.
He has won several awards for his journalism, including the Prem Bhatia Trust’s ‘India’s best political reporter’ in 2010 and the ‘Journalist of the Year’ Ramnath Goenka award in 2013. The Prem Bhatia trust citation said the award was ‘for his scoops and revelations, which include a list of scams that have become familiar names in the political lexicon’. Josy has exposed some of India’s biggest scandals—among them, the Mumbai Adarsh Housing scam and the 2010 Commonwealth Games scams—and his stories have played a significant role in impacting the country’s social and political narrative.
He was the National Security Editor of The Hindu newspaper until August 2018, when he left to start Confluence Media. Previously, he has also worked with The Times of India as its Editor, Special Projects, Daily News and Analysis (DNA) as an Associate Editor, and several other mainstream publications.
At Confluence Media, Josy is experimenting with creating a commercially viable, scalable, quality journalism outfit.
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Books of the Week - Saturday, 4th September, 2021

Star Gazing: The Players in My Life  
by Ravi Shastri
About the Book
From being Champion of Champions to one of the world's top cricket commentators to Team India's head coach, Ravi Shastri has an incomparable perspective when it comes to the game of cricket. In Stargazing: The Players in My Life, the legendary all-rounder looks back at the extraordinary talent he has encountered over the years.
Who is the former Indian captain who didn't do full justice to his talent? Or that bruising bowler who went on to become a best friend? What was the most important lesson the legendary Clive Llyod taught him? How does Shastri set aside his personal bond with Virat Kohli in his role as coach?
Full of never-before-revealed anecdotes, Stargazing, co-written with Ayaz Memon and featuring illustrations by Shiva Rao, offers a glimpse into how champions from across the globe have inspired one of the world's greatest ODI players and Team India's most successful Test cricket coach.
About the Author
Ravishankar Jayadritha Shastri is an Indian cricket coach, former commentator, cricketer and current head coach of the India’s national cricket team. As a player, he played for the India national cricket team between 1981 and 1992 in both Tests and ODIs.
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Books of the Week - Saturday, 28th August, 2021

India that is Bharat :  Coloniality, Civilisation, Constitution   
by - J Sai Deepak

About the Book
 
India, That Is Bharat, the first book of a comprehensive trilogy, explores the influence of European 'colonial consciousness' (or 'coloniality'), in particular its religious and racial roots, on Bharat as the successor state to the Indic civilisation and the origins of the Indian Constitution. It lays the foundation for its sequels by covering the period between the Age of Discovery, marked by Christopher Columbus' expedition in 1492, and the reshaping of Bharat through a British-made constitution-the Government of India Act of 1919. This includes international developments leading to the founding of the League of Nations by Western powers that tangibly impacted this journey.
Further, this work also traces the origins of seemingly universal constructs such as 'toleration', 'secularism' and 'humanism' to Christian political theology. Their subsequent role in subverting the indigenous Indic consciousness through a secularised and universalised Reformation, that is, constitutionalism, is examined. It also puts forth the concept of Middle Eastern coloniality, which preceded its European variant and allies with it in the context of Bharat to advance their shared antipathy towards the Indic worldview. In order to liberate Bharat's distinctive indigeneity, 'decoloniality' is presented as a civilisational imperative in the spheres of nature, religion, culture, history, education, language and, crucially, in the realm of constitutionalism.
About the Author
J. Sai Deepak is an engineer-turned-litigator, practising as an arguing counsel primarily before the Supreme Court of India and the High Court of Delhi. A mechanical engineer from Anna University, he graduated with a bachelor's degree in law from IIT Kharagpur's Law School in 2009, and has carved a niche for himself as a litigator in civil commercial and constitutional matters. Over the years, he has been part of several landmark matters, such as the ones relating to the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple, the Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple and Basmati Geographical Indications. In 2019, he was awarded the Young Alumni Achiever's Award by his alma mater IIT Kharagpur. Apart from delivering lectures on constitutional issues, he is a prolific writer for leading newspapers and magazines.
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Books of the Week - Saturday, 21st August, 2021

The Great Hindu Civilisation 
Achievement, Neglect, Bias and the Way Forward 
by Pavan K. Varma 
About the Book
‘The fact that a great Hindu civilisation existed, and continues to exist, is not in doubt. It is marked by great antiquity, substantial—even unprecedented—refinements, audacity of thought, and achievements both in the spiritual and secular realms. This does not mean it is unblemished, and objectivity demands that the blemishes too must be taken into account. Nor does it mean that it evolved in an insular silo or untouched by outside influences. On the contrary. And yet, this intermingling has not diluted or erased its essential identity as a verifiable civilisation. Unlike many other great civilisations of the past, the Hindu civilisation has not become a historical relic, an antiquary of the past, but has survived as an unbroken continuum to the present.
‘It is important to know more about this civilisation, most of all for Hindus themselves. The civilisation faces a rather unfortunate paradox. On the one hand, it is notable for its resilience and continuity, and its spillover into every aspect of a Hindu’s life; and, on the other, Hindus themselves show little real curiosity or interest in knowing more about it. This indifference is a matter of concern, not least because, if Hindus do not know about their own civilisational legacy, their authenticity as Hindus—based on knowledge—is stunted and reduced to ritualistic tokenism.’ —from the Introduction
About the Author
Diplomat-writer Pavan K. Varma is the author of several best-selling books including The Great Indian Middle Class, Being Indian, Adi Shankaracharya: Hinduism’s Greatest Thinker and The Greatest Ode to Lord Ram: Tulsidas’s Ramcharitmanas. He was an MP in the Rajya Sabha between 2014 and 2016. Earlier, he was Advisor to the Chief Minister of Bihar, with the rank of Cabinet minister. He was India’s Ambassador in several countries including Bhutan, also Director of the Nehru Centre in London, Official Spokesperson of the MEA, and Press Secretary to the President of India. He was conferred an Honorary Doctoral Degree for his contribution to the fields of diplomacy, literature, culture and aesthetics by the University of Indianapolis in 2005. He was also conferred the Druk Thuksey, Bhutan’s highest civilian award, by His Majesty the King of Bhutan in 2012. In 2018, on the instructions of His Holiness the Shankaracharya of Sringeri, he was conferred an Honorary Doctorate by Sri Sharada Institute of Indian Managemen. He is currently a Distinguished Professor at Symbiosis International University. He is also a well-known columnist and TV personality.
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Books of the Week - Saturday, 14th August, 2021

 The Owl Delivered The Good News 
All Night Long: 
Folk Tales, Legends And Modern Lore Of India 
By - Lopamudra Maitra Bajpai

About the Book

From Jammu and Kashmir in the North to the Andaman and Nicobar islands in the South, from Dadra and Nagar havens and Daman and diu in the West to Arunachal Pradesh in the east, and all the other states and Union territories of India in between, here are 108 fabulous folk tales, legends, and stories from more than fifty-seven languages and dialects. You will delight in wondrous tales of heroes and heroines, of ordinary men and women, of wicked mothers-in-law and foolish sons-in-law, of love lost and won, of a tree who loved a girl, of seers and wise men, of chudails, werewolves, and wizards, of a Potter girl and the divine cow, of demoiselle cranes and humans transforming into elephants, of how the Woodpecker got its Crest, and much, much more. Startlingly original, brilliant, wise, and often funny, these stories will delight readers of all ages.
About the Author
Lopamudra Maitra Bajpai is a visual anthropologist, author, and columnist. She works on history, popular culture, and the intangible cultural heritage (ICH) of India and South Asia. She was recently deputed as the Culture Specialist (Research) at the SAARC Cultural Centre, Colombo, Sri Lanka, and has also been a Research Grant Fellow of the Indian High Commission, Sri Lanka. A former Assistant Professor from Symbiosis International Deemed University, Pune, she continues to teach at universities in India and abroad.
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Books of the Week - Saturday, 07th August, 2021

Song of Draupadi 
By Ira Mukhoty 

 About the Book
The Mahabharat is renowned for its great battles, heroic men, and gods walking the pathways of mortals. However, the beating heart of the epic is often forgotten—the stories of its women. Many of these exceptional women appear in Song of Draupadi—the indomitable Satyavati, the otherworldly Ganga, the indestructible Kunti, and the tenacious Gandhari—but the passionate and fiery Draupadi rises above them all to grip the imagination of the reader.
Born of a dangerous sacrifice, Draupadi and her brother Drishtadumna are called forth to avenge Drona’s insult to their father. While Drishtadumna is expected to kill Drona on the battlefield, Draupadi’s role is not set out, but she dreams of fire and blood. From beloved daughter and princess of Panchala to wife of the brave Pandavas and queen of Indraprastha, Draupadi finds herself exiled to the forest, humiliated and determined on vengeance. The novel is a symphony, in several keys, of her voice and those of the other women around her—arguing, pleading, reasoning, and often raised in righteous anger.

About the Author
Ira Mukhoty is the author of Akbar: The Great Mughal, Daughters of the Sun: Empresses, Queens and Begums of the Mughal Empire and Heroines: Powerful Indian Women in Myth and History. Living in one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, she developed an interest in the evolution of mythology and history, the erasure of women from these histories, and the continuing relevance this has on the status of women in India. She writes rigorously researched narrative histories that are accessible to the lay reader. She lives in Gurgaon with her husband and two daughters. Song of Draupadi is her first novel.
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