Category Archives: Politics

Think With Me by Saharasri Subroto Roy Sahara #BookReview

think withme

 

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Rupa Publications India; Latest edition (10 November 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8129142252
  • ISBN-13: 978-8129142252

This is a nice attempt at creating a discussion on making an ideal country. To that extent, Think with me makes a valiant effort to look back or sometimes look within the system and try to get some answers.

Here the author takes five important topics, if Indian decides on these it might lead to a new transition of sorts and would make the country an ideal nation. The topics are

1. Electoral system & Leadership
2. Population
3. Education System
4. Media
5. Religion

Here there is a concerted effort to take the discussion seriously but then we need to see if they can be effective, and it needs so much of real work on the ground and needs some constitutional amendment and that is not easy.

The best part if you ask me is the topics which has been chosen and they very largely contribute to what you see in the country whether good or bad.

The Electoral system still can be autonomous and I remember when TN Seshan then Chief Election Commissioner brought about the changes with implementation. Till then no one knew that EC had such powers and it can be the master when it comes to conducting elections. Since then there has been an ideal way of looking at elections and the accounts are scrutinised to a great extent but Indians being Indians we have a jugaad for everything you see.

I am happy that the author took the issue of population, which is very very sensitive subject since it also involves religion for some people. Its a fact that whatever development happens in the country gets offset with the population making it ineffective. Somewhere we need to make this heard and let people know that having more kids leads to productivity is an idea whose time has gone.

Think With Me

Education System is long due for overhaul. I still don’t know if we can get back to rehaul the system in the way we want. The suggestions seems unreal in part though. Anyways a good try if we can inculcate moral values and ethical issues in education with the past being taught the way it was.

Media the so called fourth pillar has become the den of corruption and the role which it was supposed to envisage has now become defunct and its time for a change that will see a lot of uprising and breakdowns in structure.

Religion was good as long as it was one mans personal space. But its a sensitive topic today unfortunately so much so that Supreme court has decided that you cant use religion for election, whatever that means…

As for the solutions offered we can take it with a pinch of salt, given the authors proximity to politicians and we would not judge them unless if it was tried and tested.

A good effort ideally, but lacks the punch when it comes to implementation at the ground zero. Probably if it was possible for common man to achieve things then it would have been different.

Senthilkumar

EXILE a memoir by Taslima Nasrin

EXILE a memoir by Taslima Nasrin

EXILE a memoir by Taslima Nasrin

  • Language: English / Translated
  • Binding: Hardback
  • Publisher: Penguin Random House India
  • Genre: Biographies & Autobiographies
  • ISBN: 9780670088744, 0670088749
  • Edition: 1, 2016
  • Pages: 336

I know Taslima Nasreen from what I have read in the newspapers and especially the incident at Hyderabad where she was attacked and had to be rescued. And ofcourse from the twitter world where she keeps talking as an independent voice unfettered by trolls whichever religion they may belong to.

I now know the reason why she is fiercely independent or rather she has her reasons and she perhaps lives to exemplify those statements that she makes unlike the so called liberals who she has called out in this book who take refuge of the situations and then give enough excuses on why they cant take a stand or show having a spine.

Reading the preface in the book gives us enough of how this book has come to life. It perhaps is the way with all her other books too. Thanks to the translator, I am sure this must have been a challenge in a way as much for the author.

The title should have been hard one for Taslima since you cant be in exile in your country and worse in the place that you wanted to be back ‘home’ and how that can be shattered by politics and fundamentalism.

The book spares no one in this narration of events that lead to her exile and how she was lost in time if I can put it that way. If there is a place called nowhere probably thats where the people wanted her to go.

I am for the first time taking a political stand on a book and a review probably I am at odds with what the left liberals have done to the fabric of the country and no one needs to read anything else than this book to show their hypocrisy. A stark reality of how even the media is hand in glove with liberals when they cant take criticism or feel like offended is glaringly revealed with the way they held themselves outsing Taslima from Calcutta the now Kolkatta.

Fundamentalism doesnt have a religion its got only a reason to be what it is.

The book is got different styles and it takes time to get into the groove, simply because the events described there are so much of disturbance and those we didn’t know first hand. Some places the narrative changes to poetry and then to instances given as it is in a dialogue format a part of diary which the author had.

I would recommend this book for its retelling of our times from a perspective of a free woman and will help understand the psyche of the world when it comes to fighting truth and the uglyness it creates in the society on its own.

My admiration for translated version have gone up considerably after reading this book and kudos to the translator for having done a fabulous job here.

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Lanka’s Princess by Kavita Kane a book review

lanka-s-princess-original

 

  • Language: English
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Rupa Publications India
  • ISBN: 9788129144515, 8129144514
  • Edition: 2016
  • Pages: 280

Lanka’s Princess is a tale of Meenakshi, the Surpanakha as we know her. The name sticking to her because of her nails or claws that she had on her fingers. The story is an exhaustive one which tells you about the troubled childhood. I could easily see the Kaliyuga version being played in teleserials and I am sure these guys can’t match to the cunningness and thinking that Meenakshi had.

This is a fantastic effort by the author, I am reading her for the first time. Mindblown by the intricacies and exhaustiveness of the narration, she dwells so deep into the psyche of the character called Meenakshi aka Surpanakha.

The scenes with her mother and her doting the father are real emotive ones that sets it in a contemporary age and it might look like the story of our neighbourhood. I am sure the Saas Bhau serials cant even come anywhere near in terms of cunningness that sets the tale across ending with Ravan.

What an intricate family relationship that Ravan and his family had across the spectrum including Vishnu as much as his Adhi Sesha being a part of Ravan’s clan. Its also a story that feeds on ambition and self praise and towering on the self and ego of one person Ravan and abetted by his sister Meenakshi who feels neglected since childhood.

Revenge is a kind word here to be used since we see how the flare up from small incidents take shape of a ill feeling that can destroy the person and all those around her. Its about the poison tree that people water forgetting things and eating its fruits later.

The characterisation of all the people in this tale is such an astonishing feature, be it Ram, Ravan, Lakshman or the heroine of this saga, Meenakshi. The story is a rivetting one and the language is very addictive in a sense that its easy to read and turn pages.

I loved the research behind this book and a new Ramayana played out in front of me, much to the discomfort that Sita wasn’t the primary reason for Ravan to wage a war. Quite often we do take the face value of the stories thats been given to us. The magic of the mythology that we have inherited is beyond compare especially because the characters of Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Bhagvatham have some common time travelling and relationships beyond their ages when they happened.

We see some of the best of Ravan, and the worst of Ravan and many many worsts of Surpanakha.

Some nice narrative on Kumbha who we hardly give the space he deserves. All we know was his six month sleeping / eating.

Absolutely a nice work in total, threw open some new perspective and changed the way you look at what happens when a woman thinks of revenge!

Thanks Rupa Publications for your copy and thanks to the Kavita Kane for this wonderful work and hope to read many more stories that needs to be told.

PS: The author Kavita Kane specialises in telling the stories of some of the important women in the epics thorough their first person account or through their eyes.

SkyFire by Aroon Raman a book review…

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  • Language: English
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan India
  • ISBN: 9789382616610, 9382616616
  • Edition: 2016
  • Pages: 256

This is a sequel and I must admit that I am reading the author for the first time. As a series I am sure it helps the reader with continuity and the characters make it easy for readers to relate. But ofcourse this is also stand alone issue that this story concerns with.

The issue of weather calibration to cause damage is core of the plot and on the sidelines we do also have child trafficking embedded into the story. The one on weather and its devasting effects it can unleash is equivalent to a biological weapon.

Chandrasekar and his friend Hassan, along with Meenakshi form the characters and unravel an ugly truth of child trafficking since they work with kids from the slum.

The characters stick to the plot and sometimes you could sense a bit of bollywood or cinematic attempts of narattion esp when the villain gives a walk through of the facility.

The fact remains that child trafficking and the laws that govern are highly ridiculous to the extent that you need to be a relative to complain of a lost child!

The book is well written except that it gives away the plot too easily and it triggers the faultlines in the early pages only. And the strands of plot are not interlinked to details but the author seems to suggest well you know this is how things are.

The plot on weather caliberation or the children trafficked both have not been given the real due, and somewhere those break like Sherlock doesn’t hold much and its a bit amatuerish. I know the characters can be amatuers but the work needs to be professional. Somewhere getting introduced to the NGO I got a feeling that they were behind this.

There’s a pace with the book but it could have been more detailed in some aspects of the plots.

It’s a good read and you will finish this in a single sitting max two. The language is simple and narrative is fast paced.

Three Stars from my side. To pick up the book go here: Flipkart

This is a part of Flipkart Sponsored Review Program. Thanks Flipkart for the review copy.

Senthilkumar

The Tantric Curse by Anupama Garg – a Book review

Book Review The Tantric Curse Anupama Garg

The Indian spiritual tradition is always a mystery and that is kept so because people have heard of them only by hear say and never ever tried to find the real body of knowledge.

Quite often it gets twisted simply because the people who want to know it don’t have the patience or would not like to go through the rigour of knowledge seeking.

In this book the author who is a spiritual seeker herself makes a nice attempt to impart those basic understanding of spiritual and the tantric sciences with this novel.

The characters of Krishnam, Rhea make the story and the life and times of Rhea is central to the narration that we have here. The author takes extra care in getting us understand the real meaning of some of the things that are just not true and gives an insight into the lives of sadhaks, gurus and tantra tradition.

The portrayal of Rhea as a common girl and then later getting transformed is one that will leave you  thinking. It’s a rare attempt and a brave one, simply because the author has shown the female as the lead in the story and that helps remove much of the stigma that comes attached to say a Shakthi Dham or a religious place.

The descriptions and definitions at the right places gives us an insight into the real spiritual pursuits rather than those which are highlighted in the normal world and media gets it.

A nice read and a fast paced one could have been a little crisper at places but makes you turn the pages as you go.

Pick this book to know about the real vidya of tantra and how it is practiced and you could remove a lot of misconceptions about the religious and spiritual aspect of tantra.

On a sidenote I really liked the cover page and its got so many things covered.

Buy this book here at Flipkart: http://www.flipkart.com/tantric-curse-english/p/itmecb8fnhc49myu?pid=9788129137524

Amazon link here: http://www.amazon.in/Tantric-Curse-Anupama-Garg/dp/8129137526

CEP Statement on Twitter’s Suspension of Extremist Accounts

(New York, NY) – The Counter Extremism Project released the following statement in response to Twitter’s claim that the social media company has suspended 235,000 accounts since February 2016 for violating policies related to promotion of terrorism:

“It is clear that extremists continue to use social media and online communications platforms to organize, propagandize and incite. We encourage Twitter to continue to build the requisite capacity needed to proactively enforce its polices related to terrorism. And other social media companies should follow this example and increase their efforts to enforce their terms of service by removing extremist content.”

Beauty is a wound by Eka Kurniawan #bookreview

beauty-is-a-wound-400x400-imaegfghsek9hcpc

BOOK DETAILS
Publisher Speaking Tiger
ISBN-10 9385755684
Edition 1
Number of Pages 480 Pages
Publication Year 2016
Language English
ISBN-13 9789385755682
Binding Paperback

Beauty is a wound is a fantastic novel which revolves around a character who we would not even take it our stride for her profession. But the way the author has woven a satire of life and history of nation as much as you can think about it. There is an eerie sense of humour that best describes the way the characters are presented by the author.

There is a way to describe things of the nation if you think about a narration of the history from the characters. The story is also about how you can mix the history and fiction in a classic way to get you the best of storytelling.

There is a rawness in the language and that translates to making it more authentic in a way and the author turns no stones to get you smell the land and get you close to the environment.

There is a momentum with the characters and also the story and it has all the ingredients to make you laugh within. Sometimes there are big sarcastic statements blurted out as if nothing has happened. The weight of the argument is to be seen within the context, there are social messages some modern take on the long customs and then radicalism presented with a simplicity that exudes charm.

I am also in awe of the translator who I am sure has held the story in its entirety and we can see the way the words being explicitly used or abused (you can choose them). A book of this calibre is enhanced when it reaches out to the world population and the stories gets told in multiple languages.

This is the second time in recent days getting to read a translated work with a charm that you can easily identify with the original language and how impactful it would be.

I could see a Salman Rushidique narrative with the history as a backdrop and the characters being woven around the events that shaped the country. Quite possible a history – story best woven with a dose of fiction added to it.

I am sure you will be left with the stories of Dewi Ayu for quite a while after you keep the book down.

Go here to buy the book: http://www.flipkart.com/beauty-wound-english/p/itmegfg5xwburhwy?pid=9789385755682

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Senthilkumar

Mother, Wheres My Country? by Anubha Bhonsle #bookreview

9789385288357_Website-480x748

Publisher Speaking Tiger
ISBN-10 9385288350
Edition 1
Number of Pages 256 Pages
Publication Year 2016
Language English
ISBN-13 9789385288357
Binding Hardcover

The title is as intriguing as the story that unfolds in the pages of this book, Mother, Where’s My Country? by Anubha Bhonsle.

The very affable TV anchor and the champion of Citizen Journalist, Anubha makes this book a compelling read with graphic imagery of what Manipur is all about. That the tyranny of distance has been shortened in this book is a very great attempt in bringing the stories from Manipur to the masses or even take them to the TV studios because of the way it has been written.

The imagery presented in this book is not just the lush green forest cover but uncovers the militant and the govt, the life and times of Irom Sharmila. An mammoth effort spread over long years of journalistic work, this book is a testament to true inquiring journalistic reporting of a story especially of the North East that comes into news only when there is an election or a riot. The everyday trespasses that the army or the naxal make against the dutiful citizens get mired in local press not much coverage again.

Heart rending stories, and anecdotes from first person account and trailing the Irom Sharmila’s fast all make for an intense storytelling. At time makes me wonder how we take our life for granted. We cant even adjust to some bad roads and some municipal issues, whereas there is a part of the country where rules are not rules nor laws are enforced.

Like P Sainath says in his quote this is perhaps a reflection of the North East and ofcourse the topic happens to be Manipur. This I am sure would be one of the best non fiction books to come in a long time. The context of North East makes it more compelling and the way  it has been presented to the audience is note worthy.

Engrossing read is probably an understatement, makes you immerse  yourself and think where’s my country, this book is a classic attempt by a journalist who knows what she is doing – going after truth at all cost.

You will thank me for this reco, I m sure! Check out the book and buy it here 

Thanks Flipkart for sending in the book for review as a part of Flipkart Book review program!

Senthilkumar

The Best Seller She Wrote by Ravi Subramanian #bookreview

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BOOK DETAILS
Publisher Westland
ISBN-10 9385152386
Imprint Westland
Number of Pages 392 Pages
Publication Year 2015 October
Language English
ISBN-13 9789385152382
Binding Paperback

The best seller she wrote by Ravi Subramanian makes you sit through till you have turned the last pages. Gripping drama spiced with love interest, sex, vaulting professional ambition and betrayal in equal measure.

The settings are simply awesome and the earnestness and ambitiousness of the young generation and how they take the means to the end and sometimes the way they take the road never travelled to make it happen are all highlights of this novel. I did find it a bit philosophical in a way that your family is bound to be the last place you can be yourself and there is nothing like your family to go back to.

Aditya’s character is a wonderfully woven one with a sub text how fame and money can make you lose your composure and how a bit of waywardness is going to cost as much as everything in life, is a character who will remain in your memory long after you have turned the last page.

A friend’s characterisation in Sanjay and the machinations are a revealing aspect of human emotion of jealousy and envy that pervades today under the guise of friendship, and other relationship.

The pace set by the author is brilliant and the way things happen and connecting the dots is something only Ravi Subramanian can pull it off. The techie in him and the Apple cloud is a delight to read. I remember a line where they said things were different when apple and blackberry were real fruits, you know what I mean.

The ‘I want in now’ generation and its remorse less way to famedom and ethereal affinity to money is characterized in an engrossing way.

A fast paced read and will make you realise the futility at times on what we are doing 24/7 in the name of work and everything else we call it work. Knowing it is going to be a Bollywood reproduction its got ample dose of explicit scenes for the reader. It was a little extra if you ask me.

All in all a great read for a novel in this genre, keeps your attention solid till it gets out. Probably doesn’t have those Ravi Subramanian’s signature of the Financial world stuff, nevertheless he holds your attention.

I took 2 sessions to finish this book. I loved the way the author chose to thank Bloggers and some of his little circle of creative people through this novel.

The marketing aspect of a publication is a lesson that every author would need and if you read this book then possible that you would end up with some insights on what goes behind the marketing of the book and definitely you would understand that writing is not the toughest part.

A page turner by any other name will be called the Best Seller She Wrote.

Here’s one trailer of the book :)

I am reviewing ‘The Bestseller She Wroteby Ravi Subramanian as a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Senthilkumar Rajappan

The Thirteenth Day by Aditya Iyengar – a book review

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Publisher Rupa Publications India
ISBN-10 8129134756
Number of Pages 260 Pages
Publication Year 2015 June
Language English
ISBN-13 9788129134752
Binding Paperback

Mahabharatha – the epic unparalled has be retold umpteen number of times and we have this coming up by authors who give it a perspective that’s new and sometimes create a story in a story. Here Aditya in his foreword very clearly says its an attempt to see a modern era description that was set in the Mahabharatha days. May be this war happened and it still is happening in a different way.

The Kurukshetra war was going nowhere, and the reason was both sides were doing well for themselves. The story opens on 10th day when Bhishma is laid to a bed of arrows by his favourite grandson Arjuna with Shikandi propping up as a shield in front.

This narrative is by three characters, Yudhishtra, Radheya – Karna as we know and Abhimanyu, son of Arjuna. Aditya weaves a wonderful narration taking us through the minds of Yudhishtra, Radheya and Abhimanyu. A stark contrast in terms of their mental makeup and how they look at the war from their positions makes for an interesting read.

A fast paced story of the three days at war that actually changes the course of the result makes for a nice gripping read. The authors authority on the subject comes through the descriptions of the war field the people and the special ways they have been celebrated.

The author shows a mirror in terms of the characters trying to assert themselves even in the face of immoral and ambitious search for glory. Sometimes as they say its not the means but the end. Goaded by that there is a lot of unethical war room strategies and execution that are there, like the way Abhimanyu is killed by everyone you can think of on the Kaurava side.

The best is how the mental make up of all the three characters show up in times of crisis and how they react to the same situation and well everyone had an agenda of their own as much as we do it today.

A nice read and well presented with first person account makes it easy to go with the flow. At times you are in the battle field, at the council hall meetings and walking alongside the characters. Loved the simple and effective prose which actually makes you feel like you are being with the characters.

A classic retelling without losing the charm of the characters, riding with their ambitions, anxieties, fear and sometimes with a hope for the war to be over. Things could have gone either way and this 13th day sets the course for the next 5 days when the war is completed. If you are fond of mythology and its retelling, you will need to read this book.

Buy the book here on Flipkart http://www.flipkart.com/thirteenth-day-story-kurukshetra-war-english/p/itme7cenauf5zxg3?pid=9788129134752

Senthil