Samina Mishra’s Jamlo Walks, though filled with beautiful and colourful illustrations, in not a happy story, but it contains an extremely important message, the dissemination of which is imperative for the future generation. In many ways, it is reminiscent of Hans Christian Andersen’s stories. Not Little Mermaid or Ugly Ducklingwhich have been glorified or retold with happy endings. It is more like the Little Match Girl, which is a lesser known tale about a girl who tries to sell matchsticks on New Year’s Eve, but cold and unsuccessful, she collapses, a victim to lack of empathy, much like Jamlo.
Jamlo Walks is a book meant to bring awareness to its young readers who span from ages seven to nine, of the plight of other children and people not very different from themselves, but who are faced with completely different circumstances.
Here is a glimpse into the author’s mind to give you some insight into how and why she created this sad, yet beautiful story.
Where do ideas come from? There are no clear answers to this question but certainly, some ideas come from what we experience and observe. Jamlo Walks came to me sometime in April last year. I don’t think I actively decided to write the story – the first draft just came in one sitting. I think it came as a response to the vulgar inhumanity that was on display last year – and continues to be even now. The working class, in conjunction with caste, has always been treated differently but what we have seen in the pandemic has been naked and ugly like never before. The stark images of the migrants walking through the night, out of Delhi on the Yamuna bridge, the middle class apathy on social media, the way domestic workers were treated at colony gates, police thrashing common citizens… Jamlo’s story was reported as one casualty in this series of unending tragedies. It was heartbreaking. It made me think of what these experiences means for all children – how are they to think about these stark divides across different childhoods, would they go on to continue institutionalizing this inhumanity… So, I think the first draft just came out of a need to respond to all this.
Once an idea arrives in its own mysterious way, our job as creative practitioners is to wrestle with it and hone it. We have to make choices and take decisions about what we want to do with it and shape the work. That was perhaps more of a challenge with this one because of the content. Picture books are generally seen as books for young readers and though we know that that is not true, putting this story out threw up questions around readership for me. Was the story too grown-up? Was the form of the story something children could understand and respond to? It was important that I try and answer these questions for myself. For me, it’s a picture book that I hope children across ages will read, that will prompt them to reflect.
While I was writing and rewriting, trying to make it a story that could be shared with the world, the thing that was important to me was to make Jamlo a person, a layered character, and not just the girl we read about in the news reports. This was not easy given the pandemic. My practice is very connected to being on the ground, getting out, talking to people. But here I was – in lockdown – without access to details on the ground that normally build context in my work. So I tried to imagine the inner world of the child, for Jamlo and for the other children in the story. I hope that works. I hope that readers find a bit of themselves in Jamlo and/or the other kids. And I hope that Jamlo is remembered so that we do not witness another such incident.
‘May’ is a word filled with promises and possibilities. It is also a word that conveys blessings and best wishes. These are emotions the entire human race has been expressing and feeling toward one another constantly through this difficult period that has spanned over a year. A homograph to this word that is so laden with potential and compassion, is the month we have now stepped into. May ‘may’ have a lot to offer you in terms of comfort and relief, but what we certainly have to offer you this month is an array of our latest releases. May they bring a little light, love, laughter, knowledge and hope into your lives.
In this fascinating book, Hisila Yami traces her journey from being a young Nepali student of architecture in Delhi in the early eighties to becoming a Maoist revolutionary engaging in guerrilla warfare in Nepal. Yami was one of two women leaders who were a part of the politburo of the Communist Party of Nepal, which led the revolutionary People’s War.
This lucidly written political memoir may talk about gaining political awareness, joining protests, being imprisoned, participating in the People’s War, and later her experiences as the first lady and a minister. But, at the same time, it’s also a narrative that offers glimpses of her personal life. She candidly writes about falling in love and marrying a fellow politician, Baburam Bhattarai, who went on to become the prime minister of Nepal. From how she balanced her political life with motherhood to what it meant to be a woman in the communist party that launched a civil war, Yami narrates an unforgettable account of a remarkable life.
Satyajit Ray (1921-1992), through his life, philosophy and works offered a unique aesthetic sensibility, which took our cinema, art and literature to a new height. Ray, an ace designer, music composer, illustrator and a gifted writer, gave us the iconic Feluda and Professor Shonku, loved and revered by millions of readers.
Celebrating his centenary birth anniversary, Three Rays: Stories from Satyajit Ray, the first book in ‘The Penguin Ray Library’ series, opens a window to his brilliance. With more than forty previously unpublished stories, autobiographical writings and illustrations by Ray, this volume opens a window to the Master’s creative genius.
Secrets of Divine Love
Secrets of Divine Love draws upon the spiritual secrets of the Qu’ran, mystical poetry and stories from the world’s greatest prophets and spiritual masters to help you reignite your faith, overcome your doubts and deepen your connection with God. Practical exercises and guided meditations will help you develop the tools and awareness to overcome the inner critic that prevents you from experiencing God’s all-encompassing love.
Through the principles and practices of Islam, you will learn how to unlock your spiritual potential and your divine purpose. This insightful book uses a rational yet heart-based approach towards the Qu’ran that enlightens and inspires towards a deeper intimacy with God.
Believe, Sachin Tendulkar told him – and he took it to heart, getting the word etched on his arm as a tattoo.
In this book, Suresh Raina takes us through the challenges he faced as a young cricketer. He was bullied as a child, but he overcame every adversity life threw at him and never gave up. This is the story of the lessons he learnt and the friendships he built.
Peppered with invaluable insights – about the game and about life – that Raina acquired from senior colleagues, this book will make you believe in the power of hard work, love, luck, hope and camaraderie. It is a journey through the highs and lows in the career of a man who saw his world fall apart and yet became one of the most influential white-ball cricketers India has ever seen.
Languages of Truth
Salman Rushdie is celebrated as a storyteller of the highest order, illuminating truths about our society and culture through his gorgeous prose. In his latest collection of nonfiction, he brings together insightful essays and speeches that focus on his relationship with the written word and reinforce him as one of the most original thinkers of our time.
Gathering pieces written from 2003 to 2020, Languages of Truth chronicles Rushdie’s intellectual engagement with a period of momentous cultural shifts. He delves into the nature of storytelling as a human need in what emerges as a love letter to literature. Rushdie explores what the work of authors from Shakespeare and Cervantes to Samuel Beckett, Eudora Welty, and Toni Morrison mean to him. He delves deep into the nature of ‘truth’, revels in the vibrant malleability of language, the creative lines that join art and life, and looks anew at migration, multiculturalism and censorship.
Enlivened by Rushdie’s signature wit,Languages of Truth offers his piercingly analytical views on the evolution of literature and culture as he takes us on a tour of his own exuberant imagination.
Nehru, Tibet and China
On 1 October 1949, the People’s Republic of China came into being. Power moved from the hands of the nationalist Kuomintang government to the Communist Party of China headed by Mao Tse Tung. All of a sudden, it was not only a new China that India had to deal with but also a Tibet which was under increasing pressure.
Clearly, newly independent India, with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru at its helm, was navigating choppy waters. Its relations with China deteriorated, eventually leading to the Indo-China war in 1962. Today, more than six decades after the war, we are still face border disputes with China that seem to routinely grab headlines. It leads one to question what exactly went on during the emergence of a new China and why have we repeatedly failed to arrive at a solution?
Based on meticulous archival research, this book analyses the events from 1949 to the Indo-China war in 1962 and its aftermath to uncover answers to these burning questions.
A Childhood in Tibet
Tendöl Namling turned 60 in 2019. She was born at the time the Dalai Lama fled from Lhasa and the uprising of his people by the Chinese People’s Army was brutally suppressed. She lived 22 years under Chinese rule. As daughter of a high government official, she underwent the ordeal of ‘re-education’ with full force. All she had from these years are painful memories and crumpled photographs of her with friends and cousins in Lhasa, smiling as if nothing happened. When Tendöl turned 10 her brother was arrested and her mother sentenced to ten years in prison. Tendöl was sent to work in road construction for several years, following which she was allowed to start an apprenticeship as motor mechanic. Thanks to the efforts of her family in exile, Tendöl was able to leave Tibet in 1982. After twenty years of hardship she landed in prosperous Switzerland. She struggled to start her life all over again, but never gave up.
In Tendöl’s words, ‘this little book is dedicated to all the Tibetans who continue to rebel against the Chinese occupation’.
The Light of Asia
‘The Light of Asia’is an epic poem by Sir Edwin Arnold that was first published in 1879. It quickly became a huge sensation and has continued to resonate powerfully across the world over the last century and a half. Weaving together literary, cultural, political and social history, Jairam Ramesh uncovers and narrates the fascinating story of this deeply consequential and compelling poem that has shaped our thinking of an ancient sage and his teachings. He brings into this unusual narrative the life of the multi-faceted poet himself who, among other things, was steeped in Sanskrit literature.
Sir Edwin Arnold’s English rendering of the Bhagavad Gita was one of Mahatma Gandhi’s favourites. He was also in many ways the man who may have shaped Bodh Gaya as we know it today.
A multigenerational novel of love, oppression, trauma and the pursuit of freedom, inspired in part by the author’s own family history, China Room twines together the stories of a woman and a man separated by more than half a century but united by blood.
Mehar, a young bride in the rural Punjab of 1929, is trying to discover the identity of her new husband. She and her sisters-in-law, married to three brothers in a single ceremony, spend their days working in the family’s ‘china room’, separated from the men. When Mehar develops a theory as to which of them is hers, a passion is ignited that puts more than one life at risk.
Spiralling around Mehar’s story is that of a young man who, in 1999, travels from England to a deserted farm, its ‘china room’ locked and barred. In enforced flight from the traumas of his adolescence-his experiences of addiction, racism and estrangement from the culture of his birth-he spends a summer in painful contemplation and recovery, before finally finding the strength to return home.
Padma Shri and late Hindi author Shivani’s memoirs of studying at the experimental school set up by Rabindranath Tagore, the Ashram, this charming memoir is a loving homage to a grand institution and its legendary gurus. Written from the perspective of a child, it retains the freshness and innocence of an age when experimental education was not merely a trendy movement. Shivani’s vivid pictures of the Ashram and portraits of her teachers and fellow students remain as alive as they seemed when she first wrote this memoir nearly fifty years ago.
Along with the moving tributes she wrote when some of her beloved contemporaries passed away, this slim memoir is a sort of diptych that captures the spirit of the Ashram and the liveliness of its inmates, many of whom went on to become iconic. Shivani’s recall of her time there takes the reader into an enchanted garden that remains as inspirational to her as it was when she went there a lifetime ago.
The Spirit of Enquiry
As a vocalist in the Karnatik tradition, T.M. Krishna eludes standard analyses. Uncommon in his rendition of music and his interpretation of it, Krishna is at once strong and subtle, manifestly traditional and stunningly innovative. His work is spread across the whole spectrum of music and culture, politics and the social sphere; he is at once philosophical, aesthetic and sociopolitical. He asks important questions about how art is made, performed and disseminated. Unabashedly given to rethinking classical paradigms, he addresses crucial issues of caste, class and gender with nuance and openness.
T.M. Krishna’s key writings have been put together for the first time in this extraordinary collection. The Spirit of Enquiry: Dissent as an Art Form draws from his rich body of work, thematically divided into five key sections: art and artistes; the nation state; the theatre of secularism; savage inequalities; and in memoriam. This collection reflects the critical and cultural engagement of one of our finest thinkers, public intellectuals and practitioners of art.
We know that our current times are not the most optimistic. But now more than ever, we believe that books can act as a source of hope and joy, howsoever small, and keep us going.
We have an assorted selection of books for you this May! These will keep your young ones occupied as they spend the summers indoors, inside the safety of their cozy homes.
All-Time Favourites for Children
Ages: 9+ years
All Time Favourites for Children celebrates Ruskin Bond’s writing with stories that are perennially loved and can now be enjoyed in a single collectible volume. Curated and selected by India’s most loved writer, this collection brings some of the evocative episodes from Ruskin’s life, iconic Rusty, eccentric Uncle Ken, ubiquitous grandmother, and many other charming, endearing characters in a single volume while also introducing us to a smattering of new ones that are sure to be firm favourites with young readers.
Ninja Nani and the Freaky Food Festival
Ages: 10 to 14 years
It’s time for the annual festival and a special guest is expected to arrive in Gadbadnagar, but has a certain President gone too far? Has Nani finally met her match in the meanest, scariest and awfullest demon ever to crawl out of the Dark Forest? Will the Mayor’s mustache ever run for office?
Wait, there’s more!
Fake Mystery Heroes! Haunted falooda! Giant dogs–
And what’s that again about goats? You’re going to have to read it for yourself.
Ages: 10 to 14 years
Five years earlier, a friend’s nasty comment makes Ananya start hating her body. She decides to change into a new person-one who effortlessly fits into all kinds of clothes, who shuns food unless it’s salad, and who can never be called ‘Miss Piggy’-and to cut everything from her ‘old’ life, including her best friend, Raghu, for being the witness to her humiliation.
Ananya is on her way to becoming the Ananya of her dreams, but she’s still a work in progress.
One day, her parents announce that they’re expecting a baby (at their age!). To make matters worse, Raghu reappears in her life …
Andaleeb Wajid’s latest novel for young adults is a touching and funny story about a young girl’s journey to acceptance and self-love.
What’s the Big Secret?
Ages: 9+ years
Eleven-year-old Aditya really wants to know about periods.
Ever since Rhea Didi began getting brown paper packages, there’s been something that no one is telling him. Mama turns red, Pa chokes on his coffee and Dadi has steam coming out of her ears! Thank goodness for his friends Naveen and Vinay-whom he can talk to.
But when Vinay brings an odd-looking napkin to school that soaks ink, Aditya is even more confused. Doesn’t his sister use a microtip pen?
All of this is only making little Aditya more determined to find out What is going on!
Ages: 9+ years
In this collection of eleven very dark and twisted tales, Venita Coelho lays bare the underbelly of contemporary India. Get ready to gasp and cringe in horror as you have the rug pulled out from under you! This is a book you won’t want to read after dark.
And That is Why
L. Somi Roy
Ages: 8+ years
Dear Reader, do you know
· why the deer does not eat rice?
· why man gets wrinkles and a stoop?
· why the cat buries its poop?
· why a doll is worshipped in a village called Kakching?
Discover twelve magical tales from Manipur, the mountain land in the north-east of India on the border with Myanmar. Passed down by learned scholars, balladeers and grandmothers over hundreds of years, these unknown myths and fables are enriched with beautifully rich paintings that will transport you to Manipur!
‘Travel far, pay no fare…A book can take you anywhere.’
– Anne Morrow Lindbergh
The portal to the rest of the world is closer to you than you think. While we advise you to physically stay at home, no one said anything about not travelling!
Penguin Random House India brings to you the #PenguinStayList – a list of books that will inform, educate and entertain you as best as they can during this pandemic. Travel around the Indian coast, up to the greatest city of the Himalayas or even to different corners of the world.
‘That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.’
– Jhumpa Lahiri
Following Fish : Travels around the Indian Coast
In a coastline as long and diverse as India’s, fish inhabit the heart of many worlds food of course, but also culture, commerce, sport, history and society. Journeying along the edge of the peninsula, Samanth Subramanian reports upon a kaleidoscope of extraordinary stories. Throughout his travels, Subramanian observes the cosmopolitanism and diverse influences absorbed by India’s coastal societies, the withdrawing of traditional fishermen from their craft, the corresponding growth of fishing as pure and voluminous commerce, and the degradation of waters and beaches from over-fishing.
Don’t Ask Any Old Bloke For Directions – A Biker’s Whimsical Journey Across India
After twenty years in the Indian Administrative Service, P.G. Tenzing throws off the staid life of a bureaucrat to roar across India on an Enfield Thunderbird, travelling light with his possessions strapped on the back of his bike. On the nine-month motorcycle journey without a pre-planned route or direction, he encounters acquaintances who appear to be from his karmic past: from the roadside barber to numerous waiters and mechanics― fleeting human interactions and connections that seem pre-ordained.
If It’s Monday It Must Be Madurai: A Conducted Tour Of India
This book was first written when author Srinath Perur made the mistake of going on a conducted tour of ten of the most famous sites in India. However, despite being very annoyed at his bovine compatriots and his sonorous tour-guide, he found that there was some merit in traveling in groups, and wrote down his experiences in the form of this book. Witty, Humorous, and insightful, it combines his science-based knowledge and heartfelt experiences to create a tableau of interesting descriptions and adventures.
Shooting Star, The: A Girl, Her Backpack and the World
Shivya Nath quit her corporate job at age twenty-three to travel the world. She gave up her home and the need for a permanent address, sold most of her possessions and embarked on a nomadic journey that has taken her everywhere from remote Himalayan villages to the Amazon rainforests of Ecuador. Along the way, she lived with an indigenous Mayan community in Guatemala, hiked alone in the Ecuadorian Andes, got mugged in Costa Rica, swam across the border from Costa Rica to Panama, slept under a meteor shower in the cracked salt desert of Gujarat and learnt to conquer her deepest fears.
Travel Gods Must Be Crazy, The: Wacky Encounters in Exotic Lands
Dreaming of glorious sunrises and architectural marvels in exotic places, Sudha often landed up in situations that were uproariously bizarre or downright dangerous. Tongue firmly in cheek, she recounts her journeys through the raw wildernesses of Borneo and the African savannah, into the deserts of Iran and Uzbekistan, and up the Annapurna and the Pamirs, revealing the quirky side of solo travel to side-splitting effect. Punctuating her droll stories with breathtaking descriptions and stunning photographs, Sudha invites readers on an unexpected and altogether memorable tour around the world!
Kathmandu is the greatest city of the Himalayas a unique survival of cultural practices that died out in India 1000 years ago. It is a carnival of sexual license and hypocrisy, a jewel of world art, a hotbed of communist revolution, a paradigm of failed democracy, a case study in bungled Western intervention and an environmental catastrophe.
Kathmandu follows the author’s story over a decade in the city and unravels the city’s history through successive reinventions of itself. Erudite, entertaining and accessible, this is the distinctive chronicle of a fascinating city.
From Heaven Lake
Hitch-hiking, walking, slogging through rivers and across leech-ridden hills, Vikram Seth travelled through Sinkiang and Tibet to Nepal: from Heaven Lake to the Himalayas, By breaking away from the reliable routes of organized travel, he transformed his journey into an unusual and intriguing exploration of one of the world’s least-known areas.
The Other Side of the Divide
Pegged on journalist Sameer Arshad Khatlani’s visit to Pakistan, this book provides insights into the country beyond what we already know about it. These include details on the impact of India’s soft power, thanks to Bollywood, and the remnants of Pakistan’s multireligious past, and how it frittered away advantages of impressive growth in the first three decades of its existence by embracing religious conservatism.
The book attempts to present a contemporary portrait of Pakistan-where prohibition remains only on paper and one of the biggest taxpayers is a Parsee-owned brewery-as a complicated and conflicted country suspended between tradition and modernity.
Well, that’s our list. Where will you travel to first?
Satyajit Ray hardly needs an introduction. Regarded as one of the greatest film-makers of our times, he received the Oscar for Lifetime Achievement by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1992 and was honoured with the Bharat Ratna in the same year.
He was also an ace designer, illustrator, music composer and to celebrate 100 years of the man, we share a list of books by him you’re bound to love, whether you’re new to his work, or are a long-term appreciator.
Childhood Days is a biography of Satyajit Ray, which he wrote on his own. Through this book, readers will come to know about the people who were around him during his childhood years, where he spent the early years of his life and who Satyajit Ray was, the man who we now know as an artist, music composer, director and writer. This book enables readers to take a look at a different side of Satyajit Ray, which is affectionate, tender and humorous, quite different from the person everyone knows, who is a serious man who keeps himself isolated from the world.
Classic Satyajit Ray
Ray’s short stories often explore the macabre and the supernatural, and Gopa Majumdar marked by the Translated from the Bengali by the author and are sharp characterization and trademark wit that characterizes his films. Cover illustration by Isa Esai This collection brings together Ray’s best short stories – including such read more timeless gems as ‘Khagam’, ‘Indigo’, ‘Fritz’, ‘Bhuto’, ‘The Pterodactyl’s Egg’, ‘Big Bill’, ‘Patol Babu, Film Star’ and ‘The Hungry Septopus’ – which readers of all ages will enjoy.
The Collected Short Stories (City Plans)
Best known for his immensely popular Feluda mysteries and the adventures of Professor Shonku, Satyajit Ray was also one of the most skilful short story writers of his generation. Ray’s short stories often explore the macabre and the supernatural, and are marked by the sharp characterization and trademark wit that distinguishes his films. This collection brings together Ray’s best short stories—including such timeless gems as ‘Khagam’, ‘Indigo’, ‘Fritz’, ‘Bhuto’, ‘The Pterodactyl’s Egg’, ‘Big Bill’, ‘Patol Babu, Film Star’ and ‘The Hungry Septopus’—which readers of all ages will enjoy.
My Years With Apu
The Indian film-maker Satyajit Ray tells the story behind the making of his three films, the “Apu” trilogy. Completed shortly before his death, the memoir covers the key aspects of his career: his decision to give up a lucrative job in advertising in order to make his first film, early setbacks, a chronic shortage of funds, the guidance and support of directors such as Jean Renoir, his solutions to problems, and the acclaim for his films at home and abroad.
Speaking of Films
Exactly fifty years ago, in 1955, the release of Pather Panchali heralded the arrival of a master in the world of cinema. Over the next forty years, Satyajit Ray came to be regarded as one of the world’s finest film-makers ever. Speaking of Films brings together some of Ray’s most memorable writings on film and film-making. With the masterly precision and clarity that characterize his films, Ray discusses a wide array of subjects: the structure and language of cinema with special reference to his adaptations of Tagore and Bibhuti Bhushan Bandopadhyay, the appropriate use of background music and dialogue in films, the relationship between a film-maker and a film critic, and important developments in cinema like the advent of sound and color. He also writes about his own experiences, the challenges of working with rank amateurs, and the innovations called for when making a film in the face of technological, financial and logistical constraints.
Spine-tingling tales from the other side of midnight. Indigo is the mood in this new collection of stories about the supernatural, the peculiar and the inexplicable from Satyajit Ray, one of the best-loved writers of our times. There are tales here of dark horror, fantasy and adventure along with heartwarmingly funny stories about ordinary people in extraordinary situations. Indigo is a veritable treasure trove especially for those who like a taste of the unusual in a short story and an unexpected twist at the end. Translated from the Bengali by the author and Gopa Majumdar.
The Complete Adventures of Feluda Vol. 1
This omnibus edition features the ever-popular adventures of Satyajit Ray’s enduring creation, the professional sleuth Pradosh C. Mitter (Feluda). In his escapades, Feluda is accompanied by his cousin Topshe and the bumbling crime writer Lalmohan Ganguly (Jatayu). From Jaisalmer to Simla, from the Ellora Caves to Varanasi, the trio traverse fascinating locales to unravel one devious crime after another.
The Complete Adventures of Feluda Vol. 2
For readers who enjoyed The Adventures of Feluda in Volume 1, this second omnibus volume holds more delights. Accompanied by his cousin Topshe and the bumbling crime writer Lalmohan Ganguly (Jatayu), Feluda travels from Puri to Kedarnath, from Kathmandu to London in his pursuit of culprits; he tracks down Napoleon’s last letter, a forgotten painting by Tintoretto and a stolen manuscript.
India is one of the largest economies in the world yet when one goes to the grassroots to study the situation of the average Indian, one sees abject poverty and systemic inefficiency. Why is that, and what can we do?
Penguin Random House India has put together a list of titles by some of the most successful businessmen and economists in the country. With insights, experiences, tips, and the best way to move forward, there is sure to be something useful for you, and your business, and how your business can positively impact the country.
A Game Changer’s Memoir
A masterful strategist, Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) Chairman, G.N.Bajpai, in this book, recounts his truly inspiring journey as he weaved through complex rules and frameworks in his efforts to turn SEBI into an effective financial regulator for the country. Easy-flowing and readable with the writer’s anecdotal and educative style of writing and yet greatly comprehensive, this is a go-to book for a new generation of aspiring financial groundbreakers.
India: Still a Shackled Giant
India is one of the largest economies in the world today…but what about the India that the government does not want you to know about: the India where healthcare doesn’t work, corruption is rampant, criminals get elected to public office, the rich go scot-free, most people don’t pay income taxes and inequality is out of control.
Dev Kar, a former senior economist at the International Monetary Fund, points out the truth behind the noise of popular media and jingoism of leaders and tells us why India continues to be a shackled giant and how it can find the road to redemption.
Demonetization and the Black Economy
This move, it was claimed, was made to wipe out corruption, deter the generation of black money, weed out fake Indian currency notes and curb terrorism. Overnight, people in India realized that the cash in their pockets had no value. A year later, the RBI announced that 99 per cent of the old currency notes had been deposited with it. India continues to grapple with the effects of this move. The black economy has not been dented; counterfeiting and terrorism continue; the credibility of the RBI, banks and currency is damaged; the accountability of the Parliament and the prime minister has been eroded; and the social divide has widened. There have been many arguments and counter-arguments from both sides, but they have missed the complete picture.
Reviving Jobs: An Agenda for Growth
Every country in the world experiences the benefits of its demographic dividend, a period that comes but once in the life of a nation-when the share of the working-age population is larger than the non-working-age share. It has the potential to make a country progress towards higher incomes and development. But it can also become a nightmare if there aren’t enough jobs.
Reviving Jobs, the third volume in the Rethinking India series, offers suggestions on how India can make the best use of the remaining period of its demographic dividend-any failure to do so will cause millions to suffer in poverty for decades to come.
Do Better with Less: Frugal Innovation for Sustainable Growth
This groundbreaking book, by the bestselling authors of Jugaad Innovation, shows how India can harness the three megatrends — the sharing economy, the maker movement and the circular economy — and disruptive technologies such as AI and 3D printing to generate jobs and drive inclusive and sustainable growth in the decades to come.
Packed with over fifty case studies, Do Better with Less offers six proven principles that Indian entrepreneurs and businesses can use to co-create frugal solutions in education, energy, healthcare, food and finance that are highly relevant to India and the world.
Leap Grogging to Pole-Vaulting
An exhilarating manifesto for the future, this book convinces readers to make the shift from reactive leapfrogging to proactive pole-vaulting through radical transformation.
The unique ‘3-4-7 framework’ demonstrates how a paralysing mass of problems can be brought down to a formidable formula, thus making every problem solvable, no matter how big and complex. The book is dotted with inspiring case studies that can instil confidence in people from across the world to put this framework into practice for assured success.
Some Sizes Fit All
Some Sizes Fit All is an attempt to explain these fundamental pillars for any kind of business. An authentic and lucid presentation of management concepts and practices-which Akhil Gupta has tried and tested first hand through his illustrious career-this is a must-read for anyone trying to build a robust and financially sound business.
In Deepak Dalal’s new book, The Snow Leopard Adventure, Vikram and Aditya are back in magnificent Ladakh. Having finally freed their young friend Tsering from the hands of dangerous men, they’ve set themselves up for an even greater challenge: to track down the grey ghost of the Himalayas, the snow leopard.
But things don’t always go according to the plan during their trek. Here is an excerpt from the book that highlights one of the more challenging events of the trek.
I didn’t see exactly what happened because I was looking down at the gravel-strewn track as I ran. I heard a scream, and when I looked up, I saw a pair of hands grabbing desperately at the edge of the outcrop. I wasn’t far behind Caroline and scarcely a few seconds must have elapsed between her falling and my flinging myself to the ground and locking my fingers around her wrists. I had barely grasped them when her scrabbling fingers slipped, and her entire weight was transferred on to me. I was dragged forward and my chest hit the rock at the edge of the cliff with a thud.
We were both stuck, Caroline dangling from my hands and I pressed against the cliff edge, pinned down by her weight. Caroline is three inches taller than my 5 feet 7 inches and also heavier than me (sixty-five kilos to my sixty, she told me later). I could feel myself being pulled towards the edge. Disaster appeared to be a certainty, but Tsering intervened, saving us by clinging to my thighs and adding his weight to mine.
Now, on reflection, I don’t think any of us would have died if we had gone over. The cliff we clung to was not a large one. The fall was only a few metres. But the area at the base of the cliff was not flat, it sloped downwards at an alarming angle. Our injuries could have been serious. We would have broken several bones, but we would have survived.
My breath came in rapid gulps and sweat must have flowed from my every pore. Yet, even though I was terrified, a part of my mind admired the vista that spread before me. I could see the river valley below and the mountain slopes opposite. I spotted flecks of colour in the distance—our camp mates. I wondered if they could see us.
I am ashamed to admit that I lost control of myself up there. My hands shook and my chest hurt terribly. My heart kicked and pummelled my chest, and my senses swam about me. I kept assuring myself that there was no reason to panic and that nobody would go over.
I had no idea then that I was speaking my thoughts aloud (Caroline and Tsering informed me later). I told myself that we only had to wait it out. Somebody would come . . . Tina and Kathy would return and untangle us.
Luckily, a heaven-sent determination infused Caroline as she dangled in the sparse Ladakh air. While I was rambling, she spotted fissures and cracks on the rock face she was suspended against. She willed her legs to grope beneath her and she found secure anchors in the stony crevices. Her fingers and palms gripped rock at the cliff edge. With me still holding on to her wrists, she pulled herself up a few inches.
I heard her breathing. She was gasping and panting far louder than I was. Soon her face was level with mine and our eyes met. Hers glittered with cold determination. There was a vacant expression in mine, she told me later. She was probably right, because she had to shout several times before I paid attention to what she was saying. She wanted me to release her wrists, which I did mechanically. Now sure of herself, Caroline dragged herself up and without further incident she flopped beside me. We lay inert on the rock, Tsering looking down on us.
After a long time we continued our walk to the crest. The rest of the morning was a blur. None of us were in any state to look for bharal or search for leopards. Kathy, Tina and Yuan turned up, exhausted, after an hour. They had found more sign of the leopard they were following but had not been able to locate it. We turned back for camp shortly thereafter. Caroline had extracted a promise from
Tsering and me not to speak about the morning’s drama to anybody. She smiled gratefully when it became clear that we were not going to say a word, and she turned distinctly friendly when we maintained our silence at camp too.
Aditya was aghast when he learnt that I had not pursued the leopard with the others. ‘How could you let such an opportunity go?’ he wanted to know. ‘You were so close to the leopard!’
Does Aditya eventually see the Snow Leopard? Grab your copy for Snow Leopard Adventure to find out!
It all started with a big cosmic blast. Or did it? Refresh your facts with this excerpt from Shruthi Rao’s How We Know What We Know and immerse yourself in a world of fun facts about the world, its origins and all the awe-inspiring details of how everything works.
What is the Big Bang? The sound you hear when you burst a big balloon?
Umm, no. The Big Bang Theory is an attempt to explain what happened at the beginning of our universe.
Wait. Our universe had a beginning? Didn’t it always exist?
That’s what scientists thought too, till a few decades ago. But research and studies suggest that there was indeed a beginning. A point. Before that point, there was nothing. And after that point, the universe came into existence.
Scientists think that the universe came out of a singularity—an infinitely small, infinitely dense, infinitely hot point. What exactly is this, though? If the universe was born from this singularity, where did the singularity come from? Why did it appear?
We don’t know that. Yet.
But how do we know that this is what happened?
The story began about a 100 years ago, with Georges Lemaître of Belgium. Though he was an officer of the church, he was fascinated by physics and he studied Albert Einstein’s theories of space and time and gravitation. He concluded that if Einstein’s theories were right, it meant that the galaxies in the universe are moving away from each other. Lemaître said this proved that the universe is not just static and unmoving, as everybody previously thought. It was expanding.
It was a theory, and though Lemaître had come up with it on the basis of an established theory, scientists needed other proof before they could accept it. But Lemaître didn’t have any data to support this idea.
Meanwhile, American astronomer Henrietta Leavitt came up with a way to calculate how far away stars are from Earth. Using her work, astronomer Edwin Hubble looked through his telescope and calculated the distances of various stars from Earth. He concluded that things in the universe were moving away from Earth. Not just that, things that were farther away from Earth were moving away faster than things close to Earth. This could only mean one thing. The universe is indeed expanding. Georges Lemaître was right.
Okay. The universe is expanding. But how does that prove there was a Big Bang?
If the universe is expanding, it must have expanded from some point. Think of the expanding universe as a movie. The galaxies are moving outwards, away from each other. Now run that movie backwards. You can imagine it as the galaxies rushing towards each other. So then, all the galaxies must meet at some point. At this point, all the matter of the universe must have been contained in a very small space, that is, the singularity.
The moment at which this singularity started expanding is the Big Bang.
But where was the proof?
Decades later, in 1965, two scientists, Arno Allan Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson, were trying to measure radio signals in the empty space between galaxies. They used a giant horn-shaped antenna, called the Holmdel Horn Antenna, in their observatory at Bell Labs in New Jersey, USA. But as they tried to take measurements, an annoying noise kept interfering, like static on a radio.
Where was this noise coming from?
They pointed the antenna towards New York City. No, it wasn’t city noise.
They took measurements of the noise all through the year. No, it didn’t change with the seasons.
Could the noise be from a nuclear test that had taken place a while ago? It couldn’t be. If it was, the noise should have decreased year by year.
Then what was it?
Perhaps it was just the pigeons roosting in the antenna? They chased away the pigeons, and scooped up and cleaned the droppings. But the noise still remained.
Then they learnt about the scientist Robert Dicke, a professor at Princeton University. Dicke had been thinking about the Big Bang. His opinion was that if the Big Bang was true, there should be some kind of matter remaining from the explosion. And most probably, he said, this would be a kind of low-level background radiation throughout the universe.
Dicke wanted to try and find it. But it turned out that it was exactly what Penzias and Wilson had already found! The hum they had encountered was this very radiation resulting from the Big Bang!
Penzias and Wilson got the Nobel Prize for this discovery, because it proved that the Big Bang Theory was true.
Researchers all over the world are still taking better measurements of this noise, and are finding more things to think about.
Exciting trivia awaits you in How We Know What We Know.
As days get longer and warmer, we find ourselves cooped up in our homes, avoiding the scorching heat and that deadly virus no one should name. But time indoors doesn’t have to feel like a chore necessarily, thanks to our age-old friends—books.
Here’s a list of refreshing reads to keep you engrossed and entertained through the long, sunny days of April.
Queen of Fire
Lakshmibai, the widowed queen of Jhansi, is determined to protect her son’s right to his father’s throne and safeguard the welfare of her kingdom. Faced with machinations to take over Jhansi, at a time when all of India is rising up against the British, she has to prove her valour and sagacity time and again. But will this be enough to save all that she values?
In this gripping novel, award-winning historical novelist Devika Rangachari brings to vivid life the interior life of this nineteenth-century queen, thrust into a position she does not desire but must assume, and of her son, who is cowed by the challenges he has to face but determined to live up to his mother’s courage.
Satyajit Ray in 100 Anecdotes
Arthy Muthanna Singh, Mamta Nainy
Tracing his magnificent life with 100 little-known and inspiring incidents as well as unusual trivia, this collectible edition pays homage to the maestro on his 100th birth anniversary.
A master filmmaker, a remarkable auteur, a writer par excellence and an artist of immense reach and range, Satyajit Ray was an indefinable genius. This book is a classic tribute that celebrates his many accomplishments across literature, music, art and more.
Another Dozen Stories
Another Dozen Stories brings to you the magical, bizarre, spooky and sometimes astonishing worlds created by Satyajit Ray, featuring an extraordinary bunch of characters!
While ‘The McKenzie Fruit’ trails a humble man trying to leave his mark in history, ‘Worthless’ is a moving story about a seemingly hapless character not quite able to win the confidence of his family. Meet Professor Hijibijbij, the eccentric scientist bent on creating living replicas of peculiar creatures and follow Master Angshuman into a nail-biting and unexpected adventure on the sets of his very first film. This collection includes twelve hair-raising stories that will leave you asking for more!
It is day 7 of the lockdown and everyone says the skies are blue again. Jamlo walks. She looks straight at the road ahead. It is long.
The world has stood still. The streets lie empty and schools are closed. All work has dried up and people keep whispering the word ‘corona’ all the time. Jamlo walks down a long and hot road, alongside hundreds of other men and women and children whom Tara sees on TV. Jamlo walks as Rahul watches the streets turn quiet.
Jamlo walks and walks in a world that needs to be kind and just and equal. A world where all lives are seen as important.
As big as 1,78,000 football fields, Nepal’s first protected national park is home to over 550 species of birds; awe-inspiring animals, such as greater one-horned rhinoceroses, Bengal tigers, clouded leopards; and a confident, brave girl called Sita.
Sita dreams of being a nature guide like her baba. With a spring in her step and a group of eager tourists, she unravels the secrets of the forest. But when she wanders astray and comes face to face with a mamma rhino, will this eight-year-old be able to listen to the stillness of the jungle?
The Astoundingly True Adventures of Daydreamer Dev
Forever daydreaming-that’s Dev. Sitting in class or watching the clouds from the roof of Kwality Carpets, he floats off to places all over the world and has wonderful, bizarre adventures.
Mild-mannered schoolboy Dev is no stranger to survival in extreme environments. Classroom trances and home-made flights of fancy take him all over the place-what other kid could have visited Amazon rainforests, summited Mount Everest and crossed the Sahara? Along with the challenges of all this, he also needs to avoid the wrath of teachers and make Amma and Baba proud . . . Not so easy when your brain lives elsewhere!
The Bournvita Quiz Contest Quiz Collector’s Edition, Vol. 1
The award-winning Bournvita Quiz Contest started as a radio programme in 1972, then shifted to television in the 1990s. Since 1994, it has been hosted by Asia’s best-known quizmaster, Derek O’Brien, in his inimitable style, and it holds the record for being the longest-running knowledge game show on Indian television.
This definitive edition comprises a selection of the best Q & As from this iconic children’s show. Featuring 1000 questions, carefully curated from the exhaustive twenty-year-old archives, this book is dotted with heartening anecdotes, fun trivia and thoughtful essays by people who worked on this much-loved show.
The Bournvita Quiz Contest Quiz Collector’s Edition, Vol. 2
Which Nobel laureate wrote articles under the name Gul Makai?
Hilsa is the national fish of which neighbouring country of India?
In which organ of the human body would you find the aqueous humour?
With fun Q&As carefully curated from the exhaustive twenty-year-old archives, this definitive book is a treat for all quiz aficionados who can choose from an array of fifty sections including:
Art and Culture
Books and Authors
Writer – politician Muthuvel Karunanidhi is amongst the most important political leaders India has ever seen. In Karunanidhi: A Life, author A.S. Panneerselvan tells the story of the man who became a metaphor for modern Tamil Nadu, where language, empowerment, self-respect, art, literary forms and films coalesced to lend a unique vibrancy to politics.
Here is an excerpt from the chapter titled, The Absence of Adolescence.
Like many underprivileged children, karunanidhi’s life moved straight to adulthood from childhood, bypassing the phase of indulgent adolescence. The politicization that began with the anti-Hindi agitation and exposure to the literature of the Self- Respect Movement propelled karunanidhi into becoming an activist right from his days in the second form. The police excesses and the custodial deaths of two anti-Hindi agitators, Thalamuthu and natarajan, had a profound impact on the young karunanidhi.
The late 1930s witnessed varied crises for all the political players: the imperial government was getting ready for the Second World War; the great Depression and its fallout was taking its toll; Mahatma gandhi’s supremacy was challenged within the Congress by the election of Subhas Chandra Bose as the party president for the second time; and the Left was emerging as a distinct political force with its leaders gaining a hold over decision-making in both the Congress as well as other popular fronts. There was also a shift in Dravidian politics with the leadership moving from the wealthy section among the non-Brahmins to Periyar and Annadurai.
The twists and turns of the Left’s mobilization need elaboration in order to understand how, despite its revolutionary aura, karunanidhi remained with the Dravidian Movement’s social reform agenda. in his essay, in the January–March 1984 issue of The Marxist, E.M.S. namboodiripad points out that when the Congress Socialist Party was formed in 1934, the Communist Party of india initially branded it as Social Fascist. With the Comintern’s change of policy towards the politics of the Popular Front, the indian communists’ relationship to the inC witnessed a reversal. The communists joined the Congress Socialist Party (CSP), which worked as the left wing of the Congress. Once they had joined, the Communist Party of india (CPi) accepted the CSP demand for the Constituent Assembly, which it had denounced two years before.1
in July 1937, the first kerala unit of the CPi was founded at a clandestine meeting in Calicut. The five persons present at the meeting were E.M.S. namboodiripad, krishna Pillai, n.C. Sekhar, k. Damodaran and S.V. ghate. The first four were members of the CSP in kerala; ghate was a CPi Central Committee member, who had come from Madras. Contacts between the CSP in kerala and the CPi had begun in 1935, when P. Sundarayya (Central Committee member of CPi, based in Madras at the time) met with EMS and krishna Pillai. Sundarayya and ghate visited kerala several times and met with the CSP leaders there. The contacts were facilitated through the national meetings of the Congress, CSP and All india kisan Sabha.
in 1936–1937, the cooperation between socialists and communists reached its peak. At the second congress of the CSP, held in Meerut in January 1936, a thesis was adopted which declared that there was a need to build ‘a united indian Socialist Party based on Marxism-Leninism’. in kerala the communists won control over the CSP, and for a brief period controlled the Congress there.2
While the Congress in kerala had a distinct leftward tilt, in Tamil nadu it was virtually under the conservative leadership of stalwarts such as C. Rajagopalachari and S. Satyamurti.
Thiruvarur became a microcosm of the play of these multiple forces. Smitten by Periyar’s radicalism and Annadurai’s eloquence, karunanidhi began devouring the entire oeuvre of Dravidian literature. Periyar had already published the Tamil version of The Communist Manifesto in 1937; a number of serious political publications were being published from various parts of the state. Periyar’s Kudiarasu (The Republic) was the key vehicle for dissemination as well as articulating new ideas and planning political mobilization towards an egalitarian society.3
While Muthuvelar and Anjugam were rejoicing at their son’s tireless learning, little did they realize what he was reading about. Textbooks were last on karunanidhi’s reading list. The extensive literature in politics was revelatory for young karunanidhi. For the first time, he realized that he too had two priceless possessions—his oratory and his pen. His first public speech was a clear pointer. it was a school competition. And karunanidhi decided to make a mark. He looked at some of the redeeming features of the so-called villains within Hindu mythology. karunanidhi spoke at length about the friendship between karna and Duryodhana—a friendship that cut across both caste and class.
The speech was well-received, and the teachers developed a new respect for their wayward student. But, what they did not know was the effort that went behind this oratory. karunanidhi worked on the text of the speech for nearly a week; rehearsed the speech frequently before the mirror; changed the words, similes and metaphors to get the rhythm that would alter the art of public speaking in Tamil forever.
He also created his own publication—Maanavanesan (Friend of students). A handwritten fortnightly of eight pages in demy size that dealt with a range of issues—from questioning orthodoxy to exploring the poetics of early Tamil. He and his friends would make about fifty copies of the magazine and circulate it for a modest fee that managed to just cover the cost of the paper. Years later, when i met him at Murasoli along with Kungumam editor Paavai Chandran for a short interview for the Illustrated Weekly of India, karunanidhi said the handwritten journal was a great learning experience. ‘We could not afford to make any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. A single mistake meant rewriting fifty copies. The sheer labour of correcting made me write a very clean first draft, without any corrections or overwriting,’ he recalled. He also took pains to mail a copy of the magazine to the leaders of the Self-Respect Movement.
But not all of karunanidhi’s icons were happy with the handwritten magazine. Bharathidasan, the well-known poet and a life-long supporter of the Dravidian Movement and karunanidhi, called it a waste of time and effort. He told karunanidhi: ‘The madness of expecting changes from handwritten publications can only be compared to the madness in thinking that development will happen due to spinning charkhas.’
Muthuvel Karunanidhi was ardent as a social reformer and unrelenting as an opposition leader. To read more about him, his life and his work, get your copy of Karunanidhi: A Life.