Book Reviews

Author: Sanskriti Sharma Singh
Publisher: Diamond Books
(Pp 224, ISBN 978-93-5261-606-0, Rs 200)

As far as the field of mental health goes, India is a country of glaring inconsistencies. Even in today’s times, mental illness is considered bad and mentally ill people are stigmatized and marginalized. It is time for us to look beyond the stigma and understand the intricacies of this field. Through this book, the author attempts to spread mental health awareness and to forge a war against the stigma that has plagued it for decades. The book is divided into three sections – getting the basics right, psychiatric disorders at a glance and mental health first aid.

While the first section clarifies the basic misconceptions in this field, the second section looks up at the various psychiatric disorders as it is much more than depression, OCD and schizophrenia. Each chapter on psychiatric disorders is supplemented with a case example, which is taken from real life. This gives a holistic understanding of the disorders and makes the readers aware of the various struggles patients having psychiatric disorders go through.

However, the last section attempts to aid readers in dealing with certain common emotional and psychological difficulties. This will help readers to take corrective action at the earliest. Readers will surely benefit from its easy to understand language, real-life examples and corrective tips to be followed.

Edited by Lt Gen Gautam Banerjee
Publisher: Pentagon Press
ISBN: 9788182749429 (Pp: 245, Rs 795)

The scourge of terrorism, which has injected a sense of despondency in India, has been a topic of discourse at a deeper level for any think tank. This is what Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), a non-partisan institute for dialogue on national concerns, in New Delhi has set as its objective to produce this book Twelve Essays on Terrorism containing twelve prolific essays written by the scholars from the foundation. Each essay is representative of one facet of terrorism or the other.

Surfaced right from the dawn of independence, India has been afflicted with several shades of insurgencies, as it usually happens with almost every new nation state. In the eighties, there had been new turns of anti-nationalism manifesting in the form of rise of ‘terrorism’—it appeared first in Punjab, then in Kashmir, and Maoist dwelling in some parts of central India. In the meantime, unable to retain relevance, remnant insurgencies in various parts of North-East states have taken to terrorist activities.

Digging into causes, roots, ramifications and sustenance of terrorism, the essays in this book are written through diverse global and domestic perspectives. Study and analysis in such way is therefore prime responsibility for the thinking and scholastic community. Among the contributors are Alvite Singh Ningthoujam, who takes on an Indian perspective of ISIS and its South Asian connection. Rohit Singh in his essay narrates about international terrorism post 9/11. Similarly, other contributors, Lt Gen Gautam Baneejee (who edited the book), Navroz Singh, Tariq Karim, among others, share facts and their thoughts on the issue to bring out the new facets of understanding and control of terrorism.

Author: Roger R. Hale
Publisher: KW Publishers PvLtd
(Pp 277, ISBN 9789386288165, Rs 395)

The book is an addition to Roger’s earlier series Three Chinese Travelers in India released in 2016. The story revolves around Brenda Wong, who balances her career and studies consistently. She has also been balancing a narrow line of responsibility by managing kids as well as her career. She strives to become a perfect mother, wife, and daughter.

Brenda migrates from Cupertino in California to an Indian south city, Bangalore due to her husband’s Milton’s job requirements. After a course of 3 years, they return to their origin place California where she gets a letter offering her a golden opportunity to attend the most prestigious institutions of the USA, Department of Art History at the University of California at Berkeley. Brenda in her phase on the South Indian land has developed a sense of fascination for those age-old immaculate designs of Indian temples. So, how will Brenda manage her life – that’s what the book is all about.

Beautifully written, the book will be inspiring to many women who do not know how to balance their hectic lives.

Author: Subhash Sethi;
Publisher: Viva Books
(Pp 214, ISBN 978-81-309-1771-9, Rs 495)

Pages from My Life - A Publisher’s Autobiography by Subhash Sethi is story of evolution of a victim of partition of India from a salesman in a publishing house to become a cynosure of Indian publishing by being secretary for about seven terms and its president for fourteen terms of premier professional body- Federation of Publishers and Booksellers’ Association of India.

Great trials are necessary to prepare for great duties; in case of the author trials began when he was in the lap of his mother. The book begins with his memories of ‘Trials and Tribulations.’ The author reminiscences that he was barely able to talk and walk when the ‘sharp sword of partition fell’ upon the family. The pages recounts the circumstances where the author and his family had to undergo the suffering, his father jumping from the running train to save himself from the rioters who had entered the compartment and were killing people. He got multiple injuries and subsequently the family reunited in a refugee camp. Subhash has successfully aroused the sensation of pity and fear and has succeeded in arousing emotions.

Pages From My Life is also a story of a publisher who has worked on a very wide canvas, having spent over fifty years of his life serving selflessly and with dedication for the betterment of the publishing industry. The journey of the author through this period if full of experiments and achievements. While genius and literary mastery are rare, Subhash Sethi has mastered both. Every event described moves like a kaleidoscope as if you are not reading but watching the incidents happening in front of your eyes.

A common perception about a publisher at large is that he is a shrewd businessman. This autobiography will change the perception as here is a publisher who always believes in counting his blessings. Subhash Sethi says that, “God has been kind enough to me and today I am blessed with choicest of clothes. But the importance of clothes bestowed on me as reward during my college days remains unmatched, unappalled.” (p17)

A special feature of the book is that it is not a chronological account of one’s life and achievements. Here each chapter deals with a different experience and brings out various facets of his personality. A man of strong convictions always listened to his conscience. When he started his own publishing house, he had touched sixty.

His faith in God almighty and his sincere love and appreciation for family members only exhibit that besides being a worldly person he is thoroughly a spiritual man. This trait of the author is effectively portrayed in two chapters on his family and his disease.

The chapter ‘Hello, Young Men’ is full of advice to the budding publishers when he says that, “The publishing industry is meant for those who have patience and are prepared to work hard”. (p154). Profusely illustrated with pictures from his college days to meeting with Indian dignitaries enhance the archival value of the book. The chapter on ‘Partners and Friends Speak’ gives a glimpse of high esteem the publishing fraternity has held Subhash Sethi.

The book also has a lot to learn for younger generation of publishers. Publishing industry is meant for those who have patience and are prepared to work hard, for it is not a cake walk. The shortest definition of philosophy is to ‘see things through’. The message is study yourself and introspect, observe your actions, realize your fault and appraise your virtue. His message to the upcoming publishers is enshrined in the last chapter “My Philosophy of Life” which accentuates the importance of training, motivation, attitude management coupled with quality management, the art of decision making at the right time are the guiding stars of achieving high goals. Profusely illustrated, the work is the result of persuasion of his industry friends who prompted him to write down his ‘five decade journey in publishing industry’.

Autobiographies let you think, feel, act and experience as the author, through his first hand narration of his own powerful life story. As you read the autobiography, you get closer to the author. The truth is this autobiography is so much easier to tune in with the thoughts and feelings of the author. A dedicated reading of the Pages from My Life is going to open your mind to a new direction leading to believe that here is a publisher with a heart of gold.

- GS Jolly

Author: D.H Rajan
Publisher: Unistar Books Pvt Ltd
(Pp 368, ISBN 8189899201, Rs 495)

Here’s a mysterious book, which is full of thrill, where the protagonist Deepak Kanchan keeps changing his vice, who is addicted to gambling and infidelity. Sonali, wife of Deepak, catches him red handed while chilling out with her neighbor Shelly. Ashamed of his deeds, Deepak leaves house and disappears into thin air. Adding more climaxes to the story, the same night, a triple murder was commited in Mumbai and the police found Deepak’s finger prints at the crime scene. As the story forwards, more interesting cast get into the story making it meaty and entertaining, revolving around Deepak and Sonali.

As Sonali continues her life ahead, she encounters Keith Johnson, an affluent man from Bangalore. He totally baffles Sonali by showing an utter confidence by proposing her, however Sonali on the other hand fall in paradox if he was the same Deepak who has approached her again after being disguised. Was he the same guy to whom he knotted years before? If he is not then who was he?

The tale is so gripping that you will not put it down before you know what happens in the end. A well-woven thriller for all!