Book Reviews

Author: Sushil Talwar
Publisher: KW Publishers, New Delhi
(Pp 1292, ISBN: 9789386288707, Rs 7800)

Soon after the outbreak of the First World War, the Military Cross (MC) was instituted as a reward for junior army officers and warrant officers for gallantry in the field. It filled a gap that was particularly vacant in the British Army, which, other than the rarely awarded Victoria Cross, had no gallantry decoration to which a junior officer might aspire. Indian and Gurkha officers of the Indian Army were equally eligible for two other gallantry awards: the Indian Order for Merit and the Indian Distinguished Service Medal.

In spite of this substantial difference between the two honours systems, eligibility for the MC encompassed officers serving with both British and Indian Armies and the Colonial Forces, irrespective of creed or ethnicity, and by the close of the Second World War more than 50,000 awards had been granted.

Measured in terms of total MC recipients, the number of officers of Asian origin seems relatively modest – albeit compensated by their eligibility for two other highly prized decorations of at least equal standing. Nevertheless, a total of 1,056 awards were gazetted to 1,039 officers in this category, 17 being granted a second award.

A comprehensive record of all recipients of the MC and the circumstances of their awards has never been published. This entirely new ground breaking work goes a significant way towards filling the gap by providing comprehensive details of MC awards sanctioned for officers of South Asian origin who served with the Indian Army and the Indian States Forces in all conflicts up to August 1947. While almost all recipients were either Indians or Gurkhas, awards to Burmese, Malays and issues cialis china Siamese have not been overlooked.

For each entry, the rank, name and regiment or corps of the officer is provided, together with the date and page number of the London Gazette and/or Gazette of India announcing the MC award. The date and operational area of the gallantry action are also specified together with the full citation or recommendation that led to the award.

Each entry is supplemented by details of the officer’s military service and any other rewards received. Additional data of relevance to his services have been sourced from unit histories and contemporary narratives, and a considerable amount of time has been spent collecting photographs of MC recipients and these occupy nearly one hundred pages. Many of them have been found with families who have little or no knowledge of their ancestors’ gallant deeds.

- Vasu V

Author: Subas Pani
Publisher: Niyogi Books, New Delhi
(Pp 240, ISBN 978-93-85285-56-1, Rs 1,995)

Ratha Yatra, the ancient annual festival of the chariot journey by Lord Jagannatha, the presiding deity of the great temple Srimandira at Puri, is one of the grandest spectacles on earth. Jagannatha along with siblings Balabhadra and Subhadra ride three colourful chariots in their annual sojourn to their garden house and click now birthplace Gundicha Temple where they stay for seven days before returning. Ratha Yatra is rooted in ancient traditions, myths and legends and embodies the most colourful elements of the classical and folk cultures of the Indian subcontinent and the Odisha region.

This book is a comprehensive account of Ratha Yatra, which is a unique event in the entire world. Rich in detail, the book covers a wide span including the sacred geography of Puri, legends surrounding the temple, the unique architectural style of the temple complex, the elaborate preparatory summer festivals leading up to the main festival and the process of making the chariots. It brings alive every stage of the intricate rituals and ceremonies lasting almost two months, giving a complete portrayal of different phases of the festival. With around 250 pictures, the book is a treat for the eyes.

Author: A. Sethumadhavan (Sethu)
Translation: Prema Jayakumar
Publisher: Niyogi Books, New Delhi
(ISBN: 978-93-85285-57-8, Rs 495)

The Saga of Muziris is a fascinating tale of the glory and decline of a major port, a hub of maritime trade in Kerala, in South India, which had mysteriously disappeared from the face of earth during the fourteenth century. Historians,archaeologists and academics, from the world over, had been looking for the lost Muziris, ever since. Some interesting leads, at the excavations at Pattanam, prompts Aravindan, the narrator, to pay a visit to his homeland.

What follows is a magical journey, enticing Aravindan to sail into the dark annals of history. In an effort to document his findings, Aravindan unravels the evolution of the area over several thousands of years— through political turmoils, social struggles, emigrations and more—unfolding an alluring history through powerfully and indelibly etched characters. The result is a gripping mix of history, myth, legend, fiction and magic reality. It takes the reader on a journey through antiquity, moving back and forth to reflect on the socio-economic ferment of varying periods, also, interestingly, establishing an organic link to the most recent times. Beautifully written, the book is a masterpiece.

Publisher: DK
(Pp 512, ISBN: 9780241299722, Rs 1999)

There is no dearth of material on the Mahabharata — translations, retellings, adaptations, commentaries, poems, criticisms, plays, children's versions, TV serial, movies, even satires and parodies. Was there a need for a coffee table book? DK certainly thought so and gives us The Illustrated Mahabharata.

This illustrated edition of Mahabharata from DK brings the world's longest epic to life. With more than 500 stunning images showcasing India's varied art forms, the book encapsulates stories from all 18 chapters, the Gita, and the Harivamsa in a uniquely accessible and visually stunning way. With clarity and simplicity, the stories reveal the eternal relevance of the Mahabharata, an epic that has shaped Indian thought for more than 3,000 years. An exploratory journey of lost kingdoms and dynasties, with characters that resonate with millions of people, DK brings you this beautiful retelling of India's greatest epic with a foreword by Mahabharata scholar Bibek Debroy.

Here’s what a satisfied customer in Hyderabad has to say, "I have already sold numerous copies of The Illustrated Mahabharata to individuals of different walks of life. IBD is taking another batch and the branch manager, Sri Gopal is helping me in its promotion. I congratulate the entire DK team for their work on this great Indian Epic. And I am sure you are going to create history in selling this great book. The coming together of fonts, photographs, artistic sketches, narration and presentation have all resulted in a product of par excellence. In my opinion, this book is unrivalled. It is the Bahubali of the written word!!! Every customer who has purchased a copy of The Illustrated Mahabharata from me has expressed their total satisfaction in possessing it." - M Madhusudan, Bhagyanagar Book House, Hyderabad.

Authors: Prof MP Poonia and SC Sharma
Publisher: Khanna Book Publishing, New Delhi (
(Pp 394, ISBN 10: 938617309, ISBN 13: 9789386173096, Rs 350)

Pollution poses an alarming threat to the environment & mankind and the environmental degradation all over the globe has become a major concernin the name of modernization resulting in negative impact onthe earth’s eco-system. India has put alert and importance of environment and environmental studies. Educational institutions haveincluded ‘environmental studies’ fulfilling the curriculum with this publication of Environmental Studies.

Environmental Studies publication is a creation of Prof MP Poonia, VC of AICTE, with the support Shri SC Sharma, a distinguished writer in Mechanical Engineering. Prof Poonia, an M Tech (Mech) and Ph D (Thermal Engg) Degrees holder from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, Prof Poonia is a renowned & specialized personality in the areas of Mechanical Engineering (IC Engines, Gas Dynamics, Ref AC), Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development. He possesses vast experience on various fronts.

Covering the syllabi of technical universities and others in diverse disciplines, whether it could be environmental science or ecology or natural resource management, Environmental Studiesis intensely written to bring about knowledge and awareness of all facets of environmental issues among students of different grades. Divided into 23 chapters,each chapter in the book narrates about different environmental concerns and their relative impacts and mitigations. Key lessons inthis book are on eco-system, ecology, forest resource, waste management, social issues and all othersrelated to environment.