Book Reviews

Author: Dr Alan E Nelson
Publisher: Good Times Books Pvt Ltd
(Pp 255, ISBN 978-93-806190-6-4, Rs 175)

When you want so much to succeed, why are you often disappointed? If your heart’s in the right place, why do you keep getting hurt? You may be your own worst enemy- without even knowing it. But, you can make positive changes to improve your life. It is your attitude. This book aims to help you evaluate your own life to identify and change self-defeating behaviours. With this book’s helpful insights, you can achieve your goals and live the successful life you long for.

The author Dr Alan has a graduate degree in psychology and communication and a doctorate in leadership. The style of the book is simple, easy to understand and follow.

–Vasu V



 

Author: MK Gandhi with introduction by Prof SR Mehrotra
Publisher: Promila & Co, published in association with Bibliophile South Asia         
Pp 238, ISBN 978-93-80188-02-7, Rs 495)

Indian Home Rule is Mahatma Gandhi’s primary work, and a key to the understanding both of his life and thought, and South Asian politics in the twentieth century. Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj is a fundamental text for any understanding of the man and his mission. The greatness of Mahatma Gandhi was his simplicity. Hind Swaraj literally means ‘self-rule in India’, was the first definitive writing of Mahatma Gandhi, and which continued to evoke critical interest the world over even now.

He had gone to England to hold talks with the British government on problems faced by Indian community in South Africa. He wrote the book on the ship during his return journey in just 10 days -between November 13 and 22, 1909.

As stated by Gandhiji himself: “I wrote the entire Hind Swaraj for my dear friend Dr Pranjivan Mehta. All the arguments in the book is reproduced almost as it took place with him.”

A must read if we are to change for the better! The editor enlightens the reader on true swaraj, the corruption of western civilization, and most importantly: self-rule! It was published in the Indian Opinion in Natal and was soon banned by Government in India because it contained ‘matter declared to be seditious’. On that, Gandhi published the English translation from Natal to show the innocuous nature of its contents. The ban was finally lifted on December 21, 1938.

Hind Swaraj has 20 chapters and two appendices. Appendix I lists twenty references for further reading, including six by Tolstoy, two by Thoreau, two by Ruskin, one by Plato (Defence and Death of Socrates), and one by Mazzini (Duties of Man), and one each by Dadabhai Naoroji, and RC Dutt on the economic condition of colonial India.

This only shows that how crystal clear were Gandhiji’s thoughts on Indian civilization and that it had little to learn from the modern. Appendix II gives testimonies by eminent men to this effect.

In chapter IV page 127, Gandhiji explains  what is Swaraj? “In effect it means this: that we want English rule without the Englishman. You want the tiger’s nature, but not the tiger; that is to say, you would make India English. And when it becomes English, it will be called not Hindustan but Englistan. This is not the Swaraj that I want.”

This new edition of Gandhiji’s most important and well known work, Indian Home Rule or Hind Swaraj, has been issued to mark its centenary.  What was Hind Swaraj? When precisely did it take shape? Who was Dr Pranjivan Mehta, for whom Gandhiji wrote this work? Why the British authorities in India ban this book? Why was Gandhiji in such a hurry to write and publish it in 1909-10?

All these and many more such questions have been appropriately answered.  Prof Bimal Prasad who wrote the foreword of this volume believes and very rightly so Prof SR Mehrotra’s introduction contained the best exposition of the genesis and significance of Hind Swaraj, based as it was on most thorough research and study on the subject.

–GS Jolly

 



Author: Rei Kimura 
Publisher: Mehta Publishing House
(Pp 333, ISBN 978-81-8498-138-4, Rs 299)

A historian is approached by an elderly couple and their grandson who wish to solve the mystery surrounding their ancestors 400 years ago through a pile of letters, written   during that time. What the historian finds is startling – there existed a gay relationship in the Edo period and what was more shocking that this forbidden love was between a samurai and a peasant. The relationship spoiled many lives including both the persons’ wives and their families. Both the peasant and the samurai led a lonely life, longing for the person they loved.

The novel takes a twist when in present time, the person who brought the letters, is a gay himself. Eventually, he is accepted by his grandparents, when they realized the agony their ancestor went through due to his forbidden love.

The novel is beautifully presented. The author Rei Kimura has touched this delicate subject in a very mature way. The gays are not different people – they just have a different orientation.

Their love is not wrong…they too need to be accepted in the society. The style of writing is interesting – the story simultaneously run in both present and past times. An interesting insight into the lives of gay!

–Varsha Verma



Author: Meera Johri
Publisher: Rajpal & Sons           
(Pp 215, ISBN 978-81-7028-860-2, Rs 175)

The book under review is a stimulating collection of essays to salute the spirit of greatness of more than forty Indian men and women who stood apart in the society and who through their selfless work and sterling leadership have transformed the lives of people in Asia and are honoured with the Magsaysay Awards.

The Ramon Magsaysay Award is given to persons -- regardless of race, nationality, creed or gender -- who address issues of human development in Asia with courage and creativity, and in doing so have made contributions which have transformed their societies for the better. It is heartening that these men and women have kept the torch of humanity burning by addressing the issues of human development across boundaries of culture, politics or religion with courage and creativity. Many of these awardees have gone on to receive other international accolades as remarkable and inspiring global leaders.

The book spans the last five decades of the life and achievements of these men and women of extra ordinary determination and courage who despite all the odds accomplished what they believed in. Written in a simple and clear language, the collection of brief essays provides a glimpse of the exemplary lives of these great men and women.

While looking at the preliminary pages I noticed that there is no introduction by the author. A brief synopsis before the life sketch of each awardee bringing out the genesis of the life and work   makes more than an introduction the book.  The inclusion of the photographs is an attraction that adds value to the publication.

The book starts with the contribution of Vinoba Bhave, who was among the firsts to win this award in 1958, the year in which the Award was instituted and covers Deep Joshi who was decorated with this honour in the year 2009 for his contribution in community leadership, this book presents profiles of the motivating lives and works of all the Indian Magsaysay awardees till date.

Besides being an enjoyable reading the book will be a valuable addition to reference section of any library.

–GS Jolly



Author: Elizabeth Clare Prophet 
Publisher: Good Times Books Pvt Ltd
(Pp 122, ISBN 978-93-806190-3-3, Rs 90)

This pocket guide to practical spirituality is a story of awakening and overcoming. It champions your profound worth and nobility. It is the story of a soul – it can be yours or mine. Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? The book aims to help us find our true identity.

The book is divided into five broad sections – Who am I, The continuum of the soul, Navigating the change called death, Keys for your soul’s journey, and Daily meditations and affirmations to nurture your soul.  The book aims to help all souls to fulfill an extraordinary purpose. Affirmations, meditations, questions and exercises help the reader to self-reflect and to enrich their experience.

–Vivek Mehta



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