Book Reviews

Author: Munshi Premchand, Screenplay: Gulzar
Publisher: The Lotus Collection, Roli Books, New Delhi; (ISBN 978-93-5194-105-7, Rs 795)

When we talk of Indian literature, we cannot fail to remember the writings of Munshi Premchand. Packaged beautifully, this two-book set is a treasure for all literature enthusiasts. The stories are realistic, focusing on the problems of the poor and urban middle class. Gulzar also needs no introduction. His screenplay has added charm to the whole script.

Written beautifully, these evergreen stories have come to life again. Set in a village in Uttar Pradesh, Godaan is the story of misfortunes of a poor farmer, who has his heart set on buying a cow but his life gets entangled in the web of debts and circumstances that never lets him come out of the throes of caste segregation and exploitation in an unequal society. Written more than eighty years ago, this classic adaptation by Gulzar is still relevant and brings to fore the fact that for the farmer or a labour in rural India, things are still the same.

The second book in the twin pack is a screenplay of Nirmala & Other Stories. Nirmala is about a young girl, who marries a widower. But, problem arises when the man sees his bride very friendly with his son, who is of the same age as her. All the stories are heart-warming and leave a lasting impression on the readers.

Author: Vinod Pande; Publisher: Niyogi Books, New Delhi
(Pp 264, ISBN 978-93-85285-45-5, Rs 250)

The cover itself is a testimony to the fact that the book would be provocative, racy and we use it bold. The story revolves around Saanvri, who learns to use the wanton carnality in men as a means of gratification as well as a weapon for rising high. Soon, she learns that she is merely used and abused by this patriarchal society. Though Saanvri becomes emotionally involved with the men in her lives, she soon realises that they are merely looking for the physical gratification she provided. The story is not new, such things do happen all around and there are so many instances of women being used by men in power. Even today, women are objectified and used by them for mere pleasure. Yet, the story is captivating, compelling reader to know what happens next. But, the only thing that disturbs is the use of cuss words in Hindi, which could have been avoided.

Authors: Sushanta Dattagupta
Publisher: Niyogi Books, New Delhi
(Pp 219, ISBN 9789385285400, Rs 450)

Santiniketan Ashram or simply Santiniketan or Visva-Bharti is truly a unique university, set up by Rabindranath Tagore. In this book composed of essays, author Sushanta Dattagupta, ex-vice chancellor of the university, recounts his days and experiences in the university during his tenure spanning four years (2012-04). The author recollects his reminiscences revolving around the exclusive merits of Santiniketan, which were developed by Rabindranath Tagore with an idea of what an ideal and holistic education ought to be. Moreover, in addition to the unique tradition instituted in the university, this book explores the way Santiniketan has been transforming through changes in time. A big question the author puts up in his narrative is ‘whether the university still holds its ‘Ashram’ stature?’

Author: Yashvardhan Shukla
Publisher: The Readers Paradise
(Pg 165, ISBN 9789382110385, Rs 195)

A 13-year-old teenager, Yashvardhan Shukla has brilliantly depicted his own sprouted state of mind, an adventurous one, well blended with the tender creativeness of a young mind. He has finely crafted a fictional story in which he tried to cast outland demons wrecking his house and causing chaos… but it’s all in his dreams. Written in a peculiar Hollywood sci-fi movie style, the story presents spooky journey of the protagonist i.e. DAVID who meets Godly creatures accidently, at the Southern-most hemisphere of the Earth, Antarctica. The book holds the readers’ interest in the wake of knowing what is next, but the abrupt ending of the story, leaves an open end for its sequel… just like Hollywood! Overall, it is a good fictional piece of writing.

Oceans and improved the Future of the Human Race

Author: Sudipta Kumar De
Publisher: Gennext Publications, New Delhi
(Pp 503, ISBN 978-93-8022-287-5, Rs 540)

Oceans always fascinate us...its beauty and bountiness leave us amazed. Most of us feel an emotional tie to the oceans, and breathe a sigh of relief or relaxation as soon as we set our eyes upon the deep blue wilderness, a feeling of coming home. Oceans touch our lives in countless ways. Oceans are unique is a way that life is found all the way from the surface to the very bottom of the deepest part.

The book is written in a lucid and very readable style and provides a wealth of knowledge and insightful analysis, which is a rare amalgam of multidisciplinary perspectives and unique lines of intellectual inquiry.