Bells of Shangri-La

January 29, 2019

This title will be available by 15 Feb 2019.

Almost all of the Himalaya had been mapped by the time the Great Game—in which the British and Russian Empires fought for control of Central and Southern Asia—reached its zenith in the latter half of the 19th century. Only Tibet remained unknown and unexplored, zealously guarded and closed off to everyone. Britain sent a number of spies into this forbidden land, disguised as pilgrims and wanderers, outfitted with secret survey equipment and not much else. These intrepid explorers were tasked with collecting topographical knowledge, and information about the culture and customs of Tibet.

Among the many who were sent was Kinthup, a tailor who went as a monk’s companion to confirm that the Tsangpo and the Brahmaputra were the same river. In an arduous mission that lasted four years, Kinthup had many adventures—he was even sold as a slave by the monk—before he returned, having succeeded, only to find that the officers who had sent him, and the family he left behind, were all dead.

Sarat Chandra Das, a schoolmaster, also went on a clandestine mission. He came back in two years, having compiled extensive data and carrying a trove of ancient manuscripts and documents. He went on to become a renowned Tibetologist and Buddhist scholar. All the people who had helped and hosted him in Tibet were either imprisoned or put to death.

Bells of Shangri-La brings to vivid life the journeys and adventures of Kinthup, Sarat Chandra Das and others, including Eric Bailey, an officer who was part of the British invasion of Tibet in 1903, and who later followed in Kinthup’s footsteps to the Tsangpo. Weaving biography with precise historical knowledge, and the memories of his own treks over some of the trails covered by these travellers, Parimal Bhattacharya writes in the great tradition of Peter Hopkirk and Peter Matthiessen to create a sparkling, unprecedented work of non-fiction.

Our Start-up Affair

January 29, 2019

Aditi Pillai is an entrepreneur—part-owner of the Snack Team, a food start-up. Sitting in her shared cab one day, in Bangalore’s gridlocked traffic, she suddenly notices that her cab driver is extraordinarily good-looking. Turns out he is Aditya Shenoy, owner of cab aggregator start-up Caboyea.
And so starts a whirlwind romance between Aditi and Aditya. While she negotiates deadlines, irate clients and tries to have a fun time of it, he battles big-name competitors and driver integrity, all the while trying to get out of the long shadow cast by his flamboyant—and notorious—tycoon father. But as their romance gets more and more serious, they need to start talking about the big C word— commitment.
Will this Bangalore start-up affair take off and take wings, or will it crash and burn? Weaving its way through the lanes and bylanes of Bangalore, India’s start-up capital, Our Start-up Affair is a funny, hip, romantic story that will warm every reader’s heart.

The Lives of Freda

January 29, 2019

This title will be available by 15 Feb 2019.

From the moment she married a handsome young Sikh at a registry office in Oxford in 1933, Freda Bedi, née Houlston, regarded herself as Indian, even though it was another year before she set foot in the country. She was English by birth and upbringing—and Indian by marriage, cultural affinity and political loyalty. Later, she travelled the world as a revered Buddhist teacher, but India would remain her home to the end.
The life of Freda Bedi is a remarkable story of multiple border crossings. Born in a middle-class home in provincial England, she became a champion of Indian nationalism, even serving time in jail in Lahore as a Satyagrahi. In Kashmir in the 1940s, while her husband B.P.L. Bedi drafted the ‘New Kashmir’ manifesto, she assisted underground left-wing Kashmiri nationalists, and joined a women’s militia to defend Srinagar from invading Pakistani tribesmen. In 1959, she persuaded Nehru to give her a role coordinating efforts to help Tibetan refugees who came with the Dalai Lama and immersed herself in the project, setting up a nunnery and a school for young lamas. Some years later, she became the first western woman, and possibly the first woman ever, to receive full ordination as a Tibetan Buddhist nun.
This meticulously researched and superbly written biography does perfect justice to Freda Bedi’s extraordinary life. By interviewing her children and friends, and delving into the family’s extensive archives of letters and recordings—as well as official records and newspaper archives—Andrew Whitehead paints a compelling picture of a woman who challenged barriers of nation, religion, race and gender, always remaining true to her strong sense of justice and equity.

The Political Journey of Imran Khan

December 31, 2018

This revised and updated edition of the best-selling book on the political journey of a hugely popular, colourful and sometimes controversial public figure of Pakistan brings his story up to the present day, when he has beaten all odds to become the Prime Minister of the country. The decisions he makes or defers, the things he does or doesn’t do could have lasting impact on the politics of Pakistan, even India and the rest of South Asia.
It has been, in many ways, an incredible story, and B.J. Sadiq tells it with rare insight, and in compelling style.

Nimmi’s Dreadtastic Detective Days

December 29, 2018

Nimmi Daruwala is back to school after a week of absence, thanks to some awful green-coloured jelly she ate, and it’s time for a dreadful+fantastic=dreadtastic adventure! While Nimmi was away, Principal Bakshi had two new ideas: beanbags for each class, and Cookaroo, a cooking competition in the school. But the beanbags in Nimmi’s class have burst and no one knows who did it; and Nimmi can only just about boil an egg. To top it all, Ms Atmaja is as ghastly as ever; and Sophia is now part of mean girl Alisha Dubash’s Evil Threevils. But Nimmi finds unlikely friends by her side in the class nerds Diya and Kavya;and a cooking partner in the mysterious new student from America, Kabir.
Will Nimmi and Kabir be able to present a decent dish at Cookaroo? And more importantly, will Nimmi be able to fulfil her ambition of becoming a detective and crack the case of the burst beanbag? Full of twists and turns Nimmi’s Dreadtastic Detective Days is so funny that it will have you guffawing+chortling=gaffortling

Achievement

December 29, 2018

• What does it take to achieve success?

• How can you take charge of your career destiny?

• What are the most important business principles that you should follow?

• How can you create business opportunities in hostile market conditions?

• How can you stay motivated amidst cutthroat competition and naysayers?

In Achievement, the most legendary business leaders share their stories, insights and advice about creating immensely successful and sustainable businesses. Henry Ford writes about his journey, from being an engineer for Thomas Edison to revolutionizing the automobile industry. J.R.D. Tata shares his ‘golden rules’ for success and getting the best out of others. Azim Premji, the czar of the Indian IT industry, stresses the importance of hard work, humility and taking charge of your destiny. John D. Rockefeller, founder of the Standard Oil Company and the wealthiest person in modern history, talks about sticking to your business principles, maintaining integrity and taking care of your employees. Coco Chanel, founder of the iconic Chanel brand, points to the inevitability of failure and the courage in thinking for yourself. Narayana Murthy, co-founder of Infosys and one of the great entrepreneurs of our time, shares lessons about having a long-term vision and self-belief, and the significance of philanthropy.

Whether you intend to start a business or are already engaged in one, this handy book will inspire you to think bigger, identify your goals—both long-term and short-term—and take concrete steps towards realizing them.

Uncertain Journeys

November 30, 2018

The topic of labour migration appears constantly in the media, but too often, the issues take precedence over the people involved—the migrant workers who leave Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, to work long hours in precarious situations across the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Here, eleven journalists explore the lived realities of migrant workers from South Asia—their aspirations, fears and dreams; how global forces determine their freedom; how they navigate the policies that attempt to regulate their lives; and their hopes for a better future which carry them through years of unrelenting toil.

Uncertain Journeys asks fundamental questions about the nature and costs of labour migration. Essays about the plight of Indians stranded in Kuwait due to bankrupt employers query whether labour-sending countries can assume that their responsibilities to their citizens abroad end with enabling remittances. The horrifying stories of men and women suffering forced labour, abuse and de facto imprisonment demand whether the blurred borderlines between migration and human trafficking effectively enable modern-day slavery. Most crucially, the book questions whether human beings can be reduced to a mere commodity. Written with empathy, yet with a critical take on the stories being told, this book is an important contribution to the conversation about labour migration in South Asia.

A Patchwork Family

November 30, 2018

Young and idealistic, Janaki is eager to serve the cause of justice as a lawyer. Her only confidant is Ajoba, an elderly friend of her grandfather’s, who supported her throughout her childhood. They are unrelated by blood or marriage ties, but they have both lost their own families. So together, they struggle to create a family, patched together perhaps, but stronger for it.

As this gripping novel unfolds, the two characters in turn tell the traumatic story of how they came together: how Janaki being the eyewitness to a gruesome crime led to years of court cases and police investigations; the toll it took on the members of her immediate family; the ways in which Ajoba and Janaki each overcome their immediate prejudices to connect with each other; and the impact of the judicial system’s vagaries on each of their worldviews. Written in spare, unadorned and confident prose, A Patchwork Family is a debut novel of unusual wisdom and maturity.

An Imperial Disaster

November 30, 2018

The storm came on the night of 31 October. It was a full moon, and the tides were at their peak; the great rivers of eastern Bengal were flowing high and fast to the sea. In the early hours the inhabitants of the coast and islands were overtaken by an immense wave from the Bay of Bengal—a wall of water that reached a height of 40 feet in some places. The wave swept away everything in its path, drowning over 215,000 people. At least another 100,000 died in the cholera epidemic and famine that followed. It was the worst calamity of its kind in recorded history.

Such events are often described as ‘natural disasters’. In this brilliant study, Kingsbury turns that interpretation on its head, showing that the cyclone of 1876 was not simply a ‘natural’ event, but one shaped by all-too-human patterns of exploitation and inequality—by divisions within Bengali society, and the enormous disparities of political and economic power that characterised British rule on the subcontinent.

With South Asia, especially Bangladesh and India, facing rising sea levels and stronger, more frequent storms, there is every reason to revisit this terrible calamity. An Imperial Disaster is troubling but essential reading: immensely relevant history for an age of climate change.

The Heart Breaks Free & The Wild One

November 30, 2018

In The Heart Breaks Free, set in pre-Independence UP, Bua, a free-spirited woman in a conservative Muslim household, is goaded into submission by the women in the family. But even as Bua surrenders to the forces of circumstance, Qudsia Apa, an uncomplaining abandoned wife, stuns everyone by transforming into a rebel. She rejects the life of celibacy and denial forced upon her and picks her own life partner, showing future generations the value and pleasure of subversion.

The Wild One is the love story of a servant girl, Asha, and her ‘master’, Puran, in a feudal household where such a relationship can only be a horror and a tragedy unless it is conducted in secret and quickly forgotten. Yet, when Puran can’t muster the strength to defy his class, it is gutsy Asha who manages to beat the odds and win him for herself.

Provocative, witty and intensely human as always, Chughtai delivers in these novellas scathing critiques of the cant and hypocrisy of Indian society.

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