Himalaya

September 27, 2018

With over forty essays, this comprehensive volume brings together a dazzling range of voices in an unparalleled panorama.

Here you will find stories of great ascents and descents; the madness of war on the ‘world’s highest battlefield’ and the personal costs soldiers must pay for it; tales of exploratory derring-do; and a mutiny up on a mountain. A seeker has an intense spiritual experience on Mount Kailas, another among shamans on a mountaintop in Nepal; and, looking for the snow leopard in Ladakh, an author finds himself. A resident of a Sherpa village writes a heartfelt account of the aftermath of an avalanche which killed porters and climbers on Everest; and residents of Langtang record an oral history of the earthquake which wiped out their village. A matriarch describes her life and family in Almora of a bygone time; a prisoner in Dehra Dun jail draws solace from visits by birds and small animals; and the fragrance of lime makes a traveller’s night in a remote Garhwal village memorable for all time.

Edited by Ruskin Bond, India’s most-loved writer, and acclaimed novelist Namita Gokhale, this anthology—now in paperback with two new essays—spans the entire range, from the foothills to the highest peaks, and from its easternmost to its westernmost ends. Himalaya will keep you riveted.

India Dissents

May 8, 2017

Throughout Indian history, various individuals and groups have questioned, censured and debated authority—be it the state or empire, religious or political traditions, caste hierarchies, patriarchy or even the idea of god. These dissenting voices have persisted despite all attempts made to silence them. They have inspired revolutions and uprisings, helped preserve individual dignity and freedom, and promoted tolerance and a plurality in thought and lifestyle. India Dissents: 3,000 Years of Difference, Doubt and Argument brings together some of these voices that have sustained India as a great and vibrant civilization. Collected in these pages are essays, letters, reports, poems, songs and calls to action—from texts ranging from the Rig Veda to Ambedkar’s Annihilation of Caste; and by thinkers as varied as the Buddha, Akka Mahadevi, Lal Ded, Nanak, Ghalib, Tagore, Gandhi, Manto, Jayaprakash Narayan, Namdeo Dhasal, Mahasweta Devi and Amartya Sen. Their words embody the undying and essential spirit of dissent in one of the world’s most diverse, dynamic and oldest civilizations.

Himalaya

September 1, 2016

For some, the Himalaya is a frontier against which to test themselves. Others find refuge and tranquility in the mountains, a place where they can seek their selves, perhaps even God. And over millennia, the mountains have cradled civilization itself and nurtured teeming, irrepressible life.

With over fifty essays, this comprehensive volume brings together a dazzling range of voices—among others, Fa-Hien, Pundit Nain Singh, Heinrich Harrer, Fanny Parkes, Dharamvir Bharati, Arundhathi Subramaniam, Rahul Sankrityayan, Amitav Ghosh, Jawaharlal Nehru, Frank Smythe, Paul Brunton, Edmund Hillary, Mark Twain, Sarat Chandra Das, Dom Moraes, Manjushree Thapa—and the two editors themselves—in an unparalleled panorama.

Here you will find stories of great ascents and descents; the madness of war on the ‘world’s highest battlefield’; tales of exploratory derring-do; and a mutiny up on a mountain. A seeker has an intense spiritual experience on Mount Kailas, another among shamans on a mountaintop in Nepal; and, looking for the snow leopard in Ladakh, an author finds himself. A resident of a Sherpa village writes a heartfelt account of the aftermath of an avalanche which killed porters and climbers on Everest; and residents of Langtang record an oral history of the earthquake which wiped out their village. A matriarch describes her life and family in Almora of a bygone time; a prisoner in Dehra Dun jail draws solace from visits by birds and small animals; and the fragrance of lime makes a traveller’s night in a remote Garhwal village memorable for all time.

Edited by Ruskin Bond, India’s most-loved writer, and acclaimed novelist Namita Gokhale, this anthology spans the entire range, from the foothills to the highest peaks, and from its easternmost to its westernmost ends. Himalaya will keep you riveted.

Nehru’s India: Essays on the Maker of the Nation

July 1, 2015

Edited and with an Introduction by Nayantara Sahgal

Essays by: Mani Shankar Aiyar, Kumar Ketkar, Inder Malhotra, Aditya and Mridula Mukherjee, Shiv Visvanathan, Rakesh Batabyal, Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Hartosh Bal, Aakar Patel and Kiran Nagarkar.

For much of the country’s post-Independence history, Indian politics was dominated by a single towering figure: Jawaharlal Nehru. A leading figure of the Independence movement, and Mahatma Gandhi’s chosen successor, Nehru, as India’s first prime minister, from 1947 until his death in 1964, was the architect of its birth as a modern nation-state: a sovereign, socialist, secular and democratic republic.

In this volume, some of our foremost thinkers and writers examine the different aspects of Nehru’s personality and his legacy.

Nehru’s influence stretched beyond the Freedom Movement and the political and bureaucratic boundaries of prime ministerhood. A man of letters, it was Nehru who initiated the setting up of the Sahitya Akademi devoted to literature, the National School of Drama and the National Institute of Design; just as, in the field of technology and business management, he established the Indian Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institutes of Management across the country. He was equally the force behind the setting up of dams and factories, which he regarded as the temples of modern India

Today, in the year of his 125th birth anniversary, the four key dimensions of Indian nationhood, as conceived and implemented by Nehru – democracy, secularism, socialism and non-alignment – have altered to a point where they have changed almost beyond recognition or even abandoned altogether. To quote Mani Shankar Aiyar, ‘… What needs examination is whether fifty years after he [Nehru] passed away, these are still the defining parameters of India’s contemporary nationhood and, if so, how should they be interpreted in the light of present circumstances?’

As the debate continues between Nehru’s supporters who believe in his enduring contribution, and his detractors who attempt to deny it, the definitive word, perhaps, comes from Nayantara Sahgal, who says in her Introduction, ‘No Nehru, no modern India. The ground we stand on was laid in Nehru’s time.’

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