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.

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.

On Leaders and Icons

December 31, 2018

In this frank and freewheeling narrative, Kuldip Nayar recounts his experiences of meeting many of the men and women who shaped the destiny of pre- and post-Independence India, revealing hitherto unknown aspects of their personalities and shedding light on many key events in the country. Was Nehru a secret dynast who had only his daughter Indira Gandhi in mind as his successor? What role did Nayar himself play in Lal Bahadur Shastri’s election as prime minster after Nehru’s death? Why did Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan—revered as the Frontier Gandhi—refer to Indians as ‘baniyas’? And who did Zulfikar Ali Bhutto think should be the prime minister of the entire subcontinent—India, Pakistan and Bangladesh?
Interspersed with these political reminiscences are delightful accounts of Meena Kumari’s encounter with Shastri on the sets of Pakeezah, and Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s flawless recitation of his great poetry even after consuming a full bottle of Black Dog whiskey.

Nayar does not fight shy of expressing his opinions—be it a comparison of JRD and Ratan Tata, advice for Narendra Modi, or reflections on the shape of Indo-Pak relations had Mahatma Gandhi and Mohammed Ali Jinnah lived longer.

In this absorbing and entertaining book—which he finished only weeks before he passed away—Kuldip Nayar writes in the grand old tradition of journalists who were not afraid to tell it like it is.

Under Something of a Cloud

December 31, 2018

Under Something of a Cloud spans a lifetime of Dom Moraes’ work to select the very best of his travel writing. Featured in this volume is a vividly recollected childhood tour of Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia and Australia with his father, Frank Moraes, and his mother, Beryl, who was then rapidly sliding into madness; a darkly comic account of a trip to the Sikkim-Tibet border, amidst rumours that the Chinese would soon attack India; and a thrilling adventure among the Dani tribe in Indonesia who, at that time, were reputed to be cannibals.

Also included here are Moraes’ sojourns among dacoits in the Chambal valley, one of whom, Lacchi, he helped spring from police custody; the account of a heartwrenching meeting with a man in Bhagalpur in Bihar who had acid poured into his eyes by the police; and encounters with women victims in Ahmedabad, soon after the riots in 2002, which left him shattered.

With a keen sense for atmosphere, colour, understated wit and unfailing empathy for the underdog, Dom Moraes brings to life people and places like few other writers anywhere can. Not only will fans of the author love Under Something of a Cloud, it will also appeal to readers of world-class travel writing and connoisseurs of timeless prose.

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.

Where Some Things Are Remembered

November 30, 2018

Dom Moraes was not only one of India’s greatest poets, he was also an extraordinary journalist and essayist. He could capture effortlessly the essence of the people he met, and in every single profile in this sparkling collection he shows how it is done.

The Dalai Lama laughs with him and Mother Teresa teaches him a lesson in empathy. Moraes could make himself at home with Laloo Prasad Yadav, the man who invented the self-fulfilling controversy, and exchange writerly notes with Sunil Gangopadhyaya. He was Indira Gandhi’s biographer—painting her in defeat, post Emergency, and in triumph, when she returned to power. He tried to fathom the mind of a mysterious ‘super cop’—K.P.S. Gill—and also of Naxalites, dacoits and ganglords.

This collection is literary journalism at its finest—from an observer who saw people and places with the eye of a poet and wrote about them with the precision of a surgeon.

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.

When I Was a Boy

November 30, 2018

In this beautiful, heartfelt and often humorous mini-autobiography, beloved storyteller Ruskin Bond relives the days of his childhood and teenage. He writes of carefree days in the port city of Jamnagar where little boy Ruskin read books upside down, wandered into rambling empty palaces, went for rides on lurching boats and in swooping, looping aeroplanes, and listened to tall tales told by a loving ayah and a colourful cook. He also describes his schooldays in Shimla—being dressed up as Humpty Dumpty for his very first stage performance, making friends, planning pranks and discovering a secret tunnel. He remembers his days in Delhi, where he lived with his father for one magical year when they explored monuments and cinema halls and became each other’s closest companions. And he recalls his time in Dehra when he developed his love for reading and writing, cycled far and wide and loafed in the bazaar with new-found friends, and finally set out on the path of becoming a writer.

Funny and imaginative, nostalgic and tender, this timeless book—embellished with lovely colour illustrations—is a record of a very special childhood.

British Odd – Desi

November 29, 2018

Please Note:
The price of this book inclusive of shipping and packaging charges is Rs.3300 in India
The price of this book inclusive of shipping and packaging charges is Rs.5100 outside India

This book is an outcome of the efforts of all the contributors who have been past employees of The British Council in India. I am very appreciative of their indulgence and patience. The book is a limited edition print, which aims to highlight the learning and training that all of us have been through in the corridors of Jor Bagh, Rafi Marg and Kasturba Gandhi Marg not forgetting short stints in the UK. The articles are the sort of experience sharing that I aimed to manifest through the book.

The contributors have been on an Indo-British journey that has been very adventurous for some, exciting for others, unpleasant for a few but definitely educative for all. The British colleagues have also benefitted from living in India, albeit for short durations and working with Local Staff (the Odd Desi) and the two have mingled well. The proof of their integration is the Memories that remain etched in the minds of each of the contributors.

This book has been published in a no profit no loss basis by Speaking Tiger under its imprint Tiger Print.

Conceptualised, Co-ordinated, Compiled and Co-Financed by: Frank Joseph Victor (popularly known as Joe Victor).

For orders outside India, please write to us at contact@speakingtiger.com

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