Diving into the literary world
‘Who is Bharat Mata?’ by Purushottam Agrawal, ‘F-rated’ by Nandita Dutta, and ‘Resurgent India’ by Bimal Jalan will be the best picks for this week
Books have always been an important aspect in shaping our minds and can also change the way we are. Not only they promote deeper reading but also help readers make more connections with the outside world. Here are four must-read books that you can add to your shelf this week.
'Who is Bharat Mata?' by Purushottam Agrawal
'Who is Bharat Mata, whose victory you wish?' asked Jawaharlal Nehru in a public gathering in 1936. And then he explains: the mountains and rivers, forests and fields were of course dear to everyone, but what counted ultimately were 'the people of India…spread out all over this vast land. Bharat Mata, mother India, is essentially these millions of people and victory to her is victory to these people.'
The book comprises reminiscences and assessments of Nehru by his contemporaries them, Mahatma Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad, a run a Asaf Ali, Sheikh Abdullah, ramdhari Singh Dinkar, Ali Sardar Jafri, Martin Luther King Jr and Atal Bihar Vajpayee.
In this carefully put-together anthology – which also carries an illuminating introduction– Nehru emerges as a remarkable man of ideas and action who had an instinctive understanding of India's civilizational spirit, as also a clear commitment to the scientific temper; and as a leader who, despite the compulsions of politics, remained a true democrat.
'Kashmir' by Gowhar Geelani
Blending analyses with anecdotes, Kashmir: Rage and Reason is the Valley new-age writing, which traces, in lucid language, the region's tortured history, the many facets of Kashmiri nationalism and the betrayals. The author has woven together his anecdotes and people narratives from ground zero to give us the real picture in all its starkness, minus any journalistic dressing. This book would be a delightful read for those willing to take a dip into Kashmir's history and struggle.
'F-rated' by Nandita Dutta
One famous director suffered from depression, unable to take on film projects because of her young child. Another was asked in an interview if she drinks and smokes to deal with the stress of filmmaking like men do. This beautifully woven narrative brings together diverse stories of eleven women filmmakers in India: Aparna Sen, Mira Nair, Farah Khan, Meghna Gulzar, Nandita Das, Shonali Bose, Tanuja Chandra, Anjali Menon, Reema Kagti, Kiran Rao and Alankrita Srivastava. A celebration of their womanhood as much as their work – this is a must-read.
'Resurgent India' by Bimal Jalan
Resurgent India, a sequel to Dr Bimal Jalan's book Emerging India (2012) looks ahead and analyses what needs to be done in light of the significant advances made in politics and governance in one of the fastest-growing developing countries in the global economy. Since 2014, the political profile of the government has changed dramatically. The new government elected in 2019 – either with a full majority or a coalition of parties – will hopefully be in a position to launch significant political reforms. Resurgent India identifies the key priorities that can – and should – be implemented by the new government in national interest, irrespective of the political agenda of the party (or parties) that come to power.