Books of the week: From Amit Majmudar's Soar, to Bhanwar Meghwanshi's Story of a Dalit in the RSS, our picks

Our weekly roundup of books that should be on your radar.

Aarushi Agrawal March 01, 2020 09:59:49 IST
Books of the week: From Amit Majmudar's Soar, to Bhanwar Meghwanshi's Story of a Dalit in the RSS, our picks
  • We love stories and there is nothing like a good book that promises a couple of hours of absorption.

  • Every Sunday, we will have a succinct pick of books, across diverse genres, that have been newly made available for your reading pleasure.

  • Happy reading!

We love stories, and even in the age of Netflix-and-chill, there's nothing like a good book that promises a couple of hours of absorption — whether curled up in bed, in your favourite coffeehouse, or that long (and tiresome) commute to work. Every Sunday, we'll have a succinct pick of books, across diverse genres, that have been newly made available for your reading pleasure. Get them wherever you get your books — the friendly neighbourhood bookseller, e-retail website, chain store — and in whatever form you prefer. Happy reading!

For more of our weekly book recommendations, click here.

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Books of the week From Amit Majmudars Soar to Bhanwar Meghwanshis Story of a Dalit in the RSS our picks

– FICTION

Soar
By Amit Majmudar
Penguin Random House India | Rs 499 | 256 pages

Writer Amit Majmudar’s Soar is the humorous story of a Hindu-Muslim friendship. It follows Bholanath and Khudabaksh, two soldiers in the British Indian Army, sent to Europe to fight in WWI. When a mission in a surveillance balloon goes awry, the two, along with an angry squirrel, are set adrift. They float over a continent torn by war, learn about the worst humankind is capable of, and how true friends can soar above it all.

Read more about the book here.

Mrs A's Indian Gentlemen
By Dawood Ali Mccallum
Hachette India | Rs 450 | 376 pages

Author Dawood Ali McCallum’s novel is set in 1943 against the backdrop of WWII, when the British government is looking at the empire to provide certain expertise. As a result, railway engineer Imtiaz ‘Billy’ Khan, logistics expert Vincent Rosario, and Math prodigy Akaash Ray are in Swindon as lodgers of Mrs A. A hilarious account of cultures colliding, they navigate new food and toilets, secret assignments, and a mutual distrust of each-other.

Read more about the book here.

– MEMOIRS and BIOGRAPHIES

Taken at the Flood: A Memoir of a Political Life
By Vasanth Kannabiran
Women Unlimited | Rs 375 | 184 pages

In this memoir, feminist, activist, and writer Vasanth Kannabiran recounts some of the most important moments of her life as it interweaves closely with politics. From the days of the 1975 Emergency to the aftermath of communal violence in 1984 in Hyderabad, from the historic peace talks between the Naxals and the government, to the Rameeza Bee rape case — she presents her perspective on each incident.

Read more about the book here. Read an interview with the author here.

I Could Not Be Hindu: The Story of a Dalit in the RSS
By Bhanwar Meghwanshi; Translated by Nivedita Menon
Navayana | Rs 399 | 240 pages

JNU professor of political thought Nivedita Menon translates Bhanwar Meghwanshi’s memoir from the Hindi, as he talks about what it means to be an untouchable in the RSS which he joined at age 13, and what it means to become Dalit. Through participating in riots and going to jail, being intoxicated by the idea of Hindutva and ready to die for the cause of a Hindu Rashtra, he remains a "lesser Hindu". Eventually, he turns into a Sangh critic, becomes an Ambedkarite invested in Dalit activism, and makes it his mission to expose Hindutva hypocrisies.

Read more about the book here.

– NON-FICTION

India’s Founding Moment: The Constitution of a Most Surprising Democracy
By Madhav Khosla
Harvard University Press | Rs 599 | 240 pages

Researcher and Associate Professor of Political Science at Ashoka University, Madhav Khosla’s book details how India’s Constitution came into being and was instituted. It explores the means used by India’s founders to foster a democratic ethos, creating a self-sustaining politics that could respond to the most inhospitable conditions. The book also reminds readers of the potential and challenges of self-rule today.

Read more about the book here.

Origins of Art: The Gond Village of Patangarh
By Kodai Matsouka, Bhajju Shyam
Tara Books | Rs 1,200 | 200 pages

Japanese photographer Kodai Matsouka and artist Bhajju Shyam visit Patangarh, in the Dindori district of Madhya Pradesh, home to the art tradition of the Pardhan Gond community. The form has been around for about 35 years, and the book studies its evolution and its close link to the village. Besides their verbal and visual collaboration, the book is also furnished with art and illustrations created by the community’s artists.

Read more about the book here.

Calling Elvis – Conversations with Some of Music’s Greatest: A Personal History
By Shantanu Datta
Speaking Tiger | Rs 399 | 230 pages

Journalist Shantanu Datta has been engaged in music reportage in India for the past three decades. Here, he compiles detailed interviews he conducted with artists who played in South Asia, like Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson, Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler, Dr L Subramaniam, John McLaughlin, and Sting among others. His conversations offer insights into these musicians’ minds, and allow some of Datta’s own life to emerge as well.

Read more about the book here.

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