When it’s raining outside, what’s better than curling up in your bed with a fantastic book and some hot tea, or coffee? Here are our top 5 releases for July. You can buy them wherever books are sold. Sip, read, slurp, repeat!
- From Chanakya to Modi by Aparna Pande
Foreign policy of India is as deeply informed by its civilizational heritage as it is by modern ideas about national interest. The two concepts that come and go most frequently in Indian engagement with the world – from Chanakya in the third century BCE to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2017 – are autonomy and independence in decision making. Aparna Pande’s From Chanakya to Modi explores the deeper civilizational roots of Indian foreign policy in a manner reminiscent of Walter Russel Mead’s seminal Special Providence (2001). It identifies the neural roots of India’s engagement with the world outside.
- Where India Goes by Dianne Coffey and Dean Spears
Around the world, people live healthier lives than in centuries past, in part because latrines keep faecal germs away from growing babies. India is an exception. Most Indians do not use toilets or latrines, and so infants in India are more likely to die than in neighbouring poorer countries. Children in India are more likely to be stunted than children in sub-Saharan Africa.
Where India Goes demonstrates that open defecation in India is not the result of poverty but a direct consequence of the caste system, untouchability and ritual purity. Coffey and Spears tell an unsanitized story of an unsanitary subject, with characters spanning the worlds of mothers and babies living in villages to local government implementers, senior government policymakers and international development professionals. They write of increased funding and ever more unused latrines.
It is an important and timely book that calls for the annihilation of caste and attendant prejudices, and a fundamental shift in policy perspectives to effect a crucial, much overdue change.
- Ancient Guest by Biswamit Dwibedy
Ancient Guest is a collection of four series of poems that overlap and interweave to create a fictional-autobiography in verse. The poems explore the historical and the mythological, the spiritual and the sexual. Evocative, explosive and experimental, this collection marks a new direction in contemporary Indian poetry.
- Kautilya and His Arthashastra by Roger Boesche
A succinct and penetrating analysis of one of the ancient world’s foremost political realists, Chanakya aka Kautilya, Kautilya and His Arthashastra draws out the essential arguments from his Arthashastra, one of the greatest political treatises of all time. The ideas elaborated in the Arthashastra are strikingly similar to those of Thucydides, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Clausewitz, and even Sun Tsu. Roger Boesche’s excellent commentary on Kautilya’s voluminous text demonstrates the continued relevance of Kautilya’s work to modern Indian strategic thinking and our understanding of the relationship between politics and economics.
- The King Within by Nandini Sengupta
373 AD. In the thick forests of Malwa, an enigmatic stranger gallops into an ambush attack by bandits to rescue a young courtesan, Darshini. His name is Deva and he is the younger son of Emperor Samudragupta. That chance encounter, first with Deva and later with his two friends, the loyal general Saba Virasena and the great poet Kalidas, forges a bond that lasts a lifetime. From dispossessed prince, Deva goes on to become one of the greatest monarchs in ancient India, Chandragupta Vikramaditya. But the search for glory comes with a blood price. As Chandragupta the emperor sets aside Deva the brother, lover and friend, to build glorious destiny for himself, his companions go from being his biggest champions to his harshest critics.