Preview: Our Top New Releases from January

Every Vote Counts by Navin Chawla

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Navin Chawla has had a ringside view of Indian elections: as Chief Election Commissioner, he supervised the landmark 2009 general election, and several key state elections as well. Drawing on his wide-ranging experience, Every Vote Counts presents a riveting account of how the daunting task of conducting the largest electoral exercise in the world is undertaken. The challenges before the Election Commission are many: How does one conduct free and fair elections when a large percentage of our lawmakers are law-breakers? Is the model code of conduct effective? How does one hold elections in Maoist-affected constituencies, or for that matter in the strife-torn state of Jammu and Kashmir? How reliable are electronic voting machines? Is it possible to implement compulsory voting? Will simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies make things any easier? Every Vote Counts is a fascinating, informative account that gives us a kaleidoscopic view of how the elector-al machinery works in the world’s largest democracy. With the 2019 elections just round the corner, this is a book that every concerned and interested Indian might want to read.

 

The Winning Attitude by Jeff Keller

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As a motivational speaker and coach, one question that Jeff Keller often gets asked is ‘What separates successful people from everyone else?’ His answer is an overwhelming stress on the ‘right attitude’. In fact, it always boils down to what Jeff popularly refers to as the ‘winning attitude’. No matter where you are on your journey of self-development, a winning attitude will always be the differentiator as Jeff Shows in example after example, covering virtually all the important aspects of our life. This book presents fifty-four golden principles that can dramatically change your life. For more than thirty years, these principles have changed Jeff’s life for the better – and they have done it for millions of others. Read it, enjoy it, apply the principles and you will create extraordinary results in your life.

 

The Brand Custodian by  Mukund Rajan

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Immediately upon completing his DPhil degree, young Mukund Rajan came back to India and joined the Tata group as Ratan Tata’s executive assistant. Over the next twenty-three years, as he worked closely with Ratan Tata, he got an inside view of the ups and downs, the controversies and achievements of the Tata group. In this book, his memoirs, he talks of what really went on during those turbulent times and how the Tatas pulled through each of these situations. Along with that, this book offers a close portrait of the enigmatic Ratan Tata from his longest-serving executive assistant. The Brand Custodian is a study of the Tata group’s evolution and explains the relevance of the conglomerate to the world we live in.

 

The Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

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The Ramayana, one of the world’s greatest epics, is also a tragic love story. In this brilliant retelling, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni places Sita at the centre of the novel: this is Sita’s version. The Forest of Enchantments is also a very human story of some of the other women in the epic, often misunderstood and relegated to the margins: Kaikeyi, Surpanakha, Mandodari. A powerful comment on duty, betrayal, infidelity and honour, it is also about women’s struggle to retain autonomy in a world that privileges men, as Chitra trans- forms an ancient story into a gripping, contemporary battle of wills. While the Ramayana resonates even today, she makes it more relevant than ever, in the underlying questions in the novel: How should women be treated by their loved ones? What are their rights in a relationship? When does a woman need to stand up and say, ‘Enough!’

 

This Could Have Become Ramayan Chamar’s Tale by Subimal Misra and V. Ramaswamy

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Subimal Misra – anarchist, activist, anti-establishment, experimental ‘anti-writer’ – is a contemporary master, and among India’s greatest living authors. This Could Have Become Ramayan Chamar’s Tale is a novella about a tea-estate worked turned Naxalite named Ramayan Chamar, who gets arrested during a worker’s strike and is beaten up and killed in custody. But every time the author attempts to write that story, reality intrudes in various forms to create a picture of a nation and society that is broken down, and where systemic inequalities are perpetuated by the middle- and upper-classes who are either indifferent or actively malignant. When Colour Is A Warning Sign goes even further in its experimentation, abandoning the barest pretence of narrative and composed entirely as a collage of vignettes, dialogue, reportage, autobiography, etc.

Together these two anti-novels are a direct assault on the ‘vast conspiracy of not seeing’ that makes us look away from the realities of our socio-political order. In V. Ramaswamy’s translation, they make for difficult, challenging but ultimately immensely powerful reading.

 

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