Preview: Our Top New Releases from April

Maa, I’ve Become a Collector by Rajesh Patil

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Rajesh Patil was born to poor farm workers in the backward Khandesh region of Maharashtra. He worked as a child labourer picking cotton, selling bread, and doing small jobs. But what set him apart was that, unlike most of his peers, he was driven by an intense desire to improve his lot through education. Against great odds, he moved to Nashik for a B.Sc. and then to Pune for an M.Sc. in statistics – all this with the help of freeships, scholarships and the support of his teachers, friends and well-wishers. By dint of his hard work, he managed to get into the Indian Statistical Service, but the Indian Administrative Service was his goal. Unsuccessful at first, he persisted until eventually he cracked the competitive exams and qualified for the IAS.
Maa, I’ve Become a Collector is the inspiring account of Rajesh’s struggles that has been a bestseller in Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati and Odia and motivated thousands of students in India’s hinterlands in their quest for a better life. At the same time, it is much more than one man’s story – it is a riveting and revelatory account of rural India

 

Game Changer: Shahid Afridi w/ Wajahat S. Khan

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Game Changer is the riveting memoir of Shahid Afridi, one of modern cricket’s most controversial and accomplished practitioners. In 1996, as a teenager, Afridi hammered the fastest ODI century at the time. Today, Afridi holds the distinction of having hit the most number of sixes in the history of ODI cricket, scooping the most wickets in T20s and winning the most player-of-the match awards in the same format. In a career as unpredictable as his leg-break googlies and ‘boom-boom’ power hitting, Afridi has been many things — the lost kid focused on pulling his parents out of poverty, the desperate captain trying not to snitch on his corrupt teammates, the gallant Pashtun centurion staring down a hostile Indian crowd, and the bad boy at the centre of a ball-tampering scandal.
In Game Changer, he sets the record straight once and for all. A must-read not only for his legion of fans across the world but also for those interested in cricket and Pakistan’s future.

 

Shehla Masood: The Murder That Shook the Nation by Hemender Sharma

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On 16 August 2011, RTI activist and environmentalist Shehla Masood was shot dead by contract killers in Bhopal. Shehla was the Madhya Pradesh convener of the ‘India against Corruption’ campaign launched by Anna Hazare, and had been trying to expose the unholy nexus between selfserving bureaucrats and politicians.
The cover-up and attempts to tarnish her image started soon after: the local police tried to label her death a suicide, while the state chief minister ordered a CBI probe within forty-eight hours. In the end, how the crime was solved is a fascinating story worth recounting.
Shehla’s is the tale of a woman from a conventional family who stepped out into the world to make it on her own. Hers is a story replete with ambition, obsession and political intrigue. In this riveting account of the case, Hemender Sharma, a journalist and dear friend of Shehla’s, peels away the layers to understand her life, the murder, its progress and its resolution.

 

Majoritarian State by Christophe Jaffrelot

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Majoritarian State traces the ascendance of Hindu nationalism in contemporary India. Led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP administration has established an ethno-religious and populist style of rule since 2014. Its agenda is also pursued beyond the formal branches of government, as the new dispensation portrays conventional social hierarchies as intrinsic to Indian culture while condoning communal and caste- and gender-based violence.
The contributors explore how Hindutva ideology has permeated the state apparatus and formal institutions, and how Hindutva activists exert control over civil society via vigilante groups, cultural policing and violence. As this majoritarian ideology pervades the media and public discourse, it also affects the judiciary, universities and cultural institutions, increasingly captured by Hindu nationalists.
This collection of essays offers rich empirical analysis and documentation to investigate the causes and consequences of the illiberal turn taken by the world’s largest democracy.

 

But You Don’t Look Like a Muslim by Rakshanda Jalil

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What does it mean to be Muslim in India?
What does it mean to look like one’s religion?
Does one’s faith determine how one is perceived?
Is there a secular ideal one is supposed to live up to?
Can people of different faiths have a shared culture, a shared identity?
India has, since time immemorial, been plural, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-lingual, where various streams have fed into and strengthened each other, and where dissimilarities have always been a cause for rejoicing rather than strife.
These writings, on and about being Muslim in India, by Rakhshanda Jalil – one of the country’s foremost literary historians and cultural commentators- excavate memories, interrogate dilemmas, and rediscover and celebrate a nation and its syncretic culture.
But You Don’t Look Like a Muslim is a book that every thinking Indian must read.

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