Saturday, February 28, 2015

Non-Fictional Reads in February

Besides Mysteries, I also read a couple of non-fictional books in February:

BHAGAT SINGH: LIBERATION'S BLAZING STAR by P.M.S. GREWAL (2007)



The author, P.M.S Grewal is Secretary, Delhi State Committee of the CPI (M), writes a thought-provoking introduction to his assessment of Indian Revolutionary Bhagat Singh but adds nothing new to the already existing scholarship on Bhagat Singh.

First Line: Bhagat Singh, like all individuals, was a product of his times.

Publication Details: ND: LeftWord, 2007
First Published: 2007
Pages: 104
Source: Bought @WBF, Delhi in 2010
Other books read of the same author: None

*

TERRORISM, INSURGENCY AND INDIAN-ENGLISH LITERATURE 1830-1947 
by ALEX TICKELL (2012)



Alex Tickell, lecturer in English at the Open University, UK, looks at certain flash-point situations during the British Raj: - The 'Black Hole' of Calcutta, the 1857 revolt, the assassination of Curzon Wyllie by Indian Revolutionary Madan Lal Dhingra in London, the Jallianwallah massacre, the dialogue between Gandhi and the revolutionaries - and discusses the impact on not only Indo-British relations but also on the literature of its time. Though a study of extensive scholarship, Tickell's book doesn't use convoluted arguments couched in high-sounding words but uses simple and effective language which make this book an easy and interesting read.

My favourite part of the book was however an extract from Veer Savarkar's book on the 1857 revolt:

Someone had asked the last Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah 'Zafar':

Dumdumaymen dam nahin ab khair mango jaan ki
Ai Zafar thandi ho gayi ab shamsheer Hindustan ki.

['Now that with every passing moment, you are becoming weaker, pray for your life (to the English): for, Oh! Emperor, the sword of India is now broken forever!']

To which the emperor replied:

Ghazion mein bhu rahegi jab talak imaan ki
Tabto London tak chalegi tegh Hindustan ki.

['As long as there remains the least trace of love of faith in the hearts of our heroes, so long, the sword of Hindustan shall be sharp, and one day shall flash even at the gates of London']

I'll also remember this book for another reason: I was reading this book in the Metro and a co-passenger glancing at the title of the book gave me a hard, searching look. It was then that it struck me that carrying books with the word Terrorism in the title can give rise to suspicious scrutiny nowadays.

*

First Line: By the night of 19 June 1756, the illusion of British mercantile authority in Calcutta, the East India Company's great trading centre in Bengal, had started to falter.

Publication Details: London & NY: Routledge, 2012
First Published: 2012
Pages: xiv + 273
Source: CRL: 0111944:g (Y:45) Q2
Other books read of the same author: None

10 comments:

  1. This is really interesting, Neeru! I always think it's good to keep up with some non-fiction as well as fiction. And I ought to learn more about the British Raj than I know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Margot. The British Raj is a very significant time in Indian history and I hope you find it interesting enough to read more of it.

      Delete
  2. I've not heard of either of those books. The terrorism book intrigues me greatly.
    Great reviews!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Freda. Glad you liked the reviews. Tickell's book is pretty interesting esp. because he presents the Indian view-point also in a fair manner rather than depending only on British accounts.

      Delete
  3. Neer, you read some fine nonfiction books. I'd do well to follow in your footsteps.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Prashant. I wish you'd read a biography of Bhagat Singh. :)

      Delete
  4. I really like the sound of the Alex Tickell book - thanks Neeru.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sergio. It was an interesting read.

      Delete
  5. I'm dropping by to let you know that you were honorably mentioned for reviewing 10 books for the 2014 European Reading Challenge on Rose City Reader.

    The challenge officially ended on January 31, but I was slow to get the final wrap up post posted. Thanks for participating!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for letting me know Gilion. A mention is always nice. :)
      Thanks for hosting the challenge. Looking forward to the reads this year too.

      Delete