Posts Tagged ‘Dalai Lama’

If Truth Be Told: A Monk Memoir
Om Swami | Harper Element | Rs 499

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 12.56.54 PMAmit Sharma grew up in Patiala and flew to Australia to study and eventually work in the IT software industry. Then one day, he decided to renounce his family, wealth (including a Porsche) and friends in Sydney to embark on a spiritual journey because he says, he “wanted to devote his life to the search of Truth”. He returned to India, sought out Kashi, gurus, tantric yoga and wisdom. He says he attained “enlightenment” in a forest and that ‘tantra’ is not about tantric sex but realizing the self. Today, he runs an ashram in Uttaranchal and seeks followers.


Item Girl
Richa Lakhera | Rupa| Rs 195

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 12.56.39 PMThe story hidden between the pages of this thriller – set in the underbelly of Bollywood studios – zeros on rape, blackmail and ‘ma-behen’ invectives to paint what the blurb at the back of the book announces as “the dark side of showbiz”. It’s a tedious read – the ramble, the hectoring, the sloth of thought and the language of tired clichés (the plants were rotting alive; feet sounding brittle and hard on scratchy shabby grass; her first film turned out to be a stellar hit). Rupa needs to tighten its editing skills and Lakhera her story telling abilities.


For Tibet, With Love
Isabel Losada | Bloomsbury | Rs 299

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 12.56.25 PMIsabel Losada, a journalist from Battersea, England, travels to China, India and London to decipher how Tibet can win autonomy from Chinese rule. Along the way, she learns that world can’t be changed by staging world concerts or by calling the Chinese evil. Aptly subtitled as a “beginners guide for changing the world”, Losada in this book finally reaches out to Dalai Lama asking him what she and others who felt like her could do? He tells her to continue writing, learn from Gandhi’s ‘constructive determination’ and accept the ‘humanism’ of the Tibetan culture. Wise.

(The above reviews appeared in the Sunday edition of Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 15 February 2015)

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Re-Imaging the Indus
Samir Saran & Hans Rasmussen Theting| KW Publishers| Rs 495

This monograph, prepared by a Delhi-based research foundation in collaboration with the Lahore University of Management Sciences, looks at how Indus Water Treaty (IWT) is viewed by India and Pakistan, in each other’s media. To understand the discourse the researchers zeroed on media coverage of the issue during 2010. The study is based on news reports and features published in major English dailies on both sides of the border. The finding?  For Pakistan, the Indus river is synonymous with rural needs. For India, water is an urban infrastructure issue. Both countries are guilty of looking for engineering solution to water management, ignoring the organic nature and its symbiotic relationship with the people.


In The Shadow of The Buddha
Matteo Pistono| Hay House| Rs 299

Tibet has enchanted western scholars for a long time now. Pistono follows a familiar terrain. His journey into Tibet and India is more about his own self realisation than reconstruction of the life and times of the 19th century mystic, Tertin Sogyal – whose story he ostensibly sets out to tell. Sogyal was the spiritual and political mentor to the previous Dalai Lama. Along the way, we are privy to the author’s self-congratulatory escapades – where he claims to have photo-documented the infamous demolition of Larung camp that hit the international headlines in 2001. We only have his word on this. The book offers us no facsimile documents or pictures to collaborate his claim.


Opening Night
Diksha Basu| Harper Collins| Rs 250

“India is no longer what it was,” exclaims the writer of this debut novel set in modern-day Mumbai. The middle class Maharashtrians, Punjabis, Tamilians, Gujaratis and Biharis living around Dadar are nice but “they aren’t particularly interesting”. The place to be is Bandra, where there is a “high concentration of good looking people” and where instead of silk saris “middle aged Indian ladies in short skirts and tank tops mingle with hipsters”. There is more: odd plus handsome equals charming, she says, while odd and ugly is creepy. It’s heartening that the writer is pursuing a course in creative writing – who knows, her next offering may be more worth our while.

(An edited version of the above reviews was published in the Sunday edition of the Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 5 February 2012)

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