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Pioneer Book Review,

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Revisiting Ray

John Hood has failed to provide anything new about the master filmmaker, says Derek Bose

<b>Beyond the World of Apu: The Films of Satyajit Ray
Author: John W Hood
Publisher: Orient Longman
Price: Rs 550  </b>

<b>The biggest problem about writing on Satyajit Ray is that there is nothing left to write.</b> So much has been written on his life and films over the past 50 years that the moment another book on him appears you are tempted to ask, "Now what?" Ray was himself a prolific writer and a wonderful wizard with words. Anybody would have expected him to have had the last word.

The excuse Australian Indophile John W Hood has for this book is the nature of finishing an unfinished business. Years ago, he had done a compilation of essays on "major filmmakers of Indian art cinema" in which he had tried unravelling the "essential mystery" of Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, Mrinal Sen and others. Obviously, some points on Ray required revision, perhaps as an afterthought. So, he went back to his notes, played around with the language, stretched a few ideas, beat them into shape and has pulled off what he describes as a "personal reassess-ment" on the 29 films Ray made in his lifetime -- from Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road) to Agantuk (The Stranger).

<b>Nevertheless, the book has its use.</b> For a generation of young cineastes not exposed to the magic of Charulata (The Lonely Wife), Aparajita (The Unvanquished) and Devi (the Goddess) here is a handy primer that encapsulates the work of the maestro over 37 years of filmmaking. Even otherwise, the synoptic treatment of every film serves as a ready-reckoner for anybody interested in a more in-depth study. For the sake of convenience, the author has grouped the films under broad thematic chapter heads -- 'Apu Trilogy', 'An Early Pastiche', 'The Urban Middle Class', 'The Calcutta Triptych'... rather than deal with them in chronological order.

Two early black-and-white films, Tin Kanya (Three Daughters) and Charulata are thus bunched together with Ghare Baire (Home And The World), made two decades later, in 1984, just because they fall pat under the chapter, 'Tribute to Tagore'. Likewise, two completely unrelated films -- Devi (1960) and Sadgati (1981) -- appear together under 'Cry Against Tradition' (well, which Ray film isn't?).

Devi was intrinsically a Bengali film, based on Prabhat Mukherjee's story of a silly old man (Chhabi Biswas) who "sees" his daughter-in-law (Sharmila Tagore) as a goddess Kali incarnate. In contrast, Sadgati was a tele-film in Hindi, based on Munshi Premchand's story about class conflict -- between a low caste (Om Puri) and a village Brahmin (Mohan Agashe). Ray's approach to these two widely divergent subjects, his treatment, the camerawork, sound design, editing pattern... everything is so dissimilar that bracketing them arbitrarily is rather unfair.

The book can be faulted on other counts as well. What is the purpose, for instance, to get into minute details of films when their storylines have been analysed threadbare by others (including Ray) countless times before? Their interpretation can also be questioned, but that will have to pass as the author does not hide the fact that his observations and impressions are primarily "personal".

The danger of such a subjective treatment lies elsewhere. For, <b>Ray was more than a storyteller -- one who translated great literary works into celluloid -- as the author makes him out to be. He was a visionary, a philosopher and in many ways a historian. He was the only filmmaker to have documented more than a century of social change in India -- from the fall of the Mughal empire in Shatranj Ke Khilari (The Chess Players) to the collapse of the zamindari system in Jalsaghar (The Music Room), to the awakening of modern India (Apu Trilogy, Devi, Charulata) and women's power in Mahanagar (The Big City) to the rise of the middle class in Pratidwandi (The Adversary) and social decadence in Jana Aranya (The Middle Man) and finally, raising a glimmer of hope in Agantuk (The Stranger). No Indian filmmaker has covered such a wide canvas. This is a point Hood misses.</b>

One is also tempted to question the author's understanding of the social milieu against which some less notable films like Kapurush O Mahapurush (The Coward and the Holy Man) Ashani Sanket (Distant Thunder) and Ganashatru (An Enemy of the People) are set.

As a known translator of popular Bengali fiction and poetry into English and as one who divides time between Melbourne and Kolkata, Hood is no doubt better placed than such firangs as <b>Marie Seton</b>, Andrew Robinson and Robin Wood who had interpreted Ray from a Westerner's point of view. Instead of providing a fresh insight on the subject, Hood sadly misleads.

-- The reviewer, a well-known author and journalist, specialises in Bollywood and other aspects of India's film industry


I think the reviwer is vitrolic and acerbic as he is left out of the Ray author genre. I am such afan of Ray that I read any new compilation for all the very reasons that the critic writes about Ray. I will buy the book.

BTW, I have Marie Seton's version on Satyajit Ray. I bought it at UCLA book store in the filmography section. In IITM , they suded to have a book called' Seven Directors" with Ray as the last and ultimate. I was impressed by that book.

About the Book 

Rahman Khan (1874-1972), born in the village Bharkhari (Hamirpur, United Provinces), was 24 years old when he left for Paramaribo, the capital of Surinam (South America). At the age of 67, Rahman Khan, a practicing pathan Muslim, completed his autobiography entitled Jeevan Prakash in which he connects India, the land of his birth, with Surinam, the country in which he marries, is a contract labourer and later becomes a plantation overseer and a teacher in Hindi and Hinduism and gets five sons and two daughters.

There is almost no written information available that describes the lives of the first generation of Indian indentured labourers in Surinam. This translated autobiography, originally written in Devanagari, is therefore a unique source. This translation is accompanied by endnotes and a glossary.

Sinha-Kerkhoff and Ellen Bal have also added an introduction in which they place the autobiography in its Indian and Surinamese colonial contexts. The final outcome should interest labour historians and other social scientists as well as the common reader interested in colonial and subaltern history, transnational migration, diaspora and minority issues all well as issues of religion and communalism.

Rs 495
US$ 25


List of Sanskrit books digitized at IIIT Hyderabad
<b>The Evolution of Sananatana Daharma -- A Bird’s Eye-view.</b>


As the title itself indicates, this book comprising seven chapters presents a bird’s-eye-view of the evolution of Sanatana Dharma, popularly known as Hinduism, the chapters being: 1) Basic Elements of Sanatana Dharma: Evolution in Time; 2) The Hindu Pantheon--Introduction; 3) Lord Vishnu’s Incarnation; 4) Hindu Temple--Introduction; 5) Hindu Theerthasthana -- Places of Pilgrimage; 6) Luminaries of Sanatana Dharma--Introduction: The Men Architects of Sanatana Dharma, The Women Architects of Sanatana Dharma, The Youth Architects of Sanatana Dharma; and 7) Miscellaneous.

A prestigious publication of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, carrying a scholarly foreword by Swami Avdheshananda Giri, Junapeethadhiswar, it brings before our eyes the glorious past of our country, Bharath, and highlights the underlying spiritual unity that integrated Bharath as a nation throughout history. The artistic and attractive presentation of the book is well matched by the wonderful set of pictures included in the book, which adds colour and a visual elegance to the lucid presentation of the subject matter.

As an introduction to the vast and deep ocean that is Hindu Dharma, “The Evolution of Sananatana Daharma -- A Bird’s-eye-view”, is an illuminating brief presentation of the timeless ocean of knowledge, strength, wisdom and spiritual freedom useful for one and all. In short, it offers Hindu Dharma in a very simple and down-to-earth manner, as the foreword rightly points out.

The publication seeks to provide some basic information both to the parents and the younger generation of Hindus about the important facets of Sanatana Dharma. Drawing a vivid picture of Hindu Dharma, with its salient features including the nirguna and saguna aspects of Ishwara (God), the book presents the subject matter to the young and inquisitive minds not yet familiar with its common principles and practices in India and abroad. While presenting the basic features of Hindu Dharma including the sixteen samskaras observed by the Hindus, it also refers to the close connections of Hindu Dharma with the Jain, Buddha and Sikh Dharmas.

The book depicts the most celebrated temples of India -- the abodes of selected saguna aspects of gods and goddesses, 11 ancient ones and three newly built. While briefly presenting the main Hindu temples (representing various aspects of gods and goddesses) in India and abroad, temples of the derivative religions are also highlighted. Moreover, it gives a brief description of the twelve selected forms of gods and goddesses (representing the specific saguna aspect of the Ultimate Reality) of the celebrated and familiar Hindu pantheon commonly worshipped by the Hindus. The book presents a brief introduction to the Divine Incarnations of Lord Vishnu with special reference to the four prominent incarnations (Rama, Krishna, Vedavyasa, Buddha) who have left permanent imprints on Hinduism/Hindu Society through millennia and continue to do so even today by their teachings and exemplary lives.

It refers to the most sacred of Hindu pilgrim centers in India. These important centres of pilgrimage located throughout the country, upholding the underlying unity of the holy land of Bharath, also symbolize the Hindu unity. The 23 pilgrim centers (thirthasthanams) include also those of the religions derived from Hindu Dharma (Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism).

Additionally, the book presents the basic teachings of these derivative religions of Hinduism. It describes the lives and legacy of a great many men, women and youth in the Hindu History, spanning the four yugas -- satya yuga, treta yuga, dwapara yuga and the present kali yuga, They dedicated their lives for upholding the basic, humanitarian principles of the Hindu Dharma and traditional culture, and also for achieving the noble goals they set for themselves. Many of them, who sacrificed their lives for the safeguard of the Dharma and the country, are the heroes and heroines and the sources of inspiration to us, for all times to come. By their lives these heroes and heroines have enriched the Hindu culture and history. Indeed their lives reflect the ideals of Hindu Dharma evolving through the ages.

Further, the book presents a brief introduction to several miscellaneous topics including the great achievements of the country, the concepts of time measurement in the field of cosmology and astronomy including the Shakha calendar. Various yogic postures, breathing techniques and meditation in the practice of Yoga as also the Ayurvedic system of medicine have been briefly discussed, and the importance of Swastika symbol has been pointed out. Also it highlights the divine love of Radha and Krishna.

The book is a veritable mini-encyclopedia on the subject and a commendable effort has gone into this task. The editors have done a great job in presenting in a short compass useful and inspiring material drawn and compiled from various sources: authors, religious scriptures as also from the materials available online. Royal size edition of 321 pages, printed on art paper and elegantly got up, with more than 125 multi-colour art plates, the book is indeed a treat to the eyes and is interspersed with significant quotations and shlokas with transliteration and meaning, and the bibliography appended to the book includes 187 URLs of useful web sites for further reference and reading. It is hoped that the book will have a wide circulation among serious readers who love India and its culture.

* * *








The latest novel of Amitav Ghosh, Sea of Poppies, which was listed in Booker 2008 but, obviousely had to lose, is a very lucid account of colonial times. My take is that Ghosh has potential to inherit the legacy of V S Naipaul. Interesting responses in the below interview by a leftist.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Amitav Ghosh, with his mop of since-ages white hair and a pleasingly contrasting dusky skin, stands welcoming you in his tenth floor suite in a five-star Delhi hotel looking like a weightier, intellectual, grown-up, oriental Tintin. There are signs of the whirl of book launch-related activity---boxes full of copies of his latest book, presumably meant to be given away to old friends from Ghosh’s long stay in Delhi, are strewn on the floor. You realise, here is a man who perfectly embodies the image the middle class India has of an Indian Writer in English---a material and creative success; someone with a universality that comes from being a perfect mix of Indian-ness and westernisation, a man as comforatble in a Harvard lecture room as he is in a boat afloat in the Sundarbans; and a nerd with a great presence, equally at home at his desk as he is at a book-launch party. As he engages the photographer in easy conversation about an old Stephanian connection they have both discovered, you feel the ice is broken. Nope. Almost rendered inarticulate by Ghosh’s combativeness, Hemant Sareen discovers that the author of nine books that have constantly countered the West-centric world view, Amitav Ghosh is not someone to whom one mentions ambivalence and the Empire in the same sentence.

Hemant Sareen: Sea of Poppies is an indictment of colonialism but it was surprising to find the heroes and the villains so neatly separated into good and bad guys. Also, the fact that all your British characters are shown as snarling rascals.

Amitav Ghosh: Are you sure you read my book? My book is about marginal people and all of them are deeply flawed. The central character Deeti has murdered her own mother in law. They are all either criminals or on some side of criminality. Another character is a forger. And the single most genuinely evil character in the book is Bhairon Singh. So what it really show when someone asks me that question is that they cannot believe that an Englishman can be bad. I should only bring out the badness in the Indians and no one else, is that what you are saying ? It wrong to bring out the badness of Englishman, is that what you are saying?

HS: Not really!

AG: But that seems to be the sound of it! It’s interesting to me that you are reading it [the book] that way because <b>it seems you have an agenda</b>!

HS: Having read your other books, especially the first two, The Circle of Reason and The Shadow Lines, the Empire as something so unambiguously evil as it is portrayed in Sea of Poppies doesn’t cross the mind.

AG: The Shadow Lines is not about drug smugglers or slave traders. How many gentle Arab slave traders have you read about? And that is really a racist thing because many of them [the Arab slave traders] were really sweet people. Very kind, very gentle. Similarly, how many good-natured Colombian drug traders have you read about? And I am sure that’s a terrible distortion [about depicting Colombian drug lords as hardened trigger-happy criminals] because they have families, they are nice to their children.

HS: If the British were so plainly evil, you have not painted their victims in primary colours, they do not really act like victims. In fact they are shown as much victims as beneficiaries of the changes drug trade brought in the circumstances? Caste system is suddenly in flux, religious taboos are broken, societal oppression is replaced by indenture, but all in all the indentured labourers are looking forward to the journey across kala pani, there is even romance on the ship hardly out of Hooghly waters?

AG: It doesn’t interest me to write about the victims of the Empire. What interests me is people who make their way in a very difficult world. That’s what my Indian characters do [in Sea of Poppies], that’s what my French, American and English characters do. Some ways they are all participants in the evil of the circumstances they live in.

HS: You wrote in your essay The Ghosts of Mrs Gandhi (1995): It is when we thin of the world the aesthetic of indifference might bring into being that we recognise the urgency of remembering the stories we have not written. What was the urgency you felt to write about the indentured labourers, the Jahaj-bhais and -baihans?

AG: When I started thinking about this book especially when I travelled to Mauritius and met people there, one of the things that really struck me was this aspect of their remembering -- their ancestors, relationships --as they crossed the waters and came together, and they often spoke of [these fellow travellers-indentured labourers] as Jahaj-bhais. That was a beautiful thing and I would think about it, and write about it.

HS: And, of course, the book continues with your abiding writerly concern of retrieving from extinction histories on the verge of being forgotten, especially the histories of marginal people?

AG: The thing about dealing with marginal people is that marginal people often have to do terrible things just to stay alive. And it’s never easy for them to survive in the circumstances and the world they live in. So many of the indentured labourers whose portraits are painted are painted in Sea of Poppies are people who in some ways emerging from poverty become warped by it.

I think the 19th century was incredibly hard, incredibly bitter, and it’s strange that people have such a toffee-coated notion of what life was like in the 19th century. It was an incredibly ferocious, violent life. In fact, if I were to reproduce the real violence of the slave ship and what slave, opium traders did, the actual reality of what they were doing , you’d probably not believe it because, of course, you actually think all Englishmen were nice, gentle school teachers. [Laughs]

HS: I am not going to ask you what the next book in the Ibis trilogy is going to end, but tell me why a trilogy?

AG: Hmm, because I want to have the time and space to explore this [the above] at some length.

HS: Is it a theme or the story that is driving the trilogy?

AG: What I am going to do is just follow the lives and destinies of these characters.

HS: The first book reads like ‘to be continued’, ‘part one’. Not so much a triptych as a book in three volumes this Ibis trilogy?

AG: It could be more, four, five, or, even more volumes. I don’t know. I’m thinking of three.

HS: You regard the novel as a national narrative. It seems now that you are trying to consolidate your oeuvre, project your pet writerly concerns on a larger scale.

AG: It is interesting what you said there. I don’t regard the novel as a national narrative at all. A large and a national narrative are different things. [The novel to me] is not national in the sense of relating to contemporary India. Sea of Poppies is a non-national narrative in the sense that it is about people who are leaving India behind.

HS: You have a problem with the concept of nation. You regard its artificiality as antithetical to identity’s organic-ness. Do you have an alternative to it in the Subcontinental context (something like a European Union)?

AG: My feelings about this are twofold. One is that we should be very keenly aware when you say artificial. One thing we do have to understand is that the nature of the relationships with our neighbours is civilisational, it is linguistic. These are deep and enduring relationships. And we have to remember that we can’t make them seem as though they were ancient because they are not. They are new.

<b>At the same time you know the nation state as such, artificial or not, is a very important institution. It is an institution because it provides a forum in which people can negotiate their differences within which they can also implement policy. So, the nation state in my view serves a very important purpose and I don’t in any way discount or devalue the nation because I have actually seen what happens when a nation state is disappears. In fact, what you then get is warlordism. And the nation state is greatly preferable to that -- although within our nation sate we do have entire areas that are run by warlords. But even in this day and age, we have to consider ourselves very fortunate that we have a functioning nation state and it functions in a democratic way. These are great achievements and in no way to be discounted.</b>

HS: The Novel or fiction, you have often said, is preferable to both history and anthropology, the subjects that you pursue in your academic life, because the novel can accommodate both these disciplines and much more?

AG: I do. I think other than history and ethnography, the novel can include a lot of other things that other genera cannot encompass, like food, climate, air. What is really exciting about the novel is its expansiveness. Its ability to take in the whole world and hold a mirror to the world.

HS: You told the BBC once that you feel uncomfortable writing in an adopted language. ‘I do battle with my self,’ you said. But reading something like The Shadow Lines, in which the language is supple, organic, and seems totally unforced, that you’d believe a native speaker was writing it. Even now the new experiment in language you try in Sea of Poppies, gives an impression of a writer fully at ease with the language. You have tried to present the times and the characters through language. There is the Anglo-Indian patois; there is Laskari, the language lascars, the Indian or South-East Asian sailors of the time spoke, usually translating the English Maritime jargon into vernacular; there is babu English, vernacular directly translated into English including the syntax. And then there is Bhojpuri.

AG: I love those interstitial languages. Just in general though, why do we think of any writer’s relationship with the language as something that’s comfortable? What’s good about being comfortable with the language? Any writer’s relationship with the language should be difficult, not comfortable. That is exactly from where writing emerges. You are pushing yourself against something. You are meeting resistance, and you meet the resistance within yourself. So, for me the fact of being in a difficult relationship with the language is much more interesting than being in an easy relationship with the language. Language isn’t like a hot water bath that you just to lie down in and forget about yourself. Language should be something to be struggling against. I think to have a counter-statutory, difficult relationship with the language has at least for me been a highly productive thing. It’s a very good thing. It’s what my writing comes from.

<b>Also, my writing comes from a sense of multilinguality---from the multilinguality of India. An Englishman, an American, a Thai, a Frenchman---they don’t know lots of other languages because their reality can be lived in one language. Our Indian reality cannot be lived like that. It cannot be experienced like that. It follows that the books we write will reflect that. In my case, my father’s family settled in Chapra in 1856 --- 150 years ago. In my father’s family they always spoke in Bhojpuri to each other. And I so enjoyed listening to it. It is a very beautiful language. I remember most of my Bhojpuri through music---through kajris, hooris, dadra, and so on, such beautiful forms of music.</b>

HS: Your idea of the novel is very historical in the sense that in early novel, like Cervantes’ Don Quixote, travel provided the plot, the setting, character development. Why did travel become such an important motif in your works?

AG: As you say, Cervantes, but also because I travelled a lot. My family, as I told you, travelled from Bengal to Chapra and that was not a one-way journey---they had to go back to Bengal to get married---so it was a continuous [to and fro]. And I think this is an interesting thing about India, Indian migrants continuously travel [within India] and not just one way. Travel helps me organise a story. It helps me tell a story.

<b>HS: You refused the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 2001. Has anything in the world changed or your own views to reconsider your views of the Commonwealth?

AG: Absolutely not! I think, if anything, the world has gone in the wrong direction. When I rejected the prize, it was before the Iraq war and I think what you are really seeing is the return of colonialism. a kind of Anglo-American imperialism. And that is the whole problem with the Commonwealth. My rejection of it is based on the idea that the Commonwealth is a euphemism. It’s a whitewashing of the past. The Commonwealth historically meant white settler colonies. It was only after the 1940s that they began to include non-white colonies in it. Look at the Commonwealth’s history, it was a hideous thing. </b>

HS: You have qualms about globalisation?

AG: I have qualms about the globalisation of Capital to the exclusion of the globalisation of Labour. That’s really the problem. What it all adds up to, what the contemporary globalisation has become is a way of always seeking cheaper and cheaper labour. Whereas the idea of globalisation to me is that of cultural contact, of cultural exchanges between people and civilisations. That to me is the most wonderful thing that can happen to human beings. And it has happened, there is nothing new about it. It goes back to millennia. So, that is something I completely embrace and celebrate that aspect of interchange. <b>I wrote In An Antique Land which was about pre-colonial globalisation. Globalisation under the control of a few dominant nations is the globalisation of slavery and indenture. That’s not the globalisation I would want.</b>

HS: Interconnected world easily lends itself to romanticism. Even in Sea of Poppies, you depict the 19th century globalisation as extremely unfair and exploitative, but you also show how it allowed Indians to cross the kala pani, break crippling religious taboos, shake up the age-old caste system a bit. Inequity is part of globalisation just as it is of real life. There is both good and bad to it.

AG: That you can say about anything. Even about Nadir Shah, presumably. [Laughs]. What can one say about that?

Before the Europeans entered the Indian Ocean, the sort of exchanges that happened between people were not necessarily iniquitous. There was a certain amount of inequity naturally as there always is in human society, but the bases of the terms of the trade were not iniquitous necessarily.

HS: You write in an essay about V.S. Naipaul’s role in turning you into a writer. There were other Indian writers around and there was Salman Rushdie. Was he an inspiration?

AG: Rushdie is a wonderful writer, but he wasn’t writing when I was in my formative years. When I was in school and college, it is very hard to explain to young Indians today that, there were so few people writing about experiences like ours. So we always sought them out. I read every word I could find of Naipaul. I hunted him out. And not just Naipaul, but also his brother Shiva Naipaul. Also, Sam Selvon who is another major Caribbean writers, and one of the great inspirations in my life, James Baldwin, the great Black American writer. But the writers who were available to us in those days like Nayantara Sehgal, Anita Desai (whose work was very important to us in those days, and it was quite different from what it is now), and others like Aubrey Menon, who are forgotten, I don’t know why. All these writers were great inspirations to us because there was nobody else. We had to read them.

Today, when I walk into my nieces’ or my nephews’ rooms, their bookshelves are filled with writers from the Subcontinent. I feel so happy for them because it’s a wonderful thing that they can see their experiences reflected in the works around them. I think this is one of the greatest things that has happened in these last many years. It just wasn’t there for us.

HS: The direct, sparse language of The Shadow Lines that sought a direct connection with the reader was surprising for the fact that the book was written when magical realism with its lingual frippery was in vogue--- you too had flirted with it in The Circle of Reason just two years before Shadow. Where did that confidence come to buck the trend?

AG: Style is an interesting issue because it pertains to each book. In the process of writing it the style, that is appropriate to the book, emerges. So, that was what happened with The Shadow Lines. It was different for The Calcutta Chromosomes.

It comes out with the process of writing. There is a very good word ‘tazurba’ which is both experiment and experience. In that sense this is what it is---from ‘tazurba’ of the writer the form emerges.

<b>Crimes Against India: and the Need to Protect its Ancient Vedic Tradition</b>
by Stephen Knapp
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Book Review by David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri)

Hinduism remains the most attacked and under siege of all the major world religions. This is in spite of the fact that Hinduism is the most tolerant, pluralistic and synthetic of the world's major religions. Hindu gurus have more than any other religious teachers in the world tried to find an underlying unity of religion to create peace in humanity. Yet though Hindu gurus have called for respect for all religions, leaders of other religions have not responded in kind by offering any respect for Hinduism. Instead they have continued to promote their missionary agendas and plan the conversion of India to their beliefs.

Why is Hinduism still so much a target of missionaries and the media? It is really very simple. Hinduism is the largest of the non-conversion, non-proselytizing religions and so offers the greatest possibilities for conversion. It is the vulnerability of Hinduism that makes it a target, not the fact that Hindus are trying to convert or conquer the world for some hostile belief.

After Christianity and Islam, Hinduism is the world's largest religion and the largest of the non-Biblical traditions. India, where most Hindus reside, has the most open laws allowing in foreign religious groups. While missionaries are virtually banned in China and in Islamic countries, in India they are often tolerated, respected and given a wide scope of activity. Since Christianity is in decline, particularly in Europe, it has a need to find new converts for which India is one of main potential locations, particularly as a comparatively high percentage of Hindu converts are willing to become priests and nuns. Pope John Paul II in a trip to India some ten years ago spoke directly of looking for a "rich harvest of souls in the third millennium in Asia", specifically India.

Yet most Hindus and groups sympathetic to them are not aware of this "siege on Hinduism" that continues unrelenting as part of the multi-national missionary business. In this context, the book of Stephen Knapp, Crimes Against India: and the Need to Protect its Ancient Vedic Tradition, is very timely, well written and well documented. The siege on Hinduism has been going on since the first Islamic armies and Christian missionaries entered India as he clearly delineates and has continued in various forms, violent, subversive or even charitably based.

While people know the history of the genocide of the Jews by the Nazis, the greater and longer genocide of Hindus by Islamic invaders is hardly noticed. Even the genocide in the Bangladesh War of 1971, in which most of the several million killed were Hindus, is not acknowledged as a religious genocide. While people know the history of the Inquisition and the burning of witches in Europe and the genocide of Native Americans by Christian invaders, they don't realize that India has a similar history in parts of the country like Goa. Knapp fills in these gaps and makes these connections.

More importantly, people don't realize that questionable conversion tactics are still being used in India today, where in the South, the rate offered for conversion is around twenty thousand rupies, going up and down with the economy! They also don't realize that it is now American Evangelicals of the Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson line -- the religious right that brought George Bush to power -- that is spearheading conversion activity and church building in South India, pouring billions into the country.

Yet Knapp's book is not just written to make us aware of this assault on Hinduism and its many dangers. He also provides a way forward, showing how Hindu Dharma can be revived, better taught, better communicated and more widely shared with the global audience, which is becoming progressively more receptive to Hindu teachings of Yoga, Vedanta and respect for nature. He documents the Hindu renaissance and the modern Hindu movement, which though small is growing rapidly as a Hindu response to this denigration of its venerable traditions. He shows that Hindus are not responding in terms of becoming another intolerant, exclusivist missionary cult. They are organizing themselves in terms of teaching, service and spiritual practices.

The book is well worth reading and will show any open minded person the Hindu side of a millennial debate on religion that has so far largely excluded the Hindu point of view. That Knapp is a western born Hindu adds to his credibility and conviction. He is not simply defending a tradition handed down by his family or his culture, but one that he has embraced from deep spiritual conviction and profound inner experience.

One hopes that readers in India will listen to his voice and that those outside of the country will recognize the Hindu plight along with the other forms of oppression going on in the world. Religious minorities at a global level are still under the assault of religious majorities, which have long been armed with petrodollars, high technology and control of the media. Yet as the book demonstrates, the tide is beginning to turn.

[More book info at www.stephen- knapp.com, and available as both paperback and downloadable ebook from www.iuniverse. com, and also through www.Amazon.com.]<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Book contents:

Royal Life in Manasollasa P. Arundhati

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->About the Book :
Manasollasa (the refresher of the mind) was composed by King Bhulokamalla Somesvara-III, of the western Chalukyan dynasty, whose rule extended over Karnataka and Andhra desa from 1138 A.D. to 1126 A.D. Also called Abhilasitarthachintamani (the magic stone that fulfils desires), <b>Manasollasa is encyclopaedic in scope, dealing with 100 different topics in five books, each having 20 topics. It is truly a refresher of the mind and a rich source of guidance by a king for the craft of kingship. This is the first attempt to render Manasollasa from Sanskrit into English.</b>

About the Author :
Dr. P. Arundhati, M.A., Ph.D. a distinguished Indologist and an archaeologist was born in 1942 and Talaprolu a placid village in Krishna District of Andhra Pradesh. She took her B.Sc. degree from Science College, Osmania University, Hyderabad. She obtained her M.A. degree in Religion and Culture from the same University in 1966. Her academic zeal for research engaged her in her doctoral thesis entitled "Religious Life and Thought in Andhra Desa from Satavahanas to 1000 A.D." and she was awarded Ph.D. degree by the Osmania University in 1984 for her outstanding thesis.
Her academic interest are varied and her specialisation includes the subjects on art, culture, Religion, crafts and archaeology. She acquired vast experience in various professional fields. She served in various capacities as Assistant Curator, Excavator, Registering Officer and presently the Administrative Officer in the Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi. An academician, museologist, archaeologist and an administrator she made her mark with notable distinction.
She keeps herself engaged in academic pursuits with her wonted scholarship and sensitivity. She is member of many learned bodies in India like Andhra Pradesh History Congress, Museums Association of India, Crafts Museum, New Delhi etc.
Her independent excavation at Nagnur in Karimnagar district is very much to warding and her archaeological exploration in many of the Telengana districts yielded potential results. Her unfailing love for Religious studies warrants approbation from all the lovers of Indology.

Contents :
1. Asatyavarjanadhyaya 2. Paradrohavarjanadhyaya 3. Agamyavarjanadhyaya
4. Abhakshyavarjanadhyaya 5. Asuyavarjanadhaya 6. Patitasangavarjanadhyaya
7. Krodhavarjanadhyaya 8. Svatmastutivarjanadhyaya 9. Danadhyaya
10. Priyavachanadhyaya 11. Istapurtadhyaya 12. Asesadevatabhaktyadhyaya
13. Govipratarpandhyaya 14. Pitrtarpanadhyaya 15. Atithipujanadhyaya
16. Gurususrusnadhyaya 17. Tapodhyaya 18. Tirthasnanadhyaya
19. Dinanathartabandhubhrityaposandhyaya 20. Sarangatarakshadhyaya
1. Svamyadhyaya (i) Rajagunas (ii) Rasayanam
2. Amatyadhyaya (1) Mantrilakshanam (ii) Purohithitalakshanam (iii) Jyotirvidganakalakshanam
(iv) Senapatilakshanam (v) Dhrmadhikarisabhadhykshalakshanam (vi) Kosadhyakshaganakalakshanam
(vii) Pratiharalakshnam (viii) Sandhivighrahilkalakshanam (ix) Lekhakalakshanam
(x) Sarathilakshanam (xi) Sudalakshanam (xii) Vaidyalakshanam (xiii) Antahpurarakshakakumaraparicharaklakshanam
3. Rastradhyaya (i) Rastrapalanaviveka (ii) Karadanaviveka (iii) Desajanaraksha (iv) Nidhi
4. Kosadhyaya (i) Dhatuvadarasayanam
5. Durgadhyaya (i) Navavidhadurgalakshanam
6. Baladhyaya (i) Padatilakshanam
7. Suhridadhyaya
8. Prabhusaktyadhyaya
9. Mantrasaktyadhyaya
10. Utsahasaktyadhyaya
11. Sandhyadhyaya
12. Vigrahadhyaya
13. Yatradhyaya (i) Yatrabhedas (ii) Sarvadigrikshanas (iii) Varasulam (iv) Rikshadosvaranas
(v) Nakshatradhohadam (vi) Amangalanisakunas (vii) Mangalaradanisakunas (viii) Svasakunas
(ix) Potakisakunam (x) Pingalasakunnam (xi) Upasrutisakunam
14. Asanadhyaya 15. Asrayadhyaya 16. Dvaidhibhavadhyaya 17. Samadhayaya
18. Bhedadhyaya 19. Danadhyaya 20. Dandadhyaya (i) Yoginichakram (ii) Sainyarachanalakshanam
(iii) Dndabhedas (iv) Vyavaharapadas
1. Grihopabhoga 2. Snanabhoga 3. Padukabhoga 4. Tambulabhoga 5. Vilepanabhoga
6. Vastropabhoga 7. Malyopabhoga 8. Bhusopabhoga 9. Asanopabhoga 10. Chamarabhoga
11. Asthanabhoga 12. Putravhoga 13. Annabhoga 14. Paniyabhoga 15. Padabhyangopbhoga
16. Yanopabhoga 17. Chhatrabhoga 18. Sayyabhoga 19. Dhupabhoga 20. Yosidbhoga
1. Kathavinoda
2. Chamatkaravinoda
1. Bhudharakrida 2. Vanakrida 3. Andolanakrida 4. Sechanakrida 5. Toyakrida
6. Sadvalakrida 7. Valukakrida 8. Jyotsnakrida 9. Sasyakrida 10. Madirapanakrida
11. Phanidakrida 12. Timirakrida 13. Virakrida 14. Premakrida 15. Suratakrida
49 Million Hindus Forced to Leave Bangladesh since 1946 - new book by
US Professor

<b>Empire's Last Casualty: Indian Subcomtinent's Vanishing Hindu and Other Minorities</b>

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_leGDuVvav5E/SVrE...ualty+Cover.JPG Empire's Last Casualty: Indian Subcontinent's Vanishing Hindu and Other Minorities

Empire's Last Casualty: Indian Subcontinent's Vanishing Hindu and Other Minorities (2008) is a study of effects of religious communalism on a pluralistic, tolerant, multi-religious society. It focuses on the loss of indigenous Hindu population from the land of their ancestors; and on changes brought about since a multi-religious progressive region of <b>Colonial British India was partitioned in 1947, and its effects on Hindu and non-Muslim (Buddhist and Christian) minorities, on pluralism and on indigenous cultures</b>. After Britain's Muslim-Hindu partition of Bengal Province east Bengal became Muslim-majority East Pakistan, a part of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, unleashing regular, merciless anti-Hindu pogroms by intolerant Islamists. West Bengal remained in India, with Muslim minority and ever-growing massive Bengali Hindu refugee who turned towards left extremism. Following a 1971 war of independence against West Pakistan, Bangladesh gained independence, creating the second largest Muslim-majority nation. <b>That war was concurrently anti-Hindu and anti-Bengali genocide by Islamic Republic's army and its Bengali and Urdu speaking Islamist allies</b>. <b>The book documents the decade-wise "missing" Hindus from Bangladesh Census: over 49 million; larger than 163 of 189 nations listed in World Bank's April 2003 World Development indicators database, and between 3.1 million (larger than 75 of 189 nations) and 1.4 million Hindus lost their lives through the process of Islamization</b>. Documenting three million-plus lost lives have been painful and difficult; especially when Hindus cremate their dead. <b>Additionally rivers of the world's largest delta washed away signs of mass murder leaving no clue.</b> All attempts have been made to justify the data presented in the book, hardly-known to the world and rarely discussed in Bengal itself.

Dr. Sachi (Sabyasachi) Ghosh Dastidar is a Distinguished Service Professor of the State University of New York at Old Westbury. He has taught in the U.S., Kazakhstan and India. He has also worked in Florida, Tennessee and West Bengal. Dastidar was an elected Board Member of a New York City School district making him the first Bengali-American to hold a popularly elected position in the U.S.

Sachi Dastidar has authored seven books, A Aamaar Desh, (1998), Regional Disparities and Regional Development Planning of West Bengal with Shefali S. Dastidar (1990), Central Asian Journal of Management, Economics and Social Research (2000) and Living Among the Believers (2006). He has written over 100 articles, short stories and travelogues.

His awards include Senior Fulbright Award, Distinguished Service Professor of the State University of New York, and honors from New York City Comptroller, NYC Council Speaker, residents of Mahilara, Madaripur and Uzirpur, all of Bangladesh, Assam Buddhist Vihar, and from Kazakhstan Institute. He has traveled to over 63 countries in all seven continents including Antarctica.

Publisher: Firma KLM Publishers, Kolkata (Calcutta), India
Price: $ 29

<i>(Please call New Jersey at 609-448-7225 to procure a copy, or Muktadhara Booksellers of New York at 718-565-7258; or check Internet; or send a US$29 check to EmpiresLastCasualty to 80-56 251 Street, Queens, New York 11426 for only U.S. shipping.)</i>

ISBN: 81-7102-151- 4
<!--QuoteBegin-"Samay"+-->QUOTE("Samay")<!--QuoteEBegin-->Ramana sir I was lucky, found some Brill's <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->
The Sanskrit Hero    Karna in Epic Mahahabharata

Sarasvati Riverine Goddess of Knowledge    From the Manuscript-carrying Vina-player to the Weapon-wielding Defender of the Dharma

The New Cambridge History of India

The Ramayana Revisited

The Languages of East and Southeast Asia<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Indian Diaspora in Central Asia and its Trade
[url="http://voi.org/31jan2010/vishalagarwal/column-vishalagarwal/hatinghindusasafunactivity.html"]Hating Hindus as a fun activity[/url]

Vishal's review of Lal's bile.

Quote:Indian Marxist historians like Romila Thapar have perfected the art of ‘Hating Hindus in an Academic Manner'. With its hundreds of cartoons, caricatures and doodles accompanying a lucid (but faulty) text, Lal's book breaks new ground - ‘Hatemongering against Hindus as a Fun Activity'. Perhaps, now we understand why Wendy Doniger found Lal's book so ‘delightful'.

Read entire review online.
From Pioneer on Sri Jagmohan's new book on Vaishno Devi

Quote:AGENDA | Sunday, May 16, 2010 | Email | Print |

The tireless crusader

Rajesh Singh writes on the astute politician, Jagmohan, who dared to do things differently and ensured that his vision became a reality

Reforming Vaishno Devi and a case for Reformed, Reawakened and Enlightened Hinduism


Publisher: Rupa

Price: Rs 395

It is difficult for Jagmohan to forget his Jammu & Kashmir stint. The author has visited the subject earlier in his hard-hitting My Frozen Turbulence, and he returns to it with this book. It cannot be just the majestic mountains and the magical chinars that repeatedly draw him to what is such a contentious issue for Indians and those across the border. If it was politics earlier, this time it is an inner call to address religious reforms and understand Hinduism. He uses the Vaishno Devi experiment as the fulcrum to build a case for reforms that would make the people proud of their religion and heritage.

This is Jagmohan at his philosophical best. If you are looking for dramatic accounts of his success in revamping the Vaishno Devi administration and creating an infrastructure that seemed chimerical until he arrived, be prepared to be disappointed. While the normally combative author does show traces of anger, frustration and impatience when he is faced with stupid, and at times diabolical, elements, the very gravity of the subject that he addresses ensures that he is lost in the spiritual world, emerging time and again to offer an insight tempered with experience and a sense of strong conviction.

The Vaishno Devi reforms are of course well-known throughout India, and Jagmohan has been lauded for it even by those who have politically opposed him. As he says in the book, once the people at large endorsed his bold moves and benefited from them, it became difficult for his opponents to sustain any serious opposition on that score.

While providence may have been at work in making Jagmohan Governor of Jammu & Kashmir, it surely gave him an opportunity to reform the shrine when the State came under Governor’s Rule. Now, he was king, with no prevaricating State Government to deal with. Besides doing the usual things like cracking down on subversive elements in the Valley and toning up the administration, he seized upon the occasion to put in motion the temple reforms.

What he wanted to do was already in his mind; the idea was in germination for some time and was waiting for the right occasion to bloom. Even then, aware of the need to strengthen his credentials in the eyes of the people, he decided to tread cautiously first. “When Governor’s Rule came, I did not act straightaway,” he remarks. The politician in him surfaces when he says, “After covering my flanks and formulating a comprehensive strategy, I decided to act swiftly and effectively.”

He kept his promise. From drafting a law that permitted the Government to take over the shrine without interfering with its religious statutes to implementing the various reforms ranging from administrative to infrastructural, Jagmohan ensured his vision became a reality. There was opposition on the way. One of the loudest voices of dissent was that of Dr Karan Singh, who headed the Dharm Arth Trust that looked after the shrine’s affairs. The trust was disbanded by the Governor and replaced by a news shrine Board of which he was ex-officio chairman. But even Dr Singh, the Governor recalls, later congratulated him for the reforms.

Emboldened by the success, Jagmohan tried to similarly experiment with the Amarnath Caves. He had noticed the enormous difficulties that thousands of pilgrims visiting the shrine faced during their journey. He wanted to create infrastructure like temporary shelters, medical facilities and the like, along the route from Pahalgam to Amarnath that would ease the pain of the devotees. But time had run out for him. He explains his efforts in the suitably titled chapter, ‘Amarnath Shrine: A Case of Aborted Reforms’. Loaded with ideas, Jagmohan prepared a comprehensive blueprint “for improving the area, making the vulnerable points safe for the pilgrims…providing special equipment for sanitation, water and power.” He also, quite naturally, proposed a shrine board similar to that of the Vaishno Devi one. There is no reason to believe that his plan would not have materialised, had he remained at the helm of affairs in the State. But Governor’s Rule ended, and with it collapsed his grand plans for Amaranth. The problems and the dangers faced by pilgrims on this route continue to exist, often manifested in tragedies like in 1996, when tens of thousands of devotees were stranded on the way due to torrential rains and snow storms. No help could reach them on time and there was no shelter or medical facility available. More than 200 pilgrims died.

If one leaves aside the sections on Vaishno Devi and Amarnath shrines, the book reads like an ex-tempore meandering of a soul in distress. Jagmohan takes enormous pains to understand and explain the true meaning of Hinduism, how Hindus were themselves “damaging the basic structure and lacerating the soul of Hinduism” and what should be done to preserve the dignity of this great and enlightened religion. The author plunges into the Aryan invasion controversy, the Harappan civilisation, the genuineness of River Saraswati and beyond to trace the roots of Hinduism. That he should be so conversant with the subject should not surprise anyone; as Union Culture Minister in the NDA regime, Jagmohan had given a huge boost to research on the Vedic River Saraswati, with a view to revive the existing ancient water channels for meeting the needs of crores of people in western India. Besides, the river is considered sacred to Hindus and its revival, even in a truncated form, would be admission of one of the country’s ancient and rich cultural symbols.

His quest to understand Hinduism leads him all the way back to the Vedas, Upanishads, the Trinity, the Puranas, the epics, Manu’s Code, the Tantric world, Yoga, Vedanta, the Bhakti movement and teachings of spiritual sages like Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo. After an exhilarating if exhausting trip to all of these, one would expect a distilled conclusion of the effort. But Jagmohan provides none, perhaps because none exists. Perhaps, then, we should reflect on what Sri Aurobindo said: “The Sanatan Dharma is universal. It is one religion which impresses on mankind the closeness of God to us and embraces in its compass all possible means by which man can reach God.”

Jagmohan has mellowed down, and it is reflected in this book. Age and experience, after all, tell.

Tribute to Hinduism: Thoughts and Wisdom Spanning Continents and Time About India and Her Culture By Sushama Londhe

Publisher: Pragun Publications 2008 | 549 Pages | ISBN: 8189920669 |

Quote:Since times immemorial, India has been synonymous with spiritual knowledge and people have been drawn to her sacred land. Some were philosophers, poets, writers, historians, scientists, and travelers. Some came to India; others read translations about her rich and imaginative literature and felt genuine enthusiasm for her. The fourth Caliph in the 7th century is reported to have said - The land where books were first written and from where wisdom and knowledge sprang is India. Despite the wars and imperialism, ancient India's spiritual influence and wisdom has had considerable impact on the West, especially on its imagination, science, and literature: English Romantic poetry in particular.

About the Author

Sushama Londhe is an Indian American who came to the US as a graduate student in the mid-1970's. She holds masters degrees in Regional Planning and Urban Affairs. After working as an Urban Planner with the State of Connecticut, she decided to devote her time as a mother and a homemaker. Subsequently, she began a website, Hindu Wisdom, as a personal quest for her own spiritual heritage.

Try to download and read the book.
Download from where garu? I did not see it in google books? Is it available anywhere else? Some of the download areas had just the rar files.
Link to download - Gita Rahasya Bg Tilak -Volumes 1 And 2

John Taber, "A Hindu Critique of Buddhist Epistemology: Kumarila on Perception"

R...le..e | 2005-02-11 | ISBN: 0415336023 | 288 pages |

Quote:This is a translation of the chapter on perception of Kumarilabhatta's magnum opus, the Slokavarttika, one of the central texts of the Hindu response to the criticism of the logical-epistemological school of Buddhist thought. In an extensive commentary, the author explains the course of the argument from verse to verse and alludes to other theories of classical Indian philosophy and other technical matters. Notes to the translation and commentary go further into the historical and philosophical background of Kumarila's ideas. The book provides an introduction to the history and the development of Indian epistemology, a synopsis of Kumarila's work and an analysis of its argument.

any comments on Kumarilabhatta?
John Taber, "A Hindu Critique of Buddhist Epistemology: Kumarila on Perception"

R...le..e | 2005-02-11 | ISBN: 0415336023 | 288 pages |

Quote:This is a translation of the chapter on perception of Kumarilabhatta's magnum opus, the Slokavarttika, one of the central texts of the Hindu response to the criticism of the logical-epistemological school of Buddhist thought. In an extensive commentary, the author explains the course of the argument from verse to verse and alludes to other theories of classical Indian philosophy and other technical matters. Notes to the translation and commentary go further into the historical and philosophical background of Kumarila's ideas. The book provides an introduction to the history and the development of Indian epistemology, a synopsis of Kumarila's work and an analysis of its argument.

any comments on Kumarilabhatta?
Sarvapalli radhakrishnan's History of indian philosophy:

Volume 2:[url="http://ia600608.us.archive.org//load_djvu_applet.php?file=29/items/Radhakrishnan-History.of.Philosophy-Eastern.and.Western-Volume.1-2/Radhakrishnan-history.of.philosophy-Eastern.and.western-volume.2.djvu"]History of indian philosophy[/url]
Astadhyayi of Panini:

[url="http://archive.org/download/ashtadhyayitrans06paniuoft/ashtadhyayitrans06paniuoft_bw.pdf"]link of text[/url]
Not a book, but I suppose it files under "resource" or something.

[url="http://tinyurl.com/b4xyxya"]For Hindoos[/url]

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