The Dynasty: Born to Rule
Hay House (hardcover), 2010
Why are surnames so important in politics? Should there be birth entitlements to inheritance of power in a democratic set-up? Must the offspring be given on a platter what the common people have to struggle for? Believers in meritocracy and equitable distribution of power would cry in chorus: ‘No’.
Then why is India’s vibrant democracy stained with dynastic politics in which bereavement is also used to transfer power? The Nehru-Gandhi family has so far been singularly held responsible for this widespread political malaise. Rightly so! Had Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru not dithered when his daughter Indira Gandhi stood for president ship of the Congress almost six decades back, dynastic politics would not have crept into our rich democracy and grown into a monster?
What the father founded, the daughter fostered. Since then, innumerable dynasties – old and new, big and small, famous and infamous – dot the country’s political landscape today.
Non-Congress parties, though equally guilty, have sporadically raised the issue of hereditary politics but never as intensely as in the watershed 2014 Lok Sabha polls when the voters debated and debunked the right to rule on the basis of birth certificate and not merit. They handed over the reins of the country to a non-dynast, Narendra Modi, punished the country’s grand old party for its non-performance and its scam-ridden tenure and, yet, elected many dynastic scions – a peculiar contradiction, but that’s what Indian politics is all about!
Was it the Modi brand appeal alone that attracted the masses? No, there is much more than what meets the eye. Based on her vast experience of political reporting and in-depth research, Sunita Aron exposes the behind-the-scenes murky political shenanigans. This volume incisively analyses the unethical games politicians play to remain in power and grow into brands.
Frontier of Fear: Confronting the Taliban on Pakistan’s Border
David L Gosling
The Radcliffe Press (hardcover), 2016
The troubled borderland of Pakistan and Afghanistan– the so-called AfPak region?is one of the most dangerous areas of the world. Between 2006 and 2010 David L. Gosling lived in Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, where he was principal of Edwardes College, a prestigious higher education college, affiliated with the University of Peshawar. In this book, Gosling describes his time at Edwardes College and the challenges and changes of his tenure. Already the first co-educational college in the province, Gosling significantly increased the proportion of female students and staff. The book also describes the early stages of Taliban growth in Afghanistan, its spill-over into the tribal borderlands of Pakistan and how a combination of Pakistan army activity and US drone strikes provoked a furious backlash by Taliban groups against civilian targets in and around Peshawar, including death threats against the author. Providing a personal account of the education and politics of this frontier region, this book offers a unique viewpoint on a part of the world which is often misunderstood.
‘Imagine the English principal of a famous college on the North West Frontier, a place built by the British and founded by Christians. Inject a few nightmares – Taliban bombs, suicide attacks, the daily slaughter of civilians and children, and bloody US drone attacks on the surrounding countryside – and picture how this teacher nevertheless carries on, trying to instruct the Muslims and Christians in his class in the fundamentals of history, physics and economics. You come up with only one name: David Lagourie Gosling.’ Robert Fisk, The Independent
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
JK Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne
Little Brown (hardcover), 2016
The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.
Based on an original new story by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.”
About the Author
JK Rowling is the author of the seven Harry Potter novels, which have sold over 450 million copies and have been translated into 79 languages, and three companion books originally published for charity. She is also the author of The Casual Vacancy, a novel for adults published in 2012, and, under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith, is the author of the Cormoran Strike crime series. J.K. Rowling is making her screenwriting debut and is a producer on the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a further extension of the Wizarding World, due for release in November 2016.
Harper Collins (paperback), 2009
When the carefree young man arrived at a capital in crisis, his first mission was to write a comic book explaining the Afghan constitution to children. His second project was to work on a recruitment campaign for the Afghan army. Consequently, he became a privileged observer of the hesitant reconstruction of the country whilst leading the unusual life of a Western expat in Kabul. Gradually, he fell in love with the country and decided to extend his contract despite the risks of living in Afghanistan. Honest and perceptive, inquisitive and unsettling, this book casts an ironic yet affectionate look at the realities of a country that never strays far from the headlines.
One Thousand Days in a Refrigerator
Manoj Kumar Panda
Speaking Tiger (paperback), 2016
‘It took nearly five minutes for her ashes to cool down. Afterwards, someone held out a handful. “Here she is, your Lara. Take her.” The agony stuck within me like an iceberg for one thousand days shattered without warning and drowned me in a flood of tears.’ A man sits before his wife lying comatose in a refrigerated chamber and tells her the thoughts he had never dared express when she was conscious; ‘When the Gods Left’ follows Rajula Dip, a carrion-picker, as he goes about his business and himself becomes carrion; in ‘Fragments’, a woman takes a bus to her rapist’s house to speak to him and to his family; God himself appears in court to give testimony in a case where justice has been miscarried; and in ‘The Hunt’, after a tiger kills a shepherd, the entire village turns on the victim’s family in revenge. ‘One Thousand Days in a Refrigerator’ includes fourteen stories of great power and beauty, startling in their variety and ambition. It showcases a writer at the very peak of his considerable abilities.