Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Krantiveer Bhagat Singh: 'Abhyudaya' aur 'Bhavishya' (Ed) Chaman Lal

One of the things that I invariably do while cleaning cupboards etc. is read the newspapers lining the shelves. Of course it tells you how tardy you have been in the cleaning (once I found the newspapers were years old and belonging to the era when newspapers in India were still b&w with no colour photos!!!!!!!!!!!!) but it is also fun going thru those past headlines and remembering events that one had forgotten. So going through this book which has selections from two newspapers: Abhyudhya and Bhavishya was wonderful though the editorials and reports and coverage of the trial of Bhagat Singh and his comrades made for some heart-wrenching reading, esp. the reports of the atrocities being committed by the police on the young men were too painful to read.

Professor Chaman Lal has done a yeoman's service to the nation by bringing out this book. Reading it is like stepping back into that era when young men and women were ready to lay down their lives for the nation, when freedom was a much cherished objective, and when publishers, editors, reporters were ready to suffer for what they thought was the right thing to do. Highly recommended.


First Line: 14 August, 1947 ko Hindostan naam ka mulk duniya ke nakshe se mit gaya aur uski jagah usi dharti par 'Pakistan' aur 'India' that is 'Bharat' (India, jise Bharat kehte hain) ke naam se chihit kiya gaya.

Editor: Chaman Lal

Pub Details: Allahabad: Lokbharti Prakashan, 2012

First Pub: 2012

Pages: 560

Source: CL [891.433 CH 357 KA]

Friday, August 19, 2016

Mystery Challenges

Things have been so haywire this year that I do not even know the challenges I have signed up for. So there I was thinking that I had signed up for two of my favourite challenges, only to realise that no, I haven't. Well, here I am, signing up for Vintage Mystery Cover Scavanger Hunt hosted
 @My Reader's Block and My Kind of Mystery @ Riedel Fascination. For the first one I aim to read 6 books in the Golden Age category while for the second I am opting for Secret Messages which means I'll be reading 5-10 mystery books.

If like me you have woken up late, follow the links above and join the challenges. Bev and Carolyn are fantastic hostesses. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016


We live in a time of terror where the war has come right to our doorstops. Thus, it was interesting to read this collection of essays which looks at the hydra of terror as a lived experience whether in its real or literary form. Divided into three parts, many of the essays in this book were engaging though a few made difficult reading. The essay on Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay in which the writer discusses the prisons as spaces of exception made for some gripping reading as did Peter Heeh's essay on the growth of the revolutionary movement in British Bengal.

First Line: Terror, postcolonial or otherwise, induces affect, as a number of essays in this book describe.

Pub. Details:  Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.
Pages: 395
Source: CL [820.9 B561 T]

Thursday, July 7, 2016

An A (so far) in The Reading Assignment Challenge

I am faring awfully bad at virtually all the reading challenges I have joined this year. But the one challenge that I am somehow managing to hang on to is The Reading Assignment challenge hosted by Michelle and Berls.

I have been able to read six preselected books in the first half of 2016, one for each month. Here are the books read:

1. Outlaws by Javier Cercas  (January)

2. Jaya: An Illustrated Re-Telling of the Mahabharata by Devdutt Patnaik  (February)

3.  Understanding Bhagat Singh by Chaman Lal  (March)

4. Bhai and Bhabi of Bhagat Singh: A Biography of Bhagwati Charan Vohra and Durga Bhabi by Malwinderjit Singh Waraich   (April)

I enjoyed almost all the books though I am more delighted at the fact that till date I have been able to keep up with this challenge. Six down, six more to go....

Thursday, June 30, 2016


This is a lively and lucid look at the emerging discipline of Transnational history. A look at the way history is being researched seeing the manner in which the local also had connections with the beyond. No use of jargon is a major plus point. And I loved the author's cheeky sense of humour.

First Line: But not only is it true that no country can be understood without taking account of all the past; it is also true that we cannot select a stretch of land and say we will limit our study to this land; for local history can only be understood in the light of the history of the world.

Pub. Details: NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
Pages: 193
Source: CL [954. S87T]

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Bhagat Singh and his Legend (ed) J.S. Grewal

Bhagat Singh is perhaps India's best known revolutionary. For long, he was just seen as a man with a gun in his hand but now slowly people are awakening to the fact that he was a voracious reader and an intelligent thinker who thought deep about the ailments that plagued Indian society.

This book is an anthology of essays regarding various viewpoints on/ of Bhagat Singh. The section that I liked best was where his portrayal in different literatures of India viz. Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi, and Punjabi is detailed. Now if only I can find translations of the Gujarati and Marathi texts....


First Line: This book consists of four segments.

Pub. Details: ,Patiala: World Punjabi Centre, 2008.

Pages: 280

Source: CL 52709 

Saturday, April 30, 2016


Bhagwati Charan Vohra and his wife Durga  were compatriots of Bhagat Singh. Lovingly called Bhai and Bhabhi, they were a comfortably-off couple who still left all the comforts and jumped into the Indian freedom struggle. While Bhagwati died a gruesome death when the bomb that he was testing accidentally went off, Durga continued the struggle even in free India. This book is not so much a biography as a collection of extracts from other books and anecdotes and recollections. It is worth a read but the couple deserve something much better.