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A speech, an aspiration
Swami Vivekananda's speech at the World's Parliament of Religions has created a timeless mystique around him. JYOTIRMAYA SHARMA, in this exclusive extract from his forthcoming book Hindutva, places the speech in the context of Hindu nationalism and re-assertion.

Reading America
An impressionistic account of an American journey by UMA MAHADEVAN-DASGUPTA.


Something borrowed, something new
PITY the student accused of plagiarism in Christopher Rick's class. This collection reprints the fearsome 1998 British Academy Lecture in which Ricks advocates a transhistorical judgement on plagiarism, as just plain wrong: absolutely, always and ...


Home is `here'
The beautiful black Sudanese immigrant Zuleika roams free with her friend Alba in the streets of London . Fortune smiles on her father, a small trader, when the senator Lucuius Aurelius Felix covets his nubile daughter and he soon joins the ...

Remembering Said
IF there is one memento I am proud of having collected in the happening city of Kolkata during the long course of my career as a collector of memorabilia, it is the autograph of Edward Said, the incomparable professor of comparative literature, ...
Thief of fire
Rimbaud was a poet who pushed the envelope and remained an enigma to others. A profile by TISHANI DOSHI.


The great American dream
WHEN Norman Mailer turned 80 in January, he said, while theorising on writing and politics, that "if we don't go to war with Iraq, George W. Bush is going to feel ill... It doesn't matter what they're up to in Iraq. It doesn't matter if they have ...
Cottages and heavenly mansions
CHRISTOPHER HURST looks at the current debate in the worldwide Anglican communion over the interface between homosexuality and the Christian priesthood.
On the mammal track
ITS publishers would like to see A Field Guide to Indian Mammals become the definitive guide to the mammals of the country. Whether it does is something only the future will tell, but there can be no denying that the book addresses the needs of ...
Deified yet damned
YES, women have broken through the glass ceiling in all walks of life. And, yes, adoption centres are witnessing a growing preference for the girl child among Indians. But all such heart-warming stories of women driving buses/auto-rickshaws and ...
Pain 'capsuled'
IF in "Girls" — one of the stories included in Monica Das' collection — Mrinal Pande wields her pen as an author of fiction, in Stepping Out: Life and Sexuality in Rural India, she dons the mantle she is best associated with: A ...
Landscapes of the body
IT is difficult to get over the feeling of being overwhelmed when one thinks of how concerned some Tamil men are about what Tamil women should be thinking, speaking and writing. Their hearts and minds seem to be brimming with goodwill and advice ...
`X' as in Xmas
AS promised in the last month's "Wordspeak", this column is about why the X in Xmas is thought to represent the Christian cross. And about some questions that astute readers raised. This month Christians the world over celebrate what was ...
First Impressions
WRITTEN three thousand years ago, as folklore would have us believe, by a sage called Valmiki, the Ramayana is the story of the triumph of good over evil, of humaneness over wretchedness. But for the modern reader, the Ramayana in ...
A genius for suspense
IRA LEVIN is, to me, the greatest writer of suspense. I'm fond of saying that he is the Alfred Hitchcock of suspense fiction. That isn't to say that Levin's style is like Hitchcock's, but that his name should be synonymous with suspense. Ira ...


Under the mahuda tree
MINI KRISHNAN attends a narration/performance of the Kukana Ramayana in Vadodara and discovers that tribal imagination is radically different from that of modern Indian society.

Book Review

Seeing things historically
Victor G. Kiernan, historian and translator of Iqbal and Faiz turned ninety recently. MUSHIRUL HASAN reviews a commemorative collection of his essays.
Many-splendoured legacy
Coming at a time when it is an open season on Nehru, Tharoor's book is like a breath of fresh air because of its refreshing objectivity, says INDER MALHOTRA.
Spin doctors of the Empire
The relationship between the Fourth Estate and the processes of imperialism is established beyond doubt in Reporting the Raj, says SEVANTI NINAN.
Narratives of nowhere
ASIAN WEEK announces, on the back cover of Sanjay Nigam's book that with this book, he has moved South Asian literature into the 21st Century. I must admit to being a little puzzled by this statement, as also a little biased against a ...
Love, life, and bhel
Organising an anthology on a city like Mumbai is a bit like making the perfect bhelpuri. KALPANA SHARMA finds the mix entirely palatable and delicious.
Inexorable Fate
Pavitra Pavi, one of the greatest works of Punjabi literature has been made available in English for the first time. A review by ARVIND SIVARAMAKRISHNAN.
A collage of answers
Mirrors and Gestures is a unique, archival document of the lives and thoughts of nineteen women dancers, writes ANJANA RAJAN.
The world at his feet
The Long Strider is not just an account of a journey. It makes us take a journey inward, says ANNA SUJATHA MATHAI.
Beyond textbook feminism
Garg voices the world of the contemporary Indian woman, unafraid to defy age-old norms or flaunt her economic independence, says ADITI DE.
Fallen tharavads
THE Nayars of Kerala were a distinct community with their own marital scheme, marumakkathayam or matrilineal system of inheritance and unique customs and rituals. Under matriliny, the entire family, numbering 70 to 80, lived together in a ...
New dimensions
LAKSHMI KANNAN, the eminent writer in Tamil and English, has brought a new dimension to the Tamil short story. She writes in Tamil under the pen name Kaaveri. In her new collection of short fiction titled Engum Vaanam (Sky Everywhere), she ...
Different destinations
ANJUM HASAN reviews two collections of poetry that are very different in what they set out to do from their respective locations.
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