Touching human conscience

India has historically had a deficit of women compared to most other countries, but we now live in a time when a systematic extermination of an entire gender is taking place right before our eyes. Until the 1980s, women and girls were dying either of neglect or were killed soon after they were born. Today, the horrifying reality is that, thanks to `advances' in medical technology, they are now eliminated while still in the womb. In Disappearing Daughters, Gita Aravamudan uses the tools of investigative reporting to expose the imperatives that drive this horrific phenomenon. She unravels an appalling story of deeply embedded and destructive patriarchal beliefs, disempowered women who have no claim on their own bodies and the active complicity of a ruthless and callous medical and social system. (Foreword by A.P.J. Abdul Kalam)Penguin: Rs. 250Rich and revealingIn this bold, illuminating and superbly readable study, India's foremost psychoanalyst and cultural commentator Sudhir Kakar and anthropologist Katharina Kakar investigate the nature of `Indian-ness'. For, as the authors point out, despite ethnic differences that are characteristic more of past empires than modern nation states, there is an underlying unity in the great diversity of India that needs to be recognized.Drawing upon three decades of original research and sources as varied as the Mahabharata, the Kamasutra, the writings of Mahatma Gandhi, Bollywood movies and popular folklore, Sudhir and Katharina Kakar have produced a rich and revealing portrait of the Indian people.The IndiansPortrait of a PeoplePenguin: Rs. 395

(Courtesy A.A. Husain & Co.)