Kashmir, finance and magic in the book case


New Delhi : Negotiate to the second half of the year with a wee amount of seriousness, thoughts of finance and magic. Read on to check out what the bookshelf has in store for you this weekend.

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1. Book: “Religion, Inter-Community Relations and the Kashmir Conflict”; Anthology compiled by Yoginder Sikhand; Published by Rupa & Co; Price USD 30 (Rs.1,340)

Kashmir always remains fresh in public memory, though not for its stunning landscapes and enchanting beauty. It is the conflict in, rather over Kashmir, that assumes the centrestage more often. This compilation of essays on Kashmir by Yoginder Sikand provides invaluable insights into inter-community relations in the state and leads the reader to a deeper understanding of the several layers that engulf the Kashmir dispute.

One of the most intractable international conflicts for decades, the Kashmir issue remains as complicated as ever. A peace-building in Kashmir can take a more innovative turn by a revival of the more inclusive and liberal understandings of religion that can help bridge the growing communal divides among the state’s inhabitants.

2. Book: “Between Lives”; Written by K.S. Maniam; Published by Penguin India; Price Rs.399

Right in the middle of a buzzing Malaysian city is a magnificent forest, now a piece of prime real estate and the perfect setting for a swanky theme park. The trouble, however, is Sellamma, the old woman who owns the forest land, and refuses to budge. Sumitra, who works for the social reconstruction department, is given the challenging task of convincing the old lady to move into a welfare home.

A great believer in her people skills and a focused professional, Sumitra is used to
tackling all kinds of cases. But, somehow, Sellamma eludes her manoeuvres. Instead, Sumitra finds herself falling under the spell of the lazy afternoons she spends with the old woman and her dog, listening to stories by the gushing river.

Bewitched by the hidden sounds of the forest that punctuate the ageless woman’s narrative, she begins to reflect on her life and choices. On her death, Sellamma leaves Sumitra with yet another choice by bequeathing the land to her.

Set in a mesmerizing landscape, and illuminating the eternal struggle between the old and the new, the book is a journey of self-reflection and the hope of recovering what is lost forever to humanity.

3. Book: “Lost Loves: Exploring Rama’s Anguish”; Written by Arshia Sattar; Published by Penguin India; Price Rs.250

The story of the Ramayana is a story of trial and tribulation, of the subtlety of right and wrong, of love and loss. The actions of Rama, the righteous but troubled prince of Ayodhya, have perplexed readers over the millennia. “Lost Loves” is an attempt to come to terms with Rama and with the Ramayana – a text that Arshia Sattar has translated to acclaim.

The essays in this book imagine what might have been the thoughts and feelings of Rama and Sita as they lived through those terrible years of trial and separation. They explore what happens to love in separation, and how public lives and private desires collide to devastating effect.

By trying to see the events of their life as Rama and Sita may have seen them, the writer makes the existential conflicts of the Ramayana fascinatingly relevant and freshly inspiring for the contemporary reader.

4. Book: “Islamic Finance: Writings of V. Sundararajan”; Compiled and edited by Jaseem Ahmed and Harinder S. Kohli; Published by Sage India; Price Rs.750

The book is a compilation of selected writings of Dr. Venkataraman Sundararajan (1945-2010), an international policy maker who played a significant role in the development of the regulatory and supervisory frameworks and policy for Islamic finance. Spanning more than a decade of his thoughts on Islamic finance, this book provides both basic and advanced knowledge on the field.

The papers in this collection define Islamic finance, outline its many complexities, and provide practical recommendations that can help it in becoming an important global financial intermediary. The book demonstrateS not only Sundararajan’s long-standing commitment to helping develop Islamic banking, but also how Islamic finance itself has evolved rapidly between 1998 and 2010.

The chapters in this book are a blend that would benefit lay readers as well as experts and policy makers at regional and international levels.

5. Book: “Satin, A Stitch in Time”; Written by Payal Dhar; Published by Harper Collins India; Price Rs.250

Kuzerazi is a land where magic is forbidden, a place which carefully guards its secrets. It is this hostile land that holds the key to the artefacts and writings that baffle Marik Yavi, a talented word mage from Koda.

When Yavi’s attempts to decipher his grandfather’s legacy throw up shocking possibilities, he decides that the mystery must be resolved. Accompanying him on his mission are his sister Fahe, heir to the Marik titles and fortune, and Keas, a young Kuzerazan runaway.

Their destination: the remote estate of Fezar – a mysterious, surreal world, where the edges of reality are blurred. But the trio must tread carefully, for mages are despised and distrusted in Kuzerazi, and danger stalks them everywhere.

Set in a world where the lines between magic and technology are often hard to see, and age-old conflicts simmer, “Satin: A Stitch in Time” is the first of an exciting new series by Payal Dhar.