Views that never cease

Category Archives: Books & Beyond

Munshi Gumani Lal: India’s first Novelist from Haryana - Rajwanti Mann

Munshi Ghumani Lal - India's first novel

Munshi Gumani Lal, hailing from Haryana wrote a novel, Riyaz I Dilruba (Garden of Beloved) in 1832 and the same was published by Zila Karagar Press, at Rohtak in 1863.I encountered this name during an award distribution function organized in Chandigarh a few months back by Haryana Urdu Academy for literatures in which I was also one of the recipients.  Munshi Gumani Lal Award was presented for contribution to fiction in Urdu.  It aroused my curiosity to know more about the author and I started some research. To my utmost surprise, I soon chanced upon to read a book titled, Riyaz i Dilruba by  Dr Ibne Kanwal  who had  researched […]

By Rajwanti Mann |May 31, 2014| Southasiapost | 0 comment

It all started in and around Rawalpindi - Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad

Kailash Puri

It has been a sheer pleasure to read the autobiography of Kailash Puri, written largely in Punjabi and rendered into very readable English by Professor Emeritus Eleanor Nesbitt. We learn that Kailash was born in Arya Mohalla, Rawalpindi, just next to Gordon College. Being the fifth daughter in a family of Khatri Sikhs who longed for a son, her parents ironically named her Veerawali (sister of brothers)! She adopted her penname, Kailash, later in life when she began writing. The Puris, like millions of other refugees, had to run for their lives at the time of partition in 1947 and to begin life again from scratch in India. It so happens […]

By Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad |May 16, 2014| Southasiapost | 0 comment

An indictment - Gobind Thukral

Carlotta Gall

The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014 by Carlotta Gall Journalist Carlotta Gall who has reported for New York Times from Afghanistan and Pakistan for almost the entire duration of the American invasion and occupation, since 9/11 has no kind words for that super power. In her highly readable book, The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014, she has not documented otherwise well known to the intelligence circles, but has shown courage to speak truth to the powers that be. Her concern and empathy for hapless innocent people of Afghanistan is clearly marked though out the book. The US and its NATO partners are leaving Afghanistan after tasting a shameless defeat […]

By Gobind Thukral |April 30, 2014| Southasiapost | 0 comment

The art of reading - Sonia G Handa


“It is a great thing to start life with a small number of really good books which are your very own.” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The excitement of going to Punjab Book Centre in Chandigarh as kids, for the Russian picture story books, has stayed with me. The  journey then began, is still continuing and it has gradually  passed  on to my daughter who loves books and has been visiting libraries and book stores with me since she was two years old. What surprises me are  her skills in  weaving stories and  writing small pieces on her school and friends, even a loving letter to her pet dog, Bruno. There […]

By Sonia G Handa |April 30, 2014| Southasiapost | 0 comment

Punjabi should be taught in schools - Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad

Punjabi in Pak schools

The knowledge of Urdu became the cutoff point between the rustic, illiterate Punjabi and his literate counterpart conversant in Urdu. The latter tended to feel superior to the former. That complex has never let go of Punjabi Pakistanis. I am not sure if any other major cultural group in the world maintains a more convoluted relationship with its mother tongue as do Pakistani Punjabis. Pakistan is generally understood regionally and globally as a state in which the Punjabis are the most privileged ethno-cultural group. Such an observation is largely true in many ways. The Pakistan military and civil bureaucracy, the big bourgeoisie and middle class have a preponderate Punjabi ethnic component. […]

By Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad |April 30, 2014| Southasiapost | 0 comment

Making learning pleasant - Vinod Anand

Making learning pleasant

Educational aids are all pervasive today in our country. Hence we see a number of colourful books with pictures and activities, learning aids, educational toys and also CDs hand in hand for making learning easy. A number of parallel ideas have been put forth to make the idea clear. All these are aiming at the horizontal, peripheral learning rather than in depth and vertical learning; that is to say the idea is not reaching the grass root level. Instead of nourishing the roots we are lost in decorating the roots. Some connection will linger on as long as the decoration is adhered to. But how long will that decoration, which […]

By Vinod Anand |April 30, 2014| Southasiapost | 0 comment

The story of religions - BK Karkra

Origin of religions-BK Karkra

As animal, for definite, have no religions and intelligence is the dividing line between man and animal, the religions have clearly risen out of the intelligence of man. They started germinating as soon as the first spark of intelligence got ignited in the human brain. A conscious being is always keen to know about his past and concerned about his future. It is thus the curiosity about the Creator and the fear of future that have brought the religions in to being. These are about God alright, but not from God. The story of religions from the earliest times runs this way. The existential anxieties first kept man tied to […]

By BK Karkra |March 30, 2014| Southasiapost | 0 comment

Tandoori Democracy - Anupam Bhanot

tadnoori democracy

Tandoori Democracy By Shinder Purewal Publisher: Gyan Publishing House (2014) This is an uplifting book. It is also unsettling book. Reading it, I felt as if I was walking in the by lanes of Punjab. The writer, Shinder Purewal, an Indian born  well known professor of political science in the Canadian province of British Columbia, himself holds your hand and takes you to various big and small towns, deras, homes of influential families and shows you the true picture of downtrodden, deprived  people who are swayed by drugs and alcohol during election campaigns. They are unaware of the great value of their votes. Caste considerations are aroused by shrewd and unscrupulous […]

By Anupam Bhanot |March 15, 2014| Southasiapost | 0 comment

Publisher blames Indian law for book removal - Gobind Thukral


Penguin India publishing house while succumbing to pressure has cooked up a lame excuse when it blamed that ”intolerant and restrictive” Indian laws had forced it to remove a book from sale after it tried to defend an American author’s religious history against objections from a conservative Hindu group.  It is as shocking as was the decision to pull and pulp all copies of famed historian Wendy Doniger’s ”The Hindus: An Alternative History”.  Several writers have cancelled their contracts with the Penguin.  Shocked writers and intellectuals in India who see this as a worrying sign of rising intolerance against dissent in the country, have been very critical of this decision. […]

By Gobind Thukral |February 18, 2014| Southasiapost | 0 comment

Totalising history, silencing dissent - Ratna Kapur


The agreement by Penguin Books India to destroy all existing copies of Wendy Doniger’s book represents the destruction of the very fabric of Indian culture The agreement by Penguin Books India, a unit of Penguin Random House, to withdraw as well as destroy all existing copies of its 2009 book titled The Hindus: An Alternative History by Wendy Doniger, a professor of religion at the University of Chicago, within six months, is both disturbing as well as foreboding. The lawsuit filed against Penguin India by Dina Nath Batra, the head of Shiksha Bacho Andolan, a fringe Hindu right-wing group dealing with education and text books, objected to the pluralistic representation […]

By Ratna Kapur |February 18, 2014| Southasiapost | 0 comment