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Showing posts from August, 2008


PUMPKIN FLOWER FRITTERS AND OTHER CLASSIC RECIPES FROM A BENGALI KITCHEN by Renuka Devi Choudhurani THIS IS A BOOK FOR ANYONE WHO ENJOYS GOOD FOOD: THE COOKING OF IT, THE EATING OF IT, THE SHARING OF IT. Some of these recipes have fed and delighted Jawaharlal Nehru and Sarojini Naidu. All of them have provided nourishment and comfort to generations of Bengali families. Now for the first time, these time-tested recipes are available in English. Renuka Devi Choudhurani (1910–1985) was married off at the age of ten into a zamindari family. That was when her culinary education began, mainly from her father-in-law, but also from itinerant bawarchis and specialist cooks. As her interest in good food developed, she took to collecting and recording recipes. Ultimately, she published a two-volume Bengali work containing about 400 vegetarian and 300 fish- and meat-based recipes. From the simplest dal to the most elaborate biryani, her recipes are easy to follow, and produce delicious results. Th


A NATIONAL FLAG FOR INDIA, by ARUNDHATI VIRMANI "The long and difficult elaboration of the Indian national flag, the diverse and sometimes contrary expectations that built up around this object during half a century with their stakes profoundly rooted in the social world: these essential aspects of the historian’s work are masterfully unravelled in this book." Jacques Revel Unearthing the complex history of the making of the Indian national flag, Arundhati Virmani reveals cultural processes that imposed a set of values and sentiments on an incredibly diverse and scattered body of people. She shows that the Indian flag had strong roots in the ethos of colonialism. It was a major resource for the nationalist movement, a tool that allowed large social diversities to assert the compelling necessity for a new political culture with secular nationalism as the unifying pole. This viewpoint was contested by the Muslim League, the Sikhs, the Indian princes, and Hindu nationalists. So


Ramachandra Guha once said he writes on history for a living and on cricket to live. The States of Indian Cricket marries the craft of history to the life of cricket in India and is described by its author as ‘the product of a lifelong addiction to the most sophisticated sport known to mankind.’ Guha draws upon the memories of several generations of cricket lovers to give us wonderful sketches of India’s cricketers, the forgotten as well as the famous: from C.K. Nayudu and Vinoo Mankad to Saurav Ganguly and Anil Kumble. Using the device of imaginary all-time India Elevens, he provides rich insights into the cities and states in which Indian cricket was forged. We thus have here, for the first time within the covers of a single volume, an informal, anecdotal, and immensely readable history of Indian cricket, a book which complements Guha’s celebrated work on the sport’s social history, A Corner of a Foreign Field (2002). Ramachandra Guha is one of India’s most distinguished histor

Music in paperback

RAGA 'N JOSH: STORIES FROM A MUSICAL LIFE  by Sheila Dhar This book is a classic. The hardback edition sold out three printings and has been replaced by this Black Kite paperback.  Sheila Dhar’s stories, essays, and memoirs include Begum Akhtar, Siddheshwari Bai, Fayyaz and Niaz Ahmed Khan, Kesar Bai Kerkar, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, and Bhimsen Joshi. No writer has ever conveyed the ethos of this world and the quirks of its denizens with such wit, irreverence, perceptiveness, and empathy. As a part of Delhi’s political elite, Sheila Dhar is also inimitably observant about celebrities as diverse as Indira Gandhi, the economist Joan Robinson, the film director Richard Attenborough, and Her Supreme Royal Highness the Queen of Tonga who, when asked what she does in her spare time, says with regal common sense, 'I just bees.' Incisive intelligence, self-deprecating humour, and an original propensity to manipulate the English language for Indian contexts combine to make this book a

Garden Notes

A SAHIB'S MANUAL FOR THE MALI by ALICK PERCY-LANCASTER, edited by Laeeq Futehally Amateur gardeners and those who like gardens but cannot tell phlox from petunia: Alick Percy-Lancaster’s delightful guide is for everyone. It explains not only the What and the How but also the all-important Why. Even as he dispenses practical gardening tips, the leisurely charm of Percy-Lancaster’s writing evokes an India far away and long ago. He takes us through garden work month by month: follow his advice, and whatever space you have—terrace or balcony, kitchen window or rambling lawn—will be full of leaf and flower. Alick Percy-Lancaster was the last Englishman to hold the post of Superintendent of Horticultural Operations, Government of India. After Independence, his chores included maintaining 15,000 avenue trees on roads and clipping 150 miles of hedges. ISBN 81-7824-242-7 / Rs 250 / 230pp / paperback published end 2008 / A Black Kite book