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This is the extraordinary story of Jaggi Vasudev or Sadhguru-a young
agnostic who turned yogi, a wild motorcyclist who turned mystic, a sceptic
who turned spiritual guide. It seeks to recreate the life journey of a man
who combines rationality with mysticism, irreverence with compassion
and deep self-knowledge with a contagious love of life. Pulsating with his
razor-sharp intelligence and modern-day vocabulary, the book empowers
you to explore your spiritual self and could well change your life.
The Test of My Life
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For the first time ever, Yuvraj Singh tells the real story behind the 2011 World Cup when his on-the-field triumphs hid his increasingly puzzling health problems and worrying illnesses. In his debut book, The Test of My Life, he reveals how-plagued with insomnia, coughing fits that left him vomiting blood and an inability to eat-he made a deal with God. On the night before the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup final, Yuvraj prayed for the World Cup in return for anything God wanted.
In this book, he lays bare his fears, doubts and the lows he experienced during chemotherapy-when he lost his energy, his appetite and his hair-and his battle to find the will to survive. Poignant, personal, and moving, The Test of My Life is about cancer and cricket; but more importantly, it is about the human will to fight in the face of adversity and triumph despite all odds.
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The first woman Chief Justice of a High Court in India, the first woman Judge of the Delhi High Court, the first woman to top the Bar examinations in London: Leila Seth has led a full life. In this autobiography, Leila talks about its joyous as well as its difficult moments. Figuring prominently are her early years of homelessness and struggle, her straying into law while in England with her husband Premo, and later practising in Patna, Calcutta and Delhi; and her happy marriage of over fifty years, including the experience of bringing up three remarkable children: writer Vikram, Zen Buddhist dharmacharya Shantum and film-maker Aradhana.
Intertwining family life with professional, Leila movingly describes the years after her father’s premature death when as children they were obliged to live with friends. There are also delightful vignettes: Premo and her turning an old mansion into a splendid home in Patna, Vikram’s writing of the novel A Suitable Boy, Shantum’s ordination as a Buddhist teacher by Thich Nhat Hanh and Aradhana’s marriage to Peter, an Austrian diplomat, and work as art director on films like Earth and Water.
Intimate, intricate, charming and often amusing, On Balance presents a rich and heart-warming portrait of an exceptional woman, her family and her times.
Brief Candle: Three Plays
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From his birth in a village in Andhra to founding and running Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, now one of India’s largest pharmaceutical enterprises, Dr K. Anji Reddy’s journey makes for an inspiring story. That story is told rivetingly in his own words in his memoir, An Unfinished Agenda. Dr Anji Reddy became an entrepreneur at a time when India was woefully short of technology to manufacture many basic medicines. Then, in barely three decades, the Indian pharmaceutical industry had grown to the point that India not only became self-sufficient in medicine, but also a supplier of affordable generic medicines to the world. Dr Anji Reddy provides a ringside view of this remarkable transformation, with fascinating anecdotes about those who made it happen. The history of modern medicine is a gripping story of triumphs and failures. An Unfinished Agenda takes the reader on a whirlwind tour of the science of medicine over the last 100 years and reminds us of the stark challenges that remain.
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The Insider is an account of the political scenario of India during the time of the former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, who is the author of the book. The novel is based on a fictional state called Afrozabad, which is modelled on the actual state of Hyderabad.
In the story, the author talks about the shocking but true political happenings in the country that he witnessed during his tenure. The plot centers around a character called Anand, a young man who gives up a lucrative career in the hopes of bringing about political reformation. He begins his political career by contesting against the oppressive ruling party. Next, he reaches a spot where he has to choose between the current Chief Minister and his rival. His rival soon wins the post of CM, and he is made to serve under him. Anand then moves to Delhi, at a time when Indira Gandhi takes over the reigns of power. Under her governance, the tables turn, for Anand now replaces his rival Chaudhary and becomes the Chief Minister of Afrozabad. He then has to run the political show under her regime.
The book discusses the state of events and the political scenario in India under the leadership of Indira Gandhi, delving into areas like her rise to power, second coming, assassination, followed by her son Rajiv Gandhi’s entry into the world of politics. The Insider reveals to the reader the state of affairs in a political scenario, narrated by a man who has had first-hand experience of it all.
The 2nd revised edition of the book was published by Penguin India in the year 2000, and is available in paperback.
The Order of the Crest
Bishop Cotton Boys’ School, Bangalore, which completes 150 years in 2015, was founded in the memory of Bishop George Edward Lynch Cotton (a master at Rugby). The school has transitioned from a Victorian school conceived in Tom Brown’s School Days to one that has sought to keep the public school relevant in modern India. The book encompasses profiles of the people and the times, right from the 1860s, covering spheres as varied as the armed forces, public service, police, education, academia, law, medicine, the arts and the offbeat.
Peppered with extracts from old letters, oral history and archives, the narrative features an eclectic range of prominent personalities, such as Lieutenant William ‘Leefe’ Robinson (the first Victoria Cross in an air operation), General K.S. Thimayya, Admiral V.S. Shekhawat, Dr Raja Ramanna, Lord Colin Cowdrey, Leslie Claudius, Lucky Ali, Sam Balsara, Feroz Khan, Nandan Nilekani, and several others. With chapters dedicated to those martyred in the World Wars as well as linking the journey of the school with the city of Bangalore, The Order of the Crest traces the alumni of Bishop Cotton over this period, profiling those old boys who have accomplished eminence or otherwise
remained unsung, but not without touching others’ lives.
“Among all the disciples of Swami Vivekananda, Sister Nivedita occupies pride of place. Margaret Noble arrived at India’s shores in the late nineteenth century, took the vows of a brahmacharini, and devoted the rest of her life to the cause of India. Apart from educating women, Nivedita wrote valuable treatises on Hindu thought and Indian culture, inspiring nationalist sentiment and unity. She won over leading national figures of the day with her fierce intellect, and even influenced the ending of Rabindranath Tagore’s novel, Gora. Known to be ‘drunk with India’, she provided immense professional support to the brilliant scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose; dialogued with great leaders like G.K. Gokhale and Aurobindo Ghosh; and inspired Abanindranath Tagore to create a painting that eventually became the iconic Bharat Mata.
In this compelling biography, the author traces the development of Margaret from a loyal Irishwoman into Sister Nivedita, and finally into ‘Lok Mata’ or ‘People’s Mother’—a title bestowed on her by Tagore. She draws on Nivedita’s vast corpus of writings and personal letters to provide an intimate view of her life and thought. Through an insightful and moving narrative, Margot reveals the feisty, irrepressible spirit behind one of India’s greatest friends.
“Gitanjali, the book of poems for which Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, was in fact a collection of songs. Much of what Tagore experienced-joy and frustration, grief and devastation-was expressed through music, and during his lifetime, Tagore was most renowned for his songwriting. The distinction of his musical oeuvre lay in the near-perfect balance he achieved between the evocative lyrics, the matching melody and the rhythmic structure in which each song was bound.
The Singer and His Song is a unique biography of Tagore with music as its leitmotif. It traces the musical journey of the poet with anecdotes and allusions, and includes translations of some of his most resonant songs. Written in elegant prose and accompanied by relevant photographs and paintings, this highly original book is a fitting tribute to Tagore’s enduring musical legacy.”
“When P.V. Narasimha Rao became the unlikely prime minister of India in 1991, he inherited a nation adrift, violent insurgencies, and economic crisis. Despite being unloved by his people, mistrusted by his party, and ruling under the shadow of 10 Janpath, Rao transformed the economy and ushered India into the global arena.
With exclusive access to Rao’s never-before-seen personal papers and diaries, this definitive biography provides new revelations on the Indian economy, nuclear programme, foreign policy and the Babri Masjid. Tracing his early life from a small town in Telangana through his years in power, and finally, his humiliation in retirement, it never loses sight of the inner man, his difficult childhood, his corruption and love affairs, and his lingering loneliness. Meticulously researched and brutally honest, this landmark political biography is a must-read for anyone interested in knowing about the man responsible for transforming India.
The Test of My Life
‘That day I cried like a baby not because I feared what cancer would do but because I didn’t want the disease. I wanted my life to be normal, which it could not be.’
For the first time Yuvraj Singh tells the real story behind the 2011 World Cup when on-the-field triumph hid his increasingly puzzling health problems and worrying illnesses. In his debut book
The test of my life, he reveals how—plagued with insomnia, coughing fits that left him vomiting blood, and an inability to eat—he made a deal with God. On the night before the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup final, Yuvraj prayed for the World Cup in return for anything God wanted.
In this book, he lays bare his fears, doubts, and the lows he experienced during chemotherapy—when he lost his energy, his appetite, and his hair—and his battle to find the will to survive. Poignant, personal, and moving—The test of my life—is about cancer and cricket; but more importantly, it is about the human will to fight adversity and triumph despite all odds.
Greatest Show on Earth, The
In March 2009 Manvendra Singh, the BJP’s candidate for the Barmer Lok Sabha constituency, launched his election campaign to retain the seat that he had won with a record margin in 2004 and lovingly nurtured as a member of Parliament for five years. Over two months, he criss-crossed his sprawling constituency straddling Rajasthan’s Thar desert, covering 34,000 kilometres in temperatures often nearing 50˚C, to meet his constituents. They included herders and headmen; communities of traditional balladeers and craftsmen; youth groups and hoary old political fixers; Muslim pirs, Jain munis and Hindu priests. Campaign Diary, a daily record of those gruelling weeks of canvassing voters, is a compelling portrait of democracy in action in one corner of India, and shows the impact of local, national and international issues and policies at the grass-roots level. Vividly bringing to life the heat and dust, the intrigues and infighting, the moving personal encounters and comic episodes that make up the Great Indian Election Circus, Campaign Diary is also an honest and insightful account of the rewards— and the heartbreak—of a life in politics.
Who could be here? This is a jungle. There are no street-lights, no houses, no shops,’ said my daughter. My son, aged six, looked out of the car window and announced, ‘I’ll stay in the car for the next fifteen days.’
When Bulbul Sharma first sees Shaya, she sees it at its worst. So what makes her return to the tiny, hidden hamlet in the hills again and again until she finally makes it her home?
Is it the incredible beauty of the changing seasons and the birds and beasts they usher in? Is it the convivial company of robust hill folk, like Thakur, the conspicuously hands-off handyman, and Bua, who ages before our eyes and grows younger and younger in her outlook, and the lives they lead unspoilt by urban sophistication? Or the sheer flavour of Shaya, embodied in its rhododendron wine and apricot chutney on hot chapattis? Sharma whips out her famous sketch pad and writing paper to record all things bright and beautiful in Shaya. Hers is a keen but humorous eye, and reading the observations she makes from a simple two-roomed cottage in the mountains, it is easy to believe that paradise resides there.
The tale of one woman’s journey through divorce
The Ex-Files is the story of a woman, who despite her best efforts to save her marriage, found herself facing a divorce petition. But instead of wallowing in self-pity, Vandana Shah picked up the pieces of her shattered life and moved straight on. She not only found a job and became a community leader, she also started India’s first divorce support group.
While being true to both the pain and challenges of divorce, Vandana’s personal stories reveal the hardships and joys of moving through emotional upheaval and emerging stronger with your positive thinking and humour intact. The book also deals with the legal and social aspects of a divorce which are so often overlooked.
At once funny, tragic and uncompromisingly honest, this memoir will resonate with anyone who has endured the end of a marriage and come out changed.
Vikram Sarabhai: A Life (PB)
Vikram Sarabhai (1919-71), the renaissance man of Indian science, thought up the impossible and often made it happen. Founder of India’s space programme (ISRO), Vikram dreamed of communication satellites that would educate people at a time when even a modest rocket programme seemed daring; of huge agricultural complexes serviced by atomic power and desalinated sea water. He envisioned research technology that would free Indian industry from foreign dependence, and of a world-class management college that would train managers for the public sector. Between 1947 and 1971, he built a thriving pharmaceutical business, conducted research into cosmic rays, headed the Atomic Energy Commission; set up India’s first textile research cooperative, ATIRA, the first market research organization, ORG, the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad (IIM-A) and the dance academy Darpana. Handsome, charismatic, married to pioneering classical dancer Mrinalini Sarabhai and closely associated with the most influential figures of his time—everyone from C.V. Raman and Jawaharlal Nehru to Bruno Rossi, Louis Kahn and John Rockefeller III—Vikram led what seemed like a charmed existence. Yet, his personal life was troubled and his strong resistance to India’s move towards a nuclear explosion in the late 1960s put him at odds with powerful lobbies and fellow technologists.
In this vivid and intimate account, Amrita Shah delves into the life and mind of a fascinating, complex individual, a multifaceted genius who died young, but whose vision still drives India’s ambitious space programme—and continues to inspire India today.
Freewheeling Mimlu Sen lives in Paris, where one day she witnesses an electrifying performance by three Bauls, mystic minstrels from Bengal, who spin like pillars of dust. Their music inspires her to return to Calcutta, and to go on an extraordinary journey with one of them, Paban Das Baul, from her respectable home in the city to his humble village, and further on, into the verdant Bengali countryside that is their common heritage.
Paban takes Mimlu through the itinerant Baul’s route—from the festival at Kenduli with its marathon performances, to tranquil Shantiniketan, where Bauls frequently stop en route and disrupt quotidian life; Agrodwip, deep in the Vaishnava world, to Nabasana, where mesmerizing guru Hari Goshain presides over Baul games and ultimately, her initiation; and to Boral, where she holds her own big Baul festival, a mahatsava. Along the way, she encounters tantrics and tribals, exorcisms and witch sightings, catfish that climb trees and esoteric sexo-yogic secrets—and she falls in love.
Baulsphere takes you into the heart of rural Bengal, and into the fascinating world of the Bauls. Passionate, enthralling and searingly lyrical, it is a stunning book.
“‘I found that I had begun to take a great liking for the man . . . Oddly, this did not grow out of any feeling of veneration . . . for that would have implied my being overawed and somewhat fearful in the presence of someone vastly superior. Rather, my feelings grew spontaneously and from the very depths of my heart. I simply revelled in the man’s company.’—Mahendra Nath Dutta (Swami Vivekananda’s brother) on Ramakrishna
Press reports in the 1870s Calcutta marvelled at the way ‘highly educated’, ‘civilized’ and ‘reasoning’ men, like Mahendra Nath Dutta, were drawn to the ‘ill clad’, ‘illiterate’, ‘friendless’ and ‘unpolished’ Ramakrishna. The progressive press, which had first brought Ramakrishna to public attention, scoffed at his use of ‘vulgar’ speech, while acknowledging its effectiveness in religious communication. Despite these critiques, Ramakrishna came to occupy an important place in the cultural life of late-nineteenth-century Bengal.
Amiya P. Sen’s lucid introductions and fluent translations of the interactions between Ramakrishna and his followers in His Words make for an engaging and illuminating account of Ramakrishna’s teachings. Compiled from a variety of contemporary and near-contemporary sources, this book brings out the dramatic simplicity of Ramakrishna’s incisive commentaries on profound religious ideas.
See also by Amiya Sen Ramakrishna Paramahamsa: The Sadhaka of Dakshineswar”
“Raja Rammohun Roy (1774—1833) was a great champion of liberty and civil rights in colonial India. He was also a true cosmopolitan who envisioned a world without borders. A tireless crusader for religious and social reform, Rammohun attempted a progressive reinterpretation of Hinduism and tried to improve the lot of socially marginalized groups such as women.
Yet, in spite of his lofty public presence, Rammohun was a hugely controversial figure. He shocked the Hindu orthodoxy by his support to the abolition of Sati, offended evangelists by separating the moral message of Christ from the purely theological, and was often dragged into legal disputes over family property. By the time of his death in Bristol, he was as much resented as respected, both at home and abroad.
Using relatively unexplored sources, this elegant and accessible new biography by Amiya P. Sen paints a fascinating portrait of one of the legendary makers of modern India.”
Inside Unreal Estate: A Journey through India’s Most Controversial Sector
“A candid tell-all tale of India’s most debated sector
Starting off as a trainee engineer, Sushil Kumar Sayal was determined to be a success in real estate, at a time when it was viewed as an unscrupulous profession. He has since worked with companies like Mahindra Gesco, DLF and Alpha G, and has played a significant role in establishing the Real Estate Asset Management (REAM) model in the country. In his fast-paced memoir are many anecdotes of dodgy builders, maverick investors and corrupt bureaucrats..
“Jawaharlal Nehru presents an intimate view of the influences, encounters and defining historical moments that forged the vision of India’s first prime minister. Drawing from the Nehru and the Vijayalakshmi Pandit Papers, and from Nehru’s letters to Sahgal, his niece, this book combines history with personal recollections to show how Nehru helped navigate India’s transition from a colony to an influential, modern nation.
Discussing the significant issue of independent India’s foreign policy—characterized by the non-alignment principle and the establishment of relations with the United States, Britain, the Soviet Union and China—Sahgal reveals much about Nehru’s political astuteness, realism and aversion to rigid economic doctrines, as well as the profound impact India’s non-aligned policy had on the world of that time.
Perceptive, original and stimulating, Jawaharlal Nehru draws much-needed attention back to the man and his unmatched ability to engineer a consensus among seemingly irreconcilable sides.