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An altogether different cup of tea

The penguin india 2003 world cup cricket companion (Penguin, Rs 150) by Qaiser Mohammad Ali is a comprehensive handbook and ready reckoner for cricket enthusiasts following the World Cup cricket tournament to be held in South Africa in February-March 2003. There are scorecards for every World Cup match ever played, profiles of the 14 participating teams and a history of the World Cup, among a wealth of other information laid out in a user-friendly format. The Indian team is profiled especially, and its prospects discussed in detail, with the captain himself outlining his hopes in a specially commissioned foreword: “I know there will be people who will quote India’s track record in South Africa, which has not been all that good. But I can argue that one-day cricket is an altogether different cup of tea.”

Terrorism in perspective (Sage, $ 39.95) by Pamala L. Griset and Sue Mahan calls itself a “balanced, current, dynamic and student-focused” overview of global and domestic terrorism. The “perspective” is official American, beginning and ending with 9/11. Culled from a wide variety of popular, academic and governmental sources, the book avoids focusing on a single definition of terrorism, focusing instead on acts of terrorism and their relationship to culture, religion, history, politics, economics and ideology.

Giving away the girl and other plays (Seagull, Rs 150) by Malini Bhattacharya has a special resonance today. The point is worth mentioning, because the three plays in the volume, translated by Sarmistha Dutta Gupta and Paramita Banerjee, were written between 1980 and 1986, when the Indian women’s movement entered, as the author says, a particularly “vigorous” phase. The plays endure because the naturalized oppression and violence that structure women’s lives remain unchanged. Intended for “awareness-raising”, they reflect with dramatic precision different patterns of social violence within which “women’s issues” such as dowry, desertion, conjugal violence, maintenance and so on are placed. They are rare instances of works in which a passionate ideology unleashes creative resources, making full use of a non-realistic mode invoking song, dance, and a range of dialogue from the Bharatmata’s bland officialese to the monkey-dance man’s streetsmart sales spiel. Music is the staple of Giving away the Girl, the most well- known and widely produced of the three plays.Perhaps the translation will inspire new productions of Why so much Bloodshed, for we need to see it again after Gujarat.


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