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- Published 16.10.09
The lines that divide
Telangana: The state of affairs (AdEd Value Ventures, Rs 250) edited by
M. Bharath Bhushan and N. Venugopal consists of informed, diverse pieces that examine the history and the future implications of the Telangana movement. There has been a dearth of literature on this subject outside Telugu-speaking circles, and this volume will go a long way in bridging that gap. The editors have taken care to include contributions that analyse critical questions related to the movement in Telangana. Duncan B. Forrester documents the history of sub-regional uprisings in India; Dean E. McHenry Jr explores how universal franchise bolsters demands of statehood while Naresh Kumar’s excellent piece attempts to chronicle the stranglehold that film stars have on regional politics. The two fictional pieces by P.V. Narasimha Rao, the former prime minister, and Allam Rajayya, a renowned Telugu novelist, reveal the continuities in the strategies of exploitation by the State. Telangana symbolizes many of the problems that confront modern India — inequity, linguistic chauvinism, communalism and so on, and this book offers useful insights into these divisive lines.
Death of a moneylender (Roli, Rs 295) by Kota Neelima is intended to be a saga about the self-realization of a hard-nosed journalist. Falak is assigned to cover the story of the murder of a moneylender in a remote Indian village. But this seemingly uncomplicated assignment sets Falak on a journey that helps him discover truths about himself and his profession. The ending is a bit predictable, but Neelima, herself a journalist, is impressive in her portrayal of the dilemmas that confront members of her professional tribe. The pursuit of truth for a journalist, Falak learns, is a tricky affair, and he emerges from his sojourn shaken but also transformed inwardly.
Circus & other stories (Sterling, Rs 200) by Mohona Kanjilal is a collection of short stories that is supposedly a “subtle” exposition on human emotions and the principles that bind modern Indian society. In “Second Chance”, the woman protagonist, Leena, goes on a holiday in scenic Scotland in hot pursuit of her estranged lover, but fails to win his heart even in this second attempt. Subtlety, it is evident, isn’t one of her strengths. In fact, she appears high-strung and desperate. Kanjilal’s depiction of the Indian ethos is terribly clichéd. This is chick lit at its worst, and the other stories, although belonging to a different genre, fail to impress.