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What's trending or not in our bookshelves this week

From a dive into the history of Indian independence, to a look at the state of our prisons, and more

Front covers of some of the books

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Rebels Against The Raj, by Ramachandra Guha, Penguin Random House India, 496 pages, Rs. 799

More than 75 years on, we often forget how global a movement the freedom struggle really was—ideas and people flowed across more fluid borders, though it was also a time of repression. In Rebels Against The Raj, Ramachandra Guha profiles seven foreigners who fought alongside Indians for freedom and did pioneering work in fields as diverse as journalism and environmentalism. Some, like Annie Besant, have been in our history textbooks, but others, like Ralph Richard Keithahn and journalist B.G. Horniman, are lesser known.

Are Your Emotions Like Mine? By Chitwan Mittal, illustrated by Shruti Hemani, Adidev Press, 28 pages, Rs. 699

One of the first titles from indie publishing house Adidev Press in 2022 is Are Your Emotions Like Mine? by Chitwan Mittal, illustrated by Shruti Hemani. This title for children tries to explain and let young readers recognise a spectrum of emotions—of being excited, glad, angry, sad, nervous and proud—by following a young girl and her toy lion, her constant companion, around. Hemani’s illustrations, inspired by traditional Indian line-art forms, are the stars of this book.

The Paradise Of Food, by Khalid Jawed, translated by Baran Farooqi, Juggernaut, 402 pages, Rs. 799

Steered by masterful, and at times even poetic, prose, this translation of leading Urdu novelist Khalid Jawed’s Ne’mat Khana by Baran Farooqi makes for a strange but oddly compelling read in snatches. Titled The Paradise Of Food, the book is by turns grotesque and philosophical, though one is occasionally left wondering what is going on. Farooqi introduces the lay reader to the importance and context of Jawed’s work, which deals with themes like failure, disease and corruption through the familiar site of the home.

Hope Behind Bars: Edited by Sanjoy Hazarika and Madhurima Dhanuka, PanMacmillan, 194 pages, Rs. 412

Sanjoy Hazarika, director of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), and Madhurima Dhanuka, their head of prison reforms, bring together essays on the Indian prison system. Going beyond the trope of the “good” and “bad” citizen, the 10 essays try to shed light on how the system can be made less opaque and more humane. The authors include journalist Sunetra Choudhury, the retired Supreme Court judge Justice Madan Lokur, and human rights lawyer Vrinda Grover.

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