Ways of the Raj
With this book, Subhash Chopra has created a veritable time machine, taking the reader back to when the white man reigned supreme. Ostensibly written to mark the author’s 150th birth anniversary last year, the book is a criticism of the racist tendencies of the Raj, using Kipling as representative deity.
The book is written in strident tones of outrage — Lord Macaulay’s assertion that all of Arabic and Indian literature do not compare to a shelf of their European counterparts is repeated twice on the same page, while TS Eliot’s opinion of Kipling as a writer of great verse, but not poetry, is repeated ad infinitum. Chopra clearly believes that George Orwell got it right when he said, “Kipling is a jingo imperialist, he is morally insensitive and aesthetically disgusting.”
Book name- Kipling Sahib: The Raj Patriot
Author- Subhash Chopra
Publisher- New Millennium Publishing
If Hollywood is turning to books for inspiration, Indian authors are increasingly turning to history and mythology. With Tunnel of Varanavat, journalist Gautam Chikermane takes on the Mahabharata, through the eyes of Badri, chief miner of the Kuru empire, a Kshatriya with a past, and like Liam Neeson in the Taken series, a “certain set of skills”. Badri who spends much of his time underground, planning an intricate labyrinth of tunnels, is drawn to the world of palace intrigue when the Pandavs find themselves in danger. He is the only man who can save them from being burnt alive in the Palace of Lac. Will he manage to do it?
Chikermane’s writing style is engaging, if a tad florid. The ending is a bit of a letdown, but it’s an engrossing read while it lasts.
Book name- Tunnel of Varanavat
Author- Gautam Chikermane