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HT Picks: The most interesting books of the week

Plenty to read this week with an excellent book on phone booths, another on curry, and an authoritative volume on the Kashmir issue

books Updated: Oct 06, 2017 19:17 IST
HT Team
This week’s good reads.
This week’s good reads.(HT Team)

The phone booth exists as a fond but distant memory for some people, and as a strange and dysfunctional waste of space for many more. Ariana Kelly approaches the phone booth as an entity that embodies diverse attitudes about privacy, freedom, power, sanctuary, and communication in its various forms all around the world. Through portrayals of phone booths in literature, film, personal narrative, philosophy, and religion. Phone Booth offers a definitive account of an object on the cusp of obsolescence. *

Indian food is one of the world’s most popular cuisines. Even as it has transformed the contemporary urban foodscape in this age of globalization, social scientists have paid scant attention to the phenomenon. The essays in this book explore the relationship between globalization and South Asia though food. Udipi restaurants, Indian food in colonial times, dum pukht cuisine, staples of the prepared food industry like Bangalore’s MTR Foods, Britain’s curry culture, Indian fast food in California – these and other distinctive aspects of South Asia’s food and culture are examined to gain new insights into subcontinental food and the ways in which it has influenced the world around us. *

In 1846, the British created the state of Jammu and Kashmir and then quickly sold this prized region to the wily and powerful Raja Gulab singh. Intriguingly, had they retained it, the India-Pakistan dispute over possession of the state may never have arisen, but Britain’s concerns lay elsewhere – expansionist Russia, beguiling Tibet and unstable China – and their agents played the ‘Great Game’ in Afghanistan and what was then know as ‘Turkistan’.
In this authoritative book, Christopher Snedden contextualizes the geo-strategic and historical circumstances surrounding the British decision to relinquish prestigious Kashmir, and explains how they and four Dogra maharajas consolidated and controlled J&K subsequently. He details the distant borders and disunified peoples that comprised this diverse princely state, and explains the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir’s controversial accession to India in 1947 – and its unintended consequences.

Watch more: This week’s #Bookstack, which features the most interesting books of the week

Snedden weaves a compelling narrative that frames the Kashmir dispute, explains why it continues and assesses what it means politically and administratively for the divided peoples of the state and their undecided futures. *