HT Picks; New Reads
About the essence of patriotism
Journalist Saket Suman delivers an illuminating account of modern India, tracing the consolidation, evolution and contestation of patriotism from the First War of Independence to the pandemic.
A reporter’s chronicle spanning three generations, it is backed by first-hand accounts of luminaries, and peppered with numerous anecdotes and a passionate examination of the author’s own beliefs. A scathing takedown of bigotry, this is a tribute to the making of India and its founders and an affirmation of the will of Indians to place power in the hands of the people.
At its heart, The Psychology of a Patriot is the gripping story of how we have become who we are and why the bond between citizens must be cherished.*
A life like a movie script
Farrukh Dhondy has done it all. No, really. Rallying for the rights of Indian workers in England; joining the British Black Panther Movement; participating in anti-Iraq War protests; meeting the Beatles, Oprah Winfrey, Allen Ginsberg and John Berger; reporting on Pink Floyd before they were famous. And more: an odd association with serial killer Charles Sobhraj, Bollywood lessons with Subhash Ghai, an Oscar outing with Mira Nair, a documentary shooting that put him in the midst of a gunfight in Jamaica. Then there are his friendships, most famously with the literary giants VS Naipaul and CLR James.
Born in pre-Independence India, Dhondy’s Parsi family moved from Quetta to Poona during Partition in a train guarded by armed soldiers. While his childhood years are an intimate sketch of a small community dealing with the hopes and trials of a newly independent India, Dhondy’s youth is a portrait of a man finding his political centre, his foray into teaching and journalism, and the chance encounters that led him to becoming a pioneering Indo-Anglian writer as well as producing breakaway content as Channel 4’s commissioning editor.
This spirit of adventure and the zeitgeist of an ambitious generation which Dhondy embodies makes his life read like a movie script – with impossible twists and turns, an eccentric cast of characters, witty as hell and wearing its erudition lightly as the man himself has always done.*
True crime thriller
When P Rajagopal, founder of the famous Saravana Bhavan restaurant chain, was arrested for murder, it sent shock waves throughout the country. A gripping true-crime thriller, this is the first full story of the meteoric rise and dramatic fall of the brilliant entrepreneur, already married to two women, whose lust for a third woman led him to plan a cold-blooded killing.
A riveting page-turner, Murder on the Menu follows the trail of the murder plot over eight districts of Tamil Nadu. It describes the courtroom dramas that took place as the case dragged on for 18 long years even as Rajagopal’s empire continued to grow and prosper, and tracks his life from his humble beginnings in a sleepy village to his shocking end just days after the Supreme Court upheld his life sentence for murder.*
*All copy from book flap