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Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019

HT Picks: The most interesting books of the week

This week’s good reads include paintings by forgotten Indian masters, a book on a spymaster, and one on how to free your mind

books Updated: Nov 29, 2019 18:38 IST
HT Team
HT Team
Hindustan Times
Exquisite paintings, the  life of a genius spymaster, and a book on freeing your mind - all that on the reading list this week!
Exquisite paintings, the life of a genius spymaster, and a book on freeing your mind - all that on the reading list this week!(HT Team)
         

FORGOTTEN MASTERS; INDIAN PAINTING FOR THE EAST INDIA COMPANY EDITED BY WILLIAM DALRYMPLE

192pp, Rs 1099; Bloomsbury
192pp, Rs 1099; Bloomsbury

As the East India Company extended its sway across India in the late eighteenth century, many remarkable artworks were commissioned by company officials from Indian painters who had previously worked for the Mughals. Published to coincide with the first UK exhibition of these masterworks at The Wallace Collection, this book celebrates the work of a series of extraordinary Indian artists, each with their own style and tastes and agency, all of whom worked for British patrons between the 1770s and the bloody end of the Mughal rule in 1857.

Edited by writer and historian William Dalrymple, these hybrid paintings explore both the beauty of the Indian natural world and the social realities of the time in one hundred masterpieces, often of astonishing brilliance and originality. These shed light on a forgotten moment in Ango-Indian history during which Indian artists responded to European influences while keeping intact their own artistic visions and styles. These artists represent the last phase of Indian artistic genius before the onset of the twin assaults - photography and the influence of western colonial art schools – ended an unbroken tradition of painting going back two thousand years. As these masterworks show, the greatest of these painters deserve to be remembered as among the most remarkable Indian artists of all time. *

RN KAO GENTLEMAN SPYMASTER BY NITIN A GOKHALE

227pp, Rs 599; Bloomsbury
227pp, Rs 599; Bloomsbury

Apart from the coordination, supervision, liaising and advice that the R&AW provided to Mrs Gandhi and the top leadership that handled the 1971 crisis, Kao and his No 2 Sankaran Nair had not forgotten their primary responsibility: that of providing strategic, actionable intelligence at a critical juncture…

In the end, the Indian military, brilliantly led by Gen Sam Manekshaw, Admiral SM Nanda and Air Chief Marshal PC Lal and assisted by the Mukti Fouj, Mujib Bahini and the multitude of common Bangladeshis, routed the Pakistani Army in East Pakistan. The surrender of 90,000 Pakistani soldiers in Dhaka was the apogee of India’s triumph in 1971. Soon, Bangabandu (Friend of Bengal) Sheikh Mujibur Rehman returned to Dhaka and took charge of the newly-created nation. *

THE RUDEST BOOK EVER BY SHWETABH GANGWAR

213pp, Rs 299; Westland
213pp, Rs 299; Westland

Shwetabh Gangwar is a professional problem-solver – and he’s ace at it. For the past five years, people from all over the world have contacted him with their troubles and he’s worked these out for them.

In the process, he has observed a simple pattern: people need a set of principles and perspectives to protect them from all the unnecessary bullshit they go through. Codes to live by, essentially.

But be warned: Gangwar has no desire to spare your feelings. What you will find in this straightforward, straight talking, no-craps-to-give guide is:

How to deal with rejections of all kinds

How to change your perceptions of people so you don’t end up screwed

Why a society that sees people as ‘good’ or ‘bad ‘ is dumb

How the search for happiness screws us over

How seeking approval and acceptance kills our individuality

The truth about social media influencers

Why we should be taught ‘how to think’ instead of ‘what to think’

Laying out clear principles, YouTube megastar Gangwar shows you how to deal with the shit that has happened to you, is happening to you and will happen to you. A refreshing, easy to read and relatable guide, The Rudest Book Ever will make you rethink everything you’ve been taught.*

*All copy from book flap