HT Picks: The Most Interesting Books of the Week
This week’s reading list includes a book on a gruesome murder case, a Bengali classic, and a perennially popular introduction to the artistic achievements of the Westbooks Updated: Mar 30, 2018 18:25 IST
THE TANDOOR MURDER BY MAXWELL PEREIRA
Naina Sahni’s murder and the discovery of her body being burnt in a tandoor in a restaurant in the heart of Delhi shook the country’s conscience and galvanised the criminal justice system. What exactly happened that night? How did the accused, Sushil Sharma, Naina’s partner and Youth Congress leader, manage to stave off conviction for more than a decade? What were the twists and turns in the case, and how did the investigation manage to stay the course?
Maxwell Pereira, who was in charge of the case, gives us an insider’s account of events as they unfolded, based on his notes and investigation reports as well as the many stories that appeared in the media.
A page-turner of a book, forthright and dramatic, with unexpected nuggets of information and insights into the way policing and the legal and political systems work in India, by someone who has seen it all.*
CIVILISATION BY KENNETH CLARK
From the collapse of the Roman Empire to the bridges of Brunel, through art and architecture, philosophy and history, engineering and science, Kenneth Clark’s unique personal guide to civilisation based on his landmark TV series has been hugely popular and influential. Almost half a century after its first publication, and with over half a million copies sold, Civilisation still offers the perfect introduction, witty and full of wonder, to the greatest artistic achievements of the West.*
RESTLESS WATERS OF THE ICHHAMATI BY BIBHUTIBHUSHAN BANDYOPADHYAY
TRANSLATED FROM BENGALI BY RIMLI BHATTACHARYA
The final novel to be published in the author’s lifetime, Ichhamati revolves around life in the Mollahati Indigo plantation - one of the numerous neelkuthis or indigo factories that dotted Lower Bengal under Company rule. Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay did not wish to write an ethnographic treatise, but there is enough in the novel about the coercion that went into indigo cultivation, the intricate nexus between the English manager and the brahman dewan, the peasant subjects, Musalman and Hindu, including episodes from the Indigo Revolt, sometimes called the ‘Indigo disturbances’ of 1859-1862.
Restless Waters of the Ichhamati is a brilliant translation that evocatively reflects the myriad moods of the original as well as its variations in style.*
*All copy from book flaps.