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Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019

HT Picks: The most interesting books of the week

This week’s pick of good reads includes a book on stories of hope from the natural world, another on the central place of dharma in Hindu thought, and a collection of a renowned constitutional lawyer’s writings

books Updated: Oct 04, 2019 18:46 IST
HT Team
HT Team
Hindustan Times
Stories of hope for the environment, a study of dharma, and the writings of a well known tax and constitutional lawyer on this week’s list of good reads.
Stories of hope for the environment, a study of dharma, and the writings of a well known tax and constitutional lawyer on this week’s list of good reads.(HT Team)


223pp, Rs 750; Oxford University Press
223pp, Rs 750; Oxford University Press

We live in a time of serious environmental catastrophes. Every year we lose thousands of species, even as others slip deeper into danger.
The extinction crisis is well known; what is not are stories of people trying to turn the tide. In Rewilding, environmental journalist Bahar Dutt documents stories of hope for India’s natural world. She meets people who are trying to conserve species not just by replenishing their dwindling numbers, but also by restoring their habitats in the wild. This means going to great lengths, from airlifting corals from coast to coast, to going undercover as a spy to check the availability of toxic drugs that wiped out a bird. In the process, Bahar learns that though it may not offer easy answers, rewilding can offer great rewards. And that news about the environment doesn’t always have to be bad. *


193pp, Rs 499; Penguin
193pp, Rs 499; Penguin

Chaturvedi Badrinath is known for his authoritative works on the Mahabharata, and on the central place of dharma in Indian thought. His Swami Vivekananda: The Living Vedanta continues to inspire readers with a fresh perspective on the man who was the living embodiment of the Vedanta he preached.
In Dharma: Hinduism and Religions in India, Badrinath argues that Indian civilization is a ‘Dharmic’ one. Dharma has always been translated, wrongly, as ‘religion’.


The concerns of Indian philosophy are the concerns of human life everywhere. Badrinath talks about the history of the words ‘Hindu’ and ‘Hinduism’, Islam in relation with Hinduism, the issues that arose from the spread of Christianity in India, Jainism and Buddhism as part of dharma and darshana, and explains why organized violence in the service of religious fundamentalism is the very negation of religion with its reverence for life.
Thought provoking, perceptive and challenging many long held notions, Dharma is a must-read for anyone who is interested in India, the interaction of different religions over centuries in this land, and the underlying unity of all life.*


220pp, Rs 480; Old Madras Press
220pp, Rs 480; Old Madras Press

Nani A Palkhivala (1920-2002) was a renowned tax and constitutional lawyer, and author of many books, including a celebrated treatise on the Indian Income Tax Act. He was India’s ambassador to the United States from 1977 to 1979. For his defence of the citizens’ constitutional rights, he was conferred an honorary doctorate by two prestigious universities in the US.
This book presents selections from many of his uncollected writings. It also has a number of other essays containing rare writings about him and recounting many less known incidents from his life. It contains many rare, hitherto uncollected photographs. *

*All text from book flap