HT Picks: Of Tibetan struggle, a comedy of manners and a gutsy Saudi woman activist
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HT Picks: Of Tibetan struggle, a comedy of manners and a gutsy Saudi woman activist

The most interesting books of the week

books Updated: Jul 07, 2017 18:06 IST
HT Team
HT Team
Hindustan Times
Manal Al-Sharif,Shokdung,Diksha Basu

The Division of Heaven and Earth is one of the most influential and important books from Tibet in the modern era - a passionate indictment of Chinese policies and an eloquent analysis of the protests that swept Tibet from March 2008 as a reawakening of Tibetan national consciousness and solidarity.

Publication of the original Tibetan edition saw Shokdung (a pseudonym) one of Tibet’s leading intellectuals, imprisoned for nearly six months, and the book immediately banned. This English translation is being made available for the first time since copies began to circulate underground in Tibet.

Written in response to an unprecedented wave of bold demonstrations and expressions of Tibetan solidarity and national identity, Shokdung’s book is regarded as one of the most daring and wide-ranging critiques of China’s policies in Tibet since the 10th Panchen Lama’s famous ‘70,000-character Petition’ addressed to Mao Zedong in 1962. *

Anil Kumar Jha has worked hard and is ready to live well. After thirty years in a modest flat, he and his family are moving to Gurgaon, one of Delhi’s richest areas. But his wife, Bindu, is heartbroken about leaving their neighbours and doesn’t want to wear designer saris or understand interior decoration. Meanwhile their son, Rupak, is failing business school in the US - and secretly dating an American girl.

Once installed in their mansion, the Jhas are soon drawn into a feverish game of one-upmanship with their new neighbours, the Chopras, as each couple seeks to outdo the other with increasingly lavish displays of wealth. As an imitation Sistine Chapel is pitted against a crystal-encrusted sofa, Bindu wonders where it will all end...*

Daring to Drive is a visceral coming of age tale. Best known for her campaign work for women’s right, including the 2011 Women2Drive campaign, this is Manal al-Sharif’s fiercely intimate memoir about the making of an accidental activist.

Born in Mecca in 1979, the year strict fundamentalism took hold in Saudi Arabia, Manal was raised to be religiously conservative. As a young girl she would burn her brother’s boy band CDs in the oven because music was haram: forbidden by Islamic law. But as she grew older, the differences in the way she and the men in her life were treated became too much to bear. Her personal rebellion began the day she got behind the wheel of a car: an act that ultimately led to her arrest and imprisonment.

Daring to Drive is an account of Manal al-Sharif’s fight for equality in an unequal society. It is also a celebration of resilience, the power of education and the strength of female solidarity in the face of hardship. *

*Copy sourced from the back of the book/flap

First Published: Jul 07, 2017 17:18 IST