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HT Picks; New Reads

ByHT Team
Jun 09, 2023 07:15 PM IST

On the reading list this week is a slim volume on eight women who observed the birth of the nation and recorded that epochal moment and its aftermath, another that examines the true spirit of Islam based on its original scripture, and a story about friendship and courage, human greed and hubris

Tale of the tuskers

HT’s pick of interesting reads includes a book on eight women who recorded the birth of India and its aftermath, another that presents the true spirit of Islam, and an elephantine story about friendship, courage and human greed. (HT Team)
120pp, Rs250; Eka (A story about friendship and courage, human greed and hubris.)

Lightning Tusker is tranquilised and corralled with the help of Dr Tharappan. This is no ordinary elephant; he’s the embodiment of “Elephantam”, the very essence of all that is good in the universe. His captors are filled with its nemesis, the dark energy known as “Misophantam”. It permeates men like Gunner Chandy who had killed Lightning Tusker’s father, Peacock Plum, for his tusks the colour of peacock feathers.

Granny Elephant knows this. She also knows how the universe originated: the tussle between Elephantam and Misophantam, good and evil, how they crashed into one another, caused the Big Bang. She tells the baby elephants in her herd that Elephantam and Misophantam have existed in the sky and on this earth ever since. She can also sense that an elephant in their midst, known to be weak and reclusive — and tuskless — is in fact magical.

This is the story of two brothers: Lightning Tusker, the bravest young elephant in the forest, and Tuskless Tusker, written off by everyone as a lost cause. It’s also a story about friendship and courage, about human greed and hubris. From one of Malayalam’s most celebrated young writers, comes a tale that moves and entertains in equal measure.*

The essence of the religion

364pp, ₹399; HarperCollins (Examining the true spirit of the religion based on its original scripture.)

Most of the great religions of the world began with the need to reform individuals and society, especially when there was large-scale moral degeneration. But over time, their essence became obscured by politics and rhetoric, leading to misinterpretation and fundamentalism. Islam is no exception.

Understanding Islam examines the true spirit and essence of the religion based on its original scripture, the Holy Quran, and how far it has moved away from its spirit and values. Using Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s translation, The Meaning of Glorious Quran: Text, Translation and Commentary, as well as Wahiduddin Khan and Farida Khanam’s translation, The Quran, the author discusses the Quranic invalidity of the interpretation of the religion by hardliners and counters prevailing distortions in the interpretation of some of the verses that only serve divisive and extremist agendas. The book also sheds light on simple yet profound questions of right and wrong, divine mercy and wrath, trials and prayer, life and the afterlife.

A moving and deeply spiritual read, Understanding Islam is a must-read to comprehend the true nature of Islam.*

Eight ideas Of India

144 pp, Rs399; Women Unlimited (Eight women who observed the birth of the nation and recorded that epochal moment and its aftermath.)

Anniversaries are markers, and a country’s 75th anniversary commemorating its independence from colonial rule, is certainly special. But an anniversary can also offer an opportunity for reflection, reassessment, and even introspection on that defining moment in a country’s, and a people’s, lives. The eight women in this slim volume are among the many who witnessed, and participated in, the events leading up to the independence of India and who wrote about both, the events, as well as their impact on individual lives. They observed the birth of the nation and recorded that epochal moment, as well as its aftermath, in short story, novel, essay, memoir and autobiography. How did they think of themselves, or of their relationship, with their country? What was nation or nationalism for them? Did they see them as linked, or as discrete? How did they locate themselves in both nation and country — as participants, interlocutors, commentators, and actors, yes, but always, although not always statedly, as women. What better way to mark the 75th anniversary of Indian independence than to offer up these eight women’s ideas of India in a consideration of, and through, their own words and writing.*

*All copy from book flap.

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