HT Picks: This week’s most interesting books
This week’s good reads include a book that tells you how to reclaim your life from technology, another that takes you into Pakistan-administered Kashmir, and one that dazzles with its pictures of India’s spiritual traditions
BETWEEN THE GREAT DIVIDE BY ANAM ZAKARIA
282pp, Rs 599; HarperCollins
Seventy years ago, as India and Pakistan gained their independence, the region of Jammu & Kashmir also found itself divided, with parts of the territory administered by Pakistan ever since. Located by the volatile Line of Control and caught in the middle of artillery barrages from both sides, Pakistan-administered Kashmir was until over a decade ago, one of the most closed-off territories of the world.
In a first book of its kind, award-winning Pakistani writer Anam Zakaria travels through Pakistan-administered Kashmir to hear its people - their sufferings, hopes and aspirations. She talks to women and children living near the Line of Control, bearing the brunt of ceasefire violations; journalist and writers braving all odds to document events in remote areas; political and military representatives championing the cause of Kashmir; former militants still committed to the cause; nationalists struggling for a united independent Kashmir; and refugees yearning to reunite with their families on the other side.
In the process, Zakaria breaks the silence surrounding a people who are often ignored in discussions on the present and future of Jammu& Kashmir even though they are important stakeholders in what happens in the region. What she unearths during her deeply empathetic journey is critical to understanding the Kashmir conflict and will surprise and enlighten Indians and Pakistanis alike.*
YOUR HAPPINESS WAS HACKED BY VIVEK WADHWA AND ALEX SALKEVER
234pp, Rs 599; Penguin
We’ve become a tribe of tech addicts, and it’s not entirely our fault.
Taking advantage of vulnerabilities in the human brain function, tech companies entice us to overdose on technology interaction. This damages our lives – work , families and friendships. Swipe-driven apps train us to evaluate people like products, diminishing our relationships. At work, we email seventy-seven times a day on an average, ruining our concentration. At home, the light form our screens contributes to epidemic sleep deprivation.
But we can reclaim our lives without dismissing technology. The authors explain how to avoid getting hooked on tech and how to define and control the roles that it is playing and could play in our lives. This profound and timely book turns personal observation into a handy guide that can help us adapt to our new reality of omnipresent technology. *
NOSTALGIA FOR ETERNITY BY LEONID PLOTKIN
365pp, Rs 2100; Niyogi Books
The culmination of five years’ travel with Indian pilgrims, Nostalgia for Eternity takes the reader into the depths of millennia-old spiritual and mystic traditions. It is a stunning visual poem about the timeless human search for transcendence and ultimate truth.
Translated literally from the Greek, ‘nostalgia’ means homesickness; spiritually, it is the universal longing for existential peace and completeness – for a final resolution of all life’s conflicts and contradictions. ‘The truth is one’, taught India’s ancient gurus, ‘the sages call it by many names’. With breadth and insight unmatched by any other publication, Nostalgia for Eternity illustrates the worlds of pilgrims seeking that transcendent truth and illuminates the different paths that they travel. Through evocative, complex images we enter the secretive realm of Tantric worshippers of the Mother Goddess; and we walk with Sufi pilgrims across the deserts of Rajasthan. Meditative, richly layered photographs reveal the inner world of Bengali Bauls – mystics who worship the human being; and of Sidis – descendents of African saints whose religion merges African ancestor worship with Sufism. Richly annotated text reveals to the reader the deeper symbolic and mythological significance of the Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic , and syncretic practices explored in the book.
Nostalgia for Eternity is an extended visual meditation on the highest human aspirations: to know the nature of one’s true self and to understand one’s place in the cosmos.*
*All copy from book flap
First Published: Aug 10, 2018 22:16:11