New Delhi, October 5 IANS | 12 months ago

Insightful essays on national security, identifying basic principles and national goals that should guide India's foreign and strategic policy, religious intolerance of minority communities in Pakistan and the relevance of Gandhian ideas in today's world


1. Book: NonAlignment 2.0; Multiple co-authors; Publisher: Penguin Viking; Price: 399; Pages: 199

The book identifies the basic principles and the national goals, values and interests that should guide India's foreign and strategic policy over the next decade. The authors, who are among India's most authoritative and respected policy makers and analysts, argue that while the Non-Aligned Movement, which was a response to the geopolitics of the Cold War era, may have lost its moorings, nonalignment as a strategy, renovated and adapted for the 21st century, is today more pertinent than ever.

This book lays out the opportunities that India enjoy in the international sphere and identifies the threats and challenges it is likely to confront. It defines the broad perspective and approach that India should adopt to maximize its strategic autonomy, successfully pursue its national development goals and its international interest in a changing global environment, and thus assume its rightful place in the world.

2. Book: The Living Gandhi: Lessons for Our Times; Edited by: Tara Sethia and Anjana Narayan; Publisher: Penguin India; Price: 399; Pages: 334

This volume presents unique insights from international scholars, activists, educators and thought leaders on the contemporary relevance of Gandhi's ideas and actions. The essays here reveal that for Gandhi legitimate coercion by the state in certain cases was compatible with ahmisa; a balance between spiritual and material values was essential for a true civilisation, and swaraj anchored in self-discipline and self-restraint was an imperative for sustainable ways of life. The essays also illustrate how Gandhi has been instructive for ethical business leadership, socially responsible investing and entrepreneurship, transformative education and caring for nature.

Rajini Bakshi, Amit Basole, Akeel Bilgrami, Christian Bracho et al., Charles DiSalvo, Rajmohan Gandhi, Mira Kamdar, Bernard Lafayette Jr, Michael Nagler, James O'Toole, Anthony Parel, Samdhong Rinpoche, Lloyd and Susanne Rudolph and Anil Sadgopal have written essays in the book.

3. Book: A White Trail: A journey into the heart of Pakistan's religious minorities; Author: Haroon Khalid; Publisher: Westland; Price: 395; Pages: 330

The formation of Pakistan and the search for an Islamic identity are inextricably interlinked, says author. Of the wider issue of global politics, he reasons, the rise of Islamic fundamentalism has been in side-effect. And religious intolerance places the minority communities of the country in a precarious position.

The book is an ethnographic study of these communities and the changes they are having to face. At a time when almost all accounts of religious minorities in the country focus on the persecution and discrimination they experience, it delves deeper into their lives, using the occasion of religious festivals to gain a deeper insight into the psyche of Pakistani Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Zoroastrians and Baha'is. It seeks to understand, through the oral testimonies of members of these communities, larger sociopolitical issues arising from the sitaution.

4. Book: Everyman's War; Author: Raghu Raman; Publisher: Randon House India; Price: 299; pages: 214

This book is a collection of insightful essays that describe our participatory role in securing ourselves and our progeny. Defence, internal security, and terrorism are important yet closely guarded issues. Even as outrage over safety of women and rising terror take centrestage, there continues to be limited access to information on the subjects of national defence and security - especially in a language that a layman can understand.

(Posted on 05-10-2013)