Why should the US claim independence from Great Britain? Well, it was "Common Sense" according to Thomas Paine, one of the founders of America. In this pamphlet later converted into a book, Thomas Paine lists out the various reasons for ceding from Britain and taking the next steps towards drafting …read more
Who were the Shudras?
How does one expose the hypocrisy of an orthodoxy? By studying their sources of 'truth' and invalidate them. That's the approach taken by BR Ambedkar in his book "Who were the Shudras?". He quotes the Vedas and other scriptures to demonstrate tampering and selective reading as a basis to prop …read more
"On Nationalism" is a collection of essays by historian Romila Thapar, jurist AG Noorani and journalist Sadanand Menon. The JNU sedition row of 2016 prompted these personalities to pen down their thoughts on the concept of nationalism and how vested interests misuse it (not just restricted to India but a …read more
The temple tiger and more man-eaters of Kumaon
I was aware of Jim Corbett's role as a conservationist where he spent a large portion of his life trying to save the tiger in the United Provinces (currently the state of Uttarakhand) but little did I know that he started off as a hunter. He would be commissioned by …read more
The First War of Independence
"The First War of Independence" is the translation of Vinayak Damodar Savarakar's Marathi book on the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. This is a book I will suggest all English readers to avoid because there are a lot of typos, grammatical errors, bad formatting and factual contradictions (within the book). These …read more
Men without women
I was supposed to have picked up collection of short stories with the same name by Ernest Hemingway but got confused and ended up purchasing this. This was my first Murakami book (also a collection of short stories) and it is a blend of comedy with tragedy. The common theme …read more
How to create a mind
The human brain is a masterpiece! It can recognize so many patterns and store a lot of memories. But how did the brain evolve and can it be mathematically simulated? Ray Kurzweil's book - "How to create a mind", answers these questions through a series of thought experiments.
Through these experiments …read more
The Serpent's Revenge: Unusual Tales from the Mahabharata
Sudha Murthy has compiled 25 short stories (some localised) from the fringes of the Mahabharata. Some stories like that of the Akshayapatra are well known whereas the others like the yagna by Janamejaya (great grandson of Arjuna) to slay all snakes (to avenge the death of his father Parikshit) not …read more
I used to wonder if only the English wrote dystopian novels. But Ray Bradbury, an American writer swept that doubt away when I picked up "Fahrenheit 451".
In a distant future, firemen are tasked with searching, raiding and destroying books and snuffing out knowledge. The protagonist of this book, Guy …read more
Untouchable is the story of a teenage boy born into a lower caste of untouchables. He has aspirations like the rest of the kids of his age. Everyday, he is slurred on the basis of his caste and nagged of his ancestors and his subservience to the upper castes. Fed …read more