Month: September 2005

  • The BS Column: Mitrokhin’s Revelations

    (First published in Speaking Volumes, the Business Standard, September 20, 2005) The end of the Cold War almost killed spy fiction. John LeCarre turned his attention to pharma multinationals and dug up Smiley’s old cases, other spy writers were forced into the parallel world of technogeek conspiracies. I have to thank Christopher Andrew and Vasili […]

  • The BS Column: Two Lives

    (Published in Speaking Volumes, The Business Standard, September 13, 2005) Some words of yours to me suggested How, through the fog of peace and war, A pulse beat on, that, strained and tested, No loss could mute, nor sorrow mar… The initial letter of each line in the dedicatory verse to Two Lives (Viking, Rs […]

  • Last Word: Hertopias

    (Published in The Kolkata Telegraph, September 2005) “Only catch them [men] and put them in the zenana.” In 1905, that was the advice Rokeya Sakhawat Hossein offered in her vision of a feminist utopia called ‘Ladyland’ in Sultana’s Dream. Ladyland was a benign utopia, as these things go. It was unlike the female-populated utopia created […]

  • Oh, those Russians

    The Mitrokhin Archive: Two is out and bits of the Third World are quivering like an underset jelly. (For the Allende story, go here.)Comrade Malik has the lowdown on the former KGB man’s India revelations: One year after he died, the ghost of Vasili Mitrokhin, former senior archivist at the KGB, has returned to haunt […]

  • Fresh Salman, grilled

    Prufrock of Prufrock’s Page rocks. Go read the whole thing: “Well, if Shalimar won’t leave you alone, there it is, I said.What you get reviewed for if you don’t want to be profiled?HURRY UP PLEASE IT’S TIME FOR THE SHORTLISTWell, that Sunday Boonyi Kaul was on the hill, she had a hot lunch,And she asked […]

  • Ctrl + pause?

    Trevor Butterworth explores the ? of the ; opening up an argument that has no .

  • The Loin King

    Until now, my favourite mistranslated title story was the apocryphal one about The Pillow Book, which was rendered into Bengali by the pirates of College Street as Bolsterer Bishoy. Then Twilight Zone had a nice story about aliens coming in apparent peace with a book titled To Serve Man; at the last moment, just as […]

  • Her name was Lola…

    …and the original nymphet just turned 50. From The Boston Globe: ‘Lolita” was a disturbing book–both in its manner and its matter. Its matter is the relationship–sexual and other–of a European professor and his pubescent American stepdaughter, who he calls by the pet-name Lolita. The book’s manner is more difficult to describe. Its form is […]

  • Let us now praise famous men

    Ramachandra Guha comes not to bury, but to praise, honourable men. No, really. He raises a toast to Amartya Sen and Andre Beteille:Neither Sen nor Béteille were ever ideologists. Neither identified with a particular political party. Yet, there was a profound moral centre to their work. Both were known for their academic contributions to the […]

  • Orbitchuaries

    Jamal Mecklai remembers New Orleans: I know–I guess, knew would be a better word today–New Orleans, the Cajun country stretching across South Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast extremely well, having been taken to New Orleans on my first fall break in college, a wide-eyed 21-year-old graduate student (relatively) fresh off the boat from India. […]