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(ARCHIVE) VOL. XXII NO. 24, April 1-15, 2013
On the Bookshelves
Bose, Burmanda and Madras Lancers Fish
By Savitha Gautham

S.D. Burman: The World of His Music – Khagesh Dev Burman (Rupa Publications, Rs. 295).

Recently, while surfing through the music channels on TV, I was thrilled when one of them played old Hindi film songs. One of the songs was Waqt Ne Kiya, Kya Hasin Sitam. And as I sang along, I realised that the songs of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s will never go out of fashion. Like their composers. One such is Sachin Dev Burman.

Burman's music was unique in that it had a strong folk and classical base. If there were hints of the Bengali, Bhatiali, Sari and Dhamail folk traditions from Bangladesh in some numbers, others smacked of Rabindra Sangeet and Nazrul Geet. Indeed, the royal-born and bred Burmanda was like no one else.

The subject of a book that traces his life from being the youngest son of the Raja of Manipur to becoming an iconic composer, Burmanda's life as narrated here is full of fascinating details. And that's something that Khagesh Dev Burman (no relation) does with clarity and sincerity.

The many facets of Burmanda come to the fore in this translated work (the Bengali original is titled Sachin Kartar Ganer Bhuban). That he loved his paan and would never share it with anyone is legend. Similarly, he would use his hands to compose (not any instrument).

Painting a poignant picture of Burmanda, the author offers rare glimpses of the composer's childhood, things that shaped his character and music, success which came to him late, the days of struggle and much else. What's more, there is a detailed list of his songs. A must-have for Hindi film music buffs!

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His Majesty's Opponent: Subhas Chandra Bose and India's Struggle against Empire – Sugata Bose (Penguin, Rs. 499).

There seems to be a continued fascination with the life and times of one of the most controversial freedom fighters, Subhas Chandra Bose. The rise in the political arena of this dynamic leader was as dramatic as can be.

In this critically acclaimed biography, Professor Sugata Bose, a grand-nephew of the leader, provides a peek into Subhas Chandra Bose's life and legacy, tracing the intellectual impact of his years in Calcutta and Cambridge, the relationships that influenced him during his time in exile, and his ascent to the peak of nationalist politics. His Congress years and the formation of the INA are recounted in detail.

Using previously unpublished family archives, this account not only documents Subhas Bose's thoughts during his imprisonment and travels, but also throws light on his dedicated struggle to unite the diversities of India – religious, economic, linguistic – into a single independent nation.

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The Ultimate Army Cookbook: A Memsahib Cooks – Kikky Sihota (Roli Books, Rs. 795).

One of the most fascinating aspects of my childhood was watching the Men in Uniform march in perfect synchrony during the I-D Day parade. This book gives you yet another fact of Army life – the special recipes and dishes that emanate from their kitchens.

And who better than an Army Officer's wife to put together such recipes. Being used to hosting parties to a crowd has helped Kikky in this endeavour, she says.

What interests you are the chapter titles and the recipe names. Check this… The chapters are divided into battalions that cover everything from Choti Hazari and Badi Hazari, from Paagal Gymkhanas to picnics and shikars. And the 100 delightful recipes include Major Greys Chicken, Madras Lancers Fish, Babinas Cheesecake and much more. Now, if you want to find out what they are, you'll have to turn the pages.

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In this Issue

An innovative budget
Mistaking reconstruction for restoration
On the Bookshelves
That mosquito buzz
A hundred years of the Stanes
Katherine Mayo vs. Mother India
Heading the Academy for 30 years
The Stanley Spirit
Hero, Sati, Memorial and Naga stones

Our Regulars

Short 'N' Snappy
Our Readers Write
Quizzin' with Ram'nan
Dates for Your Diary
Madras Eye


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