I was drawn to this book primarily because of its name – Yuganta. The word carries a musical, soulful mystery – it is romantic, it speaks of history in gigantic (end of an epoch) terms, it promises insight into one of the greatest epics of Indian literature and religion – the Mahabharata.
Iravati Karve’s book is a storehouse of scientific and historical enquiry, of years of study and research, and deep-felt insight into the characters and the times of the Mahabharata. I confess to have found more than I had hoped for in this paperback. The Mahabharata was essentially a treatise of the life and times of certain people. It was a story told by ‘sutas’ or court bards, and further embellished by latter Brahmans and sutas, to make it an ever-growing epic.
Mothering a Muslim by Nazia Erum is an important book in our times. As the world embraces Islamophobia in daily rhetoric and our own nation walks a thin line of communal irrationality, Muslims are increasingly living threatened lives. The fear embeds in the minds and hearts of mothers, who face simple but difficult choices even in selecting a socially-acceptable name, when a child is born into a Muslim family. Do all mothers face this diabolical question – would the child be bullied and socially ostracized if the child’s name connects it to a community? Not all but a Muslim mother, surely, be it in any part of the globe.
Let me start the first day of a cold January by penning down questions that have been perturbing me since I restarted blogging. Let’s talk about the pressure of remaining high up on the WordPress Reader or search engines or being relevant every single hour on social media platforms. Do you feel pressurized to churn out content, incessantly? Do you fear reader engagement or readership on your blog will fall if you don’t publish regularly, daily, or even every 12 hours to reach audience across all timezones? Do you write for quality or quantity?
The dilemma is so real that a pleasurable hobby like writing or even reading has become a competitive exercise. We see reading challenges all over the Internet and people reading and reviewing books on tight schedules. The numbers are met, records made, challenges completed, several authors reviewed, more complimentary books received, a sense of satisfaction achieved, but how much did the reader actually absorb, remember, or imbibe for a deep and lasting impression.