HT Picks; New Reads - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

HT Picks; New Reads

ByHT Team
May 12, 2023 09:34 PM IST

On the reading list this week is a volume on an exquisite map of Shahjahanabad that highlights Delhi’s vibrant cultural history, a book that traces the cheetah’s journey in India from prehistoric times to its extinction in the 20th century, and its recent reintroduction, and a new biography of Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Of cartography and culture

This week’s pick of interesting reads includes a lavish tome on a pre-1857 map of Shahjahanabad, a book that traces the cheetah’s journey in India, and a biography of AB Vajpayee. (HT Team)
This week’s pick of interesting reads includes a lavish tome on a pre-1857 map of Shahjahanabad, a book that traces the cheetah’s journey in India, and a biography of AB Vajpayee. (HT Team)

104pp, Rs2,495; Roli Books (A must-have for anyone interested in cartography and Delhi’s vibrant cultural history)
104pp, Rs2,495; Roli Books (A must-have for anyone interested in cartography and Delhi’s vibrant cultural history)

Shahjahanabad examines the city, neighbourhood by neighbourhood, and explores its diverse communities and important landmarks. Delhi’s Shahjahanabad was first founded as an empire’s capital at the glorious height of the Mughal dynasty; from this vantage point, it was also witness to the empire’s decline and eventual extinction. The city would transform profoundly in the aftermath of the Revolt of 1857, with many of its neighbourhoods and buildings obliterated, and many of its inhabitants, including the Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, having left, never to return. Fortunately, a mapmaker, working in 1846, painstakingly depicted important buildings, streets, and landmarks, providing a wealth of information about the city as it had evolved up to that time. Shahjahanabad reproduces this large scale, beautifully drawn and coloured map, and considers the city as it had stood prior to its mid-19th century changes. It also examines the city, neighbourhood by neighbourhood, and explores its diverse communities and important landmarks. This book is a must-have for anyone interested in cartography and Delhi’s vibrant cultural history.*

Hindustan Times - your fastest source for breaking news! Read now.

Return of the native

324pp, ₹2800; Marg (Tracing the cheetah’s journey in India from prehistoric times through history to its ultimate extinction in the 20th century and the efforts being made to bring back this lost species)
324pp, ₹2800; Marg (Tracing the cheetah’s journey in India from prehistoric times through history to its ultimate extinction in the 20th century and the efforts being made to bring back this lost species)

The cheetah is an enigma to the people in India and it is often confused with the leopard. Few know the difference between the two animals and fewer still know the life of the former. This work traces the cheetah from prehistoric times through history to its ultimate extinction in the Indian subcontinent in the 20th century, and the arrival of the cheetahs from Africa in an effort to bring back a lost species. The author has painstakingly traced the animal in prehistoric cave paintings, in coins and in Sanskrit, classical Greek and Latin records, Persian, Urdu, Marathi and Hindi literature, lexicons, Indian paintings and photographs. The book also describes the centuries-old practice of taming cheetahs and using them in hunts. It also deals with related subjects like its status in Asia, the sub-species of Africa and Asia, and animal’s reintroduction in its former homeland. While the book is indispensable for scientists and field managers involved with the study of and conservation of the cheetah, it is written in an easy informative style and will be of equal interest to anyone interested in nature conservation.*

An enigmatic man

432pp, ₹899; PIcador India (A portrait of India’s first Hindutva Prime Minister)
432pp, ₹899; PIcador India (A portrait of India’s first Hindutva Prime Minister)

A man of unusual gifts, Atal Behari Lal Vajpaye was the Hindu Right’s most enigmatic face who drew on his natural talent to pull in the crowds. In this gripping account, Abhishek Choudhary proves that Vajpayee was critical to the project of Hinduizing India. He uncovers how Vajpayee’s early life lies at the heart of his political character: essentially conservative yet curious and conciliatory, detached yet quietly ambitious. Weaving previously unseen documents with revealing interviews, the author layers this work with details of Vajpayee’s early obsession with foreign policy, the shock from the premature deaths of his parents and his tortuous private life. This extraordinary debut revises several myths that have come to dominate Indian political discourse and touches on the sympathy of Congress conservatives for the RSS, Patel’s own extended ambiguity, Nehru’s conviction that East Pakistan would merge back with India, Indira Gandhi’s attack on the Jan Sangh’s finances and electoral chances, JP’s Total Revolution and the Sangh Parivar during the Emergency. The first of a two-volume study, Vajpayee: The Ascent of the Hindu Right is a portrait of Hindutva’s first prime minister.*

*All matter from book flap.

Unlock a world of Benefits with HT! From insightful newsletters to real-time news alerts and a personalized news feed – it's all here, just a click away! -Login Now!
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, March 02, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On