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Gurcharan Das’s Journey to a More Compassionate Self​

What does it mean to understand ourselves and become more compassionate? In this excerpt from Another Sort of Freedom by Gurcharan Das, we explore these deep questions. Let’s think about who we are, how our identity changes, and how we can live with more kindness and empathy beyond the confines of egotism.

Another Sort of Freedom
Another Sort of Freedom || Gurucharan Das

***

‘When God is gone, how do you give meaning to your life?’ my mother had once asked. I had failed to give her a satisfactory answer. But I had an inkling that meaning emerges from pursuing something bigger than yourself. I had experienced it as a spirit of lightness. It usually happened when I was deeply absorbed in my writing. I wasn’t even there – the fingers just kept hitting the keys of my laptop and words kept appearing on the screen. Tendulkar had described the same feeling when he was approaching his last double century. He said the cricket ball had become so big that the bat just had to hit the ball. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the psychologist, calls it ‘flow’. The problem with this feeling is that it is temporary. The big question was: could I extend it to the rest of the day, to the rest of my life? Could self-forgetting become an enduring attitude of living lightly?

 

Such questions emerged early in my life when I first encountered David Hume’s Treatise on Human Nature at Harvard. I became aware of the stream of thoughts in my head. A decade later, the voices first appeared involuntarily in my early thirties. These mental experiments continued over the years, and they have convinced me that I could only be sure of the existence of momentary thoughts, not who was having them. Like Hume, I looked for an author but I could not find him. Was I then merely a fictional composite of my momentary selves? If so, how was I able to negotiate from one thought to the next one? What provided continuity between my individual moments, I concluded, were my memories, my desires, and my beliefs. But these mental entities also depended on the temporary roles I was playing, the masks I was wearing. They were, thus, not reliable sources of my permanent existence.

 

All this led to growing scepticism about my permanent identity. I concluded that my I-ness was a fraud of sorts, a sort of fictional narrator that held the story of my life together. I have been much influenced by Donald J, and by Nagarjuna’s Buddhist idea of anatta, ‘no-self’. When the ‘I’ got busted, I was hugely unnerved. I could not live without a concept of personhood. But I still needed to get on with my life. Of all the emotions I possessed, the most overwhelming was a deep concern for my own survival. I still needed an author, an object of my self-concern. If it didn’t exist, how would I be responsible for my actions? Not just in a courtroom but in my conscience. For all practical purposes, I needed a stable concept of a person.

 

As time went by, I gradually became resigned to the absence of a permanent ‘I’ and I underwent a subtle change. I began to view my identity as a useful fiction, a practical necessity, a minimal self. I became a little more detached, seeing through the many roles I was playing in my daily life. My day to day life, however, did not change. I did not suddenly become selfless or philanthropic. Self-concern still defined my attitude towards myself. But I felt less and less at the centre of the universe – I was just one amongst others. My minimal self, in other words, was able to extend the same concern a little more easily to others. As a result, I began to feel a continuum or sameness with other selves. I did not hanker constantly after premium treatment for myself.

 

It was this awakening that raised a hope. If my minimal self could more easily identify with the selves of others, could I become more empathetic, a more compassionate person? Could I overcome some of the worst, egotistical defects in my character, and liberate myself from bondages that had nagged me all my life? I had lived my life in the constant belief that my interests trumped everyone else’s. And my behaviour had been consistently egocentric. There were exceptions from time to time — a few early moments of awakening! The obvious one being the pencil box incident in kindergarten. When Ayan was about to be wrongly punished for stealing the rich kid’s pencil box, he had cried out, appealed to me. I remained silent. My feeling of shame was followed by profound concern for Ayan, which has never left me. A few months later, I had experienced this in a different way during the Partition violence. On this occasion, I felt a wave of empathy for the handsome Muslim policeman on the railway platform just as he was stabbed to death by two Sikh boys. I bumped first into Ayan and then into the Partition, both without warning, and they pulled me out of my egocentric self, at least for a while.

***

Get your copy of Another Sort of Freedom by Gurcharan Das wherever books are sold.

The comfort of Sadhguru’s words through the ages

Absolute clarity of perception places Sadhguru in a unique space, not only in matters spiritual but in business, environmental and international affairs, and opens a new door on all that he touches. At the dawn of the book launch of Sadhguru’s latest release, Eternal Echoes, we bring to you some other books penned by him that will help you walk on the path lit by this ‘spiritual master with a difference’.

 

Inner Engineering by Sadhguru
Inner Engineering || Sadhguru

 

INNER ENGINEERING: A YOGI’S GUIDE TO JOY 

According to Sadhguru, the term guru means ‘the dispeller of darkness, someone who opens the door for you…’ As a guru, he says he has no doctrine to teach, no philosophy to impart, no belief to propagate. And that is because he believes the only solution for all the ills that plague humanity is self-transformation. Hence, by talking about yoga through his book, he helps one create inner situations exactly the way you want them, turning you into the architect of your own joy. A yogi lives in this expanisve state and he narrates the story of his own awakening, from a boy with an unusual affinity for nature to a young daredevil who crossed the Indian continent on his motorcycle.  

 

 

 

Flowers on the Path by Sadhguru
Flowers on the Path || Sadhguru

 

FLOWERS ON THE PATH  

As a flower can confound you with its brilliance and beauty, so too does each article in this book hold the possibility to confuse you out of your conclusions, and pave the way towards true knowing. Whether the subject covers social issues and worldly affairs, individual challenges, or dimensions of the beyond, Sadhguru’s ability to delve to the root and look at life in all its totality is evident. These essays will render you in profound stillness within and might even delight you with humour.  

 

 

 

 

Death, An Inside Story by Sadhguru
Death, An Inside Story || Sadhguru

 

DEATH: AN INSIDE STORY 

Death is a taboo in most societies in the world. But what if we have got this completely wrong? What if death was not the catastrophe it is made out to be but an essential aspect of life, rife with spiritual possibilities for transcendence? In this unique treatise-like exposition, Sadhguru dwells extensively upon his inner experience as he expounds on the more profound aspects of death that are rarely spoken about. From a practical standpoint, he elaborates on what preparations one can make for one’s death, how best we can assist someone who is dying and how we can continue to support their journey even after death. 

 

 

 

 

Karma by Sadhguru
Karma || Sadhguru

 

KARMA 

Recommended by the likes of Tom Brady and Deepak Chopra, this book deals with the often-used but loosely understood word, Karma. It elaborates on how the grossly over-simplified understanding of it as a system which ensures that one gets what one deserves, has created many complexities in our lives and taken away from us the very fundamentals of the joy of living. Through this book, not only does Sadhguru explain what Karma is and how we can use its concepts to enhance our lives, he also tells us about the Sutras, a step-by-step guide to navigating our way in this challenging world. In the process, we get a deeper, richer understanding of life and the power to craft our destinies. 

 

 

 

Eternal Echoes by Sadhguru
Eternal Echoes || Sadhguru

 

While all these books are written in prose and serve as guides to connect, live and be one with ourselves, his new book, Eternal Echoes is a book of verse full of poems Sadhguru wrote between 1994 and 2021. It has hundreds of poems, one for every day, spread out amidst themes such as life, death, time, yoga, love and devotion, nature, Shiva and more.  

 

A cup of comfort brimming with warmth and love!  

On Karma and spirituality: A chat with Acharya Prashant

Acharya Prashant, a Vedanta philosopher, an Advaita teacher, and the author of Karma, talks about his transition from the corporate world to the spiritual world. He also answers questions about Karma, a word as common in the spiritual lexicon as in the popular parlance.

Karma
Karma || Acharya Prashant

After studying at IIM and working in the corporate sector, you took respite into the world of wisdom and spirituality. How did you overcome the difficult period of ‘sorrow, longing, and search’?
The basic inner challenge that life presents to us remains the same, no matter what the circumstances are. The one all pervasive and ubiquitous challenge is to keep doing the ‘right thing’ even in the most difficult situations. So whether one is an MBA student or a corporate employee or a spiritual leader, one has to act rightly – which simply means to not act from a personal centre of greed and/or fear.

There has never been any tectonic shift in my life as such. As an individual, I have always aimed at gradually trekking higher and higher. So, this movement from being a consultant in the corporate world to leading PrashantAdvait Foundation, is to be understood as a process of elevation and not of renunciation. The shift was only towards something higher, towards something more critical and of higher caliber. And the search . . . it has not ended; it is very much there. But yes, the destination has changed.

 

Your book, Karma, was first spoken and written later. What made you pen down hundreds of questions that you’ve verbally answered in a decade?
Every project that the Foundation undertakes is in tandem with the needs and requirements of those for whose sake it exists. As an organisation and as a socio-spiritual mission, PrashantAdvait Foundation exists to serve and transform contemporary society. And one of its prominent objectives is to liberate spirituality from superstition; which could not have been possible without a total repudiation of the false beliefs linked with the concept of Karma – and this, we know, has been quite successfully achieved with the book. Because the Foundation believes in harnessing each and every medium/platform for the Mission, the idea to write books (and make them reach the masses on a wide scale) occurred quite naturally to us.

 

Why do you think what people know about Karma is wrong?
Unfortunately, today there is hardly any concept in spirituality which has not been both misinterpreted and misrepresented. The same tradition to which we owe gems like Sri Bhagwad Gita, has sadly become a vehicle for misappropriation. Real meanings and implications of concepts linked with spirituality stand obfuscated and distorted by centuries of misplaced expositions and self-appeasing translations.
So, instead of asking what is wrong in the contemporary definition of Karma, we should be skeptical enough to ask: is there really anything at all that is right about it? Because had there been even a single grain of truth in it, we humans couldn’t have been the way they are – violent, chaotic, depressed, loveless, faithless, and what not!

 

In your book, you’ve mentioned that one must do what is right and forget about the result. Is there an ideal way to work without expecting results?

It is not the expectation that is to be dropped, but the one with the expectation that must transform. If the actor – the doer, the centre from where the action is happening – is itself the one with desires and expectations, then no attempt to work without expecting results would be successful.
So do not look at the expectations, look at the one who is expecting. And having looked at it attentively, you might find the key to ‘Nishkama Karma’.

 

In one of the chapters, you have said, ‘Just be wisely selfish and help others’. Can you elaborate on what you mean by being ‘wisely selfish’? Does being selfish not count as bad Karma?

Selfishness is bad when the self is petty; but when the self reaches spiritual heights and the relationship with the other is of Love, then being selfish gets redefined as being compassionate.

 

Do you plan on writing another book? If yes, what would you like to focus on?

All I can say right now is that I will keep addressing issues that require attention, and books on those issues/topics/concepts will continue to be circulated to the masses.

Karma—Thinking and acting

In his book Karma, Acharya Prashant answers various questions posed to him by his diverse audience over decades. Offering an enriching kaleidoscopic perspective to readers, this books traverses alleys through interactions based around human conditions, confusions and questions related to one’s identity, one’s actions, and how to take the right actions. Read this excerpt from the book on when to think and when to act. It answers a question asked to Acharya Prashant: ‘I do not express my thoughts because I am socially restrained. I am afraid of being judged. Can I free myself only by deeds?’

*

Karma
Karma || Acharya Prashant

There is no more a final arbiter than action, deeds, life. What else is life but a continuous flow of actions? One finally has to give oneself the liberty to do it. Talking as a precursor to doing is all right, acceptable, but talking as a substitute to doing is evil.

If you want to use talking or thinking or discussing as a preparatory method before leaping into action, it is okay. Sometimes, the beginner needs that. Sometimes, everybody needs to think a little before taking a leap. Other times, one needs to talk to herself, sometimes to others. All that is understandable. But if one becomes a professional thinker specializing in nothing but thought and deliberation, and therefore vacillation and inaction, then it is merely self-deception. Also, I must warn you against the temptation to be fully sure at the level of thought. No absolute clarity is possible at the level of thought. Thought can bring you a certain level of clarity. It would be a relative level.

So, if you insist that unless you are totally clear with your thoughts you will not move, then you have ensured that you are never really going to move; then you will always have a reason to think a little more because thought by its very design can never be fully certain. An iota of doubt will always be residually present, and you can very well exploit that last iota to keep stretching the thought.

This is where faith is important. Faith is needed, so that you can act without being fully certain. At the level of thought, thought is still raising its habitual objections, but you say to thought, ‘You might not be clear. I am clear.’

Have you ever found thought coming to a final conclusion? That which appears like concluded tonight reopens for discussion tomorrow morning because a final conclusion would mean the death of thought. So, why would mind ever lend itself to conclusion? Thought would always leave a little scope for doubt to remain. And then, based on that doubt, that uncertainty, more thinking can be justified.

So, think if you must, but never expect thought to come to a solution. Thought is useful, but in matters of living, loving, and Truth, the utility of thought is limited. Do not try to overexploit thought. You will end up being exploited.

If you are saying that social restrictions, etc., are preventing you from enacting what you know, then you will have to weigh the security that you get from social conformity against the suffering that you get from this willing avoidance of your destiny.

What is bigger, your demand for security or your love for Truth?

This answer will determine your life.

*

To know in depth about Karma, what it means and how it functions, the ways of choosing the right action and the results that come from those actions, read Acharya Prashant’s Karma.

August reads for an august month

August is pretty much acknowledged as the last month of summer all along the northern hemisphere. It inherited its name from the Roman emperor Augustus Caesar and literally means ‘venerable, majestic, magnificent, noble’. When you think about it, august is rather grand, marked by the Olympics this year and all the books we’re releasing this month. Because what can be more grand than books right? Also, if you’re worried about missing out on all the sporting activities, a bookathon is a kind of sport too!

Here’s your chance at being revered as august individuals in your social circle after reading all our releases for the month.

 

Karma Fc
Karma||Acharya Prashant

Karma

The meaning of Karma stands distorted by centuries of misplaced fictionalization. Karma remains a disquieting enigma to the few who refuse to accept compromised notions. This book is for them.

If to live rightly is to act rightly, what then is right action? This has tormented us since ages. The scriptures answer this, but without stooping from their cryptic heights. Nor do they advise how their ancient words apply to the present. Acharya Prashant’s work provides the missing link. He imparts clarity, leaving nothing to conjecture or belief.

The book demolishes the myths surrounding action and decision by bringing to focus the actor, rather than action. When we ask, ‘What to do?’, the book handholds us into ‘Who is the doer? What does he want from the deed?’ This shift provides the solutions, and finally the dissolution of the question.

Acharya Prashant demolishes ubiquitous beliefs and outdated notions to reveal some simple truths. If you can challenge the tyrannies of tradition and greet the naked truth, you will love this book.

 

Parenting through Pretend Play FC
Parenting through Pretend Play||Shouger Merchant Doshi

Parenting through Pretend Play

Parents today are too caught up in the rat race of ‘perfect’ parenting. In trying to ensure that their children are all-rounders and have an edge over their peers, parents forget to ask themselves an important question: What kind of life-skills can I inculcate during my child’s early development that will propel them towards a successful future? The Power of Make-Believe addresses this question. This well researched book outlines that pretend play and purposeful discussions with parents accords children the gift of vocabulary and creativity that leads to effective communication skills, something that will benefit them throughout their life and career.

With over sixty DIY pretend play activities, ten vocabulary enhancing ideas and several children’s book recommendations-based on topical concerns to spark a conversation and help understanding of worldly concepts in a constructive yet fun way-Merchant Doshi offers superb educational entertainment; a way to foster the overall development of children while they have heaps of fun with their parents!

 

Discordant Notes, Volume 1 Fc
Discordant Notes, Volume 1||Rohinton Fali Nariman
Discordant Notes, Volume 2 FC
Discordant Notes, Volume 2||Rohinton Fali Nariman

Discordant Notes

A dissenting judgment, as ordinarily understood, is a judgment or an opinion of a judge, sitting as part of a larger bench, who ‘dissents’ (i.e. disagrees) with the opinion or judgment of the majority. Dissenting judgments or opinions appear in different ways.

Tracing, exploring and analysing all dissenting judgments in the history of the Supreme Court of India, from the beginning till date, Rohinton Fali Nariman brings to light the cases, which created a deep impact in India’s legal history. From the famous Bengal Immunity Co. Ltd. v. State of Bihar in 1955 to Bhagwandas Goverdhandas Kedia v. Girdharilal Pashottamdas and Co. in 1966, State of Bombay v. The United Motors (India) Ltd in 1953, Superintendent & Legal Remembrancer, State of West Bengal v. Corporation of Calcutta in 1967Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association v. Union of India in 1993, Mafatlal Industries v. Union of India in 1997 and Pradeep Kumar Biswas v. Indian Institute of Chemical Biology in 2002Keshava Madhava Menon v. State of Bombay in 1951United Commercial Bank Ltd. v. Workmen and Ram Singh v. The State of Delhi in the same year and Union of India v. West Coast Paper Mills Ltd. in 2004 among others, this two-volume definitive work is a thorough examination of the important dissenting judgments of the Supreme Court of India, and of some of the Judges of the Supreme Court who have gone down as ‘Great Dissenters’, for having written dissents of legal and constitutional importance, some of which have gone on to be recognised as correct position of the law.

Comprehensive, definitive and authoritative, this is a must a must have for legal scholars and practitioners. Besides, the book will greatly interest policy makers as well as anyone, interested in India’s legal history.

 

My Family fc
My Family||Mahadevi Varma

My Family

For Mahadevi Varma, her animal companions were her chosen family. This family comes alive in Mahadevi’s lyrical prose, depicting the animals’ relationships with her, each other, and the human inhabitants of her home and her school. Rescued peacocks, squirrels, dogs, rabbits, and deer romp through these pages, each an unforgettable individual of many moods. Charming hand-drawn illustrations complement the delightful writing. Together, these portraits reveal an urban modernity permeated by nature.

In this first-ever translation of a little-known classic, Ruth Vanita brilliantly captures Mahadevi’s empathetic imagination, sparkling wit, and intense observation of detail. In her introduction, Vanita illuminates Mahadevi’s feminist and literary legacy, her powerful indictment of human cruelty, and how her prose sprang from the fount of her feelings for animals.

 

What Millennials Want fc
What Millennials Want||Vivan Marwaha

What Millennials Want

India is one of the youngest countries in the world and the generation of millennials make up for over 400 million people. This is the largest generation of people in the world. That means that the choices and trajectory of this generation have pivotal consequences on local, regional, and global politics and economics. So the important question is: What do Indian millennials want? What are their economic aspirations and their social views? Most importantly, what makes them tick?
It’s 2021 and more than 84% of them reported having an arranged marriage, and 65% listed a government job as their top priority. So are millennials really any different from previous generations?

In What Millennials Want, Vivan Marwaha documents the aspirations and anxieties of these young people scattered across more than 30,000 kilometers in 13 Indian states. Combining an expansive dataset along with personal anecdotes, he narrates an intimate biography of India’s millennials, investigating their attitudes towards sex, marriage, employment, religion, and politics.

 

 

The Solutions Factory fc
The Solutions Factory||

Solutions Factory

In The Solutions Factory, Arun Maira digs deep into his experiences as a consultant and presents twenty human-led business stories that cover all kinds of problem-solving techniques told through carefully picked personal experiences and anecdotes. By distilling the essence of the work that consultants do, he offers a management handbook that is unique to Indian business practices. From cultural understanding to communication skills, this book illustrates the applicability of simple tips for a diverse range of business roles and levels.

Maira’s down-to-earth and insightful approach, keenly oriented towards respectful and ethical business practices, illustrates his signature mix of idealism and ­pragmatis­m-be it is about managing an unexpected crisis or about learning more about another company’s culture. In this age of financial uncertainty due to the pandemic, a book like this is as essential for small-business owners as it is for the heads of major corporations. Maira’s focus on excellence through ethics, success through learning, and valuation through value brings to the fore his people-centric and back-to-basics approach-an approach that every modern corporation will need in order to prepare for the future ahead of us.

 

Congress Radio fc
Congress Radio||Usha Thakkar

Congress Radio

‘This is the Congress Radio calling on 42.34 metres from somewhere in India,’ Usha Mehta’s voice rang defiant and clear to the entire country on a ghost transmitter. These words would come to reverberate across the struggle for Indian independence.

It was August 1942. The Quit India Movement had just been launched at the Bombay session of the All-India Congress Committee by Mahatma Gandhi. Inspired by his rallying cry, the twenty-two-year-old student of Wilson College stumbled upon the idea to start an underground radio station to cut through the imperial din of the government’s mouthpiece, the All India Radio. Risking it all for country in the face of crackdown, Mehta and her intrepid co-conspirators filled Indian airwaves with the heady zeal of rebellion.

The clandestine station-Congress Radio-broadcast recorded messages from Gandhi and other prominent leaders to devoted followers of the freedom struggle. Moving from location to location to dodge authorities, reporting on events from Chittagong to Jamshedpur, the radio station fought the propaganda and disinformation of the colonial government for three months-until their arrest and imprisonment in November of the same year.
In this riveting account, Usha Thakkar brings to life this high-voltage tale of derring-do, complete with stouthearted revolutionaries, thrilling escapes and a cruel betrayal, through the extraordinary story of Usha Mehta, the woman who briefly became, quite literally, the voice of the resistance.

 

The Story of Tata
The Story of Tata||Peter Casey

The Tata Story

In 1868, Jamsetji Tata, a visionary of his time, lit the flame that went on to become Tata and its group of companies. This business grew into an extraordinary one. One that some may even call ‘the greatest company in the world’. Over the decades, the business expanded and prospered under the leadership of the various keepers of the flame, such as Sir Dorabji Tata, J.R.D. Tata and Ratan Tata, to name a few. But one day, the headlines boldly declared that the chairman of the board of Tata Sons, Cyrus Mistry, had been fired.

What went wrong?

In this exclusive and authorized book, insiders of the Tata businesses open up to Peter Casey for the first time to tell the story. From its humble beginnings as a mercantile company to its growth as a successful yet philanthropic organization to its recent brush with Mistry, this is a book that every business- minded individual must read.

 

 

Broke to Breakthrough
Broke to Breakthrough||Harish Damodaran

Broke to Breakthrough

Broke to Breakthrough is a business biography of one of the largest dairy product companies in India-Hatsun Agro- and its founder R.G. Chandramogan. Hailing from Virudhunagar district, Chandramogan started his venture when as a twenty-one-year-old chasing his dreams

It was in 1970 that Chandramogan first started making ice candies with three people in a rented place measuring 250 sq.ft. in the. He initially sold in pushcarts and in the very first year, the company made an annual turnover of Rs 1,50,000. Gradually, Arun Ice Creams became one of the biggest players in the state. But Chandramogan didn’t stop at that – he branched into the dairy business, since they were constantly in touch with farmers across Tamil Nadu. Thus was born Hatsun Agro Product in 1986. Today, over four lakh farmers are associated with them and Hatsun has created a model such that there are no middle-men between themselves and the farmers.

 

 

Recipes for Life fc
Recipes for Life||Sudha Menon

Recipes For Life

Remember how our mothers and grandmothers would spend time in the kitchen, sharing their stories and exchanging recipes from each other’s homes without writing them down? Between chopping, sauteing, grinding and frying a varierty of ingredients, and the aroma of home-cooked food laid out on the dinner table, families forged bonds that withstood the test of time. Now the connections we made through oral storytelling have dissapeared because of rise of modern-day nuclear families where children see their parents once in a couple of months.

The truth, however, remains that no matter how many countries we travel to and live in, or how many expensive meals we eat at Michelin-star restaurants, the magic of our mothers’ cooking never fades away. In Recipes for Life, Sudha Menon attempts to recreate those memories and the magic of the food we grew up with and cherish. The book is replete with stories, anecdotes and recipes from the homes of some of India’s much admired and accomplished people.

 

The Dream of Revolution FC
The Dream of Revolution||Bimal Prasad, Sujata Prasad

Dream of Revolution

Few figures in modern India have enjoyed such acclaim and adoration as Jayaprakash Narayan. And yet, he has been equally vilified for all that went wrong in the unfinished post-colonial movement for freedom and democracy. Jayaprakash Narayan, or JP as he was universally known, epitomized the Marxian and Gandhian styles of political engagement, and famously brought a powerful government to its knees. Throughout his life, he channelled an emotional hunger for transformative politics, jettisoned easy options, shunned power and incubated revolutionary ideas.

A comprehensive study of JP’s life and ideas-from the radicalism of his thought process at American university campuses in the 1920s to his political coming of age in the 1930s and subsequent disenchantment with Gandhi’s leadership; from his infectious confidence about the future of socialism to his seemingly naive plans to outmanoeuvre powerful forces within the Congress; from his fractious friendship with Jawaharlal Nehru to his relentless crusade against the stifling of dissent-The Dream of Revolution, Bimal and Sujata Prasad’s rigorously researched biography of JP, dispenses with clichés, questions commonly held perceptions and pushes the limits of what a biographical portrait is capable of.

Rich in anecdotes and never-before-told stories, this book explores the ambiguities and ironies of a life lived at the barricades, and one man’s unremitting quest to usher in a society based on equality and freedom.

 

How Come No One Told Me That Fc
How Come No One Told Me That?||Prakash Iyer

How Come No One Told Me that

There are plenty of self-improvement books out there-books that claim they can change your life. Yet, what makes us better human beings are stories and real-life observations, which can help us get ahead in our careers and, in turn, enrich our lives.

In How Come No One Told Me That?, bestselling author Prakash Iyer shares the stories and observations that have made an immense impact on his life. The book is divided into ten sections, exploring life lessons, ways of improving oneself, leadership and the importance of doing small things right, among other subjects.

Through powerful anecdotes and charming essays, followed by practical, actionable advice, this book will help you make those minor adjustments to your professional and personal lives that can truly make you unstoppable.

 

Back to the Roots
Back to the Roots||Back to the Roots

Back to the Roots

What are the benefits of the Indian squat? Why do Indians touch the feet of their elders? These and many such ancient rituals and tradition are a part of our growing up, and in the absence of modern scientific certification, it is convenient to dub them as myths. But observation and deductive reasoning have proved to be the bedrock of these age-old and time-tested practices.

In  Back to the Roots, Luke Coutinho and Tamannaah offer the rationale behind over 100 such practices that go a long way in promoting long-term wellness. Learn about traditional Indian recipes, superfoods and tips that provide solutions to a host of ailments like constipation, acidity and even fever. Join us on this valuable journey to resurrect our ancient knowledge and learn how inexpensive it is to invest in our lifestyles, improve our health, prevent diseases, improve longevity and the quality of our lives.

 

 

Diamonds in the Dust fc
Diamonds in the Dust||Saurabh Mukherjea, Rakshit Ranjan, Salil Desai

Diamond in the Dust

Over the last few years, there has been a growing realization among Indians that their life’s savings, the bulk of which are parked in physical assets like real estate and gold, are unlikely to help them generate sufficient returns to fund their financial goals, including retirement. At the same time, many have lost their hard-earned money trying to invest in financial assets, including debt and equities. Such losses have occurred due to many reasons, such as corporate frauds, weak business models and misallocation of capital by the companies in whose shares unsuspecting investors parked their savings. What options do Indian savers then have to invest in, and build their wealth?
Diamonds in the Dust offers Indian savers a simple, yet highly effective, investment technique to identify clean, well-managed Indian companies that have consistently generated outsized returns for investors. Based on in-depth research conducted by the award-winning team at Marcellus Investment Managers, it uses case studies and charts to help readers learn the art and science of investing in the US$3 trillion Indian stock market. The book also debunks many notions of investing that have emerged from the misguided application of Western investment theories in the Indian context. Vital and indispensable, this book will serve as the ultimate manual on investing and provide practical counsel to readers to achieve their financial goals.

 

What's Your Storyfc
What’s Your Story?||Adri Bruckner, Anjana Menon, Marybeth Sandell

What’s Your Story?

Are you trying to build your profile as a leader?

Are you using social media to your advantage?

Is your communication jargon-free?

When do you choose to produce a video or a podcast?

Does your message come through loud and clear?

What’s the future of storytelling, and are you prepared for it?

In a world where people send 500 million tweets a day and upload hundreds of hours of video every minute, how do you get your message across? The secret is to become a good storyteller. With easy-to-follow, effective tools and tips, this book will help you cut through the clutter and plan your communication goals, channels and delivery. Everyone loves a good story, but only a few can tell it well.

Be authentic, be authoritative and be heard!

5 Mantras Only Successful Students Know fc
5 Mantras Only Successful Students Know||Chandan Deshmukh

5 Mantras Only Successful Students Know

Who determines your success?
1. That nosy relative who pesters you with questions
2. Friends whose social media posts reflect their ‘perfect’ lives
3. You

Success holds different meanings for different people, but the feeling of wantingsuccess is universal. However, most students end up being their own greatest enemy when they start comparing their life story with others’ achievements.

In this well-researched self-help book, Chandan Deshmukh unpacks five simple and insightful mantras, which are easy to put into action from Day 1, for you to conquer the world!

– Written by the bestselling author of 7 Dreams Jobs and How to Find Them and 6 Secrets Smart Students Don’t Tell You
– Includes step-by-step methods and tips for smart studying and achieving academic success
– Narrated through interactive graphs and fun artworks that are tailor-made for future school and college toppers
– Perfect for students who like learning beyond textbooks

 

 

Pouring book recommendations in monsoon

The onset of monsoon brings all the book aficionados to the window on balmy mornings, letting them enjoy the whiff of their freshly brewed coffee mixed with the sweet breeze. Nestled in the porch, when the rain makes you feel grey, curl up in a corner with a book or two or maybe six (you may find that, like a chip or a cookie, you can’t stop after one). So, taking care of your moods to suit the light drizzles, heavy showers, and oh-when-will-it-rain-again days, we bring to you our latest releases that are sure to lighten your heart, brighten your days, and enrich your soul.

Are you now ready to rekindle the romance with books this monsoon season?

 

The Story of the Sikhs

The Story of The Sikhs || Sarbpreet Singh

In The Story of the Sikhs, author Sarbpreet Singh helps us reimagine the lives of the Sikh Gurus through a rich narrative that that intricately weaves in selections from the Guru Granth Sahib, the Dasam Granth and epic Braj poetry.

Starting from the birth of the first guru, Guru Nanak, the book charts the lives of the ten Gurus. Through carefully curated stories, the book does not just show the egalitarian ideals and compassionate worldview that have come to define the faith, but also sheds light on the historical context that defined the foundational principles which guided Sikhs during the era of each Guru.

Sarbpreet has deliberately approached this retelling as a storyteller rather than as a student of history in an attempt to make the work accessible and engaging. Immersive and expansive, The Story of the Sikhs is a tour de force that weaves a multi-dimensional tapestry of narrative and poetry.

 

A Rude Life

A Rude Life || Vir Sanghvi

Vir Sanghvi, in A Rude Life, turns his dispassionate observer’s gaze on himself, and in taut prose tells us about all that he’s experienced, and nothing more for he’s still a private man. He unhurriedly recounts memories from his childhood and college years, moving on to give us an understanding of how he wrote his biggest stories, while giving us an insider’s view into the politics and glamour of that time.

This is an explosively entertaining memoir that details one of the most eventful careers in Indian journalism. Studded with a cast of unforgettable characters like Morarji Desai, Giani Zail Singh, Amitabh Bachchan, Dhirubhai Ambani and a host of other prominent political and cultural figures, A Rude Life is a delicious read.

 

Karma

Karma || Acharya Prashant

The meaning of ‘Karma’ stands distorted by centuries of misplaced fictionalization. Karma remains a disquieting enigma to the few who refuse to accept compromised notions. This book is for them.

If to live rightly is to act rightly, what then is right action? This has tormented us since ages. The scriptures answer this, but without stooping from their cryptic heights. Nor do they advise how their ancient words apply to the present. Acharya Prashant’s work provides the missing link. He imparts clarity, leaving nothing to conjecture or belief.

Acharya Prashant demolishes ubiquitous beliefs and outdated notions to reveal some simple truths. When we ask, ‘What to do?’, the book handholds us into ‘Who is the doer? What does he want from the deed?’ This shift provides the solutions, and finally the dissolution of the question.

 

By My Own Rules

By My Own Rules || Ma Anand Sheela

Irrepressible, honest, bold and charming, very few can claim to have lived life on their own terms as Ma Anand Sheela has. Yet controversy continues to follow her. Whether it is her portrayal in Wild Wild Country or the Osho International Foundation’s take on the Netflix series, a wide spectrum of opinions has cloaked for too long the real Sheela Birnstiel. In the 1980s, she was the personal secretary of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and managed the Rajneesh commune in Wasco County, Oregon, USA. She was eventually sentenced to prison, served her time and walked out in three years.

Today, she runs homes for the disabled and the elderly in Switzerland. Almost three decades later, she is still in love with Bhagwan and his teachings. From rebuilding her life from scratch in Switzerland to an interview with Karan Johar on her grand return to India, she is adored and vilified by the world at the same time. In her memoirs, By My Own Rules, Ma Anand Sheela bares all-her life, her lessons, her beliefs, her inspiration and what makes her live life on her own terms.

 

Operation Khukri

Operation Khukri || Major General Rajpal Punia, Damini Punia

This is the true story behind the Indian Army’s Most Successful Mission as part of the United Nations. The year was 2000. Sierra Leone, in West Africa, had been ravaged by years of civil strife. With the intervention of the United Nations, two companies of the Indian Army were deployed in Kailahun as part of a United Nations peacekeeping mission.

Soon, the peaceful mission turned into a war-like standoff between Major Punia’s company and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in Kailahun, with the Indian peacekeepers cordoned off for seventy-five days without supplies. The only way home was by laying down their weapons.

Operation Khukri was one of Indian Army’s most successful international missions, and this book is a first-hand account by Major Rajpal Punia, who, after three months of impasse and failed diplomacy, orchestrated the operation, surviving the ambush of the RUF in a prolonged jungle warfare twice, and returning with all 233 soldiers standing tall.

 

The Long Game

The Long Game || Vijay Gokhale

India’s relations with the People’s Republic of China have captured the popular imagination ever since the 1950s but have rarely merited a detailed understanding of the issues. Individual episodes tend to arouse lively debate, which often dissipates without a deeper exploration of the factors that shaped the outcomes. This book explores the dynamics of negotiation between the two countries, from the early years after Independence until the current times, through the prism of six historical and recent events in the India-China relationship. The purpose is to identify the strategy, tactics and tools that China employs in its diplomatic negotiations with India, and the learnings for India from its past dealings with China that may prove helpful in future negotiations with the country.

 

A Begum and A Rani

A Begum and A Rani || Rudrangshu Mukherjee

Exploring the lives of two remarkable women who chose to enter a field of activity which, in the middle of the nineteenth century, was seen a male domain, this book brings to light how unusual circumstances catapulted Begum Hazrat Mahal of Awadh and Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi into the rebellion of 1857. Both of them sacrificed their lives trying to overthrow the British rule, which they considered to be alien and oppressive. Their resistance and their deaths are heroic and poignant.

The book captures the different trajectories of their lives and their struggles. In different but adjacent geographies these two women, both married into royal houses, decided to uphold traditions of ruling and culture that their husbands had established. These traditions had been subverted by the policies of Lord Dalhousie who had annexed both Awadh and Jhansi. While noting these similarities, it should be highlighted that Awadh was a large and sprawling kingdom with a long history whereas Jhansi was a small principality.
The rani and the begum never met, even though they were embroiled in the same struggle. It is the rebellion of 1857-58 that provides the context, which makes these two outstanding women feature in the same narrative. This book tells the story of two women in a rebellion.

The afterlives of the begum and the rani took on very different hues. The rani was made a nationalist icon: a woman on horseback with a raised sword, who died in battle. The begum was a relatively forgotten figure who did not get her due place in the roll call of honour. Revisiting the revolt of 1857 from a unique perspective and looking at their afterlives, the myths, this book attempts to set the record straight.
Looking at the revolt of 1857 from a different perspective, A Begum & A Rani is an act of retrieval.

 

Khwabnama

Khwabnama || Akhtaruzzaman Elias

Bengal in the 1940s. Having overcome the famine and the revolt of the sharecroppers, Bengal’s peasants are uniting. Work is scarce and wages are low. There is barely any food to be had. The proposal for the formation of Pakistan, the elections of 1946, and communal riots are rewriting the contours of history furiously. Amidst all this, in an unnamed village, a familiar corporeal spirit plunges into knee-deep mud. This is Tamiz’s father, the man in possession of Khwabnama.

At first glance, Khwabnama is the tale of a harmless young farmhand who becomes a sharecropper and dreams of a future that has everything to do with the land that he cultivates and the soil that he tills. The fabric of his dreams, though, have as much to do with the history of
the land as its future, and as much to do with memories as with hope.

In this magnum opus, which documents the Tebhaga movement, wherein peasants demanded two-thirds of the harvest they produced on the land owned by zamindars, Akhtaruzzaman Elias has created an extraordinary tale of magical realism, blending memory with reality, legend with history and the struggle of marginalized people with the stories of their ancestors.

 

A Passage North

A Passage North || Anuk Arudpragasam

A Passage North begins with a message from out of the blue: a telephone call informing Krishan that his grandmother’s caretaker, Rani, has died under unexpected circumstances-found at the bottom of a well in her village in the north, her neck broken by the fall. The news arrives on the heels of an email from Anjum, an impassioned yet aloof activist Krishnan fell in love with years before while living in Delhi, stirring old memories and desires from a world he left behind.

As Krishan makes the long journey by train from Colombo into the war-torn Northern Province for Rani’s funeral, so begins an astonishing passage into the innermost reaches of a country. At once a powerful meditation on absence and longing, as well as an unsparing account of the legacy of Sri Lanka’s thirty-year civil war, this procession to a pyre ‘at the end of the earth’ lays bare the imprints of an island’s past and the unattainable distances between who we are and what we seek.

Written with precision and grace, Anuk Arudpragasam’s masterful novel is an attempt to come to terms with life in the wake of devastation, and a poignant memorial for those lost and those still alive.

 

The Incomparable Festival

The Incomparable Festival || Mir Yar Ali “Jan Sahib”

The Incomparable Festival (Musaddas Tahniyat-e-Jashn-e-Benazir) by Mir Yar Ali (whose pen name was Jan Sahib) is a little known but sumptuous masterpiece of Indo-Islamic literary culture, presented here for the first time in English translation. The long poem, written in rhyming sestet stanzas, is about the royal festival popularly called jashn-e-benazir(the incomparable festival), inaugurated in 1866 by the Nawab Kalb-e-Ali Khan (r. 1865-87) with the aim of promoting art, culture and trade in his kingdom at Rampur in northern India. The task of commemorating the sights and wonders of the festival was given to the hugely popular writer of rekhti verse, the tart and playful sub-genre of the ghazal, reflecting popular women’s speech, of which Jan Sahib is one of the last practitioners.

Structured as an ode to the nawab, the poem is a world-album depicting various classes on the cusp of social upheaval. They include the elite, distinguished artists and commoners, brought together at the festivities, blurring the distinction between poetry, history and biography, and between poetic convention and social description. The book is a veritable archive of the legendary khayal singers, percussionists, and instrumentalists, courtesans, boy-dancers, poets, storytellers (dastango) and reciters of elegies (marsiyago). But, above all, the poem gives voice to the ‘lowest’ denizens of the marketplace by bringing to light their culinary tastes, artisanal products, religious rituals and beliefs, and savoury idioms, thereby focusing on identities of caste and gender in early modern society.

This Penguin Classics edition will be of interest not just to the Urdu and Hindi literary historian, but to specialists and readers interested in the histories of music, dance, and the performative arts, as well as scholars of gender and sexuality in South Asia. Lovers of Urdu poetry will find in it a forgotten masterpiece.

 

Savarkar

Savarkar || Vikram Sampath

Decades after his death, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar continues to uniquely influence India’s political scenario. An optimistic advocate of Hindu-Muslim unity in his treatise on the 1857 War of Independence, what was it that transformed him into a proponent of ‘Hindutva’? A former president of the All-India Hindu Mahasabha, Savarkar was a severe critic of the Congress’s appeasement politics. After Gandhi’s murder, Savarkar was charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination. While he was acquitted by the court, Savarkar is still alleged to have played a role in Gandhi’s assassination, a topic that is often discussed and debated.

In this concluding volume of the Savarkar series, exploring a vast range of original archival documents from across India and outside it, in English and several Indian languages, historian Vikram Sampath brings to light the life and works of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, one of the most contentious political thinkers and leaders of the twentieth century.

 

Strictly at Work

Strictly At Work || Sudha Nair

Simi works in marketing at a furniture company. Ranvir is an analyst at a finance startup.While their desks happen to be on the same floor at Bizworks, a swanky co-working space in Bangalore, their paths aren’t meant to cross. But as circumstances bring them together again and again, they find it harder to deny the spark between them.

In a live-in relationship with his girlfriend, Ranvir doesn’t expect to have feelings for someone else. And while Simi’s family pushes for the perfect arranged match for her, she knows she doesn’t love the man her parents want her to marry.

When their personal lives clash with their attraction at work, Simi and Ranvir must decide if they want to remain just co-workers or mean more to each other.

 

Harsh Realities

Harsh Realities || Harsh Mariwala, Ram Charan

Breaking away from the shackles of family-run Bombay Oils Industries Ltd, Harsh Mariwala founded Marico in 1987. Today, the homegrown Marico is a leading international FMCG giant which recorded an annual turnover of over Rs 8000 crore last year. Their products, like Parachute, Nihar Naturals, Saffola, Set Wet, Livon and Mediker, are market leaders in their categories. This is the story of grit, gumption and growth, and of the core values of trust, transparency and innovation which have brought the company to its current stature. Co-authored by leading management thinker and guru Ram Charan, Harsh Realities is a much-awaited business book by an innovative and clear-headed leader who built a highly professional, competitive business from the ground up.

 

Sarasvati’s Gift

Sarasvati’s Gift || Kavita Kane

Sarasvati, the feminine force worshipped as the goddess of learning, is a household name, yet we barely know much about the goddess. She is known as a lost river and seen as a singular goddess, never as part of a couple, such as Shiva-Parvati or Lakshmi-Narayan. In Sarasvati’s Gift, Kavita Kane brings to light Sarasvati’s story-the goddess of art, music and knowledge-told in the voices of nameless celestials, powerful gods and lesser mortals. The book explores her relationship with her Creator, Brahma, and their unusual marriage-a union of fiercely independent minds and the most non-conforming, unconventional of the Triumvirate couples. As these peripheral figures and silent catalysts take centre stage, we get a glimpse of an extraordinary woman and her remarkable story, obscured and buried under myths and legends.

 

Brand Activism

Brand Activism || Philip Kotler, Christian Sarkar

What happens when businesses and their customers don’t share the same values? Or, for that matter, when employees of a company don’t share the same values as their executives? Welcome to the world of Brand Activism.

Companies no longer have a choice. Brand Activism consists of business efforts to promote, impede, or direct social, political, economic, and/or environmental reform or stasis with the desire to promote or impede improvements in society. It is driven by a fundamental concern for the biggest and most urgent problems facing society.

Brand Activism: From Purpose to Action is about how progressive businesses are taking stands to create a better world.

 

Life and Death of Sambhaji

Life and Death of Sambhaji || Medha Deshmukh Bhaskaran

It begins to dawn on the nine-year-old Sambhaji that his father has fled from the clutches of the Mughal badshah Aurangzeb and left him behind. He must now find his way back home with the help of strangers . . .
Under the shadow of an illustrious father, Sambhaji finds himself thrust into the Maratha-Mughal conflict from a tender age. His mistakes cost him dearly and when his father suddenly dies and he becomes the chhatrapati, it is as if he has inherited a crown of thorns.

In the nine years that follow, he faces a constant battle-internally, as palace intrigues simmer to kill him, and externally, as Aurangzeb descends on the Deccan with full military force.
Even Chhatrapati Shivaji had never faced a full-blown Mughal aggression.

Will he be able to protect the Maratha nation and Swaraj that was his father’s dream? Will he prove to be a worthy son to his father-in life as well as in death?
History has been unfair to Sambhaji, but it can’t deny that he inspired a generation of Maratha warriors, who eventually ensured the end of Aurangzeb’s jihad.

 

Asoca

Asoca || Irwin Allan Sealy

Asoca-often spelled Ashoka-was hailed as Ashoka the Great, the emperor who ruled most of the Indian Subcontinent and was pivotal in the spread of Buddhism from India to other parts of Asia in the third century BC.

But his life as emperor was not always led by non-violence. History has it that he masterminded one of the biggest and deadliest wars ever fought, and it was the insurmountable grief he experienced at the sight of the people dying and dead on the battleground that made him turn to Buddhism and take a vow of ahimsa.

Who was the man, and who was the king? What were his demons, and what gave him strength? This historical novel, drawn from research and portrayed with energy and complexity, transports the reader to the era of the Mauryan dynasty with atmospheric vividness and insight. Epic in scope and Shakespearean in drama, Asoca: A Sutra leaves the reader breathless with the full-bodied richness of Sealy’s prose, his trademark whimsy and his imaginative modern reconstruction of that enigmatic and brilliant ruler of the Indian subcontinent.

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