Discordant democrats: Five steps of consensus
By Arun Maira
Price: Rs 395 (Hard bound)
Is India’s democracy noisy? Does democracy reduce discord? Should it follow development, not precede it? Are some questions which Arun Maira asks as he simultaneously builds a case that points towards reassessing democratic principles and questioning ourselves why inspite of democracy, consensus, power to the people, the supreme benefit of choosing our rulers has only made discord more apparent, be it in India, US, parts of the Middle East or even Afghanistan which claims to have ‘restored’ its democracy.
Without any jargon and/or intellectual rambling, a pointer is raised on building a healthy democracy and on the importance of not leaving the task to politicians alone for unless people, across levels involve themselves, the agenda of reshaping the world they inhabit will remain incomplete.
The book provides a roadmap to collaborative governance, provides insights through extensive research from India and abroad, throwing light on consensus building and collaborative action.
The book is divided into two parts. The first part describes the structures and systems of democracy and explains the vital role that consensus-building processes must play in democracies. The second part presents principles and tools for consensus building.
A hugely engaging and contemporary writing style, he combines theories and concepts with real incidents, analyzing their impact. He titles his chapters with interesting phrases like “the boundaries around people like us”; “ways of mass dialogue”, “Argumentative Indians and Americans” and ends it with “finding solutions, taking decisions, the toughest of the lot.”
Arun Maira is Chairman of the Boston Consulting Group in India and his work combines hands-on leadership and consulting experience of over 40 years.
Pakistan in a changing strategic context
Editors: Ajay Darshan Behera and Mathew Joseph C
Publisher: Knowledge World
Price Rs 620 (Paperback)
Terrorist attacks of September 11 and resultant US reaction to terrorism has transformed the strategic environment in the SE Asian region. Pakistan, due to its geopolitical location and past policies has borne significant impact on its society, foreign policy and security.
The book attempts to establish an understanding of the evolving strategic environment and how Pakistan is placed within that context. Divided into four sections, it explores multiple views with one section exclusively devoted to an analysis of changes taking place within the strategic environment for Kashmir and Pakistan’s strategy to deal with Kashmir in the changing context.
Historical policies as also Indo-Pak relations forms a central concurrent theme, though the latter poses more questions than answers. But that is the entire premise of the book, for it is directed at policy makers, academics, senior corporate leaders and journalists who can help create consensus and a clear path ahead.
AD Behera is the officiating director of the Centre for Strategic and Regional Studies, University of Jammu. He has been visting fellow to various US institutes of higher learning. M Joseph is also a Fellow at the same institute in Jammu, holding a specialization in International Politics and South Asian Studies.
The Heart of Hindusthan: Collection of seven essays
By Dr S Radhakrishnan
Publisher: Rupa & Co.
Price: Rs 150 (Paperback)
Dr S Radhakrishnan is acknowledged as one of India’s greatest thinking minds and one who had defined the role of what an ideal teacher should be. The compilation of seven essays centre around the theme of Hindu religion and philosophy. His thoughts and inspiring discourses, part of which most of us have grown up with, find a resonance in these full essays.
Not just targeted at those who are students of religion or dharma and believers of Hinduism, they are directed at anyone who wants to experience the Indianness, which though corrupted and altered in the name of modernism, commercialization or even secularism, still eludes the common man and student.
While it puts in perspective what Indian philosophy is and what lies at the heart of Hinduism and Hindu dharma, it goes beyond that by telling you about Islam, Christian doctrine and Buddhism and places the relationship that Hinduism has with other relations in a geo-political context.
The fashion guide to shopping in Delhi
By Mallika Singhania and Shruti Rathi
Publisher: Rupa & Co.
Price: Rs 295 (Paperback)
Delhi gets its first exhaustive guide to shopping which along with what is available where, has a useful indexing of which stores accept credit cards, have valet parking and male female washrooms! With an alphabetical listing, never mind if it is a lookalike of the food guides launched by a leading city daily, it covers clothes, footwear, bags, accessories, gifts as it makes the rounds of departmental stores, malls, designer studios and names that are part of the cityscape.
Of particular use is basic information on which markets are open on which days for that is often a googly even for locals who forget that Greater Kailash is closed on Tuesdays while neighouring South Extension is shut on Mondays. With a glossary of common words used in apni Dilli’s fashion parlance, like ‘aari work’, ‘chand tare ka kaam’, ‘badla work’ and traditional heavyweights like ‘Pashmina’, ‘Kanjeevaram’ and ‘Kalamkari’ it offers a cultural round-up, taking the uninitiated on an India trip.
The approximate price band of products is an added advantage for it prepares the shopper before a shopping excursion. The language is a bit over enthusiastic, but for a first time attempt, acceptable. Also the range of products can be expanded in the second edition: jewellery and anecdotes, mythological tales, even details like Richard Gere brought a stole from here or Liz Taylor picked up a Parsi border from there kind of stuff, which can be a fascinating pull for the inveterate shopper who thrives on what others (read prominent/celebrity) have done.
It Happened in India
By Kishore Biyani with Dipayan Baishya
Publisher: Rupa & Co.
Price: Rs 99.00
A synergistic product straight off the Big Bazaar shelves is this book by Kishore Biyani, who has put together the ideas, processes and concepts that have gone in making the brands that he has steered a household name today. Whether it is pricing or advertising and marketing strategy or a strong push factor in a market that was ready to ride the retail boom, its all there in It Happened in India.
Tracking the story of Biyani who has in a way written his own success story, one which has had its share of ups and downs, criticism and a writing off by those who were aghast at his antics and recklessness, even being ridiculed for being a ‘baniya company’ has survived to tell his story.
The man has created and built Pantaloons and Big Bazaar and is now bullish about capturing the entire Indian consumption space from building shopping malls to selling insurance, he has gotten under the skin of the Indian consumer and is confident of delivering what it takes to satiate that growing consumer appetite/need.
Company strategies, reports and stories of how they got their well known campaigns right are detailed. The text is interspersed with motivational lines which echo the ‘maverick entrepreneur’ nee ‘Rajah of Retail’ sentiments along with a few photographs.
Like most of its products, the book too is priced to target a large reading audience. Interesting to know what made the man tick and what helped him make his first million. Dipayan Baishya who has co-authored the book is a business writer and a Wharton School product.