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Books that tell you Stories of Nationalism, Women Entrepreneurs and Weight Loss: Here is a List!

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New Delhi, May 12, 2017: Learn to question the concept of nationalism by reading the tale of an air warrior; know about the the obstacles faced by women vying for a top job; go through the fastest way to lose weight; flick through the story of a teenager who sets out to investigate a murder through his indulgence and escapades.

The IANS bookshelf offers a good combination of fiction and non-fiction for this weekend. Read on!

1. Book: Baaz; Author: Anuja Chauhan; Publisher: HarperCollins; Pages: 430; Price: Rs 399

“Why do they call you Baaz?”

“It means falcon,” he replies solemnly. “Or bird of prey. Because I swoop down on the enemy planes just like a Baaz would.”

Then he grins. The grey eyes sparkle.

“It’s also short for bastard.”

It’s 1971. The USSR-backed India-Mukti Bahini alliance is on the brink of war against the US-aided Pakistani forces. As the Cold War threatens to turn red hot, handsome, laughing Ishaan Faujdaar, a farm boy from Chakkahera in Haryana, is elated to be in the IAF, flying the Gnat, a tiny fighter plane nicknamed “Sabre Slayer” for the devastation it had caused in the ranks of Pakistan’s F-86 Sabre squadrons in the 1965 war.

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Flanked by his buddies Raks, a MiG-21 pilot, Maddy, who flies a Caribou transport aircraft, and fellow Gnatties Jana, Gana and Mana, Shaanu has nothing on his mind but glory and adventure — until he encounters Tehmina Dadyseth, a famed bathing beauty and sister of a dead fauji, who makes him question the very concept of nationalism and whose eyes fill with disillusioned scorn whenever people wax eloquent about patriotism and war.

Pulsating with love, laughter and courage, “Baaz” is Anuja Chauhan’s tribute to our men in uniform.

2. Book: The Shortlist; Author: Maya Kavita; Publisher: Tara; Pages: 333; Price: Rs 299

Four female executives are on Trans-Geo Tech’s shortlist to become the next CEO. The same women are on Jim Kenyon’s shortlist for murder.

But Jim has one more victim on his list — his nemesis Ella Laraway. She now works for Ridley Latimer’s company, Tackle and Trim. Ella accepts TGT’s invitation to help them vet the shortlist of CEO candidates to replace Tapan Rao. She knows Jim won’t be able to resist this chance to kill them all.

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After all, Wargrave Island is a remote place on the Canadian-American border. Meanwhile, detective Rae Birnam and detective Frank Bianchi (from Outsourced) are aware that Jim may try to kill Ella and they are gathering nearby. Then the body count starts rising.

First, their hostess Mrs Owen disappears. Then Jim knocks out the power and communications. He kills Warren, the handyman. The women (Sondra, Bettina, Parvani, Mickey, Julia) decide to do what they learned in business — pair off to divide and conquer, and fight for themselves. But Julia dies.

Through the book, the author examines the path to career success at TGT and the obstacles faced by women vying for a top job. One of those obstacles will test every skill they have. Although the list of candidates may be short, there’s someone close by with plans to make it a lot shorter.

But Ella finally comes through with help from boss-cum-lover Ridly Latimer, TGT gets its new CEO, the villains are all locked up or dead and Ella finally manages to take a well-deserved break.

3. Book: The Blood Sugar Solution; Author: Mark Hyman; Publisher: Hachette; Pages: 423; Price: Rs 399

In “The Blood Sugar Solution”, Mark Hyman reveals that the secret solution to losing weight and preventing not just diabetes but also heart disease, stroke, dementia, and cancer is balanced insulin levels.

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Hyman describes the seven keys to achieving wellness — nutrition, hormones, inflammation, digestion, detoxification, energy metabolism, and a calm mind. He explains his revolutionary six-week healthy-living programme.

With advice on diet, green living, supplements, medication, exercise, and personalizing the plan for optimal results, the book also teaches readers how to maintain lifelong health. Groundbreaking and timely, the book is the fastest way to lose weight, prevent disease, and feel better than ever.

4. Book: From The Darkness; Author: Abhishek Ray; Publisher: Tara; Pages: 184; Price: Rs 299

An old woman is found dead, a tribal warlord intent on destroying what has been irrevocably resurrected, a troubled teenager craves intoxication more than life, and a middle-aged woman who has a secret — a secret that could destroy her and everything around her.

On the surface, Rohan is just another average teenager who goes to school, likes listening to rock music, hates his parents and has his own ideas of fun. He does, however, have an interesting indulgence, now and then. His love for the occasional joint of marijuana, rolled and sealed at the tip, gives him the escape that he craves for.

When a brutal murder in his neighbourhood brings the police knocking on his door, he decides to make his life more interesting than ever.

He sets out to investigate the murder, not through logic or deduction, but through his indulgence and his escapades. Little does he know that close at hand, in the physical world, lurks a terror so ghastly and terrifying that even a renegade warlord from the jungles of Sunderbans — Bagha — shudders in his sleep when he dreams of it. Which is why he has come back, all the way, looking for it. To win what he once lost. To regain what he once couldn’t salvage.

Will Rohan get the answers he is looking for, from the beyond? Or will Bagha slay the demons once and for all? Or will the darkness take them both? (IANS)

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India Can Really Take An Ostrich Approach To The Condition Of Women?

A total of 548 global experts on women’s issues , 43 of them from India

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BJP Leader Asks Parents Of A Rape Victim To Express Gratitude To Them
Can India Really Take An Ostrich Approach To The Condition Of Women?. Flickr

-By Deepa Gahlot

You read with a mixture of alarm and scepticism, the poll report by the London-based Thomson Reuters Foundation that India is the most dangerous country in the world for women, beating Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

According to reports, a total of 548 global experts on women’s issues — 43 of them from India — were asked about risks faced by women in six areas: healthcare, access to economic resources and discrimination, customary practices, sexual violence, nonsexual violence, and human trafficking. And shockingly, India comes out as the worst!

We see women progressing in every field in India, but, there is also the increasing violence against women and young girls reported every day; not long ago, female tourists felt safe in India; but now, women travelling solo are constantly targeted. Everyday there are reports of the rapes and murders of minor girls, often accompanied by unimaginable torture and mutilation.

There has been outrage in India, and also holes punctured in the survey that has such a small number of respondents, but can we really take an ostrich approach to the condition of women? Even as education and healthcare improve for women — at least in metro cities — the contempt for women is socially and culturally ingrained in the Indian psyche. In a city like Mumbai considered progressive and relatively safe for women, the girl child is unwanted even by many educated and wealthy families. In spite of laws being in place, female foeticide and infanticide is rampant, to the extent that there are large territories where there are no girl children and brides for the men have to be ‘imported’ from other states.  As dowry murders and rapes rise, the more unwanted the girl child becomes.  The fact is that India’s gender ratio is deplorable.

And if the male child is valued over the girl child, he grows up believing that he is special and if he is thwarted in any way, he can resort to violence. In spite of education and exposure to progressive ideas, in the case of rape or sexual violence, the tendency to blame and shame the victim persists.

To give just one small example, in the West, accusations of sexual harassment resulted in united shunning of a man as powerful as Harvey Weinstein and many others in the wake of the #MeToo movement, that helped many women speak out about their experiences.

In India, Malayalam actor Dileep, who has been accused in the abduction and rape of an actress, and was boycotted by the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA), was recently reinstated. This caused shock and dismay among women in the film industry.

A statement by a group of over 150 women film practitioners says it like it is, “A body that is meant to represent artistes of the Malayalam movie industry showed complete disregard for its own member who is the victim of this gross crime. Even before the case has reached its conclusion, AMMA has chosen to validate a person accused of a very serious crime against a colleague. We condemn this cavalier attitude by artistes against women artistes who are working alongside them. There is misogyny and gender discrimination embedded in this action.

“We admired and supported the Women in Cinema Collective that was formed by women film artistes in Kerala in the aftermath of the abduction and molestation of a colleague, a top star in the industry. We applaud the WCC members who have walked out of AMMA to protest the chairman’s invitation to reinstate the accused. We pledge our continued support to the Women in Cinema Collective who are blazing a trail to battle sexism in the film industry.

“Cinema is an art form that can challenge deeply entrenched violence and discrimination in society. It is distressing to see an industry that stands amongst the best in the country and has even made a mark in world cinema choose to shy away from using their position and their medium responsibly at this important moment. Today, women form a significant part of the film and media industries, we reject any attempt at silencing us and making us invisible.”

The Gujarat elections have brought the BJP and the Congress in close contest with each other.
Indian women. VOA

The preference for male children has had some unexpected ramifications. In a working paper published by the American non-profit, National Bureau of Economic Research, by Northwestern University’s Seema Jayachandran and Harvard University’s Rohini Pande (quoted in Quartz Media), finds that stunting in Indian children could also be blamed on the cultural preference for sons.

“In India, on average, the first child — if he is a son — doesn’t suffer from stunting. But, if the first — and so the eldest — child of the family is a girl, she suffers from a height deficit. And, then, if the second child is a boy, and hence the eldest son of the family, he will not be stunted. This happens because of an unequal allocation of resources to the first child”.

According to the report, “When Jayachandran and Pande compared India and Africa results through this lens, they found that the Indian first and eldest son tends to be taller than an African firstborn. If the eldest child of the family is a girl, and a son is born next, the son will still be taller in India than Africa. For girls, however, the India-Africa height deficit is large. It is the largest for daughters with no older brothers, probably because repeated attempts to have a son takes a beating on the growth of the girls.”

Also read: Has Legal Framework Turned a Blind Eye towards Under-representation of Women in Indian Politics?

In spite of all the Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao rhetoric, the required shift in the male-centric attitude towards a more egalitarian one is simply not happening; or, it is a case of one step forward, two steps backward. The Thomson Reuters Foundation report may be unfair and skewed, but being known as the rape capital of the world does nothing to improve the image of India in the world or even in its own eyes. (IANS)