Books

Sunday Long Reads: ‘Ms Marvel’ changing the Muslim narrative, desi superheroes, book reviews, and more

Ms Marvel, among the latest offerings from Disney’s Marvel Studios, has been more than just the token nod to the immigrant Muslim experience in America. The first season, which concluded last week, featured an heirloom bangle that opens an alternative dimension called Noor, a Hulk costume fashioned out of a shalwar kameez, and a tuk tuk chase in Karachi. It also features a rose farmer (played by Pakistani heartthrob Fawad Khan), who makes hot paranthas for a djinn during the Partition days.

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To believe or not to believe: VJ James’ Nireeswaran jolts the doctrines of both the atheist and the devout

book, book review, VJ James' novel 'Nireeswaran', Nireeswaran book review, Nireeswaran novel, author VJ James, atheism and theism, eye 2022, sunday eye, indian express news Nireeeswaran by VJ James; translated from Malayalam to English by Ministhy S; Vintage Books; 320 pages; Rs 599. (Photo: Amazon.in)

Set in a village in Kerala, Vayalar and Kerala Sahitya Akademi winner VJ James’ novel, Nireeswaran, translated from Malayalam by Ministhy S, begins by unraveling the dichotomy between atheism and theism. The novel’s protagonists are difficult to identify as the story proceeds: it could be the three atheist friends, Anthony, Bhaskaran and Sahir, or the rational scientist, Roberto, or the man who wakes up after being in a coma for 24 years, Indrajit.

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In his new book, former Uttar Pradesh DGP Prakash Singh writes about his long struggle to police reforms in India

police The Struggle for Police Reforms in India: Ruler’s Police to People’s Police is a book written by Prakash Singh. (Pixabay)

One hundred and twenty years ago, under British India, The Fraser Commission (1902) recorded that the police is “generally regarded as corrupt and oppressive, and it has utterly failed to secure the confidence and cordial cooperation of the people.” It is a description that could well be applied to the police even today.

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In Ruth Ozeki’s Women’s Prize-winning novel, a boy and a book get to the heart of a generation’s culture of hustle

Ruth Ozeki with her award-winning novel ‘The Book of Form and Emptiness’. (Ian West/AP Photo/picture alliance)

A siren wails, the noise growing louder as it approaches my window, muting every other sound before it fades away. But there are other cacophonies to deal with – honk honk and vroom and beep beep and clang clang and caw caw and a sudden meow! I close the window in an attempt to shut off the sonic disruptions of the world outside, only to find myself immersed in new and jarring choral styles. The air conditioner that I have just switched on hums softly; my iPhone vibrates on the edge of my desk, disturbing its teak wood solidity, causing it to grumble to the laptop upon it about a distracted age that… but wait a minute… did I just hear my desk grumble?

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How many kinds of palm have you met?

Palm Trees, Ranjit Lal Face Palm: Bottle palms in a row in the Lodi Garden, New Delhi. (Credits: Ranjit Lal)

The approximately 2,600 species (more than 106 found in India) of this versatile botanical family, which loves the tropics, may soar skywards up to 60m and form the canopy of a forest or claw their way across the understory with the help of deadly recurved talons . They assume various forms: trees, climbers, shrubs and stemless plants. They have the largest leaves in the botanical kingdom courtesy the raffia palm (25m long and 3m wide) of Colombia; the coco de mer or double coconut of the Seychelles has the largest seed (40-50 cm in diameter) and weighs up to 30 kg. Conversely, some palms have seeds the size of peas! Most palm trees are single-stemmed, tall and topped with a crown of gigantic evergreen fronds.

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Rashmi Sadana’s Metronama captures how the Metro service has made the Capital accessible

Metronama Metronama: Scenes from the Delhi Metro by Rashmi Sadana; Roli books; 264 pages; Rs 495 (Source: Amazon.in)

The descriptions of a faceless crowd – a testimony of the individual in a public space and their relationship with it – Rashmi Sadana’s Metronama: Scenes from the Delhi Metro captivates the reader with casual intimacy and the astute observations in the narration, immediately. The book is a product of 10 years of labor and research and explores New Delhi’s Metro service. The work is a rich account of the architectural, economic, social and political processes that produced the Metro and details its implications for the millions that inhabit the city.

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Why follow America’s culinary carnage when India has her own ancient plant-forward eating practices?

Suvir Saran column, Sunday Eye 2022 Our food choices, we are learning, are dangerous for our planet, but worse, even more damagingly baleful for our health Saran)

We have been told unequivocally that the planet cannot sustain our eating habits as we indulge them today. Our food choices, we are learning, are dangerous for our planet, but worse, even more harmfully baleful for our health. What we put into our mouths is one of the most critical choices we make every day. Is it not time we take our foodour lives, and our planet seriously?

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Ms Marvel to Minnal Murali: Superheroes closer home

Marvel, Superhero, Indian Express, Eye 2022 From superman to Marvel, superheroes have been an indispensable part of our lives (Source: Daniel McFadden and Netflix)

Ms Marvel has been more than just the token nod to the immigrant Muslim experience in America. The first season, which concluded last week, featured an heirloom bangle that opens an alternate dimension called Noor, a Hulk costume fashioned out of a shalwar kameez, and a tuk tuk chase in Karachi. It also features a rose farmer (played by Pakistani heartthrob Fawad Khan), who makes hot parathas for a djinn during the Partition days.

READ MORE

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