Shelf life

Updated: Oct 1 2012, 02:23am hrs
Jihad or Ijtihad: Religious Orthodoxy and Modern Science in Contemporary Islam

S Irfan Habib

Harper Collins

Paperback, Pg 200

Rs. 299

While Europe was still stuck in the Dark Ages, scientists in the Islamic world were translating Aristotle, and making huge strides in astronomy, mathematics and philosophy. Two thousand years later, the idea of scientific progress seems to be locked in a hopeless war with Islam. When and how did Islam lose its enthusiasms for the workings of the natural world

S Irfan Habib, one of the countrys foremost historians, traces the trajectory of how mainstream Islam came to question modern sciencebeginning with the reformers of the nineteenth century and ending with present-day ideologues. Through the lives of famous men like Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, he demonstrates that the modern-day promulgation of Islam and its followers as anti-modern and anti-science is a myth that leads, quite literally, to explosive consequences. Habib also channels his scholarship of both history and Islam to question the controversial idea of Islamic science as a category distinct from modern, Eurocentric science.

In an easy style that belies the weightiness of the questions it seeks to answer, Jihad or Ijtihad challenges both stereotypes and propaganda.

Public Hinduisms

Edited by John Zavos, Pralay Kanungo, Deepa S Reddy, Maya Warrier and Raymond Brady Williams

Sage India

Hardback, Pg 536

Rs.950

Public Hinduisms critically analyses the way in which Hinduism is produced and represented as an established feature of modern public landscapes. It examines the mediation, representation and construction of multiple forms of Hinduism in a variety of social and political contexts, and in the process establishes it as a dynamic and developing modern concept. The essays in this volume are divided into themes that address different aspects of the processes that form modern Hinduism. The book includes discussions on topics such as ecumenical initiatives, the contemporary interpretation of particular sampradaya and guru traditions, modes of community mobilisation and the mediation strategies of different groups. It also provides India and diaspora-focused case studies as well as snapshot views elaborating on different themes.

A Calendar Too Crowded

Sagarika Chakraborty

Niyogi Books

Paperback, Pg 192

Rs. 295

This is a collection of poignant stories and poems woven around the theme of womanhood. What makes this work of fiction different from other books that highlight the plight of women is its unique approach. There are quite a few days in the calendar that are devoted to women. The aim of remembering and commemorating such days is simple enough; they serve the purpose of spreading awareness and thereby attempting to protect the rights of women. Some of these marked days in the calendar have been imaginatively used as a starting point for the stories and poems in this book. So while the theme of a story under the month of January is inspired by the National Day for the Girl Child in India (24 January), another story under the month of November takes up the Elimination of Violence Against Women Day (25 November) as its focal point. The intent, however, is to probe further and discover the ugly truth of womens continuing subjugation.