Martyred But Not Tamed

Martyred But Not Tamed – The Politics of Resistance in the Middle East

Author : Ram Narayan Kumar

Sage Publications (I) Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi; Year:2012; Pages:332; Price:Rs.450

Reviewed by Brig. Suresh C. Sharma (retired), freelance writer and adviser to the telecom industry.  E-mail:


The book is based on posthumous papers of the author, an active promoter of human rights who visited the Middle East thrice.   Continue reading

Settled Strangers


Settled Strangers : Asian Business Elites in East Africa (1800-2000)

Author : Gijsbert Oonk

Sage Publications (I) Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi; Year:2013; Pages:270; Price:Rs.795

Reviewed by Brig. Suresh C. Sharma (retd.), freelance writer and adviser to the telecom industry.  E-mail: 

The term “settled strangers” is applied to a migrant population which has settled for three or more generations at a new location.  Alas, the “settlers” are not integrated with the local population.

The book aims at understanding the business, migration and economic history of the Asians in East Africa. It provides a history of South Asians through interviews with the families settled there.   Continue reading

Sayyid Ahmad Barailvi

BOOK - Sayyid Ahmad Barailvi

Sayyid Ahmad Barailvi – His Movement and Legacy from the Pukhtun Perspective

Author : Altaf Qadir

Sage Publications (I) Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi; Year:2015; Pages:224; Price:Rs.895

Reviewed by Brig. Suresh C. Sharma (retd.), freelance writer and advisor to the telecom industry.  E-mail:

The author has analysed the reform and jihad of the Mujahidin movement of Sayyid Ahmad Barailvi. He was born in 1786 in Raebareily in Oudh State. His family was known for its piety and had served the rulers of the State. After visiting various cities, he started a movement for purifying the Muslims of India. He selected NWFP to start the movement as it gave him an opportunity to confront the expanding Sikh rule. Continue reading

Farthest Field – An Indian Story of the Second World War

FF 2015 Cover - KARNAD BOOK

Author : Raghu Karnad

Publishers : Harper Collins, Noida, U.P.

Year of Publication:2015; Pages:320; Price:Rs.550

Reviewed by : K. S. Nair

Raghu Karnad’s Farthest Field – An Indian Story of the Second World War was published in mid-2015.  So this review is a little late, but the book and its content remain eminently worthwhile subjects for discussion.  It is, in some important ways, different from many other books on the subject.

Farthest Field, essentially, follows the lives of Karnad’s grand-father, and two of his grand-father’s brothers-in-law, all three of whom served during the Second World War. One each joined the Indian Army, the Indian Air Force, and the Indian Medical Service (the organization delivering medical services to the armed forces of India which, till the late 1930s, was a separate military organization).  Almost hilariously mirroring today’s Indian middle-class obsessions for children’s careers, Karnad’s three protagonists are a doctor, an engineer and a pilot.  The book covers their individual stories, ranges widely over the historic background, wonderfully captures the feel of the times, and delivers a masterful summary of the Indian contribution to the Second World War.  Continue reading

A Governors’ Raj

BOOK - A Governors' Raj

A Governors’ Raj – British Administration during Lord Irwin’s Viceroyalty, 1926-1931

Author : Michael Fenwick Macnamara

Sage Publications (I) Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi; Year:2015; Pages:250; Price:Rs.895

Reviewed by Brig. Suresh C. Sharma (retd.), freelance writer and advisor to the telecom industry.  E-mail: 

The British were foreign conquerors and ruled India for their own benefit. The rule also brought benefits of railways, canals and improved agriculture to the people. Along with military subjugation, they talked of Independence too. The author examines the papers of Lord Irwin, Viceroy of India, during 1926 to 1931 to explore the truth of these perceptions and the role played by the governors in the administration.   Continue reading

Conflict Resolution in Multicultural Societies-The Indian Experience : Jhumpa Mukherjee

BOOK - Conflict Resolution in Multicultural Societies

Sage Publications (I) Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi; Year:2014; Pages:164; Price:Rs.795

Reviewed by Dr. Usha Thakkar, President, Mani Bhavan Gandhi Sangrahalaya; Former Professor & Head, Department of Political Science, S.N.D.T. Women’s University, Mumbai.


The issue of diversity management within multicultural states has acquired serious dimension in our times, especially after the disintegration of Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia in the 1990s.  The quest for recognition of identity has led to severe identity assertion conflicts and movements throughout the world. The conflicts have become more complex and multidimensional. Continue reading

Rituals and Festivals : Prof. Suman Oak

BOOK - Rituals and Festivals

Publishers : Indian Secular Society, Mumbai; Year:2014; Pages:197


Readers of Freedom First will remember a series titled “Rites, Rituals and Festivals” published in its issues between December 2007 and October 2009 where Mrs. Suman Oak, retired professor of education, SNDT University had enlightened the readers on nine festivals as and when they occurred in a particular month.  Her book under review is not only a compilation of these articles, but it is much more than what was published in the pages of Freedom First.

Brigadier Suresh C. Sharma, our regular contributor, provides a brief review of the book.  Continue reading