Of Dalit activism, a Bastar tribe and revolutions in business and brands

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New Delhi– Add an element of revolution to your bookshelf with a compelling autobiography of a Dalit activist from Maharashtra; an account of the lives of Bastar’s Abujhmadias, a primitive hunter-gatherer tribe; a guide to communicate better in business and in life; and finally, a book from an executive behind the enduring brand of Maggi and its two-minute revolution.

The IANS Bookshelf offers you varied fare this weekend.

1. Book: Strike a Blow to Change the World; Author: Eknath Awad; Translator: Jerry Pinto; Publisher: Speaking Tiger; Price: Rs 399; Pages: 282
The book is the translated autobiography of Eknath Awad (1956-2015), a Dalit Mang activist from the Marathwada region of Maharashtra, who fought for the rights of underprivileged communities, irrespective of their caste or religion.

Awad describes his rage against the humiliation of the Mangs by the upper castes; and his struggle to overcome caste prejudices as well as extreme poverty to get an education. He revisits his heady days of activism: rejecting caste-based labour and religious practices by cutting the Potraj’s dreadlocks; joining the Dalit Panthers; being at the forefront of the Land Rights Movement; battling to rename Marathwada University after Dr Ambedkar; and working with an NGO in Thane that helped free Adivasis from bonded labour.

He also recounts the casteism he faced from other Mangs, and his pain and disillusionment after some of them attempted to kill him. Originally published in Marathi as “Jag Badal Ghaluni Ghaav”, it was translated in English by writer Jerry Pinto.

2. Book: Bastar Dispatches: A Passage Through the Wilds; Author: Narendra; Publisher: HarperCollins; Price: Rs 499; Pages: 262
Abujhmad is situated in the deep interiors of Bastar, and inhabited by the Abujhmadias, a primitive hunter-gatherer tribe whom British anthropologist Verrier Elwin has called the Hill Murias. Their dialect has no more than 300 to 500 words and they count only up to five. “We do not need more than that,” as they put it. The lone (“home” in their dialect) is not inside the hut. The hut is only a shelter for the night, against its elements, animals and spirits who roam it. “We live in the outside; that is where our parentage and affections are centred,” they say.

Brimming with many such singular insights into a fascinating way of life and based on the author Narendra’s over 30 years of association with Abujhmad and its contiguous areas in the Bastar division of Chhattisgarh, “Bastar Dispatches” provides a compelling narrative of a people at peace with themselves and nature, their dialect, their festivities, their delightful interactions.

3. Book: The Million Dollar Handshake; Author: Catherine Molloy; Publisher: Hachette India; Price: Rs 350; Pages: 263
The guide by communication expert Catherine Molloy, offering to help readers create a lasting and great first impression, claims to revolutionise how they connect and communicate in business and life — starting with the handshake.

First impressions count — even before one speaks a word, the way they walk, make eye contact and connect with others is revealing. The book offers to teach one how to read non-verbal communication and build rapport using positive body language, identify your behavioural style and enact positive change by working with one’s strengths, communicate cross-culturally to secure global deals, and establish meaningful connections in business and in life.

4. Book: The Two-Minute Revolution: The Art of Growing Businesses; Author: Sangeeta Talwar; Publisher: Penguin; Price: Rs 399; Pages: 210
The book is written by Sangeeta Talwar, a pioneering woman executive in the FMCG industry, who established one of the most beloved and enduring brands of India — the two-minute Maggi Noodles.

Drawing from decades of first-hand experience in Nestle, Tata Tea and Mattel, Talwar shares creative and strategic lessons which can help you grow and add value to your business.

She prescribes a plan of action that includes tactics such as keeping all the balls in the air, executing to perfection, being consumer obsessed and pivoting on profitability. Insightful and packed with fascinating examples — from creating and launching Maggi Noodles to spearheading the highly effective Jaago Re campaign for Tata Tea — this book suggests tried and trusted strategies for building extraordinary brands. (IANS)


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