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Who was Mangal Pandey?

June 13, 2005

Here is a glimpse at some new book releases for you!

Mangal Pandey: Brave Martyr or Accidental Hero?
by Rudrangshu Mukherjee

The forthcoming release of the Aamir Khan starrer The Rising has awakened new interest in Pandey, the sepoy who played a major role in sparking the 1857 uprising against the British rule.

Mukherjee's analysis of this very important but sometimes neglected episode in Indian history presents a vivid picture of life in the barracks of the East India Company's cantonments, describes the social customs and military regulations that governed the daily routines of Pandey and other Indian sepoys, and examines the controversies and unrest that foreshadowed the 1857 Rising.

It also asks: who was the real Mangal Pandey: a dashing, heroic figure or an ordinary man who just happened to be in the right place at the right time?

Interesting Times in India: A Short Decade at St Stephen's College
by Daniel O'Connor

Daniel O'Connor and his wife arrived in India in 1963 to live and work at St Stephen's College, Delhi.

Being part of a creative college community that mirrored all the effects of a newly realised post-colonial consciousness and the anxieties and hopes of a nation coming to grips with post-Nehruvian existence, the young couple witnessed and participated in many tumultuous events.

O'Connor was a teacher, a chaplain and a young expatriate, and his experiences in all of these roles find their way into this memoir.

Covering political events and social concerns, and dotted with vignettes of college life -- from staff politics to the Shakespeare Society's productions -- Interesting Times in India is engagingly written and fondly told.

The Harmony Silk Factory
by Tash Aw

This debut novel by the Malaysian-British author tells the story of Johnny Lim, a textile merchant, petty crook and inventor of the Amazing Toddy Machine.

In 1940, as the Japanese prepare to invade Malaysia, Johnny and his bride Snow Soong embark on their honeymoon to the mysterious Seven Maiden Islands, accompanied by a mercurial Japanese professor and an Englishman, Peter Wormwood.

Many years later, Wormwood goes back on this defining journey while Snow's son goes in search of the truth about his parents.

Set against the backdrop of a country in crisis, The Harmony Silk Factory has been widely praised for its presentation of events through the eyes of different characters, and its depiction of Malaysian history and culture.

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