Monday, July 30, 2012

Clearing the fog!

Book Review: Non-fiction/In search of a new Afghanistan by Sujeet Sarkar, Niyogi Books, 273 pp; Rs395 (Paperback)
Though not for the good reasons, but Afghanistan can be counted today as the most special non-NATO ally for U.S.A-even more important than both India and Pakistan weighing together on this. This closeness is not romantic; rather it’s based out of USA’s ‘usual diversion’ from a balanced global strategic vision. After spending more than a decade with the expense in trillions of dollar and thousands of lost lives, USA has made Afghanistan a changed place though not less ravaged than what this unfortunate nation had been in status since the USSR’s intervention in 1980’s.

Sujeet Sarkar’s “In search of new Afghanistan” delves deep inside the existing scenario that new Afghanistan presents. This book has the details, which media often overlook from the core issues and scholars mostly ignore them on their own rigid parameters. Sujeet Sarkar, as a consultant with an international developmental organisation has articulately used his years of staying and working in war torn Afghanistan for the source of rich insights in present work. This book covers well the existing and historical socio-cultural trends that determine the perspective on Afghanistan for the outside world.

Afghanistan and neighbouring north-west frontier have been influencing the strategic scenario of south and central Asia since the time immemorial, also a chunk of Europe consist the regions of erstwhile USSR were in its catchment. From the time of Derius and Alexander to the occupation of this unusual country by the USSR, Talibani forces and now USA for last ten years, a kind of negative limelight has always surrounded the Afghanistan and its affiliates-good or bad. But against the negative notions, Sujeet Sarkar’s personal overtures with the country of dear “Kabuliwala” inspire his positive narrative and exude a sort of ‘countercurrent’ against the popular rhetoric.

His concentration is centered on the events and lives following the long course of brutal war that made this once peaceful country an easy hub of terror with no emancipation in sight to curb those flaws. Unfortunately, war is incessant and perennial reality in Afghanistan, whose time has not yet come to rest with any rational end. Author’s angle is humane and pragmatic to look after on the conditions generated by the USA’s long staying in Aghanistan. His personal account provides a good chance for readers to come in term with the reality that’s prosaic, plain but believable.

Here, the subject is a country in remaking with frequent odds on its way but life has many dimensions that give sometime escape, sometime solace by moving ahead. Despite the havocs of USA’s presence in Afghanistan, it has generated some hope among a section of middle class Afghanis who are now redreaming for modernity. Afghanistan was cut off with normalcy for last three decades, though things are still not very balanced but atleast in urban areas, changes have settled somehow better, which this book emphatically confirms.

Falsifying these positive turnouts would be a misnomer. Afghani peoples are now standing for an acceptable collective life with greater tolerance for modern ideas; even those are coming outside of the Afghanistan’s periphery. Very few work have done so far that can notices the change taking place in Afghanistan through an unbiased point of view, Sujeet Sarkar’s work certainly has an edge in this regard by accommodating the truths and spirits, which the new Afghanistan is reckoning now. With finest convictions and factual accuracy, this book is worth of exploration by both the readers of expert and enthusiast categories. This book gives hope for a new Afghanistan in making-nothing could be better for those who care for this land, which is full with potential.
Atul Kumar Thakur
July30, 2012, Monday, New Delhi

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The flame of enterprise

Book Review: Non-fiction/Business/Memoir, Flame: The story of my mother Shahnaz Husain by Nelofar Currimbhoy, Hachette, 236 pp; Rs295 (Paperback)

Aristocratic background can’t make a flaming spirit saturated; Shahnaz Husain’s exceptional entrepreneurial journey makes the belief firmly established. She made her business plans modestly and started her further deliberations with the help of family and close friends, though rose to the rank in no time with her consistent innovation in the business of cosmetology. She and her company deserve credit for pioneering Ayurvedic beauty treatments; today it’s hardly surprising if the peoples from sixty countries are having reliance on her hundreds of beauty products. This could be inspiring for young entrepreneurs who have drive to strive best in the segment of small and medium businesses with frugally available resources and frequent odds on the way.

Nelofar, author and daughter of Shahnaz covers intricately about the mix shades of her mother’s long journey into a filed less travelled by the Indian entrepreneurs. The focussed narratives on the facts than impulses, the best quality her book has. She has learnt and lived up avidly her mother’s professionalism and spontaneity in judgement that this biography exudes well in beat and pieces. Life of an extraordinary businesswoman and a mother, both are precisely covered and in great deal it leaves momentum for readers to get in the success story with their own perspective too. Here, a less authoritative yet balanced command of biographer makes around the overtures very simple and meaningful, which enthusiasts of businesses may find apt and worth of sustained preservance.

The opening of Indian economy twenty-one years back has played formidable role in shaping of the consumer driven businesses, infact both the company-Infosys and Shahnaz could be counted among its outcome of high shot. Also they strengthen the notion that India’s business growth path is uneven and diverse through fluctuation in ‘economies of scale’, which India’s new entrepreneurial spirits correspond with the market sentiments and their end targets. Well before the present time, when business strategies are more in news for their consistent shambling drives, India also had a period of productive market experiments, when ideas indeed worked with the capitalist leverages. Without going in deep of its rational, it would be right if acknowledgement be made that entrepreneurship plays not less pivotal role than the market conditions.

Nilofar’s work will be read by the peoples from different set of profession and choices as the subject of her delineations can be correlated with all of them without stucking a tint of confronting spikes. When a noble business idea get execution well streamlined, world knows it for long as phenomenon, when not then certainly otherwise. There is nothing like sole powering of only big businesses in the domain of ideas, the good business idea and its executions is attainable to a large extent by the small/medium business too, which Shahnaz’s business confirms.

This is not the best time for growing companies, unlike few years back when ‘glitters too were resembling gold’. Situation is more compressed now with the prolonged indecisive policy approaches on the domestically generated ‘downward spiral’ in business. Whether things will be good or bad-time will tell but India’s chances are still alive in the world market, which atleast some of India’s original business practitioners is maintaining. A biography is always good if it tells the truth instead compulsively ordered letters, this book follows the previous case, so certainly it deserves to be taken in cognition by the readers. Book writing pattern is swiftly changing in India, ahead, which will be breaking the conventional settings where the conclusion could be drawn in different prisms and order!
Atul Kumar Thakur
July 26th, 2012, Thursday, New Delhi