Friday, December 25, 2020

The Bhagavad Gita and The Bhagavad Gita for Millennials, by Bibek Debroy - Review


The Bhagavad Gita, Translated by Bibek Debroy

The Bhagavad Gita for Millennials by Bibek Debroy

This is a review of two books. Both about the Bhagavad Gita, both written by the same person, both obviously similar in many respects, but both also different.

Let’s take The Bhagavad Gita translation first. It is a verse by verse translation of the 700 verses, or 699, depending on how you count them, of the Bhagavad Gita, with the Sanskrit shlokas (verses) on one page and the English translation on the facing page. There is no interpretation, no commentary; just a literal translation of each verse. The author (Bibek Debroy, not Vyasa) writes in the Introduction that ‘A translator’s job is to translate, not to interpret.’ and somewhat modestly, ‘Interpretations are best left to those who are learned.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Who Killed Shastri, by Vivek Agnihotri - Review

Who Killed Shastri, by Vivek Agnihotri

Lal Bahadur Shastri, India’s second prime minister, died in Tashkent in the early hours of the 11th of January, 1966. This was shortly after he signed a peace accord between India and Pakistan, brokered by the Soviet Union. He was cremated in his hometown after his body was brought back to India. In case people are wondering, another prime minister from the Congress party, not from the Nehru dynasty, was denied a funeral in the national capital. 

Regarding Shastri’s death, these are the only incontrovertible facts that people agree upon. Why is that? Because Indians, like everyone else, love a good conspiracy theory. Because conspiracy theories behind his death have been used to point fingers at the alleged role of foreign powers and the complicity of certain politicians and political families on the other. Because no one disputed the circumstances of his death till several years later, when it was politically expedient to do so.

Thus goes one line of argumentation.