A substantial and visually arresting guide to five centuries of Sikh shrines.

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THE SIKH HERITAGE

An illustrated history of important sites in Sikh history in Pakistan.

In this oversized, sumptuously illustrated picture book, Pannu takes readers on a comprehensively detailed guide to the shrines and holy places of great figures from the Sikh faith. The book looks at 84 such sites, providing a great deal of information alongside stunning color photos by the author. Pannu searches through the Janamsakhis, the Sikh scriptures, and seeks to “incorporate logic and rationality in their interpretation,” and then supplies readers with images of many of the places mentioned in these and other Sikh writings. The book covers a broad expanse of history, from the days of Sikhism's founder, Guru Nanak, in the late 15th and early 16th centuries to the India-Pakistan Partition of 1947 to the present day, when relations between India and Pakistan remain raw and turbulent. In his introduction, Pannu expresses the hope that his crossing of borders in search of a shared cultural heritage might be a harbinger of the future: “I remain optimistic that a day will eventually dawn when everlasting peace will prevail, and works like this book will prove to be both educative and enlightening.” Over the course of 400-plus pages, the work covers Pakistani sites in Sheikhupura, Kasur, Nanakana Sahib, Narowal, and Lahore. In each chapter, the author pairs historical mentions of the place and shrine at hand with photos of its current appearance, and the juxtapositions between past and present often result in a compelling dissonance.

With a minimum of fuss, Pannu intriguingly deploys quotations from scriptures and historical accounts alongside his photos, which he’s taken over the course of years. The prose tells readers of places sacred to Sikh tradition, featuring locations as sacred to Sikhs as Bethlehem or Gethsemane are to Christians. Yet the excellent photographs very often show dilapidated, sometimes defaced ruins that no passerby would ever guess held greater significance. One example of a lone gurdwara—a type of block-tower that’s ubiquitous throughout the book—is all that remains of the Gurdwara Lahura Sahib in the village of Ghavindi, where Guru Nanak once rested beneath a Lahura tree. Guru Hargobind’s visit to the village of Padhana, as recorded in the Mahima Prakash Vartak, was an occasion for the Sikh holy man to dispense calm wisdom—but Pannu’s photos of the interior views of Gurdwara Patshavi VI display a squalor and decay that even the author, as an optimistic guide, can’t ignore: “The decoration inside the smaller, third-story structure is quite beautiful, despite the aging and deteriorating floral embellishments on the ceiling.” Parked mopeds lean against the chipped and flaking walls of buildings where living saints once shared the peace and insight of the Sikh faith’s central tenets; street lamps and power cables obscure once-glorious gurdwaras from street views. And the juxtaposition is ultimately spellbinding; readers will be able to feel the weight of centuries on these holy places as Pannu shares religious passages that have better weathered the passage of time.

A substantial and visually arresting guide to five centuries of Sikh shrines.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-73329-370-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Pannu Dental Group

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2020

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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