Days of the Emergency

The second half of the 20th century saw civil liberties and human rights threatened around India, especially owing to the Emergency in 1975. In those days, freedom fighter Inder Mohan, also one of the founders of PUCL (Peoples Union for Civil Liberties), wrote fervently in support of people's rights and liberties. Now, 16 years after his death, a book of his select writings has been published, which is edited and compiled by his daughter, Meenakshi Mohan Banerjee. On Social Justice and Human Rights in India (Bibliophile South Asia/Promilla & Co; Rs 495) was released by former Attorney General of India, Soli J Sorabjee, in Delhi on Friday. The event was attended by the likes of veteran journalists Kuldip Nayar, Ravi Nair and Dev Dutt, and sociologist Vasanthi Raman. Jailed during the Emergency, Mohan's writings relate to the problems of the common man during those 18 months. "It was not just factual reporting, he also contributed to the public intellect," said Savyasaachi, a sociology professor at Jamia Milia Islamia, one of the editors of the book, adding, "Our biggest challenge was to contextualise these articles." Talking about why the book was published many years after Mohan's death, Banerjee said, "I got to know about his public life later. I got to know my hero much later."

Rare Views

Photographs of Lord Curzon visiting a Jain temple in Junagadh, and another one showing him inspecting a castle at Surat — shot by Lala Deen Dayal, and dating back to 1890-1900 — are among the items to go under the hammer at the latest auction of Bonham's annual Travel and Photography sale (including India and Beyond) in London. The auction, to be held on December 4, will showcase 200 photographic lots, comprising albums and loose photographs, attributed to the mainstays of early Indian photography. The collection will present some rare early views of India, and are priced at Rs 17,000–8,72,000. Notable items include a collection of portraits of Indian princely rulers, Princes and Chiefs of India (1903), an album of views of Lahore, Bombay and Darjeeling from 1860 and another one of views of Hyderabad taken in 1889, which is estimated to go at Rs 2.2–3.1 lakh.

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