With jacket blurbs now becoming almost mandatory here, established authors have a hard time fending off aspiring authors and their equally pushy publishers. But a little-known publisher of dry, scholarly books—Academic Foundation—hit the blurb jackpot recently. It received prompt and glowing responses from each of the nine top-notch economists, foreign policy experts and authors they approached: Sunil Khilnani, Fareed Zakaria, Bimal Jalan, Jagdish Bhagwati, N.R. Narayana Murthy, Ashley Tellis, Y.V. Reddy, Martin Feldstein and K. Subrahmanyam. And all of them gushing: "superbly crafted", "one of the bright lights of India", "unique". The book? Strategic Consequences of India's Economic Performance, a collection of academic essays and media columns by the PM's media advisor, Sanjaya Baru.
"What a waste of good stories!" journalist Kuldip Nayar is said to have exclaimed on the pain of being a media advisor in the PMO: all those tantalising stories and having to keep shut. But presumably those stories can now be told in his autobiography. Roli has grabbed the nearly-completed manuscript of this spill-all.
Seen That Grove Before
The best thing about dead authors is they can't accuse anyone of stealing their ideas. Pradip Krishen isn't the first to turn trees into a bestselling subject in India. There was Sydney Percy-Lancaster, the last Englishman to head horticultural operations in Delhi. His monthly bulletin Garden Chat (now reprinted as The Sahib's Manual for the Mali) has many popular trees of Delhi.