‘Nearly every book’, George Orwell famously wrote in 1946, ‘is capable of arousing passionate feeling’—feeling which may range from ‘passionate dislike’ to equally passionate admiration—in the mind of the reader (George Packer [Comp.] George Orwell: Critical Essays, London, 2009, p. 290).
Indians who travel abroad or migrate internationally rarely write about the societies they intimately encounter and adopt as ‘home’. Contrastively, from the time of the colonial era, western writers have produced a copious and authoritative body of travelogues, fiction, and scholarship on the Indian subcontinent.
In the post-economic reform era the Chinese society has witnessed the emergence of newly rich class enjoying the benefits of economic prosperity. There is growing awareness over delivery of services, quality of products, protection of legal rights, i.e., based on the weiquan movement of early 2000s, as argued by Jonathan Benney (2013) in his celebrated work Defending Rights in Contemporary China.
S lavoj Zizek while discussing his new work at LSE recently, emphatically un derlines the ‘Universalism of Capitalism’ and further states that at the level of economy ‘capitalism has triumphed worldwide’ in contemporary times. For Zizek ‘the mask of cultural diversity today is sustained by the actual universalism of global capital’.
On the morning of January 26, 2001 when India was celebrating the 52nd Republic Day, a great tragedy befell Gujarat. As the earthquake struck, around 14,000 people died, houses fell into rubble, hundreds of villages ‘totally collapsed’ and oil spill was reported. The most affected areas of Gujarat were Kutch, Bhuj and Anjar.
Will there be workers organizing in neo-liberal times? Yes, workers will be organizing in a new liberal fashion! Rina Agarwala’s book Informal Labour, Formal Politics, and Dignified Discontent in India suggests that workers in the informal sector in India are successfully negotiating their livelihood demands taking advantage of intensely competitive politics particularly at the State level.
One does not envy the lot of an academic taking on the task of writing a comprehensive history of Modern India, balancing both events and interpretations. First, there is the question of the audience. Is the book geared towards a casual, general reader looking for an informed but flowing narrative? Is it going to serve the needs of the ‘average’ undergraduate student? Or is it a go-to book for researchers and teachers?
Christopher Chivvis is the quintessential policy wonk having rotated in and out of government and the academia, so typical of the career profile of public intellectuals in the United States. Given that he needs the government for access to information and the policy high table, as much as the government needs his brains, it is inevitable that he would write up a favourable account of the US role in toppling Gaddafi.
It is heartening that after a gap of a decade and a half, Amalendu Guha’s Medieval and Early Colonial Assam: Society, Polity, Economy is once again available in bookshops. The twelve chapters originally published as articles between the 1960s and 1980s, were compiled and published as a book in 1991.