Risk has come to dominate individual and collective consciousness in the twenty-first century. Although global insecurity has been created by terrorism, pollution, global epidemics, and famine risks involved in aspects of everyday life such as food, sunlight and travel have become major preoccupations.
This anthology, a tribute to the life and work of Eleanor Zelliot, compiles the issues, topics and works closely associated with her. Zelliot virtually pioneered studies on anguish among dalits and changed the very paradigm of such studies.
Anyone who has ventured to study, understand and examine the struggle of the Mahars of Maharashtra for a better life and status could never do so without reading Zelliot.
The book under review promises to propel a host of questions related to religion, society and self. These questions have acquired new forms, proportions and meanings at a chaotic time.
The Ugliness of the Indian Male is an uneven collection of assorted essays—journalistic and academic—written by Mukul Kesavan from time to time. A trained historian, an avid reader, cinema and cricket connoisseur and political commentator, Mukul Kesavan’s essays bear an imprint of his varied interest.
This thin volume entitled What is Gender?, an introductory textbook on the sociological approaches’ to gender, provides a competent and comprehensive overview by organizing issues involved into a neat analytical frame.
Roughly 2500 years ago, there lived a man called Socrates, who maintained that a life not examined was a life not worth living. Tragically, for that very reason, he was put to death by being forced by the Athenian state to drink hemlock. Closer home, in the first seventy-odd years of the twentieth century, lived a Socratic figure, called Periyar E.V. Ramaswami, who suffered a fate worse than state-sponsored murder.
Martin Macwan’s Mari Katha is the tale of not just one individual, the author, as the title, “My Story”, would lead one to believe, but that of an entire community—the dalits of rural Gujarat. The book is based on Macwan’s personal experiences with the dalit community. A number of dalit people contributed to this work by reading its drafts and offering suggestions, which were incorporated by Macwan, who gratefully acknowledges their efforts.
Gujarat has become a byword used casually for the way the historical state has slowly been turning into History. The Kandala tornado, the droughts, the earthquake, the Godhra carnage and the subsequent riots, have made ‘Gujarat’ into a political headline that drowns other voices.
The issue of disability as a field of academic study as well as a ground for activism is gaining prominence not only the world over but in India too. The recognition of disability as a rights issue in India emerged as significant when the Persons With Disabilities Act was passed in 1995. Another instance was when the disabled demanded that they be included in the Census 2001.
This is a tensely argued book, which was submitted perhaps a decade ago in Cambridge, as a doctoral thesis. I have heard interesting snippets of it at seminars, at Teen Murti Library (NMML) and the Institute of Economic Growth since 1995 or so, and have been waiting for it to be in print for many years.
Gender & Caste is a significant contribution to the ongoing efforts at understanding the imbrications of caste related issues with other political concerns. It represents the first attempt at bringing together essays that are exploring the critical interconnections between caste and gender. And precisely for that reason it is striking that this anthology on caste is the first in the series “Issues in Contemporary Indian Feminism” edited by Rajeswari Sunder Rajan and published by Kali for Women in association with the Book Review Literary Trust, New Delhi.
Dedicated to Dharma Kumar, this book by Beteille is a collection of 12 papers published elsewhere between 1978 and 1999. These are reflective pieces on Indian society’s uneven experiences in the course of transition from a traditional to a modernizing one. Antinomies are not the same as binary opposites, though they are a sort of contradiction in norms and values (rather than the socioeconomic features of the roles and relationships) deployed by the society as it regulates itself.
The vital importance of this timely and extremely well-written book cannot be stressed enough. In the surcharged atmosphere characterizing the contemporary discourse on conversion in India, where emotions run high, and where perceptions and prejudices clash with the deafening sound of incomprehensibility, where well-disposed and sensitive-minded people are often overwhelmed by the unfortunate directions which the debate on conversion often takes, Sebastian Kim offers us a sober, carefully researched and painstakingly documented book on the emergence of the conversion issue during the last one hundred and fifty years in pre- and post-independent India.