Melting Pot Within a Melting Pot

The Transplanted Man of the title is the Union Health Minister of India who has so many transplanted organs in his body he can proudly say he truly represents India. Once he was very corrupt but having often been close to death he has begun to actually feel the pain of the mother of a dying child and is determined to do some good for his country before he dies, except that he is not sure he will survive his latest illness.


Sir Olaf Caroe, the former British civil servant in India, was not much off-centre when (in the mid-1940s) he pro¬pounded the doctrine of ‘Wells of Power’. He emphasized West Asian oil which was absolutely essential for the Western powers and hence should be shielded from the Communist Bear, This, coupl¬ed with the fact that the Indian Ocean does not, like its bigger counterparts, the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans, extend northwards into the cold cli¬matic regions, saddles it with paramount strategic signi¬ficance.

Mountain Ateliers

Chaitanya’s new volume, edged in a glossy royal blue, is the fourth in a series of five which venture to span Indian painting—beginning from pre-historic rock paintings to the ‘modern temper’ of the Tagores, of Shergil and Jamini Roy. The author’s credentials need no elaboration and his erudition rides high despite the modesty of the blurb on the dust jacket—perhaps to popularize the sale of a scholar’s work:


The sociological study of contemporary Hindu society has suffered from many con¬straints, some of which—most notably, borrowed para¬digms of social order and social change—have been by now widely recognized; others have received less attention. Thus the implica¬tions of the fact that most sociologists and social anthro¬pologists of the last fifty years have been high caste Hindus of middle or upper-middle class urban background have not been examined. This is, of course, true of all social scientists including econo¬mists; but unlike in, say, eco-nomics, where progressive quantification of data and major advances in theory-building have to a large extent curbed subjective judgments, in sociology the narrative literary mode and theoretic uncertainty have remained pervasive.


What does development imply? It implies, according to conventional economic theory, growth as measured in terms of gross national product and in terms of per capita income. Economic growth should also be accompanied by certain structural changes. While the primary sector including agri¬culture may register growth, its growth is overtaken by that of the secondary sector consist¬ing of manufacturing indus¬tries and later by the growth of the tertiary sector consisting of transport and other services. Accompanying this structural transformation is the increas¬ing pace of urbanization in society which in turn brings about radical alterations in social relationships.


Interest in the character and fate of the former Hydera¬bad state is still widespread-and likely to endure. It is almost as great as in the evo¬lution of the former state of Jammu and Kashmir. This is surprising as the latter basi¬cally is still alive and kicking, while Hyderabad state has been scrambled in such a way that it has lost its identity almost completely. The story of that eclipse, its whys and wherefores, the losses and gains that the obliteration of a unique personality by the Indian Union brought in its train to the development of the Hyderabadi ethos, is what stirs the interest of most readers. This book will make a signi¬ficant contribution towards satisfying that interest.


Professor Aziz Ahmad (1913-1978) wrote extensively on Indian Islam in the nine¬teenth and twentieth centuries. His two major works—Islamic Culture in the Indian Environ¬ment and Islamic Modernism in India and Pakistan—are excellent examples of his scholarship and depth of understanding. While the for¬mer surveyed various trends in Indian Islam from around the ninth century onwards, the latter closely identified the landmarks of religious and political thought from 1857 to the mid-1970s.


It is a pleasure to review this book, for several reasons. In the first place, it is precise and well-written and shows a can¬dour of purpose not often met with in present days. Secondly, it deals with a subject of considerable theoretical and practical importance. There is one more reason which intro¬duces an element of novelty into this particular work. It has been written on a legal subject by a scholar whose forte is agricultural economics (especially land reforms), and not the law. Although the author claims no legal qualifi¬cations or background, this book offers all the wealth of scholarship and all the sharp¬ness of argument that one would expect from a legal academic or a professional lawyer.


Parliamentary social¬ism, as a form of politics seeking to achieve a restruc¬turing of society and a partial transfer of power from the ruling classes to the working classes by peaceful means, has its intellectual roots in the works of Marx and Engels. In advanced capitalist countries, social democracy emerged as a variant of the nineteenth century political alternatives of conservatism and liberalism, its energies fuelled by the ris¬ing class consciousness of the Working class and its trade union organizations.


Pakistan shares with Israel the dubious distinction of be¬ing one of the two confessional states in the world today, states whose survival was^ re¬garded as unlikely even before their birth. Both Pakistan and Israel were built on the viola¬tion of every principle of nationhood, both were erected on the basis of the displace¬ment of large bodies of people in their fount-head territories, both derived sustenance from the imperatives of an imperial¬ism that had ruled through fostering division rather than as the result of a popular demo¬cratic movement conferring them with legitimacy. Given this unnatural genesis, the ruling classes of Pakistan soon found few of the implements necessary to build a nation within its truncated territories.


If, as Salman Rushdie once said, to conquer English is to make ourselves free, then in Shame he has certainly shed all awkwardness, archaism and colonial constraint, and deser¬ves to inhabit the airy realm of freedom. Though it is witty, satirical, innovative, eminently readable, the novel is shackled by an inadequate political vision and brittle, insufficient fabulation that scarcely lives up to his own aspirations. For it would not be fair to ask it of Rushdie (how could we, in this age of dreary Indo-Anglian fiction) unless he seemed to be asking it of himself.