The re-issue of Dr. Anand’s classic in a fresh edition is to be welcomed for more than one reason. The format of the book is larger; the typography and lay-out are easy on the eye; and the illustrations in colour and black-and-white fortify the text. The first edition came out half a century ago in 1932, the second in 1957 and now the third. Since this is no glossy coffee-table book, kudos to both the publisher and the author.
Buddhadeva Bose who died in 1974 at the age of sixty-six was a distinguished Bengali poet, novelist and critic and the work under review is the English translation of his Mahabharater Katha. Fascinating as his fresh look at the greatest epic not only of India but of the whole world is, it would seem that the wrong man has been selected for reviewing it.
In ‘Cultural Literacy, Hirsch outlines a plan for making cultural literacy our education priority, to define core know¬ledge, put more information in school text books and develop tests of core learning that can help students, measure their progress. An index entitled ‘What literate Americans know’ was compiled by Hirsch and his two colleagues Joseph Kett and James Trefil.
This is a formidable book, strenuous to read, difficult to grasp, and nearly impos¬sible to review (though many have tried, including an editor of the firm which published the work). We learn from the acknowledgments that it was originally drafted at Cambridge during 1974-77 (presumably as a doctoral thesis), then its chapters got ‘somewhat distended’ no doubt as a result of discussion with the numerous scholars and editors the author has named, and only a ‘fellow Forsterian’ in India has ventured to publish it ten years later. The author assures us, some¬what unasked for, that he did not have to pay for its publication.
At the outset I indicate my limitations as reviewer of this latest collection of Bakhtin’s work to be translated into English. I have no Russian, nor most of the languages which Bakhtin knew so well and from which he drew copiously to ill¬ustrate his arguments. Also I am not well acquainted with several of the disciplines with which his wide and deep thinking engaged.
The ice free Indian Ocean on which 3 continents abut occupies approximately 28 millions square miles which is l/5th of the world sea area and cradles the peri¬pheries of Africa and the Orient in two separate geo-political horse-shoes in which l/4th of the world’s population live and operate at different levels of political consciousness ranging from military dictatorships and monarchies to commu¬nism, tribalism, fundamentalism, and the world’s largest practising democracy.
One would certainly want to forget the memories of the three days when the nation was cantilevered on a slope. But time, this time, has not played its usual lenitive role and healed old wounds. The victims of the massacre following Mrs. Gandhi’s death may have now reconciled themselves to not seeing a loved face, or hearing a familiar voice, or feeling that reassuring presence but there is no numb¬ness there; instead there is mounting anger and humiliation.
The book is a collection of essays evolved during 1978-84 and carries a Foreword by Roger Garaudy.
Garaudy says science has been separated from wisdom and means have become independent of concern for the ends. There has been hypertrophy in the use of reason in relation to cause and effect, and atrophy in its use ‘from ends to ends, from intermediate ends to higher ends’ which gave direction to life.