A timely book. Timely, since it synchro¬nized with a vigorous debate in the national press on the justification for present outlays on the armed forces and the limits of defence expenditure. This debate was engendered by the rapid escala¬tion in defence outlays for 1987-88 by as much as 43 per cent over the last financial year to over Rs. 12,000 crores.
As though to make up for the past neglect of Sri Lanka, there has been lately a spate of writing on the island and the complexities of its politics, particularly in relation to the Sinhalese-Tamil ethnic conflict. As is only to be expected in a highly sensitized situation, much of this writing specially in newspapers, tends to be either consciously or unconsciously tendentious or simplistic in its perception, whether it be of the Sinhalese-Tamil conflict or its implications for India’s Sri Lankan policy.
History hangs heavy on Kashmir. The state’s complex and contested past resurfaces repeatedly in its present-day dilemmas, and today’s headlines are often coloured by references to disputes of the past. To understand what is going on right now draws one into what is a never-ending debate about events that took place half-a-century ago or more.
Taslima Nasreen’s Nirbachito Column first came out in Bengali in 1991and soon thereafter it swept the Kolkata market, creating waves in the psyche of the Bengali bhadralog class; most women were elated, while conventional men and women did not conceal their scepticism and even launched sharp criticism of her contentions.
The two books, Paola Bacheta’s Gender in the Hindu Nation and Shahnaz Rouse’s Shifting Body Politics under review are similar in that they both approach the formation of state and nation through the discursive strategies adopted by civil society. Predicated upon a largely unstated Gramscian understanding of the state and civil society the books remark upon how civil society organizations and formations negotiate with and complement the state.
La Martiniere has been a distinguished name in Indian education for more than a century; and yet few know what lies behind that name. Chandan Mitra attempts to chronicle the history of La Martiniere in a book that began as a souvenir of its Sesquicentennial and evolved into a full-fledged history.
Pupul Jaykar’s Jiddu Krishnamoorthy is a book of great warmth and perception about a man of penetrating insight into the nature of life and the reality that subsumes it. It is a book that requires reading several times over for it contains not only the broad events in this curious man’s life but also the resonance of his life in the spiritual life of those who, as Pupul Jayakar did, knew him personally and at close quarters.
At last it is possible to read Bernard Cohn without having to hunt for his articles in obscure journals scattered in various libraries. Here are twenty-three of his essays, written over the period from 1955 to 1983, thus including all but his most recent writings. What a boon for Indian students, who do not have access to the sophisticated biblio¬graphical aids to be found in American libraries and in the British Library System.
A.K. Coomaraswamy’s writings are some thing of a challenge to any reader and more so to a reviewer, who does not combine in himself/herself, the abilities of an art historian with those of a metaphysician and philosopher. This is specially so in the case of the present volume edited by Roger Lipsey, bringing together essays, which do not deal with specific works of art, but with the philo¬sophy of traditional art and symbolism.
The use of child labour has been one of the more unpalatable features in the history of the currently developed coun¬tries. In periods of capital scarcity, children were used to provide unskilled labour. It is only towards the end of the nineteenth century that, the liberal con¬sciousness realized the social and econo¬mic consequences of child labour. The use of child labour, while profitable for the individual firm, does represent serious economic costs to society as a whole.
Is Nepal about to become South Asia’s first failed state? Many recent visitors to Nepal from the West, including senior World Bank officials, seem to think so. India, too is concerned; if its publicly articulated assessments are less categorically pessimistic, it is for reasons not too difficult to understand.