A Tangled Web

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.

State Formation Through Discursive Strategies of Civil Society

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.

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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.

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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 Rich Continuum

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.

Cruel Reality

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.