Against Leviathan

In recent years there has been a marked shift in the terrain of discourse on India’s industrial performance. Attention has shifted from structural constraints and the underlying micro-economic relation¬ships to questions of efficiency and gov¬ernment policy. The shift is not altogether, unwarranted, provided efficiency is inter¬preted dynamically in terms of growth, since government policy is often the decisive factor governing industrial performance under all modern economic systems.

Satyameva Jayate..

Shourie is the archetypal critic, cast in the mould of the 13th century Tamil savant, Seethalai Nayanar, literally “the pusshead saint”. This sobriquet he earn¬ed from his forehead being a permanently festering sore because of his habit of striking it with his stylo in exasperation over the illiterate idiocies of those around him. In his odd mixture of passion and reason, precision and prolixity, Shourie is in the robust tradition of polemicists of some centuries ago—Milton in his Latin tracts and the followers of Vedanta Desika and Appaiya Dikshitar in the South.

DIVYA CHARI

The Children’s Book Trust just having completed 25 years of publication has always been striving to bring out books which would appeal to children of different ages with varied interests and have succeeded to a large extent. The three books under review were Adventures on Golden Lake. Revenge and The Lure of a Zangrila. All three are fast-paced and exciting, gripping the reader’s attention and holding it. However, in assigning them to the 12+ category the publishers are a little off the mark, as by this time most children above twelve have graduat¬ed to more serious reading like Gerald Durrel or Herriot and few would be excited by a ‘mystery story’ of this1 level.

PRATIBHA NATH

Indira Priyadarshini, Alaka Shankar’s eminently readable book, rich in bio¬graphical and historical detail, laced with ancedotes, is essentially the story of a girl by that name and how she grew from child to woman.

There is happily, no list of contents, no tiresome preface. Instead, a letter from Mr. Rajiv Gandhi that succinctly sums up what is to follow. He says, T hope Smt Alaka Shankar’s book will enable children to know how a shy girl, through daring, doing and understanding, became a great figure of history.

Indira Gandhi : Two Portraits

Shy, gawky and afraid of the dark as a little girl. Self-righteous and confident during her ‘Vanar Sena’ days. Elegant and poised as a bride. A beautiful, caring mother, full of games, puzzles and stories. A shrewd, tough politician and a doting grandmother. That was Indira Gandhi declared in 1977 according to a special gallup poll in America, as ‘the most admired person in the world’.

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The Dragon Kingdom is basically a nar¬ration of the author’s impressions of Bhutan formed during his travels in 1961 as a part of the mission sent to explore the terrain and define the possible para¬meters of communications and Bhutan’s security coverage. The book briefly men¬tions the purpose of this visit. The author has refrained from narrating his mission’s assessment of the internal and external threat to Bhutan though he could have covered the broader aspects to leave a record of Indian perceptions of 1961. So much has changed since then. It would have been of considerable interest to scholars to make a comparative study of the subsequent developments in Bhutan.

A Votive Offering

Bharathi Shivaji’s book The Art of Mohiniyattam is a practitioner’s rich tribute to this art form. Contrary to Shanta Rao’s apprehension (as echoed in the preface) about the inadequacy of words vis-a-vis gestures and movements on stage, to delineate the technique of dance, this book represents a meeting-ground for literature and art, where articulation is wholesomely supplement¬ed by photographic and grahic illustra¬tions to enable even the lay reader apprehend the rich nuances of this dance form.