THE POOL OF COMMON WISDOM

Literary critics, especially the American ‘lemon squee¬zers’, have made nimbu pani out of everything from Beowulf to Virginia Woolf. Much of the terrain between Virginia Woolf and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf has similarly been squeezed—often so hard that dribbles of lemon rind have made the result pretty un-swallowable. Fortunately the best Indian critics—most notably A.N. Kaul in The American Vision and Sukanta Chaudhuri in Infirm Glory have been more interested in discovering and demonstrating the links between text and context, between experience and ideas on the page and ex¬perience and ideas in real life. Noorul Hasan’s interests, to his credit, lie in the direction of what might be said to con¬stitute the ‘Great Tradition of Indian Criticism’.

INFORMATION SCIENCE

With the contemporary infor¬mation explosion, and in view of the growth of literacy rates around the world, the organization and dissemination of knowledge are going to be the basic functions of information scientists and librarians in the years to come. These person¬nel, otherwise generally well trained in the organi-zation of knowledge, have yet to bridge the gap between the inform¬ation in store and its ideal use by the users.

ANCESTRAL DISPUTE

Economics thrives on con¬troversies. The most impor¬tant of them all are related to the process of capital accu¬mulation. Inevitably the questions boil down to the theoretical framework of ana¬lysis but not without some confusion and bloodshed. With the increasing diversity of views it becomes difficult to take stock of the contribu¬tions to theories of growth and accumulation. In this book the author tries to see some unity in this diversity, his central theme being that David Ricardo started the game and all follow his rules in spite of their different styles.

YAWNING GAP

In 1979, when the world ex¬perienced the second oil shock, the World Energy Conference set up an Oil Substitution Task Force (OSTF) with the following objectives: (i) to identify and assess the techno¬logical, economic and other factors affecting the substitu¬tion of oil by other energy sources; (ii) to quantify the most likely amount of substi¬tution by making specific as-sumptions of price and avail¬ability of crude oil; and (iii) to study the sensitivity of oil sub¬stitution to changes in prices and availability of crude oil.

TILTS AND SWINGS

The ‘publish or perish’ syn¬drome which is increasingly becoming the most vexed question in the academic life of the United States seems to have invaded India also. Although it is still not very clear in this country whether the number of publications of an individual scholar necess¬arily promotes his professional prospects (the growth of ‘trade unionism’ among teachers in the university system running rather counter to this develop¬ment), the fact that he appears to believe so gives credence to this formulation.

NEW HISTORIO¬GRAPHY

Literature on peasantry and peasant revolts in India has grown steadily over the past fifteen years or so. Although quantitatively this development has been impres¬sive, this body of literature has only a few works which could be pointed out as noteworthy contributions in terms of quality as well as originality of new analytical insights. Since 1981 Guha has started editing a series of Subaltern Studies, of which two volumes are already out.

STONE AGE ART

Prehistoric rock painting is one of the more recent arrivals on the Indian archaeo¬logical scene. The present work attempts to synthesize the available information and present a composite picture. The author has visited most of the sites and also had the advantage, as he mentions, of intensive discussions with scholars like Mathapal, Misra and Wakankar who have been active in this particular field for quite some time now.

ON A PLATTER

We love the city of our birth for the same reason for which we hate it. And we hate it precisely because it is the city of our birth. I was born in Delhi and I hope I never grow so indifferent towards it as to come to love it.

There are Delhis and Delhis. The Delhi that Khushwant Singh and Raghu Rai depict in this book is the Delhi that our Tourism Development Cor¬poration would like to present on a platter to the tourist when, made of flesh, blood and foreign exchange, he lands at Palam to the traditional Indian welcome of garlands, tilak, and embraces.