SCHOLARLY BOUQUET

Professor Aziz Ahmad (1913-1978) wrote extensively on Indian Islam in the nine¬teenth and twentieth centuries. His two major works—Islamic Culture in the Indian Environ¬ment and Islamic Modernism in India and Pakistan—are excellent examples of his scholarship and depth of understanding. While the for¬mer surveyed various trends in Indian Islam from around the ninth century onwards, the latter closely identified the landmarks of religious and political thought from 1857 to the mid-1970s.

LAYMAN’S CRUSADE

It is a pleasure to review this book, for several reasons. In the first place, it is precise and well-written and shows a can¬dour of purpose not often met with in present days. Secondly, it deals with a subject of considerable theoretical and practical importance. There is one more reason which intro¬duces an element of novelty into this particular work. It has been written on a legal subject by a scholar whose forte is agricultural economics (especially land reforms), and not the law. Although the author claims no legal qualifi¬cations or background, this book offers all the wealth of scholarship and all the sharp¬ness of argument that one would expect from a legal academic or a professional lawyer.

LOYAL OPPOSITION

Parliamentary social¬ism, as a form of politics seeking to achieve a restruc¬turing of society and a partial transfer of power from the ruling classes to the working classes by peaceful means, has its intellectual roots in the works of Marx and Engels. In advanced capitalist countries, social democracy emerged as a variant of the nineteenth century political alternatives of conservatism and liberalism, its energies fuelled by the ris¬ing class consciousness of the Working class and its trade union organizations.

THE ROBE AND THE GUN

Pakistan shares with Israel the dubious distinction of be¬ing one of the two confessional states in the world today, states whose survival was^ re¬garded as unlikely even before their birth. Both Pakistan and Israel were built on the viola¬tion of every principle of nationhood, both were erected on the basis of the displace¬ment of large bodies of people in their fount-head territories, both derived sustenance from the imperatives of an imperial¬ism that had ruled through fostering division rather than as the result of a popular demo¬cratic movement conferring them with legitimacy. Given this unnatural genesis, the ruling classes of Pakistan soon found few of the implements necessary to build a nation within its truncated territories.

Shame

If, as Salman Rushdie once said, to conquer English is to make ourselves free, then in Shame he has certainly shed all awkwardness, archaism and colonial constraint, and deser¬ves to inhabit the airy realm of freedom. Though it is witty, satirical, innovative, eminently readable, the novel is shackled by an inadequate political vision and brittle, insufficient fabulation that scarcely lives up to his own aspirations. For it would not be fair to ask it of Rushdie (how could we, in this age of dreary Indo-Anglian fiction) unless he seemed to be asking it of himself.

NEW DIRECTIONS

George Steiner’s des¬cription of Granta as ‘a maga¬zine absolutely charged with life and risk’ —quoted on the inside cover—certainly fits this special issue. Devoted to recent fiction, this volume brings together twenty young British writers (all below forty), some of whom are already quite well known (Martin Amis, Shiva Naipaul, Salman Rushdie), and quite a few others who ought to be. Six of these twenty writers are women, five are born outside Britain (Ghana, Nigeria, Japan, India, Trinidad), and almost all are products of British universities.

THE BREAD OF FREEDOM

The very title of Coetzee’s new book establishes it as an allegory within a certain tra¬dition and therefore raises certain expectations which are, however, quickly belied: Life and Times of Michael K has the strength of its own moral convictions and does not need to rely on Kafka for autho¬rity. The reference to K is therefore entirely gratuitous and one that Coetzee could have done without.

MAN OF PARTS

If for the moment we eschew the larger questions, Jonathan Culler’s critical biography of Barthes ought to be exemplary. Culler moves through the awk¬ward restrictions on style and length imposed by the Modern Masters Series with an ease all the more remarkable given a subject as mobile, contempo¬raneous, still warm as it were, from the fires of several con-troversies as Roland Barthes. Piquant summaries of the major projects provide a clearly signposted route for a quick journey through Barthesian country.

TEST OF TIME

Authors are usually care¬fully revived from collective forgetfulness for ritual anniver¬saries. In that sense it is ironi¬cal to commemorate Marx, for he has never been forgotten in the first place. It is exactly a hundred years since Marx died—as good a time as any to see how his doctrine has done in the face of history. The exercise is all the more interesting because of a contradiction in the his¬tory of ideas. Successful ideas very soon become common¬ place, and some of the most widely accepted ideas are those that come to be forgotten. Besides, when men are brought to take some suggestion about their historical condition seri¬ously enough, it comes to affect and alter that condition.

VICTIMS AND LOSERS

The book under review is an extremely important one, cap¬able of being read and res¬ponded to at many levels. It can be seen as a professional psychological/ psychoanalytical treatise on how two civiliza¬tions reacted and responded to modern colonialism and im¬perialism. It is simultaneously a major attack on the dichoto¬mizing nature of the current forms of analysis. To put it simply, Ashis Nandy challenges the naive notion of colonialism as an unmitigated victory for the West and by the same token a defeat of the East.

PLANNERS’ MANUAL

The study by Professor Kade¬kodi fills an important gap in the existing literature on Indian planning. While there are a large number of studies on the industrial and agricul-tural sectors, extractive indus¬tries like iron ore, coal, man¬ganese, bauxite, etc have receiv-ed but scant attention from economists. Given the import¬ance of these industries as primary resources for the domestic industry and as ex¬port-earners in their own right, rigorous quantitative studies of the type undertaken here are essential inputs for plan¬ning and policy making. The use of different quantitative methods, the compact argu¬ment and the relatively narrow focus of the book does not, however, make it the easiest work to review for a varied readership. As the work is intended almost exclusively for either iron ore specialists or students of quantitative methods in economics, I shall not even attempt to relate the review to any broader issues of political economy in India.