In 1984 the Indian National Trust (INTACH) was set up with a munificent donation from an Englishman, Wallace. In 1784 the Asiatic Society of Bengal had been instituted, to which the Indian rulers of Awadh and Tanjore and others made generous grants. Both are examples of the continuous Indo-British collaboration in the great task of discovery and cata¬loguing the wonder that is India.
The movement toward regional cooperation in South Asia can take credit not only for the hundreds of annual official and unofficial meetings, seminars and workshops, but also for modest achievements in terms of evolving various activities and institutional mechanisms which can help ensure more concrete forms of cooperation for the benefit of the common South Asian citizen in the future.
John Lall has written two books and had them bound together in one volume. Of the six long chapters the last one of about sixty pages stands by itself. It is a clear account of relations between free India and People’s China from the start till the large-scale aggression of China in 1962, written by one who, first as dewan of Sikkim and then as a senior official in the defence ministry, had an insider’s view.
It is really heartening to see this study in print, meant for wider circulation. The study was completed nearly a year ago and it immediately made an impact both on planners and critics. A serious short¬coming at that time was the limited num¬ber of copies available.
The Simon Commission was a premature baby and still born. Even so, its potential for disruption of the unity and integrity of India was enormous. Eventually, it was another significant contribution to the ultimate partition of India. It is that which makes the Commission’s Report of abiding interest to students of Indian constitutional history.
‘I’m craze for foreign. Just craze for foreign’, said a character (Mrs Mahindra) to V.S. Naipaul, which he recorded in 1964 in An Area of Darkness. This irra¬tional admi-ration for anything from the West in post-colonial India is only the crudest manifest-tation of one side of a behaviour pattern that had started in different parts of this sub-continent with the onset of the British rule, and the emergence of an English educated elite.
Once, not so very long ago, a land not so far away gained freedom. Its people were righteous, and so its rulers, harking back to legends of forest dwelling sages and their paths of peace, laid claim to the spiritual leadership of the world. Being peaceful, they had no armies and fought no wars.
To the generation that was born around the time of India’s independence, Jawaharlal Nehru was an enchanted figure, an embodiment of the idealism that had gone into the struggle for free¬dom. Clearly etched on childhood’s memory is the unstinting affection and trust that India’s masses gave to their leader. So is the intense sense of urgency Panditji radiated to pull India out of the mire of poverty, ignorance and backward¬ness and launch her as a shining new star into the world firmament.
The Peace Trap is ‘dedicated to the memory of all Indians and Sri Lankans—both Tamils and Sinhalese—who lost their lives in the tragic sequence of events that have taken place in Sri Lanka since 1983’. This brings out the author’s deep sensitivity to the tragedy that has over¬taken both Sri Lanka and India in the wake of the Sinhala-Tamil ethnic strife in our neighbouring southern state and more particularly after the Indo-Sri Lanka accord of July 29, 1987 (which saw a larger number of persons being killed on both sides since the outbreak of the ethnic conflict).
The Gorbachev phenomenon has ceased to be news; it is now a part of the inter-national scene, as much a part as lame duck presidents blooming late into glori¬ous swans or aged leaders from another generation running a revolution in a counter-revolutionary environment.
‘Today’s children want everything about everything—and right away too. Keeping this in mind, Pustak Mahal of Delhi has brought out the Children’s Knowledge Bank in six volumes…. The question and answer format with an illustration is one of the best ways, to give young children basic information on various subjects and thus develop a healthy interest in books and reading’—Pioneer, Lucknow.