The Two Lalls

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.

Cultural Confrontations

‘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.

A New Biography

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.

A Political Quagmire

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).

——-

‘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.