THE GOLDEN WIND

Andrew Harvey’s book, an impossible one to classify, is a record of this experience of the stripping away of the dry foliage of the familiar—its universities and books and studies, its complex relationships and exacting demands—till those condi¬tions are created in which ‘the golden wind’ can be revealed. He had felt that these condi¬tions did not exist in the known and crowded landscape of his life—born in Coimbatore, India,

UPMARKET FARE

It is only very recently that the popular Hindi film has acquired academic respect¬ability as a subject for scholar¬ly attention. Today, one might call it an almost fashion¬able concern. But this mam¬moth effort mounted by Aruna Vasudev and Philippe Lenglet is to be commended as the first serious attempt, on this scale, to grapple with the phenomenon of the Hindi film —truly a supermarket, a some-thing-for-everybody one-stop-shop, that has given to the vocabulary of Indian English that new and evocative cultural adjective, ‘filmi’.

VOICE OF AN AGE

The decision by the Progress Publishing House to take up the translation of major Soviet literary critics is a very wel¬come one. Recently Viktor Shklovsky’s well-known book on L. Tolstoy appeared in the Indian market, and now we have a work by an eminent Pushkin scholar, Blagoy. This move is all the more welcome as interest in Russian and Soviet literature is on the increase.

ROOTED SENSIBILITY

Unlike the social sciences, the study of English Literature in India seems likely to dimi¬nish gradually into a waste¬land. While we produce an increasing number of eminent sociologists, historians and economists, our literary critics—with a few notable but little noticed exceptions—are mostly a demoralized or desic¬cated lot. One reason for the withering of our literary criti¬cal landscape is the difficulty of finding a use for literary studies in a predominantly utilitarian ethos which allows little room for something as ‘useless’ as literature; a second may be the Leavisite refusal to study literary texts as aspects of cultural history rather than as autonomous moral bodies and timeless verbal icons; a third is perhaps a growing recognition of the relative alienness of English literature; a fourth is undoubtedly the abysmal condition of our libraries which makes access to source materials, and in Eng. Lit.

POOR RELATIONS

I have come to the bitter con¬clusion that if Hindi writers are treated like poor relations of English ones, they have only themselves to blame. Why on earth do distinguished Hindi novelists allow their work to be hastily translated into clownish and farcical English? Is it impossible to wait till a reasonable translator comes along? A couple of years ago, Bhisham Sahni’s brilliant novel Tamas was, so to speak, done for in the translation. It is now the turn of Mannu Bhandari’s Aapka Bunty.

THE SELF-CONSUMING LAMP

Mahadevi Varma occu¬pies a unique position in the world of Hindi letters today. She is almost the solve sur¬vivor of the pre-Independence, the ‘heroic’ generation, a relic from a distant, simpler past—a past remembered with increasing nostalgia as we sink deeper into the mud of the present. The grotesque efflorescence of the national movement still lay in the womb of an ironic future; it was, it appeared to be, it appears to have been, a time of innocence and dreams of possibility.

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Professor Sar Desai’s Southeast Asia: Past and Present professes to be ‘a broad survey of trends and currents in the historical panorama of the region’. Southeast Asia, with its area spread over nine modern states, its diverse ethnicity as well as its several centuries’ old history, poses a formidable challenge for a historical study of this scope. The author can¬didly admits that ‘there are bound to be gaps in informa-tion’ in his writing of the indigenous history and interpretation of western influence on the region over the last two centuries.

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The booklet under review comprises the fifth R.C. Dutt Lectures delivered by Professor V.M. Dandekar in Calcutta at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences. Professor Dande¬kar is well known, among other things, for his study on poverty in India and can be said to be one of the foremost proponents of the ‘poverty’ approach to an understanding of Indian social reality, as against the class approach. The booklet seeks to provide a theoretical basis for this ap¬proach.

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Dr Sharma’s book holds as its major thesis that three ‘distinguished theorists and practitioners of the art of fic¬tion,’ E.M. Forster, Somerset Maugham and Joyce Cary, between the years 1927-1958, have given a direction to what he calls ‘the modern-novel theory.’ To put it in his own words, as these writers ‘are neither blindly traditional nor just too pro- or anti-modernity, they offer a rational, balanced poetics of the novel.’

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The exit of Indira Gandhi’s faction from the Indian National Congress in Novem¬ber 1969 was not a common split; according to the author of this book, it was perhaps the ‘most momentous upheaval in the organization’ since the split between the Moderates and Extremists at its Surat session in 1907. In fact it was a collapse of the umbrella party—the Indian National Congress. On both occasions the factions representing the younger and more ‘radical-upcoming’ generation of political elites challenged the Congress establishment. These factions initially seemed to suffer a setback, but even-tually emerged as the dominant group capturing the organi¬zational legacy.

Books in Brief

It is a sign of the maturity of the Indian people that in politics there is nothing sacred and public opinion is always willing and almost eager to take a second, third and any number of fresh looks at policies. It is also understand¬able to argue that the world situation has changed conside¬rably since 1962 and what happened then need not be taken as freezing relations between India and China.

MATERNAL LOVE: INSTINCT OR SOCIAL VALUE?

Elisabeth Bandinter’s book (loosely translated as ‘The Myth of Motherhood’) raised a stormy controversy in France, has been denounced by psychologists, educationists and the clergy, and clearly deserves to be read. Unfor¬tunately, at present the book is available to us in India only in French, and it is to be hoped that the English trans-lation comes to this country soon. Because it is inacces¬sible to the general Indian reader on this account, an attempt has been made here to sketch the main themes of the book fairly fully.