Shrilal Shukla’s novelette, Raag Viraag, on class/caste struggle, is fast and crisp with a dash of romance. However, the author seems to have a fascination for indulging his characters in self pity—right from his first novel Sooni Ghaati Kaa Sooraj.
Critics, like Benedeto Croe, have not taken very kindly to translation that has in fact helped bridge language gaps. During the Raj the vernacular text was translated by the colonizers to tighten the noose around the native psyche.
In an age of postmodernist utterances, the incessant babble of the hyper-real images on our T.V. screens, the cacophony of ‘discourses’, we are left injured and stupefied by the violence of words. Our word-weary souls seek respite. It is here that poetry comes to our rescue for we need the much deprived ‘quiet peace’ for reflection and introspection.
Eight fragile human figures, an equally fragile boat, the churning sea in the background – the stark matte black cover with a blue tinted black and white photograph of everyday beach life, fisherman hauling their catch – is a telling picture of this collection of Arun Prakash’s short stories.
In their final round of “head-and-tail”—very matter-of-factly—children sing a strange limerick— Shahron mein ik shahar mila Ik shahar mila Kulkutta Kulkutte mein mila aulia Khoob mila albatta
Girdhar Rathi is an important Hindi critic, editor, translator, poet and litterateur. He has been the editor of the Sahitya Akademi’s journal Samkaleen Bharatiya Sahitya since 1991, which he has edited with zest and flair.
Every successive gender-ratio study reveals the depressing fact that the Indian girl child is well on the way to becoming an extinct variant of the species. So it is heartening to hear her voice through this set of tales edited by Monica Das, who in her introduction sets out the chilling figures which form the painful backdrop to these stories:
Mrinal covered five states including West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan. And often we feel that we are walking alongside. Her introduction begins thus: “Imagine a spectrum, at one end of which is a mud and straw hut in Rajasthan, where an under-nourished, anaemic nineteen year old mother of three is expecting her fourth child.
These two books, both published by Penguin in 2003 talk of women in India; certainly not all women and everywhere. One can see some commonalities in the two books , but they are also different and they have to be dealt with separately.
Constitutionalism and gender justice in South Asia is underwritten by the colonial legacy of each of the countries in this region, that put in place plural legal systems ensuring the troubled coexistence of religious with secular/public laws, each with its own institutional apparatuses.
Published in 2005, the book under review is an eclectic collection of papers with contributions by prominent law teachers and sociologists covering broad areas including ‘Functioning of the Legal System’, ‘Legal Profession’, ‘Law and Religious Identity’, ‘Law and the Disadvantaged Groups’, ‘Societal Role of Judiciary’ and ‘Law and Social Change’.
The Kotas are a group of indigenous people who have shared their upper Nilgiri homeland in South India, with the Todas since ancient times. They occupy seven villages and number just over 1500 persons.
Spirituality, unlike religion with its collective proscriptions, connotes an essentially free, solitary state, immaculate in being beyond belief, expression and morality. Neither of the two books under review entirely avoid the trap of endorsing the popular belief that the Himalaya and Ganga are suitable symbols of the spiritual state because of their majestic and aloof grandeur.
If one did not read the preface quite carefully, one is not likely to realize that the volume under review contains articles published over a span of thirty years. (The essay on the ‘Sur tradition’ was first published in 1979).
Zindapir, so called because he was still alive when he was respected as a Sufi master, makes an unusual case study for anthropologist Pnina Werbner. Since so much is written about the Talibanization of the ranks of the Pakistan army, it should not be so surprising that other Islamic trends grew from there too.
The first impression of this book – the title, the cover, colored plates, diagrams and illustrations – is fascinating. It is a description of the private lives of the Mughal emperors but only of a few i.e. Akbar to Shahjahan, with a line or two on Aurangzeb. Although Nath promises to tell us a story for the period 1526-1803, there are rarely any references to the period subsequent to the reign of Shahjahan.
Sumati Ramaswamy has written a brilliant book. It has a breathtaking sweep and a pace that is most unusual for a scholarly work. The book is about Lemuria – a lost place from a lost time. Human preoccupations with lost continents look back as well as forward.
“But life itself is poetry; it is the most living poetry, and with us there are no clear limits between life and poetry.” So says To Huu, the poet of modern Vietnam, in one of the interviews with which this slender volume of selections from his poetry are interspersed—interviews in which he speaks about his life,
Written by Stuart Gillespie and Lawrence J. Haddad of the International Food Policy Research Institute and published in the year 2003, this book attempts to deal with a major problem of “the double burden of malnutrition in Asia’. The publishers have made a genuine attempt to make it accessibile by pricing it at Rs. 235.00, a level almost unknown for academic publications these days.
The universe in a basekt: that’s what one would love to call this beautifully done up anthology of interviews, snippets, snapshots, chit-chat, profiles, psychic flow charts of seven Indo-English writers of eminence: Shashi Deshpande, Shama Futehally, Gita Hariharan, Anuradha Marwah Roy, Mina Singh, Lakshmi Kannan and Anna Sujatha Mathai.