THEMES IN MORALITY

Culture and Morality is a collection of essays written in honour of Christoph von Furer Haimendorf. Its arrival into the world of books should be sincerely welcomed by stu¬dents and scholars of anthro¬pology. The introduction gives us a detailed account of Haimendorf’s career and it includes references to his pub¬lished works. Contributors to this book have focussed on the theme of morality dealt with by Haimendorf in Morals and Merit (1967).

A BLEND OF CULTURES

This study of religion and society in Thailand focusses on the Hindu cultural in-fluences that exist in Thailand. It is always interesting to see how the values, ideas and spirit of Indian society work after coming into contact with other cultures. Santosh Desai identifies and studies how the Indian values and customs have been transformed in their passage from one cultural region to another and how they have been assimilated into a different society.

THE SPIRIT OF AN AGE

The late Professor Moham¬mad Habib’s writings com¬prise all that was best in the work of a whole brilliant generation of Indian his¬torians. The thinking of this generation had been moulded by the concluding phase of India’s struggle for indepen¬dence—a phase that inspired a great deal of idealism, raised the moral stature of men and created fellow-feeling even in the midst of tensions and con¬flicts of truly continental dimensions. It is this essential humanism that makes many of the historical works of the late 1920’s down to the first decade of India’s independence valuable.

IN THE SHADOW OF NICARAGUA

Except for some well-known concepts such as Gundar Frank’s development of under¬development the actual prob¬lems of development and poli¬tical change in Latin America are still relatively unfamiliar on this side of the world. For this reason the author’s stated aim of encouraging ‘scholarly South-South exchange’ is to be applauded as well as an Indian publisher’s willingness to assist.

A SUCCESS STORY

W.W. Rostow identified the central fact about the eco¬nomy of a traditional society to be—
… that a ceiling existed on the level of attainable out¬put per head. This ceiling resulted from the fact that the potentialities which flow from modern science and technology were either not available or not regularly and systematically applied … But in agriculture, the level of productivity was limited by the inaccessibility of modern science, its appli¬cation, and its frame of mind.

A MULTI-DIMENSIONAL APPROACH

During the past one decade or so there has been a drama¬tic shift in perceptions of deve¬lopment possibilities in nation¬al economies. Moved by the substantial deterioration in the living standards of the majo¬rity of the population despite improvements at a purely aggregate level, decision¬-makers, both at international and national forums, have started concentrating on change in the structure of the economy with a view to identi¬fying the potential beneficiar¬ies of alternative development scenarios. Income distribution, employment generation, pover¬ty levels and the like have come to stay with the resear¬chers and policy-makers as major preoccupations.

Unanswered Questions

The ancient Sanskrit texts have many references to the practice of fine arts in India. But not many of the fine arts have survived through the ages. How¬ever, what was regarded as fine arts in ancient India cannot be included in the present day meaning of the term. There were sixty-four fine arts that in¬cluded physical culture, use of weapons, elephant riding, instrumental music, dancing, painting, body decoration, astronomy, magic, wood-craft etc.

An Obsession with Roots

R. Parthasarathy, returning from ‘exile’, wrote ‘My tongue in English chains/I return, after a generation, to you.’ Taking this poem as a paradigm of Indo-English poetry, M. Sivaram¬krishna says in his introduction to this collection of critical essays on the work of eleven poets, ‘It is in terms of this triadic frame of reference…the transcen¬dence of Anglo-mania through an assertion of the Indian identity, the discovery of a ‘viable’ past and the residue of linguistic significance—that the following pages try to map out the features of the unchained tongue, that is Indo-English poetry today.’

Politics of News

By training a political scientist, Dr Karkhanis has chosen a new field to work on. Here he explores the ‘significant relationship between the press and the Indian political institutions.’ His aim is to ‘analyse the role of the press in Indian politics’ and to assess its ‘impact on India’s governmental processes’, a chal¬lenging and a promising area of inquiry.