This scholarly and imaginative study of the Upanishads makes a significant point: It argues that the Upanishadic texts have been traditionally viewed as consisting of two distinct and separable parts—“metaphysics” and “story”. This has resulted in “abstraction” and over-valuation of the metaphysical message and, more importantly, neglect and consequent “under-reading” of the stories.
It’s one of those unsettling questions endlessly asked: what makes immigrants stay on in their land of adoption (generally western) if they end up unhappy, can’t strike roots, feel alien, homesick or abused; if the culture shock is hard, if memories of the motherland wring the soul, if the sunshine and yellow mustard fields of Punjab that put a song in your heart are so swiftly removed by England’s grey skies and fickle rain? If, as writer Gurnam Gill says in his short story ‘Trees in Kew Gardens’: “We are all trees of Kew Gardens.
Translating Caste is a significant addition to the literature of caste now available in English. The first English-language anthologies of dalit literature, such as Barbara Joshi’s Untouchable! Voices of dalit Literature (1986), Arjun Dangle’s Poisoned Bread (1992), and the Anthology of Dalit Literature by Mulk Raj Anand and Eleanor Zelliot (1992) have served very well as windows on Dalit writing, especially the radical literature of protest that appeared in Marathi and other languages from the 1960s.
Benjamin Disraeli could well have had Sir Richard Francis Burton in mind when he remarked in his novel Tancred that the East is a career. Following his expulsion from Oxford for unruly behaviour, the young Burton headed East under the auspices of the East India Company, to become at various points of time an explorer, diplomat, soldier, translator, poet, writer, linguist, Sufi mystic and a most remarkable Victorian.
Arundhati Roy has a long history of evoking extreme reactions from those who have read her, and even more extreme reactions from those who haven’t. People either hate Roy or love her. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing for a writer, it makes almost impossible any pretensions to objectivity on the part of the reviewer.
The Transplanted Man of the title is the Union Health Minister of India who has so many transplanted organs in his body he can proudly say he truly represents India. Once he was very corrupt but having often been close to death he has begun to actually feel the pain of the mother of a dying child and is determined to do some good for his country before he dies, except that he is not sure he will survive his latest illness.
Sir Olaf Caroe, the former British civil servant in India, was not much off-centre when (in the mid-1940s) he pro¬pounded the doctrine of ‘Wells of Power’. He emphasized West Asian oil which was absolutely essential for the Western powers and hence should be shielded from the Communist Bear, This, coupl¬ed with the fact that the Indian Ocean does not, like its bigger counterparts, the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans, extend northwards into the cold cli¬matic regions, saddles it with paramount strategic signi¬ficance.
When I was asked if I would review some Russian books on Psychology and Child Deve-lopment, I agreed immediately since I had not read much literature emanating from Eastern Europe in recent years. Familiarity with the English language predisposes one to keep largely to books coming out of the USA and England, and to translations of French and German writ¬ings.
Chaitanya’s new volume, edged in a glossy royal blue, is the fourth in a series of five which venture to span Indian painting—beginning from pre-historic rock paintings to the ‘modern temper’ of the Tagores, of Shergil and Jamini Roy. The author’s credentials need no elaboration and his erudition rides high despite the modesty of the blurb on the dust jacket—perhaps to popularize the sale of a scholar’s work:
The sociological study of contemporary Hindu society has suffered from many con¬straints, some of which—most notably, borrowed para¬digms of social order and social change—have been by now widely recognized; others have received less attention. Thus the implica¬tions of the fact that most sociologists and social anthro¬pologists of the last fifty years have been high caste Hindus of middle or upper-middle class urban background have not been examined. This is, of course, true of all social scientists including econo¬mists; but unlike in, say, eco-nomics, where progressive quantification of data and major advances in theory-building have to a large extent curbed subjective judgments, in sociology the narrative literary mode and theoretic uncertainty have remained pervasive.