Age Cannot Wither

Jawaharlal Nehru was throughout his life, a teacher and an educator to others as well as to himself. From jail he wrote the letters to his daughter giving to Indira and the younger generation in India glimpses of world history. In the Indian National Congress he was the preacher of new
of socialism, secularism and internationalism. In Parliament he often functioned as a school master to the nation. Even on world platforms, while pursuing the foreign policy of India, he was also preaching the gospel of peaceful co¬existence and international co-operation.


The two books under review discuss, albeit differently, the age-old issues relating to equality and inequality. While the first discusses the problem in a general vein, the second deals specifically with the pro¬blems of Scheduled Castes in India.
The volume edited by Andre Beteille contains six articles by contributors belonging to different disciplines: econo¬mics, law, political science and sociology. Notwithstand¬ing this difference in orienta¬tion there is substantial over¬lapping in their arguments for and against equality.


The book under consideration is the outcome of a panel dis¬cussion on urbanization orga¬nized in Delhi by the editor in December 1978. The first sec¬tion of the book focusses on one of the elements of the process of urbanization, viz., labour migration. The remain¬ing three sections deal with the various consequences of urbanization i.e., family and kinship in an urban setting, small scale entrepreneurs and the informal sector, and collec¬tive action and protest in the city. All these papers are con¬cerned with ex-colonial coun¬tries that presently fall within the capitalist or semi-capitalist world system.


Indian nationalism, as a modern political phenomenon, is probably the single most comprehensive example of the unfolding of development encompassing the entire gamut of the social and economic life of an immensely complex nation. Throughout the colo¬nial era and since indepen¬dence, different aspects of nationalism have been high¬lighted in the actual working out of its concrete manifesta¬tion: the relationship between the ‘latent’ and the ‘manifest’ features of Indian nationalism at any given point, always being characterized by a dyna¬mic which constitutes a single thread running throughout recent history.


This book constitutes the first part of a two-volume study. Banerji is one of the few scholars who have tried to see health-related behavior and health services in the wider framework of the economic, political, demographic and social characteristics of rural populations. Having rejected the socio-philosophical approach of those termed the first generation social anthropologists and sociologists, and the dependence of the second generation on ‘Western reference frames’ Banerji attempts to develop ‘concepts and methods that are in tune with the social and cultural conditions prevailing in India’. Accordingly, his concept of health culture and a methodological approach related to it are set out to counter such ‘rapidly emerging exotic cults as Ethnomedicine, Folk Medicine and Traditional Asian Medicine’.


‘Social Anthropology is concerned not with stones and bones but rather Marx and Spencer’—Isaac Schapera’s comment comes to one’s mind when reading Arjun Appadorai’s book since he is also an anthropologist with a differ¬ence. In his introduction, the author calls himself an ethno-historian and clarifies his fundamental differences with the functionalist school of Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown who regard social struc¬ture as a mere mirror-image of culture which is defined as a set of established customs and usages. Appadorai adopts the far more sophisticated stand of Levi-Strauss, Clifford Geertz, Victor Turner and others and calls the processual analysis of cultural values and norms being constantly dis¬turbed as modified by the reality which creates ‘conflict situations’ as ‘social drama’ after Turner.


The initial attraction of a reader to this book is its cover. The symbol of the undying Pax Britannica—the arro¬gant image of the lion trium¬phantly astride the globe, an unfurled Union Jack, backed by the imperial crown domi¬nates the front flap, announc¬ing the Spectacle of the Empire. And rarely has a title so suited the contents of a book. The varied collection of paintings and photographs, many of which have not been published before, bring alive a variety of imperial themes virtually transporting the reader back to the turn of the century when the empire was a vibrant I reality.


Art has historical roots that lie outside it, and it has his¬torical consequences that again lie outside it the work of art closest to perfection is both most profoundly determined by its time and goes furthest be¬yond it into timelessness, while the imperfect work of art re¬mains caught in the spatial and temporal conditions precisely because it has been touched by them most superficially.
(Max Raphael, Notes on the nature of Art, 1945)


In the long tussle for supre¬macy among the main gods of the Hindu pantheon (certain¬ly not instigated by the divine personages but by their followers and worshippers), Vishnu and Siva have finally emerged as the two top con¬tenders to assume the role of the Refuge. Vishnu comes to us either as Himself with his conch and discus or in the form of Krishna and Rama. Siva remains aloof, keeping his distance as a destroyer but assuring us of a renewal of life through decay and death.