Himanshu Prabha Ray’s The Archaeology of Seafaring in Ancient South Asia makes a convincing case for the need to abandon an insular view of ancient India. Viewing the subcontinent within the larger world of the Indian Ocean, it replaces the usual episodic view of trade by a nuanced long-term narrative that stretches from the third millennium BC to the fifth century AD.
Thank God for Michael Gottlob, who has put together a book we have felt the lack of for many years, and done nothing about. Here is two hundred years (1786-1993) of ‘the development of historical consciousness in South Asia’—from William Jones to Ramachandra Guha. This is the translation of what was part of an 8-volume series, in German, on “historical thinking in intercultural comparison”.
For the best part of the decades after World War II, the social sciences and the humanities have been marked by debates that can be best described as mediations on the ‘encounter’ between the West and the non-West, the First and Third Worlds, of which Franz Fanon’s 1960’s writings were but the beginning. Since then the writings of Edward Said, and the refractions through poststructuralism and postcolonialism have produced a large body of writing in the academia. There are scholars from the West who have complicated this discourse.
As the fifth generation of the Nehru-Gandhis prepares to test his (and the family’s) popularity in the marketplace of the great Indian elections, attention will turn, once again, to the legacy of the dynasty and, more specifically, its most famous representative, Jawaharlal Nehru.
Sayeed and Janet seem to be an unlikely couple to write a cook book. Sayeed is a thinking administrator and Janet is a genuine intellectual who has written seminal books on Ladakh. At the same time Sayeed is a gourmet and Janet is the type of cook whom gourmets dream of and the lucky ones marry. On second thought, therefore, this book is no surprise.
Old soldiers like Monty Palit do not fade away. They become prolific writers and lead active lives, both physically and mentally, after retirement. Several of Palit’s books like Essentials of Military Knowledge have sold well, and I believe that his War in High Himalaya: The Indian Army in Crisis, 1962 is probably the best book written about the Sino-Indian border conflict.
Autobiography and memoir—are they the same? In the subtitle the book is an autobiography, in the author’s preface it is “a memoir”. If you go by the COD, an autobiography is the story writing of one’s own life. But a memoir is just a record of events or history written from personal knowledge or special sources of information. It is only memoirs that become synonymous with (auto) biography.
Goa is a seductive place—it offers each what they are looking for. The young come for sun, fun and the sea while others enjoy the idle amongst the lush green and magnificent buildings. This little conclave was ruled by the Portuguese from the 16th century until it was occupied by Indian forces in 1961.
This set of three volumes aims to cover the salient features of God and God-alike appearing in different religions, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh. The contributors have given a comprehensive bird’s eyeview of their origins along with anecdotes that manifest their awesome personality. The cultural settings of the three religious heads vary considerably.
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.