At the close of this study of the Afghan crisis, the reader may be forgiven if in the pro¬cess of unscrambling images of elite perceptions, he is con¬fused about Sen Gupta’s own perspective. The author com¬pounds the confusion by adopting such non-neutral, American conceptualizations as the ‘arc of crisis’ or esp¬ousing the argument of the Soviet Union’s strategic parity with—indeed, edge over the US and its overwhelming military advantage in South Western Asia, sliding over the vested US interests in push¬ing this thesis. Moreover, the burden of proof is borne largely by US sources, especi¬ally the New York Times. Let alone Soviet sources (beyond the impressionistic statements of some Soviet officials), even the Swedish publication SIPR1 is ignored.
This volume is the outcome of a seminar held in 1976 at the Institute of Social and Eco¬nomic Change in Bangalore on the ‘Data Base of the Indian Economy’, and is fourth in the series under the joint auspices of the Indian Association for the Study of Population and the Indian Economic Society. The major themes of tie series seem to be examination of the available statistic-relating to some important of the Indian economy, the deficiencies therein and suggestions for improvement of data. One purpose of the series is that such an exercise will promote ‘more effective planning and policy making’. The present volume addresses it¬self to two important sectors, I health and education.
The contributors of the thirteen articles, contained in this book explore the pro¬blems associated with reaching the benefits of develop¬mental programmes to the poorer sections of societies in Asia, Latin America and Africa. The changes necessary in structure and process of, government are identified, and the implications of such changes in the concepts and practices of planning are analysed. The corresponding need for reorienting research and training at the manage¬ment institutions operating in these regions is indicated.
V.K. Madhavankutty’s expertise in the art of remembering is well-known. His new work in Malayalam, Asreekaram (Accursed) which is under translation into English, is no different, what with a bouquet of reminiscences and recollections of life in a village in Kerala unfolding into a poignant story:
Tibet geographically is to the South-West of mainland China. The Tibetan nomads settled in this region several centuries ago. Because of its geographical location the Tibetans were largely insulated from the changes taking place in the outside world. Administratively, the region was divided into small territories, which were ruled by chieftains – who were the heads of the strongest and the richest families in the territory.
Academic dissent often pushes the dissenter into ex¬treme positions. Critiques are presented as new paradigms, and the neo-converts tend to adopt the new concepts with uncritical faith as staunchly as the die-hards refuse to accept that there is anything wrong with the existing theories. When the Gross National Pro¬duct fortress crumbled, the world was presented with the Physical Quality of Life Indi¬cator. Conventional views on technology were sought to be replaced by Intermediate/ Alternate/and Appropriate Technology. Dissatisfaction with existing political and organizational forums such as political parties, trade unions and kisan sabhas gave rise to People’s Organizations and People’s Power. The list can be expanded to include many other ideas and concepts, such as Participatory Research which has been hailed as the new ‘ideology’ for academia.
In 1921, the 10th Congress of the Bolshevik Party succeeded in choking a young voice—the voice of the Workers’ Opposition, a small group inside the party which called for direct control of workers over industries, introduction of a more egalitarian policy in wages, freedom of criticism for the workers, fight against bureaucratic party administra¬tors and recognition of the creative initiative of the pro¬letariat.
Vikram Seth has emerged as one of the most significant authors of Indian fiction in English. He is also the most versatile – he is a poet, travel writer, playwright and novelist – and has won major awards in each category. He has a cosmopolitan identity having lived in England, California and China as a student.
Two phenomena have char¬acterized the Indian rural scene since the ’70s—peasant militancy and violence against Harijans. The Delhi University Political Science Association felt the urgency of the need to evolve a new Political Economy to meet the challenge posed by the failure of existing social science theory, both Marxist as well as non-Marxist, to satisfactorily explain the twin phenomena.
Another reviewer, Profes¬sor A.H. Wilson, has predicted that this work ‘of seasoned scholarship’ by K.M. de Silva, whom he has dubbed ‘the wizard of Peradeniya’, ‘will for many years to come be the last word on the subject’, and hoped that ‘there will be more detailed interpretation of men and affairs from so magisterial a pen’. The term has doubtless not been used in a pejorative sense, but wizardry has no place in a work of seasoned scholarship or in the repertoire of a serious historian. Sancti¬fying myth is another matter.