‘SEN’SATIONAL!

The standard economic text¬book is based on the concept that every man is a ‘rational economic being’. The ‘rational economic being’ is defined as one who assiduously pursues his self-interest. These atoms (individuals) constituting society, together influence the economic variables at the macro level. Based on this assumption, the free market mechanism leads to a socially desirable situation (including the corresponding price struc-ture). But the standard econo¬mic text-book’s definition of social desirability does not take into account the ethical aspects arising out of inter¬personal comparisons of satis-faction. It also ignores the alternative socio-economic mechanisms other than the market e.g., cultural developments of individuals towards alternative social states— voting procedures, caste codes being some of the other aggre¬gation procedures.

TROUBLED WATERS

The Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea which concluded its eleventh and final session in April last year, ranks in the history of the United Nations as the longest and most widely represented conference. The ‘III UNCLOS’ adopted the new convention on the Law of the Sea, which was formally opened for signature at Montego Bay, Jamaica in December 1982.

TERRITORY AND IDENTITY

This collection of papers re¬presents an attempt by Marxist groups to understand the signi¬ficance of the nationalist up¬surges which are taking place in different parts of the coun¬try, as well as to evolve a strategy towards them. The seminar at which they were presented in Madras in 1981 was attended by a large number of political activists and radical youth groups from different states, and their ex¬perience and concern is reflect¬ed in the articles. This adds considerably to the interest of the book and also accounts for a degree of oversimplification which is present in some of the papers.

Curry & Rice

Most historians are agreed that the British Raj in India terminated in 1947. However, many publishers in England as well as in India are aware that an Indian Raj rules in Britain these days. It began in the early 1970s, probably with the BBC Radio 4 series entitled Plain Tales from the Raj, and the published evi¬dence of this post-occupation shows no sign of abating. At either end of the old P & O voyage route, publishers are busy making hay while the Raj is replayed. While in England publishers are putting out original works, in India reprints, authorized and other¬wise, seem to be the order of the day (or of the decade).

THE LORD’S OWN SPEAKING

From what I am able to gather, American scholarship on India, which blossomed in a big way in the enthusias¬tic 1950s, has gone through an interesting change during the 1970s. The earlier concern with the sociology and politics of contemporary India has declined somewhat, and more and more scholars are turning to religion, literature, folklore, the performing arts, tradi¬tional cognitive systems, etc.

IMAGES AND REFLECTIONS

An English MP of the last century is once supposed to have sneered at ‘the noble Lord opposite, who has spent his life in writing books about books’, while he himself, hav¬ing been a district officer in India, had ‘played upon that harp whose strings are the hearts of men’. What would our MP have said about those of us who have added one more link to the chain, and are occupied in writing articles about books about books.

IDEOLOGY AND BEHAVIOUR

Ideas have a role in ordering cognition of our experiences. While studying a literate soci-ety as opposed to a primitive one (where one does not expect to encounter a great deal of reflective tradition and the superimposition of ideas of further reflection over the tradition), it is a challenging task to sort out a coherent and at the same time accept¬able grammar of both persis¬tent and syntagmatic struc¬tures. In the sphere of religion there is often a gap between the ideas of higher philo¬sophies and the religious prin¬ciples which guide the laity.

CONFLICTING LOYALTIES

Industrialization is be¬lieved to be an agent of econo¬mic development and modern¬ization and to bring in pat¬terns of universalistic values. Sociologists like Kerr and his associates who believe in this thesis consider industrial¬ism as ‘a leveller of cultural and ideological differences bet¬ween societies’. Some other sociologists like Moore, Bendix, Feldman and Hoselitz are also somewhat in agreement with this logic, although they have ‘disagreements over the con¬vergence of societies towards a common structural form’ at the final stage.

WHITED SEPULCHRE

Mamkoottam’s study (1982) of the Tata Workers Union (TWU) in Jamshedpur is a work of considerable value. It should be made widely-known both within the country and internationally. The TWU, based on the giant Tata Iron and Steel Company (TISCO) works, presents the image of a model trade union within a model company in a model city. Mamkoottam is concerned to explore this myth. He does so in a form and manner likely to maxi¬mize the political and edu¬cational impact of the work, even if one might wish that he had gone further in a number of respects.

SPADES AND SHOVELS

From July 8, 1979, the day when Raj Narain initiated defections from the Janata Party, till August 22, 1979, when President Neelam Sanjiva Reddy dissolved the Lok Sabha by Presidential order, the Indian constitu¬tional democracy was continu¬ally betrayed in a variety of ways by tae very persons who had desecrated Rajghat with the promise of bringing the people of India a new constitutional dawn. Some of these people, now refurnished by the very democratic processes which they wantonly debased, are again preparing to lead the nation.