Adivasi Anomie

Rarely does one come across a work of serious social science dealing with the phenomenon of inequality which is not ‘overly theoretical’ (to use one scholar’s phrase), and yet accurately describes that elephant in the room. The authors and editor of First Citizens: Studies on Adivasis, Tribals, and Indigenous Peoples in India are none of them blind men or women as in the fable, but clear-eyed economists, historians, and sociologists.

Art Collections As Narrators Of History

National art’ elicits a very different response today than in the 1990s when two leading art historians, Partha Mitter and Tapati Guha Thakurta wrote about it. While both setup a wider frame with a focus on Bengal, Maholay-Jaradi narrows her interest on a specific royal art collection and art institutions associated with Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III of Baroda in Gujarat. As a result, she brings into view an under-studied and under-researched geography of art, making it an important site not only for the region but also of national and ‘global’ cultural politics at the height of the colonial era.

A Biography Of ‘Lok Mata’

Reba Som’s biography of Sister Nivedita comes with a glossy packaging, made more attractive by the ‘Advanced Praise’ by three eminent intellectuals that has been quite conspicuously inscribed at two prominent places in the book. Though never short of public attention in her own time, Nivedita would have been happy to know that her life and work has endured and caused some excitement even after all these years.

Understanding Past ‘Human’ Habitations

This very impressive volume (with brilliant illustrations and maps) may be regarded as a landmark publication in Indian archaeology. The statement made in the Preface has been adhered to in its near perfection—‘a holistic exercise combining the expertise of many disciplines to understand the past material record of settlements as well as their interaction with a changing landscape.’ The work centres on excavation of the site of Balupur with a settlement history of c. 600–1800 CE, which is located in Malda district in the northern part of West Bengal.

Representations Of Kinship And Violence

In what is uncharacteristic in the world of scholarship, uncharacteristic since scholars rarely gesture to the gaps in their own work, Upinder Singh points out that her book Political Violence in Ancient India is the end product of what she perceived as a big absence in the formidable repertoire of research that carries her name. After completing A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India (2008), itself the culmination of decades of research and teaching, she felt she had completely missed ‘a fundamental element that was implied in Ancient India’s entire political narrative—violence’.

Representations Of Kinship And Violence

In what is uncharacteristic in the world of scholarship, uncharacteristic since scholars rarely gesture to the gaps in their own work, Upinder Singh points out that her book Political Violence in Ancient India is the end product of what she perceived as a big absence in the formidable repertoire of research that carries her name. After completing A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India (2008), itself the culmination of decades of research and teaching, she felt she had completely missed ‘a fundamental element that was implied in Ancient India’s entire political narrative—violence’.

History For One Lifetime

Ramin Jahanbegloo has had an enviably productive year, and seen another new title out since the release of Talking History. It comes as no surprise then, to open this book and discover it is the eighth in a series, each one a collection of interviews conducted by him. Figures as diverse as Raj Rewal and Vandana Shiva, Richard Sorabji and Sudhir Kakar, get a volume each to report on the state of play in their respective fields: architecture, environmentalism, philosophy, psychoanalysis—to cite a sample of the range. Isaiah Berlin, whose conversational skills Jahanbegloo likens to Romila Thapar’s, has been a decisive influence in his writing life.

Celebrating An Outstanding Intellect

It is difficult to review a collection of essays in a book. One may not be fair in giving equal space to each eminent author. All the authors here adhere to a Marxist framework, difference being only in what aspects are highlighted. The book is a festschrift for Prabhat Patnaik, to acknowledge his contribution to the intellectual tradition, his wide-ranging interest and his efforts to find answers to questions he considered relevant. He was more open in his views on the relevance of Marx, as Ashok Mitra says in his praise of Patnaik—that he was more liberal among the liberals, despite being a strong adherent to Marx as the torch bearer of the classical political economy.

New Perspectives Through Unusual Prisms

Acasual flip through this book can initially intrigue as graphs, tables and allied statistical devices normally associated with books on ‘finance’ are missing and instead entirely replaced by discussions involving names such as James Joyce, Leo Tolstoy and Jane Austin and many others. The title can also intrigue as it is not often that the word ‘wisdom’ is used while talking about the practitioners or the issues associated with ‘Finance’.

Consequences Of Socio-spatial Segregation

Margins of Citizenship is an interestingly written account of the everydayness of life in Kolkata’s predominantly Muslim area of Park Circus. It is a sympathetically written ethnography by one who is an outsider in two senses, the first being that she is not a resident of the area and second that she is not a Muslim.
The book achieves two important things. One is that it supplements recent writings on Muslim urban experiences and ghettoization. Prominent examples of such writings are the edited volume by Christophe Jaffrelot and Laurent Gayer, Muslims in Indian Cities: Trajectories of Marginalization,

Glimpses Of A Lifeworld

Over the last decade, the country has witnessed one after another resistance movements bursting on to the political map. These movements, largely located in rural India have unsettled the comfortable dream of ‘shining’ India. In issues involved in studying such movements are certain connections which must be delinked only to link; certain qualifications must be made with respect to categories such as ‘rural’ or ‘resistance movements’. In activist circles and even in academe, such qualifications have been delayed, for example by counting all these varied struggles as ‘people’s movement’.