Reading this extremely well researched and lucidly written study took me back to the 1950s in what was then Bombay when small volumes bound in dark blue, the World’s Classics, were there to be bought, and one wondered in one’s ignorance whether the motto on the crest was to be read downwards (Dominus illuminatio mea) or across (Dommina nustio illumea!). Thacker’s Bookshop was just across the road from Elphinstone College, and Taraporevala’s down Hornby Road, darker, mustier, but full of treasures.
S.L. Bhyrappa is one of Kannada’s most prolific and popular writer, having won several literary awards within and without the state. Outside Karnataka, he may be known more from his novels that were made into films during the 1970s, including Vamsavriksha (directed by Girish Karnad and B.V. Karanth) and Tabbaliyu Ninade Magane which was made into Godhuli (directed by B.V. Karanth). This was a time when the parallel cinema movement was at its height and literary works from several regional languages appeared on the national screens, allowing us a glimpse into other worlds and other languages.
By far the best-known novel by the most loved Oriya writer, Fakir Mohan Senapati (1843-1918), Chha Mana Atha Guntha (Six Acres and a Third) has lost none of its century-old popularity in Orissa. It first made its serialized appearance in the magazine Utkal Sahitya between 1897 and 1899, and was published in book form in 1902. Since then it has never been out of print. Recognized as the first novel of social realism in Oriya, it has been rendered into four translations in English, apart from those in several other Indian languages, one dramatized version (entitled Champa by Basanta Kumar Satpathy), and a film version.
With the publication of the book under review, Professor Baxi has joined the club of class of that thinkers and writers who generate a set of commentators. A good deal of postmodernist writing is free from narrow doctrinaire or ideological impositions. The search for a global language towards articulating freedom struggles of a variety of rightless sections of the community is itself a product of impoverished democracies and disguised dictatorships.
To bring out a handbook on the criminal justice system is in itself an ambitious task. Trying to combine it with human rights borders on the daring. However, the volume does manage to give an overall idea of the criminal justice delivery system taking us through the various steps from the filing of a first information report (FIR) and investigation to trial. In addition there are chapters on bail and detention from a human rights perspective. Addressing real life situations faced by persons harassed day in and day out by the criminal justice system and who are predominantly from the lower socio-economic sections of society would have added greatly to the volume.
Caution and hypocrisy, cast off in pursuit of a war in Iraq, has claimed several casualties. Amidst the debris left by the continuing war is the relevance of the UN system in matters of war and peace. It may require a superlative effort, some suspension of disbelief and collective amnesia, to help the UN recover from the drubbing it received when the United States and the United Kingdom invaded Iraq. Yet, because there are so few pegs to hang hope on, there is a need to find in the UN an arena where prejudice, pragmatism and power can, even if only apparently, be debated and dealt with without being pre-empted by warheads, missiles and worse.
It is not often, I imagine, that a subject is able to draw forth two landmark produc- tions in fairly quick succession. Happily, this indeed has been the case with ‘sati’ and particularly, modern readings thereof. In 1998, interested readers woke up to a startlingly new thesis in Lata Mani’s Contentious Traditions* that took the issue out of its standard, unproblematized ‘social reform’ framework and placed it in the arena of contestations.
It is not often, I imagine, that a subject is able to draw forth two landmark produc- tions in fairly quick succession. Happily, this indeed has been the case with ‘sati’ and particularly, modern readings thereof. In 1998, interested readers woke up to a startlingly new thesis in Lata Mani’s Contentious Traditions* that took the issue out of its standard, unproblematized ‘social reform’ framework and placed it in the arena of contestations. Sati, in Lata Mani’s understanding, was the fulcrum on which a redefinition of Indian tradition itself rested.
In recent years the study of regions has assumed importance among social scientists in India. The process of transforming cultural regions into politico-administrative units is not over as seen from numerous demands for dividing larger states into smaller ones. There is much greater recognition that language is not the only basis on which the states can be divided. The role played by regional parties in governance at the Centre has changed the balance of power among states/regions in the post-Congress era.
This is a book on memory and on ques- tions. On questions that we all know but for which we have inadequate explanations, questions that compellingly address us from within contemporary social sciences in India and from within contemporary history. Talbot and Tatla provide a range of first hand contemporary accounts of Partition survivors from Amritsar, a city that became a major transit camp for refugees from Pakistan during the Partition years, and whose geography enabled a recovery of abducted women.
This latest offering from the well-known sociologist Dipankar Gupta follows up on arguments developed in his earlier work entitled Mistaken Modernity. This is essentially an argument in favour of ‘modernity’, which Gupta portrays as an ideal disposition and a form of social relations towards which contemporary societies are, or should be, evolving or striving. Gupta sets out his rather convoluted theoretical and philosophical framework in a long first chapter that is difficult to summarize. His first point is that modernity is an unfinished project — a ‘coming into being’ – that is manifested differently in different contexts and has not been achieved fully anywhere.
The volume under review is part of a trilogy aimed at offering a glimpse of an extremely rich legacy of the ideas and discourses on economic development, from a whole range of heterodox perspectives, as distinct from the mainstream neoclassical tradition. The other two volumes were reviewed in an earlier issue of this journal*, and the context of the trilogy and its tremendous usefulness were highlighted in that review. The present piece focuses specifically on the main concern of the third volume.