Is Indira Gandhi’s environmental legacy relevant to India of today? In Indira Gandhi: A Life in Nature, Jairam Ramesh endeavours to enlist all her achievements, her motivations, her obstacles and more. It is a monumental treatise, an outcome of extensive and meticulous searching.
The author traces Indira’s interest in the natural world from her childhood—the influence of Jawaharlal, of Santiniketan and Rabindranath Tagore, whom she calls an ‘ecological man’, of Salim Ali and the rest. Her interest in nature was genuine and deep—in forests, stones, animal and birds, perhaps most in birds.
May you live in interesting times’, a favourite Chinese curse for all unmentionable acquaintances, could well describe life today not only for most of us individuals but also most countries. Just recently Catalonia has announced an, albeit short-lived, unilateral declaration of independence. It is one of the more prosperous provinces of Spain, having only 16 per cent of its population but receiving more than 20% of their FDI accounts for over 25% of their exports. Since the book does not directly focus on this, it is best not to say more about Catalonia except that most of us did not know that there was so much internal unrest in Spain.
It’s hard to come by a read that forensically lays threadbare the crimpled cohabitation of Mint Road with the two big sandstone blocks in New Delhi—North and South Block; and the dynamics of what is an inherently conflictual contract—if you can term it so—between them. You have one (of a kind) in T.C.A. Srinivasa Raghavan’s Dialogue of the Deaf: The Government and the RBI. Who gets to have the right of way—the mint or its owner?
Raghuram Rajan, the erstwhile ‘Rockstar’ Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, came to India with an awesome reputation. He was a Professor of Finance at the prestigious Chicago University, had served as Chief Economist in the IMF, and had written widely acclaimed books on the western financial system. Above all, at a time the US ‘Goldilocks’ economy was chugging along merrily as if there was no morrow, with economic growth and asset prices at an all-time high,
Y.V. Reddy or Venu Reddy as he is generally known, has had a distinguished civil service career. He held important assignments in the undivided Andhra Pradesh, in the Commerce and Finance Ministries in New Delhi, in the World Bank in Washington and, of course in Mumbai as the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India where he had a momentous tenure.
The recent ‘me too’ campaign on social media has once again shown the extent of sexual harassment of women in all societies world over. It has also established the determination of women to fight back. The extreme form of violence against women is rape, rooted in patriarchy, gender inequality, misogyny, exclusion and discrimination, all of which are cloaked in an innate structure of male supremacy and sanction to control through force.
In 2000, recognizing the changing nature of war, the UN Security Council passed Resolution No. 1325 (U6+NSCR 1325), which called for increased inclusion of women at all levels of policy-making and implementation related to conflict management, resolution and sustainable peace-building, and formally acknowledged the role women already played in this regard.
The One Belt One Road (OBOR) Initiative has been the most discussed and debated development in the last four years. Chinese President Xi Jinping had announced the OBOR initiative in 2013 and the first OBOR Forum was held in May 2017 which was attended by a large gathering of global leaders and international organizations. OBOR is an initiative which Xi Jinping is promoting as a global economic revamping. For Xi, OBOR is an international initiative that will help the global economy get more integrated and more sustainable.
The edited volume under review is an effort to introduce China and India in the foreground of their history and culture as they impact the present context of competition and cooperation between the two countries. To quote from the Introduction, ‘The book encompasses history, culture, political relations, economic perspectives and issues concerning both the countries.
India’s North East is regarded as the natural pivot for India’s engagement with South East Asia and East Asia through the continental route. The books reviewed here are excellent attempts at bringing out the historical, political, social and cultural underpinnings and impacts of India’s ‘Look East Policy’ and its transition to the ‘Act East Policy’. They are important contributions to the understanding of India’s foreign policy strategy towards its immediate neighbours when this transition is actually happening.
The two volumes under review are dissimilar books—dissimilar in structure, approaches and style. And yet, in their juxtaposition also emerges many interesting insights on the common theme in the two volumes namely, of the triangular relationship between India, South East Asia and China. Amitav Acharya’s East of India, South of China has China much more upfront as a central factor but Heading East edited by Karen Stoll Farrell and Sumit Ganguly would not stand either without China being the unspoken elephant in the volume.