This book belongs to an emergent genre of scholarship that has come to represent the latest, most prominent face of South Asian cultural studies. The main concern of the genre has been with the popular public cultures that have shaped the complex histories of modernity and nationalism in 19th and 20th century India,
The Elephant and the Maruti is a collection of six stories, three set in Delhi, the other three se: in Bangalore, Puranduru, and Geneva. While diverse in their geographical locations the common underlying thread that links them all is the sense of smell, a theme that still seems a favourite with the author of the promising debut novel called, what else but, Smell.
M.Krishnan (1912–1996) started writing in the nineteen thirties, when he was working in Madras and later at the durbar of the princely state of Sandur in Karnataka. After Independence, spurning an offer to be absorbed into the civil services, he decided to make a living through writing and photography; only then did he switch over to English.
Wandering through the pages of this book is almost like wandering across the candle-lit, music-soaked lawn at one of Bhaichand Patel’s parties (among the best Delhi parties I have been to and to which Jug and I shamelessly cadge invitations by phoning up Bhaichand and demanding to know why our invite hasn’t reached us yet).
It draws substantially from the often read works of Brunton, Osborne and Godman, to create a collage of the very interesting and well loved life of Sri Ramana Maharashi of Tiruvannamalai. As someone who has been writing of Sri Ramana since 1995, I found in this book the work of a kindred spirit, someone who loves Ramana, and appropriates him for his own.
This is an interesting volume of essays, though not all of it relates to the 21st century or the Indian media. As all anthologies, the content is uneven and not necessarily connected. Nevertheless it has some interesting material and insights and makes a nice introduction to issues of contemporary journalism for the young professional and lay reader.
Technological changes in agriculture and intensive use of groundwater led to a spurt in water exchange for irrigation in many locations in India. Dense groundwater exchange markets developed in the early 1980s in regions, which were suitable for sinking deep tubewells leading to debates over its nature and way of functioning.