M. Mukundan is one of those fiction-writers in India, who, writing in his mother-tongue Malayalam set out to liberate contemporary fiction from the tyranny of the social, the outward, the eventful and to connect it with the existential, the inward, the less audible rhythms of living.
It is unusual for a book which is itself a ‘Review’ to be reviewed by a person with an evident bias in the subject. It is better therefore that the bias is brought up front before readers draw their own conclusions. The reviewer was connected with the formulation of the first notification in 1994 under the Environment Protection Act.
The author of this book is a highly respected figure, who, as the blurb tells us, has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in academia and in the field of international development. Given the vast knowledge and wide-ranging experience that have gone into the making of the book,
Let me start this review with a confession: I loved this book. The challenge of writing this review is to write without gushing.
Sri Lanka in the Modern Age sets out to be a different kind of Sri Lankan history; one in which a broad brush-strokes, largely top-down, linear narrative is transformed into an amazing account of human experiences of change—from shoes and sarongs to ways of learning to turf-battles in the corridors of power.
It is perhaps due to its ubiquity and our effortless access to popular visual culture in every day life that the ‘critical distance’ necessary to facilitate analysis of the field remains deficient. Popular culture in India characteristically presents itself in infinite,