The long process of decolonization in the Indian subcontinent shortly after the end of World War II brought freedom to many Asian and African countries also generated a variety of social and political tensions in most postcolonial societies, exposing their political and administrative systems to a multitude of stresses and strains.
When on fieldwork in Jhabua district in Madhya Pradesh last winter, I was introduced to the local MLA, an extremely articulate RSS activist and ideologue. He was clearly the most dynamic of the local activists engaged in the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in the area and ran a boarding school at his own expense where poor girls and boys could both study and stay.
Community and Nation consist of ten seminal essays written by Papiya Ghosh who is sadly no more with us.* Thus this review is a tribute to a distinguished scholar. Written in the course of her post-doctoral research, they have been competently put together with an introduction by Biswamoy Pati.
This study of texts relating to Padmini, legendary queen of Mewar, discusses a remarkable range of material in Avadhi, Bangla, English, Rajasthani, Sanskrit and Urdu, from Jayasi’s sixteenth-century tale of love to drama and histories produced during the nationalist movement in Bengal.
Eric Dinerstein’s book Tigerland and Other Unintended Destinations provides a vivid account of some incredible wild places and magical creatures that inhabit our planet. Tigerland engages the reader’s attention from the first chapter and keeps you riveted until the end.
Since the beginning of colonial expansion in the late eighteenth century a wealth of material has been generated by colonial administration and scholars. This documentation has often formed the base material of the writings of future historians, and often provides us the only non-vernacular account of local practices and beliefs.
Agra Summit and Beyond a collection of essays, interviews and personal remembrances of the Agra summit, undoubtedly an important event in Indo-Pak relations, in the recent years. Khalid Mahmood covers the road to Agra and the events that took place during the summit meeting in a chronological sequence on who said what and on which date. His essay also covers major opinions published in leading dailies.
The postcolonial compulsions to grapple with or outgrow the memories and legacies of colonialism have produced a teasingly rich body of writings. If colonial experience called for negotiations and repudiations, their postcolonial interrogations have re-visited those sites for new answers and new fulfillments.
Women of India is an important volume, not only because as editor Bharati Ray has to gathered in one place essays by almost all the important gender studies scholars in India, but also because it seeks to put into one text all the imaginable aspects of the history of women in modern India.