This book, in the shape of an edited volume of fourteen papers presented in the two-day seminar organized by the Department of Defence and Strategic Studies of the University of Pune, has attempted to address the various issues of internal security in terms of the need for evolving appropriate ‘security policy’, particularly in the context of ‘political, economic and socio-cultural dimensions’.
If the original tradition of India is contained in the Vedas, the Vedanta, epics, Puranas and the Kathasaritsagar (“Ocean of Stories”), its Buddhist corpus is the Tripitaka. In a way, the counterpart of the Kathasaritsagar is the Jatakas consisting of 547 stories of past births of the Buddha as Bodhisatva (‘enlightened being’) in animal and human form.
The author argues that two significant aspects Elwin’s advocacy of protectionism for tribal people have contributed to the construction of an anti-modern tribal identity. First it was based on an ecological romanticism that glorified the past and held that “tribal people had been living in harmony with nature since ancient times (p xv)…. That tribal practices were ecologically friendly (p xiv) and they were of the view that “the past had been better than the present, that there had truly been a Golden age when their kings lived (p. xv).
Starting from the inception of women’s studies at a visible level after 1975, the primary focus of scholars in South Asia has been the identification and examination of certain aspects of society which situated women in a different context from those of the western countries.
At a time when minorities and women of different classes are facing all manner of threats in the name of nation, culture and religion it is important for historians and non-historians alike to revisit the complex dynamics of social reform and the ‘women’s question’ in modern India.
The book under review with its intriguing title is by Gail Omvedt, the pioneering historian of Jotiba Phule and his movement. Since the publication of Cultural Revolt in a Colonial Society (1976) Omvedt has maintained a steady stream of publications on Ambedkar and lower caste movements which have enlarged our understanding of dalit resistance and assertion.