This fascinating book is a detailed study of the Indian ‘career’ of the Italian Orientalist, Angelo de Gubernatis (1840-1913). It is based on a systematic exploration of archival material on this subject available in Florence.
Indigo Plantations and Science in Colonial India for the most part appears as a straight-forward account of Bengal indigo (indigofera tinctorium)—the natural dye that could colour cloth in intense blue.
Just when one thought that the theme of Europeans in India during Mughal rule had been nearly exhausted, Pius Malekanda-thil’s book came for review. The author, how-ever, seems to have produced new wine from an old bottle exploring various dimensions of Portuguese activities in India.
Whiting speaks of the Chinese calculus of deterrence ‘as an attempt to infer what general strategy underlies persistent patterns of behaviour aimed at persuading a perceived opponent that costs of his continuing conflictual activity will eventually prove unacceptable to him because of the Chinese response…
The author shows how Bhutto and his P.P.P. organized the campaign despite its being a new party. Its programme and campaign caught the aspirations of the people. Bhutto raised his voice against rightist parties, which in the name of religion were supported by feudal elements, a section of capitalists and imperialists.
The Harper Collins Book of English Poetry edited by Sudeep Sen is an amazing and audacious project in more ways than one. It attempts to showcase poems of 85 post-Independence Indian poets writing in English.
Nagarkar’s book is yet another example of the heart-searching of the troubled generation that witnessed Partition. His motives, as stated in the preface, are admirable—to cut through the syndrome of the search for the ‘Guilty’, to discard ‘simplistic’ and ‘inadequate’ analysis, and seek an ‘objective’ answer…
Seven Leaves, One Autumn: the very title is poetic, evoking the vivid shades of yellow, orange and red through which autumn leaves pass as they turn from green to brown. This collection brings together the work of seven award-winning women poets: Zohra Saed from Afghanistan, Julie Boden from Britain, Clara Janes from Spain, Kishwar Naheed from Pakistan, Ute Margaret Saine from the USA, and the two editors, Savita Singh and Sukrita Paul Kumar, both from India.
The jacket of a recently published book on Macaulay by Zareer Masani says cheekily, ‘If you’re an Indian reading this book in English, it’s probably because of Thomas Macaulay’.
Not very long ago, Raghu Rai found a box containing rolls of long lost black and white negatives of photographs he had taken in 1971.
Steve Raymer, a National Geographic photographer for many years who now teaches journalism at an American university, made six trips to India to, as he writes, ‘follow my dream to do a book about Calcutta.’
Like ‘cutting chai’, ‘chawls’ is a very Bombay/Mumbai term. Not many who live outside this megapolis will understand what it means. And if they do not, it is unlikely that they ever will because chawls are an endangered species, a built form that is disappearing even as Mumbai goes through changes that are inevitable for all big cities.
I read this book from cover to cover in just three sittings. It was indeed enthralling as I have virtually been part of most of the stories it unfurls. Reading about Lucknow, culture capital of India and city of my birth, Aligarh, seat of the educational Taj Mahal where I studied and taught during 1961-66—and Ghalib’s Delhi where I have lived for forty-five years, made me nostalgic.
The book under review Public Hinduisms has a captivating title and an even more engaging set of questions that it seeks to explore: ‘How does Hinduism become public? What forms of translation or disciplinary processes inform the passage of ideas about what it means to be a Hindu as they are expressed in a range of different public environments? Who feels empowered by such transitions, and who feels dispossessed?’ With these evidently broad and complex set of questions for a single edited volume of 500 and odd pages, it gives an impression of being many books in one.
Harvesting Feminist Knowledge for Public Policy: Rebuilding Progress edited by Jain and Elson is a collection of fourteen essays by feminist thinkers across the world putting forward a critique of the current development pattern that has led to the global spate of ‘triple crisis’ of food, fuel and finance.
Social science research focused on South Asia has for a long time had a critical shortcoming: the state is almost never an object of study in its own right, but rather studied in conjunction with factors—caste and ethnicity, party competition, regionalism, social movements—in the production of social outcomes.
…given the opportunity, women handle money more efficiently. They have long term vision, they handle money more carefully. Muhammad Yunus
The prolonged agrarian crisis in India since the mid-nineties is reflected by the meager growth rates in the agricultural sector.
The title of the book in discussion is indicative of the foundational tenet of the volume. The point of departure is to accept ‘right to work’ fundamentally as an issue of justice with reference to the rural communities of India.
Why, in a period of sustained national economic growth, have Indian agriculturalists been committing suicide in such larger numbers? And what might these acts signify with respect to the challenges facing rural India at this moment? These are some of the pressing questions A.R. Vasavi’s Shadow Space seeks to answer. Through six closely related essays, each of which takes up a different aspect of this crisis, Vasavi contends that the suicides express the marginalization of vulnerable agriculturalists within a political economy that has neglected their welfare. In laying out this argument, Vasavi has produced a work that is both meticulously researched and passionately argued—one that is indispensable for understanding the momentous shifts currently underway in Indian agriculture.