This striking book, a collection of thirteen papers, on the genealogy, locations and practices of sociology in India tries to locate within the complex, contradictory, and contesting histories of sociological traditions in the various settings during the colonial period and immediately after, before the spiralling expansion of the university system in the 1960s.
Gail Omvedt’s book attempts to understand caste, critiquing the position that equates Indian tradition with Hinduism making Vedas the foundational texts of Indian culture that imprisons even secular minds within brahmanical perspective and proposes to go beyond the debate of posing secularism or reformist Hinduism as an alter-native to Hindutva.
Any serious student of Indian federalism must be aware that if Indian federa-lism has been the key to holding this very complex and culturally diverse country together in conditions of democracy over the last half a century-a remarkable record of nation and state building in sharp contrast to the former USSR and many countries in the non-western world-the method that has informed the process of federation building (and re-building) in India has remained what is known as ‘reorganisation of States’.
Whatever generalization you make about India, the reverse of it is equally true.
Ashok Mitra’s collection of sixty essays, published as column pieces in The Telegraph between 2009 and 2011, are self-confessedly quite disparate. The essay ‘A Country, Not a Nation’, however, gives an overall picture of the message that this book attempts to convey.
The Battle for Employment Guarantee is a collection of seminal articles that trace the genesis of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act (MGNREGA), evaluate its implemen-tation, and provide a commentary on the extent to which the Act has been successful in fulfilling the entitlements that it was required to guarantee and uphold.
Divided into three parts, the twelve essays in this volume collectively emerge as a critique to the linear and often instrumentalist ‘developmental’ as well as ‘methodological’ perspective(s) of western modernity and its overwhelming hegemony across the Third World countries.