The adequacy of public services in the democratic context and environment of rapid change is a matter of continuing concern. As the residuary of authority there is a continuing love-hate relationship between the public and governmental services for, the latter is supposed to serve the former.
Between Govind Kelkar’s visit to China in April-May 1978 and mine in May-June 1979 there was a year full of rapid policy changes. She travelled in China when the Chinese leadership was inclined to retain the overall orientation of the Cultural Revolution and integrate it with a programme of four modernizations while denouncing the extremism of the Gang of Four.
Nobody ever thinks of writing a book on ‘America After Carter’ or ‘Britain After Margaret Thatcher’. But books ·and articles on ‘Post-Nehru India’, and ‘China After Mao’ abound. Why? Is it that America and Britain are crisis-free societies? Obviously not; they have been visibly moving from crisis to crisis.
The quickies are upon us again. The post-election deluge (post-1977 election, that is, when the profitable and chic publishing fashion really started) is now being followed up with a pre-election deluge (pre-1980 election, that is). This is the second set in what will, in true Ladies’ Singles fashion, hopefully be a best of three sets match.
The book is not a mere addition to the much discussed topic of Britain’s responsibility towards India and India’s response to it as well as her reaction. Nor is it a mere narration of the emergence and growth of a political party. Indian National Congress Versus British presents a factual analysis of how an all powerful alien government and a national political party fought their elaborate battle over six decades.
The undivided Bengal with its Muslim majority had a Muslim problem which was not exactly the same as the Muslim problem of another Muslim majority province of the pre-Partition days, the Punjab; in fact, the Punjab’s was more a problem of the sense of insecurity felt by its Hindus.
I must admit, I received my copy of this book on the same day as the Guwahati molestation case, and I was riling with anger towards men as sexual predators and women as victims of abuse at the hands of men who can’t control their sexual urges and also society. The act of sex that day at least wore a pall of oppression.