This book is a good example of the growing strengths and persistent weak¬nesses of South Asian thoughts on South Asia. To take the strengths first, the book adds one more to the growing list of titles of books about South Asia as a region. This list and its growth have been quite a remarkable phenomenon of the South Asian intellectual scene since the start of the 1980s.
‘Angaliyat’ in Gujarati means the child of the former husband, or more precisely, the child of the former husband who follows the mother, holding her finger (‘Angali’), when she weds another man. The title of the novel is suggestive of the love that unites the two main characters of the novel—Tiho, a weaver of a small village, Ratnapur, and Methi, a woman-of the same community from another village, Shilapur.
The politics of the newly independent African nations is typical of the post-colonial hangover worldwide. Having served as the milch cow of their colonial overlords, the impoverished countries are inextricably tangled in a web of inter¬national debt, both financial and moral. In many cases, self assertion was suppres¬sed and a neo-colonial legacy still con¬tinues.
Keki N. Daruwalla’s latest collection of poems reinforces his already substantial reputation as a poet. Containing twenty-six poems, the book takes the reader across almost as many landscapes. The descriptions of each comes with a deft mixing of the palette-hues.
This is an engaging book, and it only narrowly misses being an important one. By widening the scope of traditional ‘lit. crit’. concerns to include analyses of non-Western, non-literary, and even oral narrative forms, the contributors demonstrate how academic critics may engage in cultural politics through a process that the editors have described, simply thus: ‘(A) paper starts with theory, and spills over into life….’
My earliest political education was from the poet Subrahmanya Bharati. A line of his that was for ever on my lips as a boy runs, in inadequate translation, thus:
‘You sure have heard, Oh: You wind, The stifled sobs of men and women, weary of limb and of spirit In the tea gardens of Sri Lanka.’
This subcontinent with its precious and magnificent heritage of natural wealth is fast being deprived of its security blanket of green vegetation. Progress unfortu¬nately still means the exploitation of nature and the Himalayas with its foot¬hills are denuded day by day.
There has been a rather curious reluc¬tance among Indian scholars, especially among those involved with English studies, to engage in critical discussion of British fiction about India. Professor Bhupal Singh of Dayal Singh College, then in Lahore, wrote his pioneering book on the subject more than fifty years ago. Since then sahibs and mems such as Allen Greenberger, Kai Nicholson, Benita Parry, Stephen Hemenway and, most recently, David Rubin (in a book entitled After the Raj published last year) have enlarged the scope of discussion of these novels.
It is widely believed that Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi is dissatisfied with the functioning of the Ministry of External Affairs. It is also well known that many members of the Indian Foreign Service are discontented and dispirited these days, and have been so for some years. Why?
Notwithstanding India’s recently comple¬ted chairmanship of the Nonaligned Movement and the amply demonstrated charm of the Prime Minister, India’s voice cannot be considered objectively to be one of influence in world politics today.
Rasul B. Rais, an Assistant Professor in the Department of International Relations at Qaid-i-Azam University Islamabad, Pakistan, has written this book mostly at the Institute of International Studies, University of California, Berkeley. The book, however, fails to reflect either the Pakistani or the American point of view.
The two books under review tackle similar questions but reach their answers through somewhat different routes. Kumari Jayawardena examines the role played by women in the anti-colonial struggles in several third world countries and the changes in the perceptions of women that emerged as a consequence, Liddle and Joshi study the position of urban, professional women in India today and attempt to , assess their status through the parameters of gender,
Sitakant Mahapatra, the author of this work on Santal society, is a member of the Indian Administrative Service and at present Commissioner, Department of Tribal Development, of the Government of Orissa. As a former .Deputy Commis¬sioner of the predominantly tribal district of Mayurbhanj, bordering West Bengal, he had become interested in the tribal peoples of the area—the Mundas, the Hos, and especially the Santals
In his introduction, Orlando Fals Borda makes clear the position of the contribu¬tors to the volume: it is to understand human development in terms of social dynamics. Social change is not something which can be understood only through the social structure, with its relatively predictable ways of operating. Human beings, their aspirations, frustrations and capacity to mobilize are essential factors in the entire process of change. In fact, as the authors suggest, participation in the decision-making process is of vital importance. Social science can no longer afford to remain aloof and objective: it has to take sides, and the side it should take is of the proverbial underdog.
This collection of essays is a result of a series of conferences held on folklore in Indian society. It may be regarded primarily as reflecting American scholarship on South Asia and therefore provides an opportunity to discuss both its dynamism and its limits.
Folklore as a discipline was long domi¬nated by a conceptual framework with emphasis on the recording of disappearing forms of narratives, riddles, performances and other ‘lore’ of the ‘folk’.
What has economics been concerned with? A question to which a reasonable answer should be available, one suspects, but it is almost startling to confront the diffe¬rences of opinion on how those concerns either relate to each other or to the history and times when they were in the focus of attention. In a sense the enquiry can be frustrating. Why should one worry with why Adam Smith worried with the wealth of nations? Historiogra¬phy must lend one some extra mileage somewhere in understanding and analys¬ing the present situation.
Part of the How it Works series, The Motor Car and The Telephone by Navakala and Subir Roy are both infor¬mative and well-illustrated. The books begin with the history of the automobile and the telephone and then move on to the working in detail (for the 10-12 age group). Each part of the working system is dealt with separately and profusely illustrated.
The tentative approach that Rushdie makes towards Nicaragua is noteworthy. ‘Hope: A Prologue’ can be read as a series of justifications—the degree of the writer’s familiarity with the country is limited to a chance proximity of resi¬dence with Hope Somoza; his interest in the country boils down to a chance synchronicity of dates— the indepen¬dence day of Nicaragua and his son’s birthday; his point of view, he admits apologetically is one of an offspring of the third world—not quite that simplis-tic yet almost so.
Once upon a time, Hindi novelists parti¬cipated in the Independence struggle, craved being jailed with the political heroes, imitated the Bengali novelists in their platonic loves, and wrote indefatigably excited and grandiloquent novels about the working classes. No more.
This valuable book is an anthology of sixteen articles published in the British journal ‘Media, Culture and Society’ between 1979 and 1985. The articles fall into three parts, ‘Approaches to Culture Theory’, Intellectuals and Cultural Pro¬duction’ and ‘British Broadcasting and the Public Sphere’.
This is not a book of revelations like Vikram Seth’s Golden Gate. Nevertheless, it is a gateway to Indian experience with rural development. We owe this volume to an Asian Seminar on rural develop¬ment in 1984, sponsored by the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad.