A New Biography

To the generation that was born around the time of India’s independence, Jawaharlal Nehru was an enchanted figure, an embodiment of the idealism that had gone into the struggle for free¬dom. Clearly etched on childhood’s memory is the unstinting affection and trust that India’s masses gave to their leader. So is the intense sense of urgency Panditji radiated to pull India out of the mire of poverty, ignorance and backward¬ness and launch her as a shining new star into the world firmament.

A Political Quagmire

The Peace Trap is ‘dedicated to the memory of all Indians and Sri Lankans—both Tamils and Sinhalese—who lost their lives in the tragic sequence of events that have taken place in Sri Lanka since 1983’. This brings out the author’s deep sensitivity to the tragedy that has over¬taken both Sri Lanka and India in the wake of the Sinhala-Tamil ethnic strife in our neighbouring southern state and more particularly after the Indo-Sri Lanka accord of July 29, 1987 (which saw a larger number of persons being killed on both sides since the outbreak of the ethnic conflict).

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‘Today’s children want everything about everything—and right away too. Keeping this in mind, Pustak Mahal of Delhi has brought out the Children’s Knowledge Bank in six volumes…. The question and answer format with an illustration is one of the best ways, to give young children basic information on various subjects and thus develop a healthy interest in books and reading’—Pioneer, Lucknow.

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Small, insignificant provincial towns enjoy brief moments of prominence when they are catapulted on to the centre-stage of the country’s attention. The reason is a combination of people and events which culminates in outbreaks of violence in previously peaceful environs. M J. Akbar’s book is an attempt to report on the gene¬sis of violence in post-Independence India, and to study the scars that remain long after the events have been erased from the ephemeral memories of our whimsical rulers.

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It has been well and truly said: Bhagwan Rajneesh is his worst enemy. He is the agent provocateur of the first order. It is not that he is out to provoke people for the sake of provoking them, though, one suspects that he does, too, for effect. Plainly, the man believes in what he says. And there lies the difficulty of all those who want to take him seriously. He seems to say: ‘Don’t take me too seriously. I am enjoying myself watching your discomfiture’.

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It is intriguing as to why Penguins chose this book for inclusion for the first lot of six books with which they started their operations in this part of the globe last year.

First, this book was originally published by Vanguard Press Inc., in New York five years ago. This particular publisher is one of the many book-publishing (packaging) racketeers in New York. This outfit for purely mercenary considerations lends its NY.

A Rubik Cube of Emotions

We have from the author of Circle of Reason (1986) a square, a cube, a tantalizingly misarranged Rubik Cube of Emotion. Action and reaction in Amitav Ghosh’s The Shadow Lines do not follow or justify each other. They are caused by and influence events that are widely dis¬tanced in space and time. Relationships are established and broken by acts, feel¬ings and thoughts that belong to other arenas, other theatres, other times.

Dialects of Unity

It is sixteen years ago that I’ had the opportunity to be introduced to George Sioris’ interest in the comparative study of Japanese and Greek Mythology, when he presented his paper, ‘Two Char¬acteristic Similarities in Japanese and Greek Mythology, Amaterasu and the Cave, Persepone and the Underworld—Demeter’ at the International Conference on Japanese Studies held in Kyoto, Japan in November 1972.

Into the Past

Of late, studies on socio-economic history of the peninsular India, especially of the regions that were under the Colas and later under the Vijayanagara rulers have received a great fillip with the adoption of new conceptual frameworks that were not employed by scholars till recently. Attempts made by K.A. Nilakanta Sastri, Appadorai, B.A. Saletore, T.V. Mahalingam, Kenneth R. Hall and a few others to throw light on the socio-economic aspects of peninsular India during the medieval period have been re-examined by foreign scholars like Burton Stein and Naboru Karashima.