Ramchandra Guha

M.Krishnan (1912–1996) started writing in the nineteen thirties, when he was working in Madras and later at the durbar of the princely state of Sandur in Karnataka. After Independence, spurning an offer to be absorbed into the civil services, he decided to make a living through writing and photography; only then did he switch over to English.

Reviewed by: S. Theodore Baskaran
Bhaichand Patel

Wandering through the pages of this book is almost like wandering across the candle-lit, music-soaked lawn at one of Bhaichand Patel’s parties (among the best Delhi parties I have been to and to which Jug and I shamelessly cadge invitations by phoning up Bhaichand and demanding to know why our invite hasn’t reached us yet).

Reviewed by: Bunny Suraiya
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

There are some interviews in the appen- dices to the novel in which Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie tells us what led to the writing of her second novel Half of a Yellow Sun. She grew up, she says,

Reviewed by: Eunice de Souza
Arvind Sharma

It draws substantially from the often read works of Brunton, Osborne and Godman, to create a collage of the very interesting and well loved life of Sri Ramana Maharashi of Tiruvannamalai. As someone who has been writing of Sri Ramana since 1995, I found in this book the work of a kindred spirit, someone who loves Ramana, and appropriates him for his own.

Reviewed by: Susan Visvanathan
Nalini Rajan

This is an interesting volume of essays, though not all of it relates to the 21st century or the Indian media. As all anthologies, the content is uneven and not necessarily connected. Nevertheless it has some interesting material and insights and makes a nice introduction to issues of contemporary journalism for the young professional and lay reader.

Reviewed by: B.G. Verghese
M. Dinesh Kumar with contributions from O.P. Singh

Technological changes in agriculture and intensive use of groundwater led to a spurt in water exchange for irrigation in many locations in India. Dense groundwater exchange markets developed in the early 1980s in regions, which were suitable for sinking deep tubewells leading to debates over its nature and way of functioning.

Reviewed by: Anjal Prakash
Sujata Patel and Kushal Deb

Urban Studies, part of a series of books on readings in sociology and social anthropology, is a diverse compendium of articles that shed light on the structures of city life in India, on urban cultures and experiences of the city,

Reviewed by: Deepak Mehta
D.E.U. Baker

David Baker has been at home at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, as a teacher and scholar for nearly forty years and is presently engaged in writing a history of that institution. Baker’s work has drawn attention to central-regional dynamics in the emergence of the modern Indian state and society.

Reviewed by: Denys P. Leighton
M.N. Srinivas and edited by A.M. Shah

The elections examined in this volume were held in the mid 1960s/early70s when studies of voting behaviour were just beginning in India. While the individual contributions can be read as useful accounts of elections and voting behaviour in local communities, their importance lies in the attempt by the editor A.M. Shah to use them to demonstrate the value of the anthropological method of grassroots fieldwork for studying elections,

Reviewed by: Sudha Pai
Bo Burlingham

This book continues in the tradition of contemporary business classics like In Search of Excellence, Built to Last, and Good to Great, but with an important difference—it is focused on ‘small giants’, fourteen American companies that though small in size (number of employees) have defied conventional wisdom and established a distinctive position for themselves in the eyes of industry observers and their peers.

Reviewed by: Rishikesha T. Krishnan
Yashwant Sinha

Indians—politicians and ministers in particular—are not much given to writing down what they think or what they did while they were in office. But the last three finance ministers have done just that. And the result is very pleasing. Of course,

Reviewed by: T.C.A. Srinivasa Raghavan
Ashok Mitra

To prattle, the dictionary tells us, is to indulge in childish chatter, or in inconsequential talk. A Prattler’s Tale is mostly that. This is unfortunate, for its author, Ashok Mitra, has had a most distinguished life as an economist, activist, administrator,

Reviewed by: Subrata Dasgupta
Uma Iyengar

This new collection of writings by Jawaharlal Nehru could not have been published at a more appropriate time. It is now 43 years since he left us and his achievements and failures, his explanations and exhortations can today be seen with detachment and understanding.

Reviewed by: A.K. Damodaran
Ramchandra Guha

Books that attempt to present a balanced and comprehensive history of a period necessarily run the risk of slipping into banality. There are always too many things that demand a mention and there is never enough space to deal with them in depth or detail. Inevitably, the narrative becomes superficial, the analysis perfunctory and rushed, and the treatment at best a competent textbook summary of existing knowledge with little originality of approach or insight.

Reviewed by: Partha Chatterjee