The book being reviewed is a collection of revised papers by well known China experts presented at an international seminar in New Delhi in November 2000. However, the issues taken up are of a long term historical interest and hence the various papers retain a freshness of insight as well as information and are well worth reading seriously.
In the last twenty-five years, interest in the birdlife of the Indian subcontinent has grown manifold, and justifiably so considering the richness of India’s avifauna. With this interest, have come a string of books for both popular and more specialist consumption. Anand Prasad’s book should appeal to both—to anyone seriously interested in the birds of the region.
Time was when we thought Abol Tabol represented the beginning and the end of Indian nonsense. For those unsanctified by a bhadralok pedigree, this also meant that until Sukanta Chaudhuri’s wonderful English translation of Sukumar Ray came to be published in 1987, almost nothing nonsensical was remotely Indian and vice versa.
Sociology has not gone to Indian movies very often, and that needs to be corrected. Consider that in India today we breathe movies as a key element of the national atmosphere, second only to oxygen, ozone, bottled mineral water, satellite TV and the internet.
Reviewing an interesting, somewhat idiosyncratic compilation of articles, poses a challenge, as it escapes the usual taxonomic classification for writings on the subject. It is clearly not a scholarly work in the formal sense. As is the case with most compilations, the various topics it encompasses form too broad a spectrum and though some footnotes and other references have been provided, they are sparse and infrequent.
One of my earliest aural memories is of listening to the mesmerizing sounds of traditional north Indian music, from an old phonograph in the vast Baithaki in my grandmother’s house. Next to this magical instrument sat a black leather box containing a prized collection of His Master’s Voice records.
We Allahabadis grew up carrying our own mythology in which fact, innocence and provincial arrogance mingled in equal proportions. But let me get to the facts. The city of Allahabad, a dot on the map like a mustard seed placed exactly where the spidery, hairline-blue veins of two big rivers meet, was not just another nondescript settlement in the great Indian outback. It was a prominent administrative hub during the Raj, with a high-profile cultural identity all its own.
For a hedonistic reader who reads purely for pleasure, it is galling to constantly be told what to look for in a book—that its worldview is coloured by certain political views or a childhood trauma or an agenda.
The book under review is one of twelve short stories in this fine and elegant collection by M.G. Vassanji, the well-regarded writer of Indian origin, African upbringing and Canadian domicile. Before actually reviewing the book,
Robert Clive is said to have ‘gone native’ in India, sitting on a charpoy, puffing a hookah, dusky ‘bibi’ by his side, watch-ing the fascinating, multifarious world of the subcontinent go by, so much more vivid and intense than the cold, drear monochromatic little island that he came from. Clive was, of course,
I would recommend Paul Coelho’s Like a Flowing River: Thoughts and Reflections if you are looking for (a) a book to carry on a journey, (b) a gift for a student achiever or (c) a mood-elevator.
Jagannath Prasad Das who was recently awarded the prestigious Saraswati Samman is a versatile and outstanding Oriya writer who has been consistently writing poetry, fiction, drama and essays on art for almost four decades now.
Issues of education, community, modernity and Indian women are highly contentious these days, evoking aggressive and often violent passions. Kumar brings ethnographical studies that compel our gaze to be tempered by her readings of history and raises questions on the need to revisit our notions of the nation and most importantly of education.
In his memoirs, In the Afternoon of Time, the veteran Hindi writer, Harivansh Rai Bacchan expressed a strong preference for the way the Hindi language ought to evolve in the public sphere. Hindi words, he wrote, should constitute the main body of a text, but they should be laced with Urdu and Persian. This would add to the beauty of the prose but not detract from its own distinctive attractions.
Profusely footnoted, elaborately indexed and extensively researched, this volume is a valuable contribution to the on-going debate on the merits and demerits of high dams to meet India’s growing needs for irrigation, hydropower and drinking water.
Is sati a burning issue or a burnt out issue? The theme of sati has been thrashed out threadbare in the last decade with both western and Indian scholarship converging on this crucial area of social history and societal practice.
The task of a historian is not only to go through already identified paths and throw new light on well known events but also constantly look into sources and archival material, and identify moments which have played an important role in social dynamics.
Dalley begins with the best of intentions. Debunking myths, demonstrating how the practices of history writing and representation implicitly and explicitly make and unmake myths and understanding within this how and why the story of the Black Hole of Calcutta (1756) became so central to the formation of the British Empire are his overall concerns. Unfortunately,
Democracy is the most ambitious political project of the last century and Indian democracy with a vigorous free press, apolitical military, regular and competitive elections, and a functional overburdened judiciary is one of the good examples of a formal democracy.
The volume under review is an excellent addition in a world of scarce serious literature on India which, as Rajni Kothari describes, is ‘a mammoth virgin laboratory of original research’. As most of the literature on Indian thought has essentially come from non-theory specialists,