One of the problems with a book that covers the gamut of communication forms and technologies and from Harappa to the present is that it is too demanding of any reviewer, certainly this one. The volume in question attempts to do this based on a set of papers presented in the panel on “History of Information and Communications Technology in India” at the Mysore session of the Indian History Congress, 2003. It is a fascinating account of different forms of communications and information, such as those described in the Arthashashtra or that of the Armenian merchants in the 17th century. The discussion of the visual narrative of the patuas and its translation from the context of the Nawabi Court to the bazaar, the change from stone engravings to palm leaf form in Kerala, bring out not only the functional importance of communication in different periods but also forms themselves being a reflection of the social relationships.
January 2006, volume 30, No 1