Claude Alvares
India: An Uncommitted Society by J.C. Kapur Vikas Publishing House, Delhi, 1982, 229 pp., 275
Nov-Dec 1982, volume 7, No 3

Alvin Toffler, Bucky Fuller, Ivan Illich, Sham Lai, Edward Goldsmith and Orville Freeman are some of the names dropped at the com-mencement of Kapur’s book. Strange bed-fellows, politically disharmonious, intellectually at variance: put together at a tea party they would scratch one another’s eyes out. Ima¬gine, for example, Illich and Freeman strolling side by side in soulful chat. The image is difficult to conjure. I gather all of them passed by Kapur’s solar farm at some time or the other, and that he picked their brains for the underpinnings of his theory, which I think is his very own and quite a good one too. But certainly not totally origi¬nal; he is not the first to dis¬cuss it. The Dutch school of historians, from Jan Romein to Wim Wertheim, long ago spoke about the law of the re¬tarding lead, strange phrase (illuminated in a moment), and Wertheim devotes several pages to the subject in Evolu¬tion and Revolution, available in Penguins since 1974. I must confess that despite my strong preference for the likes of our own indigenous thinkers, and Kapur is one of them, Wer¬theim in this case is much more lucid about the theory, and much more advanced, than our present author.

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