emerging regional federalism
Review by Pradeep Kumar
Politics and Power Sharing edited by Akhtar Majeed. Manak
Publications in association with the Centre for Federal
Studies, New Delhi. Pages 198. Rs 400.
Majeed’s edited volume under review is a serious attempt to
analyse the various factors resulting in the aggregation and
desegregation of interests. The book is a collection of
articles of his colleagues at the Centre for Federal Studies
at Jamia Hamdard, a centre established by that reknowned
scholar of Indian federalism, the late Prof Rasheeduddin Khan.
analyse at length the power sharing arrangements that
coalitions are; identity formations as a result of
articulation of political interests; emerging party system(s)
as a consequence of electoral configurations; and the working
of coalition politics in India since the holding of the fourth
general election in 1967.
thrust of the editor’s argument is that "as long as
democracy is treated as an elitist gift to the masses, only
the political freedom aspect would continue to be highlighted
at the cost of economic equality aspect... rival elite...
would have to bring along the masses as well to broaden their
support base... (the) at least they have started sharing
ideals and values."
fact reflects a growing resentment of the politicians with the
rural base representing the middle peasantry and the backward
castes, against the elite domination that characterised
democracy till some time back. The leaders who were then
prepared to play second fiddle to the upper caste urban
leaders have come of age and are increasingly responsible for
the denominational formations called "regional"
have become crucial as dominant partners in most alliances,
influencing and even deciding their functioning. In short it
is this regionalisation of politics that has also compelled
the national governments to go in for broad coalitions
comprising socially extremely heterogeneous and politically
has very carefully compared the Indian experience of the past
one decade with those of the European countries which have had
longer familiarity with coalition experiments.
has discussed three types of broad political formations that
are competing for centre stage in Indian politics. These are
largely woven around support from among (i) newly empowered
intermediate castes, dalits, minorities, etc. mobilised on the
ideological plank of secularism, pluralism and
multiculturalism; (ii) the upper caste Hindus and the upwardly
mobile middle castes, the most backward castes and a section
of dalits under the dispensation of Hindutva identity; and,
(iii) the one mobilising the voters around its somewhat
"out dated" political ideology of nation-building.
It is the
horizontal mobilisation and "fusion" of smaller
caste groups that has made it possible for some of these
"bigger" castes to become numerically significant,
not only to be taken note of, but even to become dominant
partners to decide the nature of the coalition itself.
Thus in Uttar
Pradesh and Bihar, the Gwalas, Gopals, Ghosis, Mandals,
Dharonds, Dhurias, Gaolis, Kamarias, Ahirs, Abhirs and Dudhias,
etc. have all been "Yadavised" over the years, and
the Awadhias, Mahtos and Dhanuks have become "Kurmis".
This "fusion" of smaller jatis and further
their social coalition with similar other bigger jati
groups have made these social formations increasingly relevant
for capturing political power.
composition of these social formations varies from region to
region, it is a very large conglomeration of apparently
diverse regional political formations that bargains and stakes
its claim for political power at the national level, often
looking like a great confederal arrangement of local or
plank often picks up such "leftovers" from among
some of these backward and dalit castes for mobilisation, as
are alienated from the backward castes mobilised on social
justice plank. The "nation-building" formation
(obviously referring to the Congress politics) has gradually
but steadily been appropriated by the other two formations.
Thus secularisation, politicisation and deritualisation have
made caste an instrumental category which today is ironically
being invoked by those who earlier suffered discrimination at
the hands of the upper castes who are now, in turn, arguing
against continuation of caste identity markers.
analysis is comprehensive but quite obviously does not
successfully explain the independent assertion of dalit power
in states like Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu where the backward
formations have not been able to take these along, resulting
in a four-cornered contest in some places.
Singh characterises the politics of elections held since 1989
as regionalisation of the electoral process and the party
system. This in turn has been a result of the
"participatory upsurge" among the marginalised
sections of society, leading to the decline of the dominant
party system of the Congress and the consequent rise of the
BSP. This regionalisation was further helped by the total
fragmentation of the Janata Dal into several local and
regional outfits, and the splits in the already marginalised
Congress party on regional lines in West Bengal (Trinamool),
Tamil Nadu (TMC) and Maharashtra (NCP).
also divided the catchment area of the major political parties
into four zones — namely, minimised performance zone (5-10
per cent votes), intervening zone (10-20 per cent),
consistency zone (20-40 per cent), and the high performance
zone (40 per cent and above). This exercise has been done for
all the 15 major states (with 10 or more Lok Sabha seats) with
regard to major national and regional parties.
has done good work in making a survey of the coalition
experiments in several states ever since the "turning
point" in this regard came in 1967. Khan, like Singh,
also talks about four models, but on somewhat different bases.
For him, more than the number, the motive of parties leading
to coalition is equally, if not more, important. Thus his
fourfold classification replaces the third and fourth
categories of Singh by those where likeminded parties come
together to keep at bay their common rival, and those where
the parties come together to form a national government to
face an overriding national crisis.
taken the clue from the European experience in this regard but
has largely, even if not entirely, ignored the social bases of
coalition to give primacy to ideological, personality and
political factors. This is understandable as other
contributors emphasis, almost exclusively on social factors.
The volume on coalition
politics is a good supplement to the earlier volumes brought
out by the Centre for Federal Studies on social and cultural
federalism which essentially characterises the Indian polity.
Coalition-making should be seen as the logical culmination of
the democratic process resulting in the unfoldment and
assertion of the federal nature of the Indian polity.
Review by Vikramdeep
The Making of a Classic by Anupama Chopra. Penguin Books, New
Delhi. Pages 194. Rs 295.
is this photograph in the book, both eye-catching and
mind-boggling. It shows Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjeev
Kumar and Amjad Khan, standing together like good friends,
smiling at the camera. Amjad looks as harmless as a lamb; his
right hand rests unthreateningly on the left shoulder of
Sanjeev, who stands relaxed with his arms crossed. For a real
"Sholay" buff, this photo is most unreal. A sadistic
Gabbar demanding "Yeh haath mujhe de de Thakur,"
a vengeful Veeru pouncing on Gabbar — now that is reality.
Well, precisely in this wonderful illusion lies the magic, the
aura of "Sholay".
under review aims at telling the story of "The greatest
story ever told". By no means an easy task, since many
tales about "Sholay" are quite famous and have
become part of filmlore. Most film aficianados know, for
instance, that Gabbar Singh’s role was initially offered to
Danny Dengzongpa, that foreign stuntmen were called in to
choreograph the action sequences, that the villain-is-killed
ending was changed because the censor board wanted Gabbar
zinda. However, Anupama Chopra, special correspondent with
India Today, not only pulls it off but also makes you realise
that what you knew about the making of "Sholay" was
just the tip of an iceberg.
brilliantly narrates one interesting anecdote after another
related to the genesis of the storyline, the casting, the
two-year-long filming, the pre-release and post-release
hiccups, and, finally, the resounding, unprecedented success.
had a hearty laugh watching Dharmendra’s performance in the
film? His offscreen antics, according to the book, were no
less amusing. Here is the ploy Dharam bhaaji devised to
get intimate with his sweetheart : "When he and Hema shot
romantic scenes, he paid the light boys to make mistakes so he
could embrace her again and again. They had a perfectly
worked-out code language : when he pulled his ear, the light
boys would mess up the trolley movement or make a reflector
fall. . . The fee was Rs 100 per retake. On a good day, the
light boys returned from the day’s shooting richer by Rs
2,000." The plan worked — "Lag gaya nishana",
as Jai (Amitabh) put it!
The scene in
which Jai brings Veeru’s marriage proposal to Basanti’s mausi
was inspired by a real-life incident. Scriptwriter Javed
Akhtar, who was in love with actress Honey Irani, requested
his partner Salim Khan to meet her mother Perin Irani on his
behalf. The conversation that took place between Salim and
Perin was incorporated, almost verbatim, into the film’s
script. (Javed, however, didn’t resort to climbing a tanki
to clinch the issue!).
A stroke of
luck — Danny’s refusal — got Amjad Khan Gabbar’s part.
Realising the importance of this big break, he prepared for
the role thus: "Amjad devoured ‘Abhishapth Chambal’,
a book on Chambal dacoits. . . He marked out the pages on the
real-life Gabbar. . . He remembered a dhobi from his childhood
days who used to call out to his wife : ‘Arre O Shanti.’
The lilt in Gabbar’s ‘Arre O Sambha’ came from
on-camera it was Gabbar who spread terror among the people of
Ramgarh, off-camera it was Nefertiti, an Egyptian mare, who
proved a nightmare for crew members. Renamed Nafrati for her
ferocity, she threw almost everyone who tried to mount her,
including Amjad Khan and Dharmendra. (The poor fellow who bore
the brunt of her tantrums was Viju "Kaalia" Khote.)
was Sippys’ greatest gamble, which, against heavy odds, paid
off handsomely. Made at a staggering budget of around Rs 3
crore, the film grossed approximately Rs 35 crore during its
first run. It ran for about five years at Mumbai’s Minerva
theatre (a record only recently broken by "Dilwale
Dulhaniya Le Jayenge" at Maratha Mandir in the city).
Among the actors, the biggest beneficiary was Amjad Khan. By
playing, rather living, the role of Gabbar, he rocketed to
stardom overnight. Even actors who had minuscule roles became
quite popular. Macmohan (Sambha) uttered just three words in
the film, "Poore pachaas hajaar" — but they
were enough to bring him instant fame.
Anupama Chopra lauds the contribution of the unsung heroes,
the faceless behind-the-scene people without whose efforts the
film might not have become such a spectacular success. These
include cinematographer Dwarka Divecha, art director Ram
Yedekar, action directors Azeembhai and Mohammad Hussain and
construction manager Aziz Hanif Sheikh. Not to forget Jim
Allen, Gerry Crampton and Romo Commorro, the stunt directors
from London, and Suresh Malhotra, the Bangalore distributor,
who played host to the crew during its stay in the city.
tone of the book is hagiographic, as the author keeps singing
the praise of those involved in the making of the film,
particularly director Ramesh Sippy and producer G.P. Sippy.
However, it doesn’t seem out of place when one considers
that Indian cinema has never seen anything like "Sholay".
It is a masterpiece which has been repeatedly copied, more
often than not badly, but never equalled, not even by the man
who made it.
A remarkable thing about the
book is that it enhances the magical appeal of the movie.
After reading it, one feels an irresistible urge to watch and
appreciate the film yet again. Go ahead then, rediscover the
24-carat classic called "Sholay".
historic schism in India
Review by Ivninderpal
Narrative of Communal Politics: Uttar Pradesh, 1937-39, by
Salil Misra. Sage Publications, New Delhi. Pages 362. Rs 295.
is a modern phenomenon, rooted in the modern social, economic,
political and colonial structure. It emerged out of politics
based on mass mobilisation and popular participation.
India, communalism evolved through three broad stages. The
first stage was "communal nationalism" in which
people belonging to different religious communities had
similar secular interests — that is, all matters which had
nothing to do with religion affected all of them equally. The
next stage was "liberal communalism", in which
communities had different interests in secular spheres
(economic and political).
And the final
stage was "extreme communalism" in which religious
communities not only had different secular interests but these
were also incompatible and antagonistic to each other. Thus,
the communal problem had been motivated more by politics than
pre-partition India, the two major religious communities were
Hindus and Muslims and their interests were advocated by the
Hindu Mahasabha and the Muslim League. Being a party of a
minority community in India, the Muslim League (formed in 1906
at Dhaka) tried to get concessions for the Muslims.
communal response by the majority community which set up
militant organisations like the Hindu Mahasabha (established
in 1915) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS established
Chandra says, "The modern political consciousness was
late in developing among the Muslims. The Hindus and Muslims
fought shoulder to shoulder during the revolt of 1857, but the
latter asked for a separate homeland in 1940." This
explanation of a time "lag" between the
socio-economic development between the Hindus and the Muslims
became a widely accepted theory among historians.
opens with a brief description of early 20th century events
related to the growth of communal politics. The author
discusses instances when the Congress and the Muslim League
interacted, sometimes amicably (as at the signing of the
Lucknow Pact in 1916) and sometimes with hostility, for
instance, at the all-party conference in 1928.
The stage for
developments during the period 1937-39 was set with the
promulgation of the Government of India Act, 1935, which was
formulated after the series of round table conferences (RTCs).
Federation at the Centre and autonomy in the provinces were
the main feature of the Act. But this Act gave extraordinary
powers to the Governor. Paragraph VIII of the Instrument of
Instructions of the Government of India Act, 1935, provided
the Governor with the power to "act otherwise than in
accordance with the advice of his Ministers". And the
removal of this feature later became the major demand of the
Congress for joining the ministries.
Pradesh, there was a triangular contest for power between the
Congress, the Muslim League and landlords. The Act also
increased the franchise manifold, thus many tenants also got
the franchise which was opposed by the landlords. Nominated
representation was also completely withdrawn from the
provincial Assembles and was replaced by representation
through elections. Thus a landlord-tenant conflict was bound
to develop. Moreover, the Congress also launched a no-rent
campaign against the landlords. All these factors led to the
growth of class consciousness among the landlords regardless
of the religion they professed.
victory, a debate started within the Congress on whether to
accept the proposal to form a government or not. As the Act
was to come into operation from April 1, 1937, the Nawab of
Chhatari, the leader of NAPs (National Agriculturist Parties),
was invited to form his Cabinet. He accepted the offer. But
finally by May-June, the Congress accepted to form a Ministry.
The formation of the government by the Congress thus set the
ball rolling for the events with long-term consequences for
both the Congress and the Muslim League.
to create a separate identity for the League, different from
the Congress and the British, as he was not ready to accept a
satellite status on Indian political scene. And this confusion
was finally laid to rest at the annual session of the League
in Lucknow in October, 1937, where the League leadership
asserted its identity as distinct from that of both the
British government and the Congress. At Lucknow, Jinnah
demonstrated what was meant by the third force and declared
that full independence was the political objective of the
League. And the author opines that from here the League
started chartering a "politically independent communal
course for itself". So now the League was not fighting
for concessions as in the 1920s but wanted an independent
recognition and it formally demanded a separate homeland in
author has claimed that his work is not intended to be an
explanation for the partition of India, still many times
indirect references have been made. Moreover, it is very
difficult to describe the struggle for power between Hindus
and Muslims and partition in two water-tight compartments.
The author admits that a lot
of research work has been done on the political history of
Uttar Pradesh and it is very difficult to be new and original.
Still he has attempted to give the topic a different angle.
However, the book will be beneficial more to a researcher than
to a common reader.
as they really taught
Review by M. L. Sharma
Philosophy of Guru Nanak Dev Ji by Amrit Kaur Raina. Lok Geet
Prakashan, Chandigarh. Pages 136. Rs 125.
educational philosophy of Guru Nanak Dev occupies the foremost
position. He is the beacon light. Although the mind of a pupil
has great powers, it blossoms with the help of a real teacher.
"The gems, the jewels, the rubies are in the mind. If one
were to find them should hearken to the Guru’s call, ‘tis
who giveth to each and all (on Him, on Him, O let me call)/Yea
in the guru’s words are the jewel’s (of wisdom)/And
whosoever seeketh findeth these’."
educational system, even the latest one, there is stress on
the predominant role of a teacher. He is seleced if he fulfils
the requisite conditions set by universities or academic
bodies but according to the first Sikh Guru, a teacher has a
challenging task as "only the guidance of the guru
imparts light and restores confidence. It offers direction and
purpose to one’s life". The role of a teacher is not
only to impart education but also to inculcate social and
civic virtues so that the pupil with a fully developed
personality is able to lead a disciplined life and is ready to
do selfless service to mankind.
physical development, moral uplift and spiritual regeneration
are possible through the institution of a worthy teacher or
guru. About the challenging role of a teacher or guru the
first Guru says,"When the true guru is merciful/ faith is
perfected/ When the true guru is merciful/ There is no grief/
When the true guru is merciful/ Nine treasures of nam are
obtained. The true guru helps the disciple to overcome his
weakness. The guru is an ocean, a mine of jewels," from
whom are abtained the five blessings of truth, contentment,
compassion, dharma and patience. He calls the teacher
under review is by Amrit Kaur Raina, who holds a doctorate
degree in education. She has done extensive studies in the
field and her first book "Educational Philosophy of the
Sikh Gurus" was well received by educationists. The book
offers a kaleidoscopic view of the Sikh philosophy and only
four chapters out of 11 deal with the actual subject. In the
fifth chapter she focuses on the concept and aims of
education, in the sixth on curriculum, in the seventh on
methods of education, and in the eighth on the role of a
the author, Guru Nanak’s conception of education is not
one-sided as it encompasses the entire vista of man’s life
on the earth. The Guru has said, "That teacher alone is
educated/who enlightens his mind with divine knowledge/Through
right reflection in a spontaneous way."
attainment of self-realisation and enlightenment, education is
incomplete. An educated person, according to the Guru, is one
who wears the garland of Ram nam. Ram stands for
all-pervading universal spirit and nam for truth, life,
joy, beauty, purity, righteousness and heroism. It is,
therefore, as the writer would like to impress upon the
reader, (Ram nam is a special word with an implication
of right education leading to self-realisation which is the
ultimate goal of life:The aim of education is thus to
liberate. This view has been upheld by Gandhi, Vivekananda and
is ridiculed by the first Sikh guru in the words he spoke to
Dharam Das, a Kashmiri Sanskrit scholar: "We may read and
read books/ And fill carts with their loads./....Yet, says
Nanak./That all our education will be a mere prattle of
ego/unless we realise the philosopy of unity of God through
it." It is a paradox that the Guru with no formal
education has played a vital role in spreading education, just
like Prophet Muhammad, Akbar the Great and Kabir.
fundamental principles of the Guru’s educational system are
(i) knowledge is strength; (ii) knowledge leads to wisom and
insight; (iii) knowledge elevates mind, body and soul; (iv)
knowledge of virtue; (v) wisom leads to spiritual
consciousness; (vi) education as unfolding of potentialities;
(vii) formation of character and influsion of piety; (viii)
cultural, emotional and aesthetic development; (ix) physical
development; and, (x) education for harmonious development.
chapter, "The curriculum" the writer deals with the
contents of education, which embody the following: (1)
religious and moral education; (2) teaching of mother tongue;
(3) study of arithmetic and book-keeping; (4) music and
poetry; (5) physical education; (6) manual labour, art and
crafts and; (7) informal programme.
schools attached to gurdwara followed this syllabus but with
the chaging time there was expansion with a wider programme.
Guru Har Gobind was imparted knowledge in astronomy,
agriculture, administration and other sciences. With the
establishment of seats of education at Anandpur Sahib and
Damdama Sahib in the time of the 10th Guru, teaching courses
comprised a study of Sanskrit, Punjabi, literature,
philosophy, politics, astronomy, mathematics and literary
criticism. Guru Gobind Singh was well-read and had studied all
these subjects. He was a literary genius and a great
chapter, "Methods of education" , she shows how
education was imparted. To adult students, the methods
employed included kirtan, telling stories addressing
congregations, fairs and festivals, adapting dramatic
techniques and employing a sense of humour, discussion and
debate, quest and inquiry, psychological studies, etc.
Children’s education had a different pattern. The methods of
education included oral-cum-memorisation, poetry and songs,
recitation and repetition, monitorial system and
In the 10th
chapter she sheds light on the concepts which are even today
accepted and followed by the modern educational system. These
are humanism, idealism, pragmatism, naturalism and realism.
Guru Nanak Dev had laid
stress on the unity of godhood and he had been the most
secular and universal in his approach to life. He enunciated
the principles of true education and was averse to the
prevalent social practices of isolation and ceremonial
imparting of education. In those days and till recently the
doors to the Vedas were closed to the lower caste Hindus but
the Guru showed to people the path of equality by stressing on
universal brotherhood. He was a protagonist of value-based
education inseparable from ethics and a quest for spiritual
life. The Guru was a fearless person who donning the dress of
a Hindu sadhu and a Muslim darvesh trodded even the untrodden
path, including the holy Mecca and went through the whole
length and breadth of the country, teaching unity of godhead,
raising his voice against oppression, tyranny, formalism and
too much stress on ritualism in religious practice.
of transition in
Review by Jawahar Lal
Business Systems in Developing Countries edited by Gurli
Jakobsen and Jens Erik Torp. Sage Publications, New Delhi.
Pages 260. Rs 225.
book focuses on the development of market economies in
industrialising countries in Africa and Asia. Although many of
these countries have adopted similar state-led
industrialisation policies over the past four or five decades,
there have been significant differences in the organisation
and role of the state across these economies that have
together led to contrasting kinds of market arrangements.
these differences and the process generating distinct patterns
of economic coordination and control, most contributions have
used parts of the comparative business systems framework.
aims at contrasting and elaborating these approaches to the
study of contemporary business transformations and
developments in the South in order to re-examine critically
the business system approach as an appropriate theoretical
framework which can help us further understand the dynamics
and trajectories of the private sector in the developing
companies in developing countries have come to play a
prominent role following the greater say given to marked
forces. The contributors to this volume challenge the
assumptions of classical business economics about the
universal nature of the firm. They show that the embeddedness
of firms in the larger social context of nations impacts on
their ability and ways of adjusting to current forms of
theoretical approach highlighted in this book is the concept
of a "business" system as defined by Richard Whitley
and his associates. Whitley defines business systems as
particular arrangements of hierarchy — market relations
which become institutionalised and relatively successful in
particular contexts. This approach assumes that there is a way
economic actors are organised which are characteristic of and
peculiar to a given country or region.
the purpose and nature of the comparative business system
framework, Whitley underlines its intention to describe
significant differences in the market economics and explains
them in terms of variations in the nature of dominant social
there are important differences between market economies in
terms of: (a) the overall level of organisational integration
of economic activities; (b) the extent to which such
integration is achieved through ownership-based hierarchies;
(c) through alliances and networks between ownership-based
units; and (d) whether coalitions and agreements between firms
are predominantly personal or organisational, fragmented
business systems are endemic in many developing economies.
important feature of many developing economies is their
dependence on international agencies and companies. The
economies discussed here have mostly been more open to foreign
direct investment by multinational companies. All these points
have been highlighted in this book.
economy is becoming more genuinely competitive. Management in
large firms is often hierarchical, centralised with some
gestures in the direction of Japan. Decision-making is
decentralised among small and medium enterprises and forms of
cooperative networking or flexible specialisation are emerging
market is polarised and is likely to remain so far a long
time. A large part of the workforce is well educated with
access to training or experience with new technologies and has
bright prospects and rising incomes.
The impact of
liberalisation on Indian business has been modest. The economy
is opened to imports. This raises the quality of Indian goods
and helps to make them more competitive in world markets.
Multinational companies are welcome, but are feeling their way
cautiously in the new environment. There is still widespread
suspicion of them.
all these aspects Mark Holmstrom presents an analysis of
Indian business conditions. His is a theoretical dilemma that
is valid for several of the less developed countries which
have combined a strong state planning of national economic
life with a capitalist market economy and gone through
liberalisation of economic restructuring in recent years.
organisation characteristics of the Indonesian "Jamu"
industry reflect the mutually reinforcing nature of three key
social institutions; authority, trust and the state. The high
degree of centralisation and personalisation of authority in
Indonesian society apparently does legitimise the
peternalistic behaviour of "Jamu" firms towards
their weaker business partners.
is the Javanese name for a wide range of herbal medicines. It
can be used as a cure for several ailments, but people also
use it as a stimulant, health restorer, cosmetic or
aphrodisiac. The "Jamu" industry is based on
traditional knowledge about the healing power of herbs and
both the wide variety and availability of raw material in
days, the receipes for "Jamu" were secret and only
shared among medicine men and royal families. Nowadays, there
are thousands of street vendors and shops that sell either
industrially produced or home-made "Jamu".
this industry was not taken very seriously earlier, at present
it is receiving greater attention. The results of the author’s
analysis of the market organisation in "Jamu"
industry show that long-term relations in this industry are
common but also that these relations are not cooperative in
chapter Peter Wad has considered important contributions to
the business system debate and then applied a dynamic sector
business approach based on the triple explanatory logic of
business, institutions and international business actors
(transnational corporations) aiming for an understanding of
the changing Malaysian auto industry and its potential as a
business proposition for the overall Malaysian economy.
Malaysian auto industry indicates that state-led construction
of a national business system challenges and is challenged by
domestic and international force not least private domestic
and transnational firms. In order to grasp this dynamic,
Whitley’s business system approach needs to be expanded and
deals with the Korean electronic industry. Dieterernst points
out that nothing is predetermined about the impact of
globalisation. The author says that the main determination of
firm behaviour is competitive dynamics and not national
origin. By choosing an evolutionery perspective, the author
discards some popular misconceptions. This applied in
particular to Whitley’s comparative-static theory of
national business systems.
Olav Jull and
John Kuada examine the impact of different national contexts
on international business relations based on an African case
study. The essay centres on the study of the institutional
context for internationalisation of Ghanaian firms. The
foundational concepts of this essay are
"interaction" and "perception". The
authors advocate that individual and shared perceptions
established through daily interactions are among the critical
factors that shape the dynamics of business systems and the
economic growth capabilities that they generate. Ghana being
another case of a semi-planned economy becoming liberalised,
this research also give evidence of how extremely difficult it
is to repair the damage and restore mutual confidence in
government business relations when they have been
characterised by mutual suspicion and discontent over several
Firms in the
private sector of developing countries are increasingly seen
as the main drivers of development dynamics. However, local
structures and global integration constitute major challenges
for such an endeavour. The last chapter "Firms in the
South" has discussed how the business system approach can
be applied to the development of private sector business in
developing countries and examined how an international
perspective contributes to explaining the formation and
operation of business in a world of global economic
activities. The recent economic crisis in Asia has
fundamentally shaken the belief that the business systems of
the region were stable and could produce continuous growth.
The crisis demonstrated how the global financial system had
deeply penetrated into local business, flooding local firms
with cheap but short-term and mobile credit in foreign
The strength of using the
business system approach in developing countries is that it
moves the debate of industrialisation in developing countries
away from the stereotype in which industrialisation is seen as
a universal process with fixed policy recommendations. The
approach focuses attention on the specific social and
institutional formations and thereby follows the present
trends in other areas of development studies. The business
systems in developing countries must be studied using a
framework that considers the international aspects: external
actors, markets and institutions.
in the name of Buddha
Review by B.S. Thaur
Meditation by B.S. Tyagi. Pages 128. Rs 70.
recently meditation was considered to be the domain of Bhagva
cult only. If you look a little deeper into our history, your
thoughts would go to the hills conjuring up images of holymen
in their loin cloth sitting and praying in hermitages.
However, nowadays "meditation" has been brought out
from the places of God and other sanctified confines. Even
yoga in which meditation is an important part, has various
techniques in several schools by different teachers and
acharyas. They are included in the curriculum of known and
schools as modern as the Doon School.
sessions by boys and girls in their bright dresses are a
common feature in TV programmes. In fact, the development in
medical research, a rational approach to life and, above all,
the pace of modernity have changed the meaning of meditation.
It is now used to cure the stress and strains of life rather
than as a route to reach God.
sessions, apart from being held in city parks, are also
recommended in offices to be practised during the lunch
recess. Recently a well-known hotel in Goa arranged meditation
sessions after it found that the guests were exhausted after
day-long merry making. Interestingly, the merrymakers were
"singles", 25 each of both sexes converting into
"twos" converged from different parts of the
has even gone to the jail. A social organisation has held
meditation classes for prisoners in the Patiala jail to help
defuse their tension and mould their thinking.
In the thin
volume under review the author has tried to explain the
Vipassana type of meditation. Vipassana is a Pali language
word, the equivalent of Vipashyana in Sanskrit, which means
seeing deeply inwards, to see things not as they appear but as
they really are. The author avers that Vipashyana finds a
mention in the Rigved. However, reinitiation of the Vipassana
type of meditation he attributes to Gautama the Buddha
(chapter 3) as the one way to achieve nirvana (emancipation).
The book is
divided into eight chapters and the first three deal with the
terms and techniques of meditation (Vipassana). The other
chapters tell us about the life of the Buddha, his experiences
and teachings. The spell of Buddhism appears all pervasive
throughout the book which gently and latently tends to induce
the reader interested in learning the technique of meditation
to become a believer in Buddhism.
insight and flow of language come easily to the author despite
the fact that the narration is interspersed with terms in the
Pali language. The narrative also attests to the knowledge and
involvement of the author in Buddha dharma as he has dedicated
the book to his acharya in Buddhism.
invasion of western culture and economic stringencies in every
walk of life have increased the incidence of mental, emotional
and physical stress and strain. The prohibitive cost of
medicines and heavy doctor fees are compelling people,
particularly the middle and lower middle classes, to seek
natural remedies like yoga, of which meditation is a vital
The appeal of
this book is therefore wide. If the reader is interested in
Buddhism, he or she will be doubly blessed — learning
meditation and also becoming a follower of the Buddha.
his interest is only in meditation, the chances are that the
reader may be scared away because the book essentially drips
with the Buddha’s teaching of which meditation can be said
to be an initiation rite.
At least in
this part of the country except the Dalai Lama’s camp in
Dharamsala (Himachal) and one or two centres in Delhi,
Buddhism is almost non-existent and Vedantic type of
meditation in one form or the other is popular and in that
many publications in the form of booklets, meditation sessions
and discourses by known swamis and their shishyas have sprung
up, which are moderately received in cities and towns to seek
solace and peace out of their sick life style laden with
emotional, mental and physical stress and strain.
interesting do’s and don’ts for meditators which could be
useful in all types of meditations brought out by the author
are: spending too much time in meditation at the cost of one’s
duties to the family, society, employer or himself may add
misery to his life. "Meditation should be done with grace
and thankfulness, not as a drill."
is the search for inner strength, it should not degenerate
into an ego-building practice which leads to spiritual
should not try and learn anapana or any other
meditation, certainly not Vipashyana by reading this or any
other book. The proper thing to do is to attend a ten-day
course at a Vipashyana camp under qualified teachers."
With a view
to elaborating the objective of meditation and the Buddha’s
teachings, the author has not hesitated in borrowing
quotations of Swami Vivekananda, Krishna from the Bhagvad Gita.
Mohd Iqbal, the poet is referred to while explaining the term
"renunciation" of the Buddha, thus: wa-iz-kamal-e-tark
se milti hai yan murad/Duniya jo chhor di hai to ugba bhi
chhorde ("Oh, preacher! one gets the final goal here
by extreme renunciation. It is not enough to leave the world,
leave the desire to get to heaven also".
while describing "the Buddha and Buddhism", the
author has brought out certain aspects vis-a-vis Hinduism
though with a positive intention but it may not please
hard-liners in Buddhism and Hinduism alike. "Hindus have
accepted the Buddha as the ninth avtar of Vishnu. They
have thus placed him in the category of Krishna, Rama and
Parshurama thereby giving his being a mythological colour...
Sidhartha Gautam belonged to the Vedic dharma, the Sanatan
dharma, which the modern term Hindu appropriately signifies...
Although he did not support the theory of transmigration of
the soul, the Brahmins whose pre-eminent position depended
upon this theory had no hesitation in accepting him as their
teacher. Many of the most distinguished members of his order
were Brahmins. The Buddha did not deny or denounce the theory
about the soul. He just refused to say anything on it."
has this to say: "We should never forget that Gautama was
born and brought up and lived and died a Hindu. His teaching,
far-reaching and original as it was, and really subversive of
the religion of the day, was Indian throughout. Without the
intellectual work of his predecessors, his own work, however
original, would have been impossible... we need only claim
that he was the greatest, wisest and the best of Hindus."
So much regarding Hinduism.
the author in the context of Buddhism states: "It seems
undeniably true that in whatever part the population was
largely Buddhist, the Muslim invaders had comparatively easier
task in capturing and proslytising its people. Perhaps the
argument that patriotism and nationalism in India can only be
Hindu patriotism and Hindu nationalism has some weight.... The
followers of the three great religions of the world, Hinduism,
Islam and Buddhism, have three different attitudes towards
nationalism and patriotism. To the Hindus, it is geography
that has given them this name... To the Muslims, there is only
one passion, one bond — Islam. If nationalism and patriotism
clash with it, these should be sacrificed... He cites a
couplet of Mohd Iqbal. To the Buddhists, nationalism and
patriotism are too mundane a matter which found no use in the
teachings of the Buddha. Man’s concern is to eradicate his vikaras
and seek nirvana and not waste time in these
views of the author on patriotism of Hindus are contested by
learned analysts who hold that nationalism and patriotism have
political intent and spirituality is incompatible with it. In
the context of the demand for Indianisation of Islam and
Christianity by a section of Hindu enthusiasts, the author’s
views become debatable these days.
On the whole, this small book
is a succinct and lucid narration of the Buddha and Buddhism.
here and there, then and now
Review by Bimal Bhatia
India laugh by M.S.N. Menon. Reliance Publishing House, New
Delhi. Pages 165. Rs 250.
writing sells more than other serious subjects," our mass
communication professor advised during the period on feature
writing many moons ago. That is one piece of wisdom all
journalists will readily nod at.
As the editor
extended this book towards me, that bit of homily on writing
in lighter vein came back. M.S.N. Menon’s is a familiar
byline for readers of The Tribune. Menon had his early
education in Kerala and later in England, where he specialised
in economics. But his heart was in the human condition, which
drew him towards Marxism and journalism. His foray into the
world of satire was short-lived. He has since been writing on
international affairs and economics on which he has authored
This book is
a compilation of Menon’s writings and poems, 47 pieces in
all. And though not all the poems in it are satirical, the
author avers that poems are more suitable for expressing
rat race" has Menon taking a dig at Indians consumed by
the passion to possess. Money never made a man happy ever. But
no man’s credit in heaven is as good as his cash here. And
if you want to come by cash, know that the two cannot go
together — honesty and cash. You have to give up honesty.
The Greek god Hermes, messenger of gods, was patron of both,
traders and thieves. They go together.
But not all
of us can have the patronage of the good god Hermes, for most
of us are not in trading and thieving. How do you make a
success of your profession? There is only one way: you must
create your own patron saint, says the author.
you to the land of Yahoos, a la Gulliver, and spoofs the Hindu
karma theory, caste system and philosophy. "The
Yahoo must have a woman for his delight, and he must have a
son to continue this delight. It is, therefore, the duty of
every male among the Yahoos to produce sons to prevent a break
in the chain... Which is why they kill their female children
if there are too many of them."
More of this:
"The Yahoo marriages are arranged by parents. No love
marriages are allowed among them. Karma plays a great role
among Yahoos. So also the horoscope. If ever a donkey was born
to carry the load of the washer-woman till eternity, here is
one which will take it willingly and gladly and attribute its
good luck to its karma."
between are chapters on forms of humour and satire, the
purpose of satire, history of Sanskrit humour and satire, and
humour and satire in vernacular languages. These contain
useful material for those who want to understand the
theoretical aspects of humour and delve into a spot of such
The true end
of satire, says Dryden, is the "amendment of vice".
To Johnson, the end of satire was to "censure wickedness
and folly".To Daniel Defoe, the end was reformation of
man. Jonathan Swift, the greatest of satirists, says:
"The chief end I propose to myself in all my labour is to
vex the world than divert it."
that Swift was nearer the truth; for the end of satire, unlike
that of humour, is not to divert people, but to
"vex" them, to purge their evil through ridicule,
and to affront the tyrants. This is why great satires came to
be written in times of great oppression or folly. The 17th
century was such an age in England, and it was an age of all
great satires. The Restoration was an era full of anger and
Evil is a
constant in society and satire has a perennial role. Apart
from a few exceptions, it is a pity India has denied itself
this powerful weapon to quell the evil in society, rues the
author. In India, satire became part of the dramatic
tradition, but the main aim of Indian drama was to divert the
people, not to vex them.
Walpole says that life is a comedy to a man who thinks, and a
tragedy to one who feels. Only when feelings begin to hurt,
satire is born. And a great satire is born only when thinking
and feeling combine in an explosive mix.
Satire is not
always the outcome of moral indignation, as is often the
claim. Other factors also play a part. Dryden and Pope were
motivated by hatred. Others might have been outraged by
injustice, hypocrisy and wrongdoing. Orwell’s
"1984" was inspired by hatred of the system that
denied freedom and dignity to man. Great satire, according to
J. Wight Duff, must be universal. "It transcends the
limits of its own period by virtue of its truth to human
nature," he says.
satire is a salutary correction to our blind faiths. But
people given to blind faiths cannot produce satirists.
Happily, we are not among them. India has a long tradition of
critical enquiry, Menon says.
three pages are the forms of humour and satire: parody,
travesty, burlesque, wit, ridicule, irony, sarcasm, cynicism,
sardonic, invective and so on.
Irony can be
mild and ferocious. Swift’s "Modest proposal" was
a fierce irony. In that he proposed a cure for the growing
population of Ireland by systematically carving up the
children for the tables of the wealthy. "Will any Indian
editor even today dare to publish such a satire?" the
Erotica is a
highly controversial area, but sex has been funny throughout
the ages and in all countries. It is also frowned upon. So
erotica can produce both humour and satire, Menon says. There
is a vast collection of pornographic, obscene, bawdy and
erotic literature in Greek, Latin and English. Erotica was,
however, not "popular", though it sold furtively
more than other forms of literature. But in India, erotica
played an important role in the life of people, high or low.
The locale of
many bawdy stories was Italy, just as many of the bawdy plays
in Sanskrit had their locale in Varanasi and Ujjain. One
cannot help admire Menon’s erudition, mainly when he details
the history of Sanskrit humour and satire. which can be traced
back to the Vedas.
of wit, humour and satire in Sanskrit literature were rather
stock characters, as in almost all civilisations. In Sanskrit
they were first of all priests (Hindu, Jain and Buddhist) and
mendicants. Then there were prostitutes (courtesans), kings
and courtiers, generals, hypocrites, kayasthas (civil
servants), doctors, merchants and many others. But in each age
different people came into prominence. In our times it is the
politician, Menon says.
constantly been the butt of riducule by our writers and
thinkers. Bhartrihari describes women as "a tornado of
problems, an abode of mischief, a city of impetuosities, a
vessel of sins, a field of doubts, ...a snare to all who
live." Menon can’t recall a satirist who had a good
word for women.
Does the feminist brigade see
a challenge in the field of satire to undo this wrong?
A very biased view
by Jaspal Singh of my book in Punjabi ("Jin Prem
Kiyo") carried in the Sunday Tribune of 29.4.2001 is not
only derogatory but is full of uncalled for, out of text and
out of context insinuations of the reviewer aimed at slighting
heading"Neurosis as spring of contemplative poetry"
is disparaging: the totally uncalled for statement after
statement reeking of vilificatory intent has compelled me to
write this rejoinder.
First of all,
let me introduce myself to the readers of The Tribune. I am
the recipient of National Sahitya Academy Award for my poetry
as also the Shiromani Kavi Awardee of the year 1999. I am the
author of seven collections of poetry. The reviewer does not
seem to be aware that "Uneeda Vartman" won for me
the prestigious Sahitya Academy Award. But the reviewer
strangely makes no mention of this book which has remained
prescribed for MA Punjabi classes in Delhi University for the
past 14 years. A number of Ph.D and M.Phil theses have been
written on my poetry. My book "Savitri" has been
included in the masterpiece of Indian literature by the
National Book Trust of India.
"Jin Prem Kiyo" has been prescribed for M.Phil
classes in Delhi University. I have been teaching psychology
to college students for the past 25 years. I have done Ph.D
research on "A study of personality, self-perception,
alienation, anomie and values of hundred creative writers of
Now I come to
the review itself.The review says that "if she were not a
poet, she would have been in a lunatic asylum". Now the
use of very word "lunatic asylum" is highly
defamatory and uncalled for, particularly with reference to a
person of my calibre who has won recognition for her work at
state, national and international levels. Further, the
reviewer must know that nemesis cannot by itself produce good
poetry. Creativity is not a byproduct of neurosis or the
consequence of it.Rather it is the very opposite mental
condition which gives birth to durable poetry.
reviewer should know that I have a good grip not only on my
poetry but also on my life and my subject of teaching
psychology. Wherefrom the reviewer has discovered my neurosis?
It could at best be the manifestation of his own dream work as
he himself seems to be seriously suffering from lack of
critical ability and poetic sensibility, from where creativity
reviewer writes: "Her neurosis is manifested more
prominently when she compares herself with God". But the
lines he quotes by way of illustrating his point nowhere say
so as I am talking here of creativity and not of comparing
myself with God. So the reviewer has manufactured his
statement with a clear bias in his mind, again an evidence of
his myopic vision.
Prem Kiyo" is a long poem on the theme centring around
the journey of self in this world. This journey which is more
in the nature of Odyssey is a long and arduous one: Full of varag
leading through self-realisation to redemption of self.
So this poem
is about a spiritual journey rather than a temporal one.
Obviously the reviewer is not competent enough to do justice
to contemplative poetry as his so-called progressivism stands
in the way of doing so.
In the end, I
would like to say that it was quite easy for the reviewer to
plant his own motives to the text on the plea of decoding the
text but the fact remains that the gap between what the text
intends and what the reviewer has made it to say has on the
contrary, widened the gap which makes the whole task of the
review a mockery.
Words as metaphors
reaction to my literary analysis of "Jin Prem Kiyo"
by Manjit Tiwana makes interesting reading, particularly in
the light of the uncalled for pulls and pressures exerted by
the author to get a write-up about her poetry published in
these columns. She in fact specifically wanted herself to be
interviewed by this writer because of the critical objectivity
which this column is known for. She even visited the reviewer’s
house a couple of times once with a senior staffer for this
consideration. Apart from this, she rang me up several times
for the favour of a review.
Well, this is
besides the point. As far as the present review is concerned
about 80 per cent of the text of the review is a faithful
English rendering of the Punjabi text as given by the poet in
her introduction of the book and in the poem itself. She is
particularly piqued at the use of the word
"neurosis" used in the headline and the words,
"If she were not a poet, she would have been in a lunatic
asylum". She claims that "poetry is more important
than breathing" for her, this means she would have died
had she not written poetry. I think the question of any
journey to the asylum does not arise. "Lunatic
asylum" is a conditional assumption which could have
"happened" if at all it was to happen had she not
been a poet.
Since she is
a poet and a "great one" she should not have any
fear of such a thing. The use of the word "neurosis"
has not been made in a clinical sense. I hope as a
psychologist Manjit Tiwana must have read Michel Foucault’s
"Madness and Civilisation" and Freud’s "Civilisation
and its Discontents". She must also be aware of Freud’s
concept of "sublimation" which is very important for
the creative process for channelising one’s anarchic
instinctive energy (neurosis) into socially acceptable forms
like poetry and so on.
I think she
must also be aware of Jacques Lacan’s concept of
"lack" and its role in feminine creativity and also
of Jacques Derrida’s concept of "difference" and
the "gap" between the "ideal" and the
"real". I have used the term neurosis in this
post-modern sense which a psychologist must be conversant
with. Even otherwise, no creative writer, painter, sculptor,
dancer, musician and so on is free from some deviation from
the "norm" or he/she is not a poet or a painter at
I hope Manjit
Tiwana remembers what Plato says about poets in his
"Republic". He believes that when they compose poems
they are possessed by the Muses and, therefore, are not in
their right sort of mind. Hence he banishes all poets from his
Well, I do
not subscribe to Plato’s views here; nevertheless, I do
believe that all creators whatever be their field are in some
way "distractors", "deviators" or at least
"different" from the ordinary normal people or they
are not creators at all and in that case they should give up
Once a work
of literature is released, the author loses all control over
it. Technically it is called the "liberation of the
text". After this, it belongs to the reader since it is
carried by language which is a social institution. The author
has no right to engineer the reader’s response. The words
and sentences used in the discourse have their own semantic
logic in a specific socio-cultural mechanism.
Therefore, the terms used in
this write-up are absolutely innocuous. There is no intention
to run down the author. In fact she has been given more
exposure both visually and textually then much greater writers
have ever got.