The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, November 10, 2002

The real and the fabulous
Shelley Walia
HE novel moves continuously from the fairy tale to animal fiction to philosophy and, most of all, religion, a macro-genre consisting of a blend of literary traditions that lie buried in the reader's mind and which evoke varying responses. Philosophical questions concerning freedom, human quest, heroism and fate often intermingle with the extraordinary.

Celebrating the vision of Gurdial Singh
I.D. Gaur

Earthy Tones
by Gurdial Singh, translated into English by Rana Nayar. Fiction House, New Delhi.
Pages 130. Rs 95.

T is easier to translate the discourse of a critic than the "speech" of a specific cultural space. Aware of it, Rana Nayar has translated 14 short stories of Gurdial Singh, the celebrated fiction writer of the Malwa region of Punjab, under the title Earthy Tones. In the introduction he rightly states: "Often the local idiom is so deeply embedded in the cultural layers that any attempt at a simple rendering could, at best, turn into a contradiction or reduction and at worst, a deflection, if not a total loss of meaning."

Intellectuals’ look at trends that will dominate the
21st century

D. R. Chaudhry

India: Another Millennium?
edited by Romila Thapar. Penguin Books, New Delhi. Pages XXXI + 318. Rs 250

IME is a continuum. It flows like a stream. The manmade division of time into past, present and future is for our convenience and the same has no rationale in nature that admits no such divisions. The question mark after the subtitle (Another Millennium?) of the book under review is a pointer to this. Mankind has entered into a new millennium with the end of 20th century. However, what is "another" or "new" about this? Yet the division has its utility in terms of evaluating the past that provides a springboard to peep into the future and make hazardous guesses about it.


To laugh or to cry…this is India!
Bhavana Pankaj

Laugh All the Way to The Vote Bank
by Pamela Philipose. Penguin. Pages 119. Rs 150

can’t say if I have laughed all the way as I read the book over a fortnight, but I certainly began with a wail and a whoop. The very first chapter that introduces the reader to the political city of Indiaprastha brims with such unrelenting bulk that it leaves you crushed under its weight. "Even the veneer of democracy, this business of being voted in by the people through elections conducted every once in a while, got subsumed by an insatiable and instinctive drive to subjugate and augment." Or gasping for breath. "If it did it would, indeed, not have been Indiaprastha, busy, ever busy, snuffling in the dingles of the present, imagining as it has always done that the future is its own to colonize." Phew!

What it takes to be human
Deepika Gurdev

In the Pond
by Ha Jin. Vintage. Pages 178. $12 (Singapore)..

a Jin won the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award for his second novel, Waiting. He could just as easily have won those for In the Pond, an equally stunning tale of everyday life in China during the Cultural Revolution. Set in Dismount Fort, a locale that Jin has explored in other stories, In the Pond is a slim book that takes on some very big issues. These cover power, vanity, art, injustice and politics. The book is set in Communist China and its hero is the simple Shao Bin. He’s a maintenance employee at Harvest Fertilizer Plant by day and a self-taught artist who transforms into a skilled calligrapher by night.

Write view
On Gandhi, Gujarat and politico-religious equations
Randeep Wadehra

Religion and Politics in India
by Anupama Arya. K.K. Publications, Delhi. Pages: x+286. Rs. 495.

HERE was a time when religion and statecraft were inseparable. In the West, clash of interests between the Church and the State led to the separation of religion from politics. This trend was strengthened by the appearance of secular and socialist thought processes with the advent of modern times. In India there was little consciousness of religious-nationalist identity among the masses till the dawn of the British rule.

The central bank as a facilitator of economic policy
B. S. Ghuman

The Role and Contribution of Reserve Bank of India in Financing of Indian
Industry: Its Impact on Growth
by Dr. Laxman Singh Sharma, Modern Publishers, New Delhi. Pages 267. Rs 550.
THE Central Bank of a country is amongst the top-ranking institutions of economic governance. In most countries, including India, this institution has been directed to play the new role of a facilitator in consonance with changing contours of economic policy. The Role and Contribution of Reserve Bank of India in Financing of Indian Industry: Its Impact on Growth authored by Laxman Singh Sharma is thus very timely.

What Vedic India can teach world
Yogesh Snehi

India: What can it teach us?
by F. Max Muller. Rupa & Co. Pages 189. Rs 150.

HE book is a collection of seven lectures on India and its ancient philosophy delivered by Max Muller at Cambridge University. These lectures were given to the candidates for the Indian Civil Service (ICS). While they took the study of Greek and Latin and its philosophy, art and laws keenly, Sanskrit and its philosophy, art and laws were considered useless and tedious.

All about swimming in India
R. K. Ohri

The Story of Swimming
by K. R. Wadhwaney. Publications Division (Ministry of Information and Broadcasting), Government of India. Pages 329. Rs 195.

OT many may be aware that K. R. Wadhwaney, a prolific cricket writer, is also very knowledgeable on swimming. During his younger days, while at Lucknow, he coached swimming at the famous Jasbir Singh Boat House on the Gomati. Subsequently, though cricket no doubt preoccupied him, he maintained his intimate link with swimming.