November 10, 2002
real and the fabulous
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.
the vision of Gurdial Singh
by Gurdial Singh, translated into English by Rana Nayar. Fiction
House, New Delhi. Pages 130. Rs 95.
IT 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."
look at trends that will dominate the
D. R. Chaudhry
India: Another Millennium?
edited by Romila Thapar. Penguin Books, New Delhi. Pages XXXI + 318.
TIME 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!
Laugh All the Way to The Vote Bank
by Pamela Philipose. Penguin. Pages 119. Rs 150
I 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!
it takes to be human
In the Pond
by Ha Jin. Vintage. Pages 178. $12 (Singapore)..
Ha 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.
Gujarat and politico-religious equations
Religion and Politics in India
by Anupama Arya. K.K. Publications, Delhi. Pages: x+286. Rs. 495.
THERE 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.
central bank as a facilitator of economic policy
B. S. Ghuman
The Role and Contribution of Reserve Bank of India in Financing of
Industry: Its Impact on Growth
by Dr. Laxman Singh Sharma, Modern Publishers, New Delhi. Pages 267. Rs
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
Vedic India can teach world
India: What can it teach us?
by F. Max Muller. Rupa & Co. Pages 189. Rs 150.
THE 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.
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.
NOT 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