Sunday, September 21, 2003
Information replaces knowledge
A. J. Philip
Knowledge, Power & Politics: Educational Institutions in India
edited by Mushirul Hasan. Roli Books. Pages 463. Rs 495.
a visit to Santiniketan early this year, a lecturer there showed me
rows of university quarters which remained vacant not because there
were no takers but because they were unliveable. It was indeed
difficult to believe that it was the same Viswa-Bharati, founded by
Nobel-laureate Rabindranath Tagore, which had as its Chancellor the
Prime Minister of India. As I took round of the university, set in
sylvan surroundings, what struck me most was the neglect all around.
Predicting Earthquakes and Calamities
by Lachhman Das Madan. Bharat Press, New Delhi. Pages 256. Rs 1,400.
the world over are working overtime to figure out foolproof methods
of earthquake and natural calamity prediction. Since these disasters
are governed by neither arithmetic progression nor geomorphological
rationale, any forecast of such events can at best be mere
conjecture. The realm of scientific and logical prediction is
limited. No harm then if such natural devastating calamities, which
bring untold miseries along, are predicted through the ‘supernatural.’
Eastern exotica through western eyes
by Inez Baranay . Rupa. Rs 295. Pages 278.
is me — this is an outsider’s appropriating view of the Orient.
The outsider may be an Australian novelist like Inez Baranay born of
Hungarian parents in Italy, who presents a composite set of personae
— Andy, Pandora, Jade in the novel — on a probing mission to
India. The author wishes to create a new surface-discourse, to weave
a new romance about India, its people and places.
Coelho’s experiment with the truth of sex
by Paul Coelho. HarperCollins, London. Pages 275. £ 8.99.
upon a time, there was a prostitute called Maria" begins
Paulo Coelho, and one would, undoubtedly, find it tremendously
difficult to put away his new novel before having read the final
sentence. Even before the narrative gets into motion, Coelho makes
it a point to justify the use of fairytale terminology in a story
that does not belong to that genre. The story is about the bitter
reality of the materialistic world of human beings.
Duggal’s comic attempt at translating Kabir
So Spake Kabira
by Kartar Singh Duggal. UBSPD. Pages 201. Price not stated.
late, there has been a sudden spurt in the intellectual and critical
interest in Kabir as a poet. In 2002, Linda Hess and Shukdeo Singh
had published a critical edition of his poetry in English rendering,
The Bijak of Kabir (OUP). Some three years ago, Winand M.
Callewaert, Swapna Sharma and Dieter Taillieu had come out with The
Millenium Kabir Vani: A Collection of Pad-s and now we have K.
S. Duggal, an eminent Punjabi writer, exerting his skills as a
translator of Kabir’s padas and shlokas.
Moral allegory of early Soviet writing
M. L. Raina
The Life of the Automobile
by Ilya Ehrenburg. Translated from the Russian by Joachim
Serpent’s Tail Press, London and New York.
Pages IX + 209. $ 12.99.
was during those adrenalised glory days of ‘Hindi-Russi Bhai-Bhai’
that Ilya Ehrenburg, addressing a gathering at Delhi University,
became starry-eyed about life in the Soviet Union. When students
asked him why Russians couldn’t afford a car while most Americans
drove freely, he replied, "The mere possession of a car means
nothing, all that matters is what you talk inside."
but Bunker 13 stretches credibility
by Aniruddha Bahal. Faber and Faber. Pages: 356. £ 4.99.
book is for reader who enjoys spy stories with plenty of guns
and ammunition, drugs nexus and some dark hints about illegal
activities in the Army. If, on the contrary, murders in the
sky, while para-jumping at that, and inexplicable murders in
the National Defence Academy and other such activities don't
excite him and he is looking for something more than a desi
James Bond book, he'd better search further up the
Buddha’s appeal to logic won him mass following
by Kadambari Kaul.
Rupa, New Delhi. Pages 67. Rs 95.
story of Siddhartha Gautama, a Sakya Rajput Prince, whom his father,
King Suddhodhana, kept isolated from the miseries and sufferings of
human beings, is well known. How he broke away from the luxuries of
the palace, left his wife and son sleeping, clothed himself in a
single garment and set out in search of the ultimate truth and
salvation is also narrated in textbooks. His wanderings, the
sufferings he inflicted on himself and his final enlightenment are
Of labour markets
Labour Market and Institution in India: 1990s and Beyond
edited by Shuji Uchikawa. Manohar, New Delhi.
Pages 183. Rs 400.
dominant view in today’s world is that a flexible economy, one
that can readily adjust to the needs of time, will achieve faster
development than the economy with a rigid structure. While an
inflexible economy is more easily prone to bottlenecks due to
mismatch of demand and supply, leading to inflationary pressures and
other economic dislocations, the flexible economy, in which
individuals, firms, organisations and institutions efficiently
adjust their goals and resources to changing constraints and
opportunities, involves flexibility in all markets, i.e. land,
capital, financial, labour and product markets.
who showed the way
Women Pioneers in Indian Renaissance
edited by Sushila Nayar and Kamla Mankekar. National Book
Pages 447. Rs 115.
role of women in social, educational, cultural, economic and
political spheres is gaining impetus with the publication of
books on issues relating to women. However, there are few
studies on women’s role in national development, and the few
there are unable to emphasise the importance of the role
played by women in socio-religious reform movements and the