|An intellectual but a political
by V.N. Datta
ENOCH Powell was one of the most controversial figures in British politics in this century. Such has been the fate of intellectuals in politics! In the 19th century when disenchantment with political activity was pervasive, John Stuart Mill failed to make any mark in politics.
From local autonomy to Central
|Class bias in literary criticism
The Rules of Art by Pierre Bourdieu. Polity Press, Cambridge. Pages 410. £ 14.95
PIERRE Bourdieu, who holds the chair of sociology at the College de France, and directorship of studies at the Ecole de Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, has had a profound influence on the sociology of education, on cultural and literary theory.
Reviewed by Shelly Walia
Nothing to conserve in this
An intellectual but a political maverick
ENOCH Powell was one of the most controversial figures in British politics in this century. Such has been the fate of intellectuals in politics! In the 19th century when disenchantment with political activity was pervasive, John Stuart Mill failed to make any mark in politics.
In this century, Harold Laski, a distinguished political scientist, was a disaster, Bertrand Russell was more prudent and ceased to be politically active, instead he devoted himself to intellectual pursuits.
In this country, controversy always chased Krishna Menon. Nehru was often torn by doubt, and he had to adjust himself, with some reservations, to the changing political situation, often to his chagrin.
The book under review is "Like the Romans: The Life of Enoch Powell" by Simon Heffer, (Widenfield and Nicholson, London, pages 1024, £ 25). One speech of Powell which is known for its reference to "rivers of blood" destroyed his political career. And his life was never the same again after this notorious speech on immigration delivered on April 20, 1968.
Of course, there were other political issues of a highly sensitive nature which too alienated him from the Conservative Party, such as his support for the Labour Party in 1974, and his strong opposition to the Anglo-Irish agreement. But Heffer emphasises that there was much more to Powell than a series of political controversies.
Heffer has written a superb biography. His object is not to conceal his subjects "cloven hoof" but to show what Powell called the whole package, rather than simply to "refract through the prism of a few notorious events". This study is a remarkable work of meticulous scholarship based on the authors access to Powell himself (before his death) and his family, but also to voluminous family papers.
The author covers Powells life from his birth in Birmingham in 1912 to his burial in Warwick. Of special interest are the letters Powell wrote to his adoring parents when he was a student at Cambridge, Professor in Australia and a soldier immediately after World War II.
Powell was a serious-minded student and he studied the classics with great passion. He was a scholar of the library like young Macaulay and Acton. His obsessive inclination to read books to the exclusion of all else made him in his undergraduate days a "little short of sociopath". The author emphasises that his preoccupation with death on the battlefield verged on the morbid. "I am afraid Ill never be able to shoot," he wrote to his parents in 1939, "complaining of his tired eyes." And "what else do I care about but to kill and he killed".
Powells favourite authors were Kipling and Churchill. He regarded Churchill as the saviour of civilisation because of the great role he played in saving humankind from the menace of Nazism. There is evidence that he also read Disraelis work.
Powell had an imperial cast of mind and was a firm and convinced believer in the superiority of western civilisation. It was not as if he loathed the non-Europeans. But he firmly believed that the western gifts of the parliamentary system of government and scientific outlook were the panacea for the ills of humanity.
Powells longing for imperial glory was recharged during the Suez crisis, by which stage he had abandoned his long cherished dream of becoming the Viceroy of India and realised that Britain had no future as an imperial power. The fire of patriotism burnt within him, and he was prepared to die for his country any time, and it remained his lasting regret that providence did not give him such an opportunity.
The author writes that in 1986 when he interviewed Powell for the Sunday Telegraph, his eyes were filled with tears "when I quoted Housemans tribute, the lads who will die in their glory/And never grow old."
Heffer repudiates the common charge that Powell was a homosexual. Powells letters to his parents show that his notion of love was other-worldly and had to do far more with hero worship than sexual desire. The author emphasises that three loves dominated Powells life: first, Anglicanism, second, a young woman named Barbara Kennedy, whom Powell failed to marry, and third, the House of Commons which became a fixation with him.
About the House of Commons, Powell wrote: "It seemed to me the most wonderful thing that here was the assembly and it alone made the law, it alone sustained the government of the United Kingdom". After his death Margaret Thatcher said that his "adult life was founded on an unfaltering belief in God".
Though an idealist in pursuit of knowledge, Powell was a seasoned politician, versatile in negotiating its tortuous course. What he regarded as of fundamental importance in politics was power and acquiring it. On politics he had read a great deal, especially the works of Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Burke and John Stuart Mill. He had a marvellous grasp of the main ideas of political thinkers.
The author points out that beneath his "Olympian countenance lay concealed political cunning". Prime Minister Harold Macmillan complained that Powell "looks at me in Cabinet like Savonarla eyeing one of the more disreputable people". Powell had a clear notion of political cause and effect. He was obsessed with the idea of creating a great image of himself as a leader.
Kenneth Robinson, who was Labour shadow minister during his term as Health Minister, teased Powell that he was trying to "alter his brand image" by giving a candid interview to Malcolm Muggeridge and allowing himself to be photographed "on a pago stick bouncing around Eastern Square".
Heffer has highlighted some of Powells failings as a political strategist. He was too much of an intellectual, somewhat rigid, relying more on his convictions and not bothering to understand the views of others. Some of his critics accused him of suffering from a sense of infallibility. Once he took a position, there was no resiling from it. He was too confident to be prudent!
Politics is a compromise, the art of the possible and of the relative, of which Powell had scant understanding, much less respect. He had to follow a straight road and face the situation, however odd the circumstances. That is why he failed to win a sizeable following.
Not that Powell lacked political insight, but is was political skill he was deficient in. He was a Cabinet Minister for just a few months, a thoroughly unsuccessful candidate for the leadership of the Conservative Party. In brilliance and scholarship he had few peers. His principle influence lay as an analyst and visionary, and in this respect his biographer concludes, "His effect on the thinking of others, from the high ministerial level down to the British elector, was perhaps more profound than that of any practising politician of the 20th century".
In other words, Powell was a policy-maker who left a profound influence on some key issues facing the country. This may be regarded as an exaggeration but Heffer demonstrates that Powell was not really a maverick in the sense that ideas have become commonplace in the intervening years.
Heffer gives a detailed account of Powells controversial 1968 speech. The author thinks Powell was wrong to wait to be sacked as the shadow defence secretary by Edward Health and he should have resigned before giving his speech. On the question whether that speech was "racist" , there was a raging controversy. Generally it has been viewed as a semantic question.
Powell had learnt Urdu in his spare time to broadcast in that language on the BBC world service. Heffer argues that Powell wilfully underrated the potential for a comparatively peaceful racial integration in a modern society. In the rush of things Powell showed he lacked a sense of timing.
It was a blunder on Powells part to use Virgils image of the Tiber foaming with blood. There was an outcry against the speech, and his later explanation made no difference. And he was branded as a full-blooded 18th century racist, out of tune with the currents of time.
Probably Virgils imagery would have been relevant if included in a lecture on the classics to a group of undergraduates. The die was cast and Powell had to quit office. The tragedy, as the author says, was not that "rivers of blood" disqualified him from holding high office, but it overshadowed much that he believed in. Only the speech began to be remembered, and not the man or what he stood for.
From local autonomy to Central rule
of State Formation, India and Europe Compared edited by
Martin Doornbors and Sadipta Kaviraj. Sage Publications,
New Delhi. Pages 441. Rs 475.
THE book under review is a collection of papers presented by eminent scholars at a seminar held in New Delhi in March, 1990, on the comparative study of state formation processes in India and Europe. The seminar was sponsored and funded by the Indo-Dutch Programme on Alternatives in Development (IDPAD).
Both Europe and India are large and complex societies and are passing through a phase of transition, challenges and uncertainties. Both are undergoing major transformations at all levels social, economic and political. There are vast differences between the two cases yet there are similarities which a keen observer cannot fail to notice. The contributors to the volume seek to explore these differences and similarities in the patterns of state formation in India and Europe.
Essays in the first section of the book deal with the dynamics of state formation and the history of early state forms against the backdrop of Indian and European cultural traditions. S.N. Eisenstadt and Harriet Hartman try to compare and contrast the historical experience in institutional formations and dynamics in medieval and early modern Europe and India.
They point out that Indian civilisation, on account of its transcendental and other-worldly orientation, could not clearly define itself in political terms. In ancient and medieval Indian history, the political arena was characterised by a high degree of local autonomy.
Decentralisation of power had been a basic component of most Indian political systems. Kingdoms of various sizes were constantly competing with one other resulting in instability, temporarily overcome by exceptionally strong rulers who formed strong networks of personal ties and espionage. Few polities achieved anything near total unity of the subcontinent.
Even in great kingdoms or empires such as the Mauryan, Gupta or even in the Delhi Sultanate access to bureaucratic or administrative power was an issue of loyalty or personal relations to the king. Under all regimes the central administration was dependent on the local elite for the collection of taxes and other free-floating resources and the access to the elite continued to be based on local criteria such as the dominant caste status.
The big gap between the centre and the periphery could not be bridged under any of these empires. These writers observe that the major centre of Indian civilisation was not political but the religious, ritual one, which consisted of a series of networks and organisational ritual sub-centres pilgrimage shrines and networks, temples, sects, schools spread over the subcontinent and often cutting across political boundaries.
The core of the civil society was the relative autonomy of major social groups. Autonomy and the caste system were two important features of the old Indian social structure which had far-reaching repercussions on the political dynamics that developed in India. Wars of religion and basic ideological confrontation did not develop between the state and society until very recent times under the impact of European modernity.
In contrast to this the political goals in Europe were closely interwoven with and legitimised by attempts to impose religion on society and to redraw the political boundaries accordingly. The state was subordinated to spiritual dominion. The ideal of political unification manifest in the establishment of the Holy Roman Empire, despite its fragile institutional bases constituted a basic continuous model, an ideal which was later transformed into modern nation-states.
Hermann von der Dunk in his illuminating paper, "The formation of modern states in Europe", while discussing the concepts of nation and state, reveals how the autonomy of the traditional national state has been considerably undermined partly due to the irreversible processes of transnationalisation and globalisation and partly due to the emergence of regional and ethnic sub-groups claiming autonomy.
Satish Saberwal makes an insightful appraisal of the two sets of traditions in India multiplicity of indigenous patterns and the western model. He also brings to light the tensions, latent or manifest, between the two sets of traditions which have had a direct bearing on the contemporary Indian scene.He reveals that the ethic of public responsibility so vital for a democratic polity has been a weak tradition in our country and "role models of wide-ranging accountability" cannot be easily found in Indian history.
In the second part of the book Abram de Swaan makes a comparative study of language politics in India and Europe. This comparison is based on a model of conflict of language interests. Martin Doornbos makes a parallel study of India and Europe with regard to their respective search for new definitions of collective identity. He believes that in both cases a major question concerns the relations between secularism and cultural identity. He emphasises the need to recognise common issues at stake both in the East and the West arising out of the confrontation between the technological modernising pressures and defence of cultural specificities.
The next section of the book examines the role of the state and citizenship. Bhikhu Parekh takes a somewhat sceptical view of the dominant model or theory of the state which has gained political and philosophical ascendancy in recent times. He believes that such a theory presupposes a culturally homogeneous society and becomes a source of disorder, injustice and violence when applied to culturally heterogeneous societies.He stresses the need to adopt a pluralist theory of the state which should be sensitive to cultural diversity.
Lolle Nauta argues that at the end of the 20th century there is a universal need to adopt new conceptions of active citizenship which eventually could lead to a transformation of civic roles. A cosmopolitan society requires new virtues in its citizens. Traditional definitions of citizenship are subjected to criticism and rejected.
Sudipta Kaviraj makes a brilliant academic analysis of the complex nature of the crisis the modern state in India faces. He explores the ideological and institutional roots of the Indian nation-state and its policies and practices along with their politico-economic and sociological ramifications in the post-independence period.
Harry de Haan makes an insightful review of planning and market in the light of the recent experiences of Europe and India.
The next section of the book examines the trend of marginalisation and the emergence of social movements in the present context. Veena Das makes an intense study of the cultural roots and the definition of community. Hanspeter Kriesi and Gerrit Huizer make a detailed investigation of social movements in Europe.
The concluding section of the book provides perspectives on patterns of state formation and social transformation in India and Europe. Ravinder Kumar focuses on the evolution of the political system and institutions in India. He rightly points out that the experience of state formation in India and Europe is a subject of abiding interest for scholars as well as political actions.
The approach of the book is mainly historical. Knowledge of historical legacies is useful so far as it helps to gain a sensitive understanding of the underlying structures and traditions which continue to influence and shape the political realm in a subtle fashion.
The ruling elite often tries to project and propagate a lop-sided view of the political world based on a dichotomy between the traditional and the modern. Such a dichotomous view can be very misleading. Misapprehension or misrepresentation of the past can also lead to disastrous consequences.
The book illuminates the past for the benefit of men at the helm of affairs, political scientists, sociologists and economists who may draw knowledge and comprehension needed for their formulations. A very large number of writers, political theorists and economists accept the basic distinction between the East and the West as the starting point for their theories.
The uniqueness of the book under review lies in examining the similarities and differences in the patterns of state formation in the East and the West. It offers new perspectives on comparative politics.
At the beginning of the new millennium, when a major part of the world is in a state of flux and an enlightened section of mankind is nursing dreams of globalisation, the learned contributors to the book address a wide range of vital questions concerning the drift from traditional nation-states, emergence of supra-national authorities and also the emergence of regional entities claiming autonomy.
Which of these will be the dominating tendency of the future? Post-modernism has yet to unfold itself in its full ramification. Diverse analyses presented in the book would enable the reader to examine the issues in the national and global contexts and arrive at a correct perspective.
Class bias in literary criticism
The Rules of Art
by Pierre Bourdieu. Polity Press, Cambridge. Pages 410.
PIERRE Bourdieu, who holds the chair of sociology at the College de France, and directorship of studies at the Ecole de Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, has had a profound influence on the sociology of education, on cultural and literary theory. His criticism is set off by a discussion of the state artistic production that makes his book "Rules of Art" far and away the most searching and important book on the philosophy and history of art this decade.
Talking about the relationship between criticism and the audience, he writes, "Critics cannot exercise influence on their readers unless the readers grant them that power because they are structurally attuned in their vision of the social world, their tastes and their whole habitus." This is how cultural capital becomes the currency through which domination is gained. Arbitrary ways of life gain legitimacy through the power of the dominant to impose.
Though this is an old Gramscian idea of hegemony, Pierre Bourdieu has for the past 30 years used this idea to castigate the French education system which he sees as an institution designed to perpetuate distinctions.
He is not so much concerned with the difference in aesthetic values or tastes; his main concern is with the investigation into the processes by which the making of cultural distinctions secures and legitimatises forms of power and domination rooted in economic inequalities. These differences are constantly brought out to the forefront of all class warfare to ensure the welfare of the dominant class.
Education ensures and legitimatises privileges and cultural preferences of the dominant class and at the same time, devalues the preferences of the dominated. Hierarchy produced through education thus puts the educated at the top of the ladder and thus inequalities are reproduced rather than destroyed which, in fact, should be the aim of any education system that tries to introduce social and ethical values in the very society.
Judgements on the quality of art or the idea of canon construction is largely an act of violence which limits the power to judge only to those who wield power and, thereby, have the power to judge. It is nothing but the aggressive or silent assertion of authority. Moreover the discourse which surrounds the production of a work is "not mere accompaniment intended to assist its perception and appreciation, but a stage in the production of the work, of its meaning and value" as pointed out by Bourdieu in his by now very important work, "Field of Cultural Production".
Thus, to offer a broad analysis of a work of art, it needs to be firstly situated within the social relations which structure its field of production and consumption. Material and symbolic production of the work and the examination of the reader or the audience as well as the critic, the publisher, the academic become important too.
The implication is that literary value judgements can no longer lay claim to having merit by reference to a single basis of literary quality or value; they reflect the needs and values of specific groups. As these groups undergo a change, so do literary evaluations and rankings which, therefore, can never remain static or timeless. They always remain culture-bound, class-bound, and gender-bound.
Mikhail Bakhtin makes this point very clear when he maintains that all literary texts tend towards canonisation which is a process of hardening of conventions and the slow universalising of value judgements, always ignoring the culture-specific criterion of valuation. It is a process which standardises and reduces the different approaches to a work of art.
Bourdieu emphasises that there are complex reasons behind the formation of rules of art. He examines the aesthetic project of Gustave Flaubert which "was formed at the very moment when the literary field became autonomous". With deep insight, he shows how the work of this novelist was shaped by the different movements and authors of his time how, in other words. Flaubert became the product of the very field he helped to engender.
No one can deny that the works of Homer, Flaubert, Joyce or Picasso are great, and successive generations have accepted it. Standards of greatness have been applied to them even though these standards have varied in different ages. New criteria of greatness are always put forward by the ruling elite, but there is every possibility that these criteria might gradually become outdated and new rules of art could gain currency.
Therefore, there can be no permanent criterion of literary greatness except that the conservative defender may resort to the only argument left to him that the work is great because of its intrinsic worth. How does he know that a work is great, as no criteria of greatness can be established beyond dispute? Does he imagine that he was made a final judgement on the work for all times to come, transcending time and space?
When two readers disagree, are we to suppose that one is right keeping in view this timeless view of a work? Any such categorical ruling on a work will bring in an opposing view that the condition for judgement about value is the very possibility of disagreement and that despite the robe of objectivity, the defender of a work of art must always belong to a group, a time, a place.
Are we then obliged to say that there is no domain of aesthetic value, or that the pleasure experienced in works of art can always and only be reduced to the pleasure of seeing our social identities or beliefs mirrored in the work? The question of judgement is not the right question to raise in the context of the rules of art. The selection of texts for preservation certainly does presuppose acts of judgement, which are indeed complex psychic and social events, but these acts are necessary rather than sufficient to constitute a process of the formation of the rules.
Nothing can preserve the work unless the judgement and evaluation are made in a certain institutional context, " a setting in which it is possible to ensure the reproduction of the work, its continual reintroduction to generations of readers."
But I am not saying that the immediate responses of readers to works is irrelevant to the canon debate. One look at last 10 years of the Times Literary Supplement or the New York Review of Books will also show that writers like John Bailey or Valentine Cunningham or Anne Barton do play a significant role in influencing value judgements. Their writings continuously help to add or exclude works from the canon; they are not dogmatic but surely work with some social agenda in mind or from some ideological stand.
It is only through a historical understanding of the constitution of the rules of art and by asking questions about literary production and literacy that we could come close to the real picture. History of art is not only a question of what we examine but of who examines and who creates, and in what social circumstances; it is also about what kinds of texts are written, and for what audiences.
Here Bourdieu posits a vital question: Can we allow social sciences to evaluate a work of art when it would inevitably ruin the "singularity of experience"? Literature puts up no laws and those who stand up in defence of the autonomy of literature often "block or confound the understanding of scientific analysis of books and of reading", as Bourdieu argues. Will it not destroy all aesthetic pleasure, especially when the task of the sociologist is to generalise, to lower the greatness of a work to a level where values are uniform and also abolishes the singularity of the work of the creator who aims towards the unique achievement as well as a difference from existing works?
It is a recognised fact that the sociologist is "thought to stand on the side of the greater number, the average, the mean, and thus of the mediocre, the minor, the minores, the mass of petty, obscure actors, justly unrecognised, and to be an ally of what is repugnant to the creators of an era, the content and the context, the referent and the hors-texte, beyond the pale of literature". Sociology, thus, would profane a work of art, and this is felt by many.
Bourdieu is indifferent to Gademers view that he begins his hermeneutic study on the sole premise that literature has a certain ineffable element, an inexplicability that challenges any conceptual understanding. Bourdieu questions this passion to assert the irreducebility of a work of art. Are they not out to "discredit the attempts of those who would submit these products of human action to the ordinary treatment of ordinary science, and thereby assert the (spiritual) transcendence of those who know how to recognise that transcendence?" This resistance to analysis is most definitely aimed at all creative reading.
Scientific analysis of art aims at no arrogance, but is castigated on the grounds that it arrogantly threatens to rob the reader and the creative artist of their liberty and singularity. There is no limit to the imagination and the idea of absolute knowledge is an illusion, but the threat of science must not anger the critic who can at least use its methodology to explain and understand experience and "thus give one self the possibility of a genuine freedom from ones determinations".
This conflict between the artist and the critic on the one side and the scientist on the other is mainly, again, a product of social construction aimed towards using art for whatever purposes our society seems to have in mind at a given time. Society needs to have art and its interpretation to construct political meanings and decide how to recognise intrinsic greatness as it suits its ideology.
Bourdieus task in the book is to show that the sociologist "stands opposed to the friend of beautiful spectacles and voices that the writer also is: the reality that he tracks cannot be reduced to the immediate data of the sensory experience in which it is revealed; he aims not to offer (in)sight, or feeling, but to construct systems of intelligible relations capable of making sense of sentient data." Will this then reduce the literary experience if the analysis is focused more on the social condition of the production and reception of a work of art?
Bourdieu takes the case of Flaubert and elaborates the idea of the destruction of the singularity of the creator through such an approach, but he argues for it as it leads to the recognition of the literary space of the writer from where it becomes possible to mentally identify with the "singularity of that position and the person who occupies it". It is for this reason that scientific analysis when it shows what makes the work of art possible "also furnishes artistic experience, and the pleasure that accompanies it, with its best justification, its richest nourishment."
In no way is pleasure destroyed through the surrendering to the study of the literary field, of what sustains it, of the inherent strategies at the type of language games played therein and of the material and class interests produced. It will only enhance our understanding of the "logic of social universes" and offer a vision that is closer to reality. By uncovering the rules of art which writers and literary institutions follow and which express themselves in their works, Bourdieu shatters "the illusion of the all-powerful creative genius" and at the same time establishes "the foundations for a sociological analysis of literary works which would be concerned not only with the material production of the work itself, but also with the production of its values."
Nothing to conserve in this
of Madhya Pradesh State of Biodiversity and Human
Infringement by SK Tiwari. APH Publishing Corporation,
New Delhi. Pages xvi + 286. Rs 600.
THE Prime Ministers statement at the meeting of the Indian Board for Wildlife, held on October 1, 1982, laid down a list of 12 aims on which the strategy and action programme for wildlife conservation in the country should be based. On that basis and taking into consideration the long-term conservation of wildlife based on the scientific principles of evolution and genetics, as well as the social and cultural ethos of the country, the National Wildlife Action Plan was drawn up.
The first objective of the plan was to, "establish a network of scientifically managed protected areas such as national parks, sanctuaries and biosphere reserves to cover representative and viable samples of all significant biogeographic subdivisions within the country, such protected areas should have an adequate geographic distribution."
Having protected areas is the most important in situ conservation method. The main advantage of this approach is that everything within that habitat is conserved, irrespective of the degree of threat of extinction or our own lack of knowledge on the status of the species, or where diversity cannot be quantified, like in tropical forests.
The book under review deals with the national parks of Madhya Pradesh, their geographical locations and status of wildlife therein. There are 12 chapters in all. The text has been supported by 124 tables (two of them as appendices) and 13 maps and other illustrations, a select bibliography and an index.
The introductory chapter deals with the definition of wildlife, enumeration of wild fauna, threats to wildlife, functions of protected areas, their contribution to human communities, management of protected areas, UNESCOs programme and its implementation in India, protected areas of Madhya Pradesh and refers to the National Wildlife Action Plan and the role of NGOs. It is followed by the legacy of wilderness tracing the history of wildlife in Madhya Pradesh beginning with the records of wildlife from rock shelters, a brief description of wildlife in Sanskrit literature of the Vindhyas and the shikar tales during the British regime.
The "era of scientific attitude" has been divided into three phases and literature describing the fauna during these phases has been listed and the status surveys of major wild animals have been listed. Wildlife management and conservation biology have been differentiated, a brief account of wildlife research in Madhya Pradesh has been given and the NGOs working in that state have been tabulated. "Man in the protected areas" is a very small chapter in which the human population in national parks of the various regions of the state has been listed.
"Roots of discontentment" traces the process of infringement in a protected area. This has been done under seven heads namely, forest policy, setting up of protected area, rights and concessions, offences, losses, apathy and opposition. The next two chapters enlist the status of mammals and reptiles and birds in the state. Review of the status of wildlife mainly deals with the tiger population with regard to the "carrying capacity", which is the spatial reality that controls population of the tiger, or for that matter, any other species.
Population of the tiger shows three trends (a) stagnation as exhibited in Kanha and Bandhavgarh national parks which are tiger reserves and show the density of tigers per sq km; (b) growth which registered a 100 per cent increase in Kanger valley, Pench, Satpura and Sanjay national parks; and (c) decline as demonstrated in Indravati and Panna national parks. The black buck and blue bull have also shown a significant increase in their numbers, whereas the barasingha has become restricted only to the Kanha national park where its success is said to be spectacular.
Biogeographical details like the location, climate, vegetation, human pressure, etc. of the various national parks in different regions of Madhya Pradesh, like the Malwa plateau, the Chattisgarh-Dandkaranya, Satpura-Maikal and Vindhya-Baghelkhand regions have been recorded in the next four chapters.
The study concludes that for proper management of the protected areas, social requirements of the inhabitants must be looked after. The major infringement is the destruction of the habitat followed by grazing, all other types of infringements are marginal. The author recommends peoples participation in meeting this challenge.
The book contains a lot of precious data pertaining to the national parks of Madhya Pradesh in the 124 tables (including the two appendices). Also ample literature seems to have been screened. The author must be complimented for these. However, rest is thrash. From page 1 to the last (including the blurb), linguistic and grammatical howlers stare one in the face. Even the title of chapter 5 has been given as "Roots and discontentment" instead of :Roots of Discontentment".
The author has acknowledged, "The script has been prepared by Dr Binoo Pandey, my students, and the maps prepared by my daughter Swati Tiwari". What has he done, then?
Another serious flaw of the study is the authors dependence one "only the government data" which puts it in the category of public relations literature. I braved the punishment of going through the text, but wont want others to meet the same fate, and that too after shelling out Rs 600.
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