October 6, 2002
Off the shelf
search for God
V. N. Datta
think that Rabindranath Tagore’s poetry is an exploration of
spiritual awareness. In Gitanjali he wrote a poem in which
the creation was new and the stars shone bright in their splendour
but the best of them fell and since then as a solitary wayfarer
Tagore has been seeking the ‘fallen star’, the ‘glory of all
heavens’. Like Tagore’s unceasing search, the human quest for
the Divine has remained unending throughout the ages since the idea
of God emerged about 14,000 years ago.
and insightful meditations on the world
The Writer and the World
by V. S. Naipaul. Picador, India. Rs. 395. Pages 517.
V. S. Naipaul, recipient of the Noble Prize for Literature, can
hardly escape myths. It's the destiny of a living legend. And his
strong opinions, acerbic tongue and consistent crustiness don't help
much. But his brilliance is never in doubt. The man and his manners
may spawn many stories, but none can deny his deep sense of wonder
for the past laced with abiding faith in modernity.
unflinching look at the man behind the author
by J. M. Coetzee. London: Secker and Warburg, 2002. Pages 169. £
reading the major novels of J. M. Coetzee (Age of Iron, Life
and Times of Michael K., Disgrace, and Foe, to
name a few) one does not get any information about the man behind
the work. The novels stand as independent fictitious worlds created
by an invisible author hidden somewhere behind the scenes. It seems
as though Coetzee believes, like T. S. Eliot, that the more perfect
the artist, the more separate in him will be the man who suffers and
the mind that creates.
panoramic view of Asian cinema
Being & Becoming
The Cinemas of Asia
Edited by Aruna Vasudev, Latika Padgaonkar and Rashmi Doraiswamy.
Macmillan India. Pages 580. Rs 765.
THE moving image cast its
magic spell all over the world more than a century ago after the
Lumiere brothers successfully held the first public screening at the
Grand Cafe in Paris in 1895. And ever since its impact has remained
undiminished whether in telling a story or documenting reality. That
many of these finely told stories have remained imbedded in human
consciousness — Citizen Kane, for instance, or the still
haunting documentation of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki —
generation after generation is now only a matter of academic
what the customer is willing to pay for
Ascending the Value Spiral
by S. Ramachander. Response Books, New Delhi. Pages 287. Rs 250.
shift from a planned economy to a market economy has produced
several challenges which often look paradoxical. The consumer is
happy since he gets a wider choice and better products at
competitive rates. For those who control and manage the means of
production, the transition has often meant a departure from
established concepts and systems of management. In the absence of
any clear models of this transition, they have to experiment and
learn from experience.
in feminine hues
by Hiro Boga. Penguin Books. Pages 357. Rs 295.
novel, ostensibly about immigration and the diaspora, begins with
"Bombay, September 8, 1972" and ends with "June 30,
1973", again in Bombay. Before the end, another journey ends
within those circumscribed time limits. Shahnaz, the heroine, who
moves from Bombay to Eugene, Oregon, and then to Bombay all prepared
for a final departure to Eugene undergoes a long series of
troublesome psychic undulations.
are becoming subservient to capital
The Amoral Elephant: Globalization and the Struggle for Justice in the
by William K. Tabb. Cornerstone Publications, Kharagpur, 2002. Pages
224. Rs 100
year I reviewed Global Transformations by Davind Held et al. It was a
detailed exercise on the current working of globalisation. The Amoral
Elephant is a sadder and wiser book to try systemic understanding of
the world economy in a historical context from the point of view of
of the 20th century in a capsule
Challenge to Civilization: A
History of the 20th Century (1952-1999)
by Martin Gilbert. Harper Collins, London. Pages 1072. $ 6.00
of great research written in a reader-friendly style, this book by
Martin Gilbert helps one comprehend the happenings in the world during
the last century. While going into detail about the events, occurring in
America, China, the USSR, India, Sri Lanka or Vietnam, the writer makes
you realise that a country may be geographically large or small, but it
definitely has a positive or negative aspect on other parts of the