The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, October 6, 2002

Off the shelf
Endless 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.

Acerbic and insightful meditations on the world
Rajnish Wattas
The Writer and the World
by V. S. Naipaul. Picador, India. Rs. 395. Pages 517.

IR 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.

An unflinching look at the man behind the author
Manju Jaidka
by J. M. Coetzee. London: Secker and Warburg, 2002. Pages 169. £ 14.99.

N 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.

A panoramic view of Asian cinema
Suresh Kohli
Being & Becoming
The Cinemas of Asia
Edited by Aruna Vasudev, Latika Padgaonkar and Rashmi Doraiswamy. Macmillan India. Pages 580. Rs 765.

HE 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 interest really.

Short takes
Understanding what the customer is willing to pay for
Jaswant Singh
Ascending the Value Spiral
by S. Ramachander. Response Books, New Delhi. Pages 287. Rs 250.

HE 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.

Freedom in feminine hues
Arun Gaur
by Hiro Boga. Penguin Books. Pages 357. Rs 295.

HIS 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.


Nations are becoming subservient to capital

Surjit Hans

The Amoral Elephant: Globalization and the Struggle for Justice in the Twentyfirst Century
by William K. Tabb. Cornerstone Publications, Kharagpur, 2002. Pages 224. Rs 100
LAST 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 working classes.

History 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

A work 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 world.