March 16, 2003
Insight into mechanics
Deprivation in Gujarat: In Honour of Jan Breman.
edited by Ghanshyam Shah, Mario Rutten and Hein Strefkerk. Sage, New
Delhi. Pages 345. Rs 580.
would recommend this book to anyone interested in Indian history and
society for two reasons: one, that it celebrates the work of Jan
Breman and, two, for its informative and high-quality essays.
Born in a working
class family in the Netherlands, Jan Breman chose the history and
sociology of the labouring classes as his metier. Since 1963 he has
published over 150 books and articles of unexceptionable standard on
labour relations in India and Indonesia apart from numerous reports
for international agencies like the ESCAP, ADB and ILO and even more
numerous newspaper articles. His studies have set the tone for
discussions about labour relations and policymaking. India and
Gujarat have been lucky to have in Jan Breman a friend who has
uncovered much that was hidden.
The present volume,
with its 16 essays, is an effort by his friends to thank him for all
that he has contributed to intellectual life. The essays cover the
three areas in which Breman has made considerable contribution:
labour relations, politics of cultural assertions and migration of
labour. Contributors include academics like David Hardiman,
Ghanshyam Shah, Hein Streefkerk, Indira Hirway, Mario Rutten, Parita
Mukta, Sujata Patel and activists like Stany Pinto, Chandu Matheria
and Harshad Desai.