May 4, 2003
Off the shelf
Rise and fall of the British Empire in India
V. N. Datta
THREE types of British
historians have written on India. One, like the famous James Mill
who never visited India, nor knew any Indian language and yet
produced perhaps the biggest historical work on India which Macaulay
regarded as the greatest since Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the
Roman Empire. Two, the historian-administrator like W.W. Hunter
and Vincent Smith who produced text books on Indian history for the
British civil servants.
Batalvi’s death anniversary falls on May 6
‘umwomanly woman’ or a tragic heroine?
B. M. Bhalla
a verse-drama written by the well-known Punjabi poet, Shiv Kumar
Batalvi, has achieved the status of a minor classic in modern
Punjabi literature. It has already been translated into Hindi and
English, and presented on the stage a number of times in India,
Pakistan and England. Its theme is based on the ancient legend of
Puran Bhagat and therein lies the secret of its popularity.
From migrants to a social group
Migrant Labour and the Trade Union Movement in Punjab
by Dr Krishan Chand. CRRID, Chandigarh. Pages 173. Rs 295.
FOR the past few decades,
labour from various parts, especially Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and
Orissa, has been migrating to Punjab, known as a land of plenty and
prosperity. Though Punjab's economy is now in the doldrums, labour
continues to flock to this part of the country. Obviously, the
states from where migration is taking place have been performing
even worse than Punjab.
American imperial posturing
Theatre of War
by Lewis Lapham. The New Press, London. Pages 202. $22.00
OPINIONS that do not favour
the state do not get aired and the voices of dissent make no
appearance in the mainstream media. But Lewis Lapham, the editor of Harper's
Magazine and the author of Theatre of War, is an
exception like Noam Chomsky, Edward Said, and a handful of other
radical thinkers who have had the courage to question the drive and
feasibility, as well as the colonial posturing, of the US
Administration's boundless campaign against the world's 'evildoers'.
on man’s journey till date
The Journey of Man — A Genetic Odyssey
by Spencer Wells. Penguin Books. Pages 224. Rs 495.
THE evolution of man has since
long been an enigma. Be it the field of anthropology, paleontology,
eugenics, biology, or more recently biotechnology, everything helixes
down to DNA and eventually tries to solve the puzzle of evolution.
or funny, but never dull!
translated by Ganesh Devy, Nushil Mehta and Bina Srinivasan. Katha,
Delhi. Pages 203. Rs 200.
THESE are the works of a master
craftsman, revelling in an intensity that’s almost extraordinary. The
stories are simple and the narrative is underlined with an uncanny
understanding of human situations. There is no seemingly conscious
technique or style at work. At times these renderings seem reflections
of an individual who has been observing men and women around him —
observing their eccentricities as also the humdrum behaviour patterns
that govern their ordinary existence.
Signs & signatures
of writing letters
Darshan Singh Maini
"HE was a
letter-writer if you liked natural, witty, various, vivid,
playing with the idlest, lightest hand, up and down the whole
scale. His easy power — his easy power: everything that
brought him that."
War and Environmental Security
by Parashu Ram Gupta. Prakash Book Depot, Bareilly. Pages 138. Rs
EVERY war in this world has
been more destructive than the previous one. The author, who is a
teacher of defence studies, has counted 84 conflicts in different
parts of the world in the past five years. These wars have seen 90
lakh deaths, 19 crore refugees and 3.9 crore persons displaced in
their own countries.