The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, May 11, 2003

Said and his case against the western canon
Rumina Sethi

Edward Said: Criticism and Society
by Abdirahman A. Hussein.
Verso, London and New York. Pages 339. 'A319.

DWARD Saidís sustained engagement with modern, literary and cultural theory, especially his concern with French theory, occurs in Beginnings: Intention and Method. Here he seeks to align the theories of Foucault, Barthes and Derrida with cultural theory and earlier manifestation of humanism found so elaborately in the works of Vico.

When life is an exercise in self-gratification
Antara Dev Sen

One Day
by Ardashir Vakil. Viking/Penguin Books India 2003. Rs 395. Pages 304.

RDASHIR Vakilís One Day is a bit like Reality TV with an inside-the-mind camera. You follow the movements, thoughts, memories, fears and desires of Ben Tennyson and Priya Patnaik in gruelling detail for one whole day. Never have 24 hours of someone elseís life seemed so fatiguing. "Thanks for sharing, mate, but I have problems of my own," you want to snap.

Whose book is it, anyway?
Suresh Kohli
OME summer, and it will be a different scene. Book launches in Delhi at least are becoming dull, dreary, predictable and boring. The restless audience indulges in snide remarks while the introductory proceedings and the readings are somewhat stretched and often uninteresting. A collective sigh of relief can be heard as soon as the host announces cocktails.

Romanis, beyond nationhood
Surjit Hans

We are the Romani People
by Ian Hancock. University of Hertfordshire Press (in collaboration with the Gypsy Research Centre of the University Rene Descartes, Paris).
Pages 186. 'A39.99.

AN is an English Romani who qualified directly for a PhD degree under the short-lived affirmative programme of the Wilson government. He is now a lecturer in Texas University. Gypsy is an offensive word to the Romanis. Henceforth, I shall speak of Romani life and history.

A spy thriller that isnít fiction!
Kirpal Singh Grewal

Spies in the Himalayas: Secret Missions and Perilous Climbs
by M.S. Kohli and Kenneth Conboy.
 Harper Collins Publishers India, New Delhi.
Pages xi + 226, Rs 395.

E often hear from protagonists of friendly relations between India and the United States of America that being the two largest democracies, these nations are natural allies. This book is a good reminder to the present generation that historically India and the USA have been playing games together on the same side of the fence, most of the times, if not always.


Stressing the need for population law
Jawahar Lal Dwivedi

Population Law: an Instrument for Population Stabilisation
by Usha Tandon. Deep and Deep Publications Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi. Rs 950.

HERE are many writings suggesting solution to the problem of over-population in India. Demographers, social scientists and medics have tried to tackle the subject from various angles. However, the legal aspect of the problem has not received due attention so far.

Write view
An Occidental perspective on Oriental myths
Randeep Wadehra

Adonis: A Study in the History of Oriental Religion
by James G. Frazer. Rupa & Co., New Delhi.
Pages viii+239. Rs 150.

IR James George Frazer was a Scottish anthropologist. Some of his works are Totemism and Exogamy (1910), Man, God and Immortality (1927) and Creation and Evolution in Cosmogonies (1935). His most famous, and voluminous, work is The Golden Bough (1890). It deals with ancient cults, myths and rites, drawing parallels with early Christianity.

Security from cooperation and independence

Indiaís Security in 21st Century, Challenges and Responses.
edited by Rajendra Prasad.
Dominant, New Delhi. Pages 318. Rs 650.

HE common cultural heritage, the shared legacy of British colonial domination and similar economic and social backwardness make the countries of South Asia stand on one platform. At the same time, to quote Indira Gandhi, "each country has its individual personality, distinctive perception and a different political system."

Sri Lanka encapsulated
Priyanka Singh

Encyclopedia of Sri Lanka
by C. A. Gunawardena. Sterling.
Pages 324. Rs 900.

HE "pearl island" has for some reason or the other, and not always pleasant, been in news; more so now with the Tamil guerrillas having decided to suspend the peace talks. For those interested in the history of the island nation in an encapsulated form, this encyclopaedia will be informative.

Becoming rich without tricks
B.S. Thaur

The Winning Portfolio: How to Choose the Best Mutual Funds
by Paul B. Farrell. Vision Books.
Pages 112. Rs 145.
THIS Indian edition by American author Paul B. Farrel contains practical advice guiding investors on how and which of the 10,000-odd mutual funds in the market to choose for investment. Though the book is addressed to American investors, it is also appealing to an investor in India where people generally are not investment savvy and the mutual funds activity as well as stock exchanges are at the evolution stage.