Sunday, August 3, 2003
Ahead of her times
Ramabai’s America: Conditions of Life in the United States.
edited by Robert Eric Frykenberg. William B Eerdmans Publishing
Company, Grand Rapids, USA. Pages 322. $ 49.
ANYBODY who has read
Pandita Ramabai Saraswati would be amazed by her scholarship,
revolutionary ideas and visionary approach. This nineteenth century
iconoclast was a pioneer in many fields and should have ranked among
the greatest daughters of this country. But how many have even heard
about her? Before I come to that in a moment, an introduction of her
would be in order. Come to think of it, she needs an introduction in
Off the Shelf
A guide to
V. N. Datta
THE collapse of the Soviet
Union has been one of the greatest, momentous and significant events
of the 20th century. A spate of literature has appeared on the fall
of the Soviet system, which had been followed in some of the East
European countries. After World War II only two superpowers had
emerged, the USA and the Soviet Union. Even when the Soviet Union
had gained ascendancy in international politics, some of the
perceptive intellectuals like Bertrand Russell foresaw the end of
the Soviet system for they found in it the seeds of its own
Meet the author
“My book has
got reviews as favourable as the ones Arundhati got”
WHEN a new book is compared to
both Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 and Norman Mailer’s Naked
and the Dead what more can it ask for? Reviews in the UK and the
US have touted it as this summer’s greatest literary sensation.
Journalist Aniruddha Bahal’s Bunker 13 — a literary thriller
or espionage novel — has won him an audience which till now had been
rivetted to his mind-blowing exposes in the highest echelons of power.
out into the other India
Stepping Out: Life and Sexuality in Rural India
by Mrinal Pande. Penguin Books.
Pages 221. Rs 295.
apathy that our healthcare system is plagued by, all visible signs of
progress notwithstanding, is brought out in Stepping Out. The
well researched and feelingly written book is indeed a telling comment
on the priority accorded to women’s health. The Maternal Mortality
Rate (MMR) in 1992-93 was 424 deaths per 100,000 live births but by
1998-99, it had risen to 540.
and travails of the pioneers of gender studies
Narratives from the Women’s Studies Family: Recreating Knowledge
edited by Devaki Jain and Pam Rajput. Sage, New Delhi.
Pages 388. Rs 350.
OVER the past two decades,
studies and reports on a variety of issues relating to women and the
women’s movement in India have become increasingly accessible. Little
thought, however, has been given to the endeavours of numerous people
who have made such studies possible.
up the mother-daughter relationship
One Hundred Shades of White
by Preethi Nair, Harper Collins. Pages 294. Rs 295
THE relationship between
mothers and daughters has been written about very often particularly by
women writers. Women authors are deeply interested in other women, be it
mothers, daughters, grandmothers or friends. Although the stories of
women are somewhat similar, what sets a particular novel apart, is the
treatment the story receives.
and betrayal from a male perspective
We Weren’t Lovers Like That
by Navtej Sarna, Penguin India, Pages 224. Rs 250.
NAVTEJ Sarna’s debut novel, We
Weren’t Lovers Like That, delves into the psyche of a man who has
never had the courage of his convictions. Aftab Chandra turns 40 at the
turn of the millennium and just then his inner world blows up in his
face. His wife Mina leaves him for his close friend Rajiv and takes
their only child, Ankur, with her.
development, keep a local focus
B. S. Thaur
Planning Local Economic Development: Theory and Practice
by Edward J. Blakley and Ted K. Bradshaw. Vistaar, New Delhi.
Pages 398. Rs 360.
ENAMOURED by its socialist
system, India initially adopted Russia’s model of ‘planning and
development’. While Russian ‘planning’ sank with the collapse of
the Soviet States in the 1980s, planning in India has not taken roots,
which is evident from the fact that most of the approved economic
development plans go awry and the non-plan expenditures keep bulging
year after year.
marred by a casual approach
by Rummy Nand Lal. Sapna Sood, Ludhiana. Pages: 208. $4 or `A33.
THE title conjures up the
prospect of the 1960s' ‘nouveau romanciers’ fiction, characterised
by shifting time sequences, interior monologue, and striking imagery,
popularised in France by the likes of Michel Butor. Alas! One is soon
disabused of the possibility of any such happy experience.
Highlands of Himachal
by K.R. Bharti. Indus, New
Delhi. Pages 166. Rs 200
General Science For
by C.S. Bedi and R.S. Bedi.
S. Chand & Co., N. Delhi. Pages: ix+564. Rs 295.