Short Takes
Culture, arts and artfulness

The Rise & Rise of Jugaad 
by Virender Kapoor
Matrix Publishers. Pages: xxv+202. 
Price: Rs. 240

There is a popular Americanism, "Fix", which is used to convey a variety of messages depending upon context and situation. Apart from its onomatopoeic connotations it can be used to denote anything from repairs to compromise to narcotic/medicinal dose to assault/murder! "Jugaad", an Indianism, too is similarly dynamic, popularly used to convey rustling up of resources for achieving a specific goal. Since he is bereft of resources, and the rustling up process is tough, the practitioner of jugaad has to rely on his wits in order to lay his hands upon them for meeting his ends. Thus, jugaad is basically a survivor’s tool. But, Kapoor goes further and asserts that it is also a winner’s vehicle. A dash of innovation, dollops of street-smartness backed with chutzpa can help one overcome formidable obstacles in the path to success.

In this book Kapoor uses humour to make his various jugaad related postulations comprehensible. In the chapter, Jugaadoocracy, he explains how India has managed to become an economic success story despite widespread corruption, sensitive communal situations, lack of pride and sab chalta hai attitude etc. He feels that this is because individually we want to excel; further, in the chapter, Backdoor Entry, he asserts that this can be done honestly. One can employ artfulness to achieve success even while observing the rules! He gives examples of how small businessmen have become successful through imaginative customization of their services.

This book is an interesting read because it introduces wannabes to the process of thinking out of the box.

Indian Art & Culture
by Dr. Ausaf Sayeed
Har-Anand. Pages: 346. Price: Rs. 895

Over the millennia people from different parts of the world came and settled down in India. Along with them came their unique cultural symbols, belief-systems and practices. With the passage of time these amalgamated and acquired a distinctive Indian identity. Our music traditions, for example, are of Vedic vintage. Yet, these have not remained stagnant and have been able to adopt and absorb the later influences – Muslim as well as Western – while retaining their distinct Indian-ness. Similarly, other performing arts like dance and drama – rooted in the Natyashastra of the 4th century AD – too have retained their authenticity while absorbing foreign or new influences. However, the author is not happy with the present state of Indian architecture, and rightly so. We have yet to witness a genuinely Indian stamp on our modern buildings that would be in consonance with our climatic conditions, lifestyles and aspirations. The state of town-planning is pathetic, too.

Although the term "Indian Art & Culture" defies definitive definition Sayeed has been very insightful while writing this tome on its various aspects including arts, sciences, religions, languages and tribes etc. He shows how the different elements of India’s arts and culture evolved from ancient to modern times. Obviously, the constraints of space do not allow full elucidation of all these aspects, but it certainly is a very useful reference book for students, especially research scholars.

by GC Mago
Dawn Publications. Pages: 63. Price: Rs. 250

It is natural even for a lay reader to expect poetic beauty in a book of verse. The more serious reader expects cerebral content and poetic truth. When poetic truth coalesces with poetic beauty a great poem is born. I am still looking for one. In this anthology, Post-Diwali Morn portrays the joy of two deprived children when they play with scrounged up crackers a day after the Diwali. Alone`85Alone is about the fragility of live-in relationships. Ask For takes a look at a supplicant’s psyche. Bold Lover is spicy. Expectedly, most of the poems highlight familiar issues, viz., love, heartbreaks, infidelity, poverty etc.