1927 | 11,233,916 words
Triveni is a journal dedicated to ancient Indian culture, history, philosophy, art, spirituality, music and all sorts of literature. Triveni was founded at Madras in 1927 and since that time various authors have donated their creativity in the form of articles, covering many aspects of public life....
Truth and Non-violence: A UNESCO Symposium on Gandhi. Gandhi Peace Foundation. New Delhi. Price: Rs. 15.
The UNESCO organised an international symposium during the month of October 1969 in Paris, to mark the Mahatma Gandhi Centenary celebrations. The participants, drawn from various parts of the world, numbering nearly twenty, joined in the discussion which mainly related to the topic of “Truth and Non-violence in Gandhi’s Humanism.” The proceedings took place in three sessions, each of which had a separate chairman. Thus we have Oliver A. Lacombe. Professor of Philosophy of the University of Paris, heading the first sessions; G. Ramachandran, Director, Gandhigram, Madurai, the second; and Willian Etaki-Mboumoua, President UNESCO Conference, the third sessions.
The discussions are very interesting, having symbolized the new spirit of enquiry and analysis, which certainly enable the reader to have a fill of the several aspects hitherto unexamined of Gandhi’s life and thought, from angles that bear us the fresh light thrown upon them by the succeeding generations of thinkers. The Editor of this volume of 380 pages, has done a splendid job in presenting the substance of the entire discussions with due care in retainiong the original flavour of the proceedings.
In the course of the symposium many of the well-known principles of Gandhi’s thought yield themselves to a critical survey with the added interest invested in them by the manner of both the approach as well as the interpretation of some of the participants. The introduction itself is an adequate compendium, giving the reader in brief compass, the leading conclusions, which later get amplified in the succeeding pages. The headings under which the discussions revolved during the proceedings have been gathered in the introduction in order to render the reader’s encounter with the problems, less onerous.
To have an idea how the participants were really earnest and devoted to the task, let us provide samples of the trend and interpretation of some of them. G. Ramachandran, who throughout the discussion, strikes us by his profound understanding of the Mahatma’s thought, says: “In Gandhi’s mind truth incarnates as love and love translates itself into action and incarnates as non-violence. These are some of the postulates of Gandhi’s thinking. The humanism of justice, freedom, peace and happiness, he said, can come only when truth becomes love in action.” (p. 72)
Referring to the relevancy of non-violence to our own times, Carlos Romulo, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Phillipines, says: “Indeed, Gandhi’s message of truth and non-violence has gained fresh immediacy in the thermo-nuclear age. It has become an indispensable condition, the sine qua non of humanity’s survival.” (p. 51)
On the question whether Gandhiji’s admission sometimes of his own defeat and failure really justified his being adjudged accordingly, Ramachandran’s understanding of such situations is worth remembering. He says: “You may lose a battle, but you do not lose a war. Gandhi occasionally lost a battle as every General in history has lost a battle. Some battle is always lost, but the war is not lost. Gandhi’s war is not lost and must not be allowed to be lost.”
Again on the moot point how far between ethics and politics there could be accord, Ravan Farhadi, Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kabul, Afghanistan Publications, opined: “...no separation is possible between the moral behaviour of the individual and the political life of society nor between an individual’s private life and his life as a social being.” (p. 202)
The Nobel Laureate, Philip Noel Baker, assessing the writings of Gandhiji, says, “Yes, indeed, if you judge him as a literary man, it was much too much. In literature it is quality, not quantity, that matters. In politics ceaseless energy is a merit, a path to success. It ruins politician’s personal life, it destroys the happiness of his family, but it achieves the end he has in view.” (p. 221) Summing up Gandhiji’s philosophy, A. G. Sheorey, Managing Editor, Nagpur Times, says: “Gandhiji all his life worked for the renaissance of the human spirit and for the spiritual regeneration of man. If man redeemed himself, the world would automatically stand redeemed, he believed.” (p. 260)
To estimate the resulting benefits of a symposium like this one, we have the attestation of Oliver Lacombe, who says: “I think that we have done here in this symposium is to throw a stone into stagnant water. The ripples from this are going to grow concentrically around the point of impact and by the thousand and one means which we have available, help to bring Gandhi home to others to convey his message and to bring about a clearer understanding of what Satyagraha may mean.” (p. 310)
With the references and appendices containing the working documents, with the notes on the participants and the index, the publication is a worthy achievement.
Tagore–A Life: By Krishna Kripalani. Sole Distributors: Orient Longman, Madras-2. Price: Rs. 25.
Running into a second and enlarged edition, this biographical and critical estimate of the life and works of Rabindranath Tagore, has proved its worth by the addition of the last two chapters, containing a discerning assessment of the output of the poet’s concluding ten years. ‘Last Harvest’ and ‘The Sunset’ are the further chapters included here which have not found a place in the previous edition. It has been felt in some quarters that the last ten years of the poet’s life were crowded with writings which easily could be deemed as of a greater and richer harvest than all his previous years of writing. We may not agree readily with such an opinion from what the author here has been able to provide us. It is abundantly clear also that the author too may not share such an extreme view as has been advanced by some of the admirers of the poet. Indeed, if any special value could be attached to Krishna Kripalani’s attempt in this book to assess the poet and his works, it is his freedom from any bias or prejudice while dealing with a poet, whose writings are immense and varied, defying any strong assertion one way or the other. We have to congratulate the author for having given us in a compact volume of 265 pages, so much material without creating a feeling of any serious omission or elimination of the important events as well as the significant landmarks of his poetic outpourings.
During the last decade of the poet’s life, there are certainly evidences of his creative power showing no abatement but on the other hand even evincing a tendency for voyaging forth on new seas and unfamiliar waters. His three or four volumes of prose poems which deal with a variety of themes and moods, some serious others quite playful and yet some merely narrative, even metaphysical, but none lacking the quality and originality of his poetic soul. Some of the illustrative verses in English translation bear out the fact how his mind and power of thinking never waned till the last, but showed a sense of the richness of poetic conceit that he alone was capable of.
In recent years there have been many attempts made estimating the poet’s writings, which have certainly added to the number the Tagoriana. Still no other book in such a short compass as this one has been able to satisfy the hunger of the genuine student of Tagore, with deep insights into his many-faceted genius.
Freedom Movement in India: By Nayantara Sahgal. Published National Council of Educational Research and Training, New Delhi–l6.
The present book by a very distinguished modern writer of India has been published in the National Integration Series by the National Council of Educational Research and Training. This is intended as a supplementary reader for boys and girls of the age group from 15 to 18.
The book compresses in the short span of 135 pages, an authentic and exhaustive history of the Freedom Movement in India. Beginning with the conditions in India as the power of the Moghals declined, the book traces briefly the causes of the great revolt of 1857, and the stir of ideas in India in the late 19th century, through the spread of liberal thought in the wake of expanding British education. Short sketches on the starlwarts who dominated the national scene in the 19th century, like Raja Ramamohan Roy, Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Swami Vivekananda etc., etc., down to Rabindranath Tagore, Dr. Annie Besant, Gopalakrishna Gokhale, etc., of the 20th century have been briefly given. The paradox of the British rule, in which there was a great flow of liberal education and ideas enabling Indians to come in touch with the modern world, together with the inhibition of local talent and initiative in the field of agriculture and industry, to serve British economic interests, has been very effectively delienated by the author.
As is to be expected, the history and growth of the National Movement, the war years and after, the coming of Mahatma Gandhi, and the stirring events of the 1920’s occupy the central place of the book. Gandhiji’s finding of a weapon of non-violence, which was greater than violence, and the superb generalship that he exhibited during the Salt March and after, have been graphically described. The effects of the Second World War on India and the details regarding transfer of power have been briefly touched upon towards the end of the book. The book ends with a short chapter upon the need for eternal vigilance on the part of every citizen, to preserve the hard won freedom.
This book from a noted writer, is a very welcome addition to the literature on the inspired drama of the freedom movement. A study of the sketches of the great personalities that played a leading part in the struggle should be instrumental, in effectively bringing about a sense of national integration and awakening, among the impressionable young, for whom it is intended.
Yoga Today: Edited by Dr. Jaya Deva Yogendra and J. Clement vaz. Macmillan Co. of India, Bombay. Price: Rs. 17.
The growing interest of the present day world in yoga is amply reflected in this collection of papers at a recent Seminar Yoga in Bombay. It is a representative interpretation from diverse points of view, e.g., educational, cultural, medical, psychological and spiritual.
Sri Yogendra and Prof. Velenkar underline the ancient character of the science of yoga which dates as far as the Vedas. How far the main concepts underlying the Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali can be integrated with benefit in a modern scheme of education is discussed by a number of educationists. Dr. Raghavaiah’s note on yoga and illness is worth mentioning: “Some diseases as sore eyes, rheumatic pains, headache, vomiting, etc., have been treated with simple yoga methods, but I have found the ‘Ray of Soul’ treatment to be the most effective. The soul is considered by Maharshis as Atma Jyothi. Just as light sends out rays, so does the soul. When I sit in yoga (savikalpa samadhi), the rays of the soul will come out of my whole body as small projections through the skin and will be seen by others with the naked eye. In that state I touch the affected part of the body of the patient, passing into it the rays of my soul for five or seven minutes. Any pain including high temperature, can be reduced within fifteen minutes of this yoga treatment by the ‘Ray of the Soul’.
–M. P. PANDIT
The Aryan Ecliptic Cycle.Price: Rs. 25. The Age of Zarathustra. Price: Rs. 3. Are The Gathas Pre-Vedic? Price: Rs. 7-50. The Mysteries of God in The Universe. Price: Rs. 20. Sequel to The Mysteries of God in The Universe. Price: Rs. 10. By H. S. Spencer, Published by H. P. Vaswani, Padmaji Park, Poona-2.
The first three books are products of extensive research by the learned author in the pre-Vedic history of the Aryans. The writer comes to the conclusion that their original home was in the North Polar Regions; the various vicissitudes undergone by the Indo-Iranian tribes from 25,628 B.C. to 292 A. D. are attempted to be outlined on astronomical evidence. The Age of Zarathustra is determined by Mr. Spencer as 7129-7052 B. C. That most or the Rig Vedic hymns are pre-Gathic, some contemporaneous with the Gathas and some others clearly post-Zarathustrian is the argument of the third book.
There is no end to the mysteries of God which refuse to be explained by materialistic science. The author marshals evidence from the Gathas, Bible and Koran to press the belief in the three ancient religions in the doctrines of Karma and rebirth. The drive, towards oneness in creation first at the soul level and then on the physical in all great religions is brought into focus.
–M. P. PANDIT
Archaeological History of South Eastern Rajasthan.By A. Banerji. Published by Pridhvi Prakashan, Varanasi. Price: Rs. 25.
The present book is a result of serious research and study on the history of Rajasthan in general, and of Mewar or Udaipur in particular, from early timesto the advent of the Rajputs. The author is a distinguished member of the Archaeological Survey of the Government of India, and has brought to bear not only his scholarship, but also his rich experience in field work and in research on the preparation of this valuable volume.
Starting from the prehistoric foundations of Rajasthan, the author reviews in a wide sweep its protohistory, and traces its fortunes from the dawn of history from the third century B. C. to the third century A. D., through the classical period from third century A.D. to seventh century A.D., and down to the advent of the Rajputs in the middle ages. The last two chapters contain a study in depth about the conditions of Mewar, in the late middle ages and the advent of middle ages in the same area.
As regards the prehistory of the area, the author has done very valuable work in identifying the physical features of the primitive people, who were responsible for evolving the social, economic and political institutions of these rugged areas. But the data that is available, being neithercomprehensive, nor complete, a fuller history would require fresh collections of data on these points in future.
In dealing with the protohistory of Rajasthan, the author has carefully reviewed the evidences collected by other researchers in the field. He has also studied the art facts and the ceramic industry, excavated elsewhere in India, and has made a comparative analysis of the antiquities of Saraswati and Drishadhvati Valleys, along with the material remains of the Rang Mahal culture. The result is that conclusions are as authentic as they are weighty.
In the section of the book dealing with the classical period, the early middle ages of Mewar, the author has carefully drawn up on all the epigraphical evidence available and published. Of particular interest would be the discussion in the Appendix of the Chirawa epigraph of the Guhilots and one of their baronial families.
The book is enriched by a few illustrations of the palaeoliths from Chittor, Khor, Biawar, etc., the Harappan seals from Kalibnagar and the ceramic ware from Darauli Hingwanis, etc.
The book is a valuable addition to the early history of South Eastern Rajasthan and will serve as a fore-runner to a more elaborate and detailed study of the history of the tract.
The Pess Council of India: Annual Report 1969. Published bythe secretary, 10 Janpath. New Delhi–11.
Press Councils are voluntary institutions set up by the Press in freedom-loving countries, as mirroring the conscience of the press.
They have an important role to play as “guardian of the guardians of freedom” as protector of the freedom of the press and as its mentor. In India, the Press Council has been set up under the Act of 1965. It started to function next year, and the book under review is the official report of its working in the fourth year of its existence.
Adjudication of complaints against newspaper alleging deviation from standards of journalistic ethics as well as encroachments on the freedom of the press by Government or other bodies, for an integral part of the work of the Council. The large num of such cases coming up before it shows the wide recognition its important role in this connection. The report gives a brief account of the nature of these complaints, the course of each inquiry and its outcome, and the effect of the adjudication preventing recurrence of such deviations. The findings of Council serve as useful guidelines for newspapers in regulating their own conduct and help to build up a code of conduct for those engaged in journalism.
Sometime the issue arose how far a loan or other form ofdirect aid by the Government to ailing newspapers was proper vis a vis the generally accepted ideas of freedom of the press. Council had no hesitation in giving its opinion that such direct aid was “calculated to impair the freedom of the press, and thus in principle, improper.” However, being alive to the need for providing institutional credit to help financially handicapped but otherwise promising small and medium newspapers to stand on their own feet,” the Council suggested setting up of a Newspaper Finance Corporation as an autonomous body. The Council made it clear that meticulous care should be taken to ensure its complete independence of the Government and total freedom from the slightest vestige of governmental control or influence and “even the breath of suspicion of such interference.” The report gives details of the scheme drawn up by the Council for the creation of such a corporation.
In a multi-communal society like ours, newspapers are often faced with problems in covering communal tensions and outbreaks. News reports or comments unobjectionable in themselves normally might cease to be so in a situation of tension. The line of caution to be drawn in such situations is generally left to the good of individual publications. Naturally, the performance of papers varies, and such variation may not always be the result of design. It is here that formulation of sound guidelines for reporting or commenting on these matters by an authoritative body like the Press Council becomes helpful, as the press is thus enabled to avoid what is “objectionable”. The report deals at length with this subject and in addition to the guidelines formulated by the Councils, provides information about the code adopted by the All India Newspaper Editors Conference in 1962 and the conclusions reached at the Seminar held at Srinagar in 1968 under the aegis of the National Integration Council.
The report also contains information about the procedure for laying complaints before the Council, the questionnaire issued by it on “unfair competition and restrictive practices in the newspaper industry” and other subjects of interest to journalists and students of journalism.
–A. K. VENKATESAN
Gita Samiksha: Edited by E. R. Sri Krishna Sarma, Professor of Samskrit, S. V. University. Publishers: Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati. Pages 174. Price: Rs. 7-50.
This slender volume is a treat for the intellectuals, students of the philosophy of the Bhagavadgita in particular. Herein is a menu with a variety of dishes in the form of fifteen papers containing the essence of the commentaries of different Acharyas like Sri Sankara, Ramanuja, Madhwa, Nimbarka, Vallabha, Abhinava Gupta and Bhaskara and eminent thinkers and national leaders like Sri Aurobindo, Mahatma Gandhi and Vinoba, all presented to the Seminar on the Gita conducted by the Department of Sanskrit of the Sri Venkateswara University in the year 1970. A study of this volume gives a comparative knowledge of the views of the different commentators on the Gita. Had all the speakers dwelt on common fundamental topics like God, Soul, Universe, Salvation, means of Salvation, purport of the Gita, place of Jnana, Karma, Bhakti and ethics, pointing out the verses and words on the interpretations of which each commentator differed from the other, a clear understanding of the differences wouldhave been made still easier. Quoting the relevant original texts of Sankara and Yadava Prakasa whose views were said to have been refuted by Ramanuja (page 24) is necessary. These are but a few suggestions. The book is an indispensable one for all students of the Gita.
–B. KUTUMBA RAO
Contribution of Kashmir to Sanskrit Literature: Dr. K. S. Nagarajan. Publishers: Sri Matr Krpa, No. 11/12, 4th Cross, Wilson Gardens, Bangalore-27. Pages 24 plus 728. Price: Rs. 15.
This book, packed with information, is a Doctorate Thesis, and is divided into four main sections. The first section is devoted to poetics and poetry. The author has herein clearly pointed out how the contribution of Kashmir to poetics is most unique and substantial. Value and importance of the third and fourth chapters of ‘Vakrokti Jivita’ is brought out. A few statements of Bhatta Naayaka occurring here and there have been collected together to show the trend of his arguments on the Rasa theory in poetics. A few concepts in Sanskrit poetics have been reconsidered. According to the author the theory of Vakroktiis more balance and has a better claim to be considered as the soul of poetry that all the other concepts in Sanskrit poetics. A chapter in this section is devoted to poets of Kashmir including Royal poets and minor poets and their beautiful compositions. The author feels that there is a possibility of rebuilding the views of Matrigupta on the technique of the Sanskrit drama by collecting together his statements quoted in other commentaries.
The second section is devoted to philosophy. The doctrines of Kashmir Saivism as propounded by Vasugupta and Somananda are briefly summarized. An account of Buddhist philosophers of Kashmir is also furnished. Tantric works of Kashmir, and the doctrines propounded therein are also dealt with in this section in a separate chapter.
The third section is devoted to history and topography of Kashmir. Miscellaneous contributions of Kashmir to Sanskrit Literature is the subject matter of the fourth section.
In appendix II the author advances some arguments to show that Kalidasa is a Kashmirian. In all there are seven useful appendices to the work. We have for the first time all valuable information, particularly regarding Sanskrit literature in Kashmir, collected in this volume and we heartily commend it to all students of Sanskrit literature.
–B. KUTUMBA RAO
The Philosophy of A. N. Whitehead: The Concept of Reality and Organism by L. V. Rajagopal, Prasaranga, University of Mysore. Price: Ordinary binding Rs. 12-50, Calico Rs. 15-00.
Philosophy, though not an exact science, reflects the heights which a people attained in spiritual realms, just as the level of civilisation is the true measure of a nation’s rectitude and standard’s of behaviour.
Mr. L. V. Rajagopal elaborately discusses Whitehead’s ‘Concept of Reality and Organism’, in Chapters IV to VIII of his thesis submitted for a Doctorate and endorses Whitehead’s worldview as against Realism, Pragmatism and Absolutism.
The Orient has its prodigies in this discipline and the Occident too has a host of names to reckon with: Plato, Aristotle, Hume and Kant, Leibnitz, and other stalwarts.
The high points, a lay man could discern from the new Theory of Whitehead, are: (1) Reality is a process, (2) Universe is an organism, (3) An occasion is a concrescence of elements, (4) In every actuality the ‘origination urge’ leads to production of novelties, (5) The Temporal World is God’s consequent Nature, (6) Evolution progresses from simple to complex, (7) The Highest Expression of Basal stuff is Home.
And coming to theology Whitehead presents the creator as a shepherd tending his flock and in rapport with his infinite multiplicities. The Divinity is thereby brought down from his seventh Heaven and made intimate to “Earth.”
The book is well-documented with a Bibliography and explanatory appendices. And it makes a fruitful study for those with a metaphysical bent ingrained in them.
–K. SUBBA RAO
Modernity and Contemporary Indian Literature: Published by the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Simla. Price: Rs. 50.
Life is not static. It is kinetic. And this element of ‘flux’ is falsely read as ‘Modernity’. It cannot be counted as a Norm or Value. It is a mode of thinking; a way of expression. Progress is cyclic and not linear. Likewise, the rhythm of the universe is evolution and involution. Modernity is therefore a cyclical recurrence with a ‘period’ face and a ‘period’ outlook.
Its attitude is aggressively destructive. It is impoverished of emotion and imagination. Its fetish is matter-of-fact reason. The image of it is best seen in works like Huxley’s Ape and Essence, Orwells’ 1984, and Windham Lewis’ Revenge for love. It has a world to gain and a soulto lose.
All the papers presented at the Seminar echo a common refrain: an anarchistic newness in taste; an iconoclastic thinking, wild mode of communication, bizarre imagery and a materialistic outlook. Its temperament and behaviour are anti-establishment and anti-classical. Sartre is its Solomon. Existentialism is the message offered by this Pontiff of modernity to an irreligious, heterodox and science-soaked humanity.
Life is robust living of ideas and ideals. And art imaginatively copies it. Such qualities and values that outlast the accidents of time are to be considered modern though they debouch out of a de-pedestalled past. So Modernity and Tradition have no indrawn dividing line. Both merge and emerge with shibboleths of old and new. The difference betwixt them is as between Tweedledum and Tweedledee.
The work is a compilation of a Seminar Proceedings and deserves appreciation of any bibliophile.
–K. SUBBA RAO
As Above so Below: by Jossie L. Hughes. Philosophical Library, New York. Price: $. 7-95.
The volume under review is the graphic account about the life of spirits in the astral plane. She is a first rate spiritualist medium who through her training has acquired the power of talking to spirits who are real and have astral existence. These spirits through their compassion for the living humanity deliver their messages to the medium when they call on them. This paranormal phenomenon, i.e., clairaudience, i.e., the power to talk with dead men according our author is a normal faculty and is one which may be developed by anyone with the desire to do so. It is not the result of any mysterious drug or L. S. D. To an unbelieving world the existence of spirits and the events of the astral plane might look strange. But who reads this long interesting account of two hundred pages will have to revise his opinion. The implications of transmigration and reincarnation are dealt with great clarity and are highly informing. The account is vivid and is put in simple style and is full of humour and tragic sentiments as of men in their life on earth. As a genuine medium she correctly reports the words of the spirits and does not project her views. The volume is a good specimen of mediums of communication.
–DR. P. NAGARAJ A RAO
The Rural Elite in A Developing Society: by Prof. V. M. Sirsikar. Orient Longman Ltd. Price: Rs. 20.
Politics has become the sap of the post-independence Indian society. It permeates every sphere of life. Political apathy and inertia characteristic of the people of the past are transformed into political activism. In the contemporary context, politics has become the gateway to influence, prestige, power and pelf. No wonder then increasing numbers includmg students are draw into the political stream. The participation ranges all the way from pass-time indulgence through occasional dabbling to whole time professionalised involvement. There is no place where discussion or practice of politics is taboo. All this is not reprehensible in view of the stress laid on political development of the masses. Yet scientific investigations of political development have not matched its scale and complexity. In this situation Prof. Sirsikar’s book is a welcome help as it deals with political development at a vital level of the multi-layer power structure of the nation-state. But this is a book not on the dynamics of power as such but on political leaders entering the power pyramid at a specific point. This book by Prof. Sirsikar is a report of a survey of 537 leaders, office-bearers and members of Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samithis in three rural districts of Maharashtra. Understandably its scope and materials are limited.
The publication would have acquired greater value had only there been a critical review of existing literature on rural leaders or leadership. A critical chapter of this kind would provide the necessary framework for setting its findings. But, then, the author claims this to be a novel experiment attempting to probe the hitherto unexplored areas of political socialisation, recruitment, value-orientations and psychological perceptions of the leaders. (p. 2) Well, this may be a beginning in the much-wanting tradition of behavioural orientation in Political Science research. The reviewer personally feels that the book belongs more in the area of political psychology than political sociology, because the unit of study was neither “interaction” nor “group” but only the individual. The weight of analysis was on rather subjective variables than objective processes and relationships. For instance, it is a significant observation of the author that the adaptive processes used by the leaders are a crucial factor in the transition of society from traditional to modern forms of organisation and yet this aspect of leadership behaviour was not focussed upon. Parts of ‘Introduction’ (ch. 1) and ‘Power linkages’ (ch. 7) dole out the traditional sociological fare for the reader.
Elsewhere the materials presented appear more descriptive than explanatory. As for the design of analysis, the inter-district comparisons have yielded little insight into the problem.
Notwithstanding these, the publication serves a useful purpose in providing informative materials on leaders at a meso level unlike the macro and micro level studies. The author’s own justification for the kind of work undertaken is convincing and forceful.
–C. R. PRASAD RAO
Zakir Hussain: Educationist and Teacher: Edited by V. S. Mathur. Arya Book Depot, New Delhi. Pp. 86. Price: Rs. 7-50.
This is a commemorative volume consisting of papers by eminent educationists, brought out on the 72nd birthday of Dr. Zakir Hussain. The contributors are either colleagues or close associates ofDr. Hussain. Shriman Narayan narrates how Zakir was inducted as the Chairman of the Syllabus Committee of Basic Education. Dr. K. G. Saiyidain brings out the humane qualities of Dr. Hussain. His preparedness to polish the shoes of his pupils who were unwilling to go to the Zamia with clean shoes is very touching. Prof. Mujib tells us how the Zamia Milia came into existence as an alternative to the Muslim University of Aligarh and how Dr. Hussain nursed the tender plant with loving care and afflection. D. R. Vij, formerly his student, says that he stands for regeneration of the individual.
Dr. R. P. Singh, while analysing Hussain’s views on universities, makes a distinction between Newman’s conception of a university and Hussain’s. The latter holds that an educated person does not merely do intellectual work. He rightly deplores the present unsatisfactory work of our universities and strikes a note of warning when he says, “There is dangerous little thinking in the universities all over the country, about their work, about its nature and scope, its aims and objectives, its methods and techniques.”
The academic community is deeply indebted to Mr. V. S, Mathur for editing this volume. He rendered a distinct service to all the teachers. The publishers deserve congratulations for deciding to contribute the proceeds of this book to the Teachers’ National Welfare Fund.
–D. VENKATA RAO
Never A Dull Moment: by Aries. Orient Longman Ltd. 120 pages, Price: Rs. 7-50.
A newspaper is supposed to cater to the various and varied tastes of its readers. While to the greater part its aim is to present political news and views, it also flashes sports events with almost equal prominence. A newspaper is, of course, never complete and competitive without advertisements and commerce columns.
Newspaper readers keenly watch for their respective favourite subjects day after day with a step-motherly concern for the other items. Good newspapers also publish skits written in lighter vein Or, better, conversely, papers that publish them are good. A few minutes spent on these humorous write-ups can be a rewarding experience after a day’s busy schedule of routine work. Called “middles,” these contributions often tend to act as an antidote to seriousness. Besides, quite a few of them have literary value.
The book under review is a collection of “middles” by Aires (Penname of Mrs. Nergis Dalal) which have appeared in leading newspapers of India. It contains as many as sixty essays and are characterized by their light and subtle humour. They have an unmistakable feminine touch with its gentle, caressing warmth. Only, for the paper and binding, the cost is a little high.
–K. V. SATYANARAYANA
Mission of Man: by Aaron Hillel Katz. Philosophical Library, New York. Price: $ 5.
The volume under review is a new approach to the concept of man and his mission. Our author is a trained scholar psychoanalyst who till his death in 1968 was conducting a course on theory of high information level culture in San Francisco State College. The author has ventured an almost Utopian view of the role of sciences in the shaping of the future of man. He concentrates his attention in the fascinating new science cybernetics. In the chapter of man he essays forth a new definition of man–“Man is an organism programmed by Nature to fill an information gap.” (7) The author seeks in a far-fetched manner the affinity of this definition to Aristotle’s definition of man as a natural being. The training for ‘information processing’ is dealt at great length.
The goal of a culture is as filling out that part of a language ladder appropriate to its information level. The mortal structure of man must be filled with new orientations for maximising man’s knowledge and filling in the ‘information gap’. Education should aim at training the super-ego of man to disperse with religion, myth and ideology. The aim of the author is to awaken the potentiality in man by giving ‘social information’. As a preparatory training a thorough psychoanalysis man with a view to drive out his myriad superstitions is prescribed. In short this book is a rationalist attempt to understand man bring out his potentialities.
–DR. P. NAGARAJA RAO
Sri Madhua--His Life and Teachings: by Dr. P. Nagaraja Rao, M.A., D.Litt. Published by Dharma Prakash Publications. Madras- 7.
This is a nice epitome of Sri Madhva’s philosophy, concise but comprehensive and clear in its nature and presentation of the subject. The book is divided mainly into four parts entitled: Hymns to Sri Madhvacharya, Life and teachings, Thus Spoke Sri Madhva, Texts, select pages from his works, and notes in English explaining the texts. Hitopadesa of Vadi Raja is printed on the flap of the cover page. Photo copies of Udipi Srikrishna and Sri Madhvacharya enhance the value and sanctity of the book. This book, a very good introduction to Sri Madhva’s philosophy, is indispensable to all students of philosophy, and Madhvas in particular.
–D. KUTUMBA RAO
Gems from the Tantras (Second Series): by M. P. Pandit. Ganesh & Co. (Madras) Private Ltd., Madras-17. Price: Rs. 6.
This slender but priceless volume is a collection of gems of selected passages from Tantric texts that are practical guides to Sadhakas. These selections lay special emphasis on the consciousness aspect of the Divine Reality and the significance of, that Chitsakti for the spiritual evolution of man: These passages cover nearly seventy subjects which are arranged in an alphabetical order. These are translated into and commentated upon in English. The advice “No criticism of other philosophies, deprecate none” is laudable for its catholicity. A practical advice is imbedded in the following lines: “When the Mantra and he who repeats the Mantra are separate there is no fulfilment.” There is Rhetoric beauty and message in the quotations from Siva Sutras–
–B. KUTUMBA RAO
Indo-English Literature in the Nineteenth Century by John B. Alphonso Karkala: The Literary Half-yearly, University of Mysore, Price: Rs. 17-50.
The book under review is a highly valuable and documented survey of prose, poetry and fiction written by Indians during the nineteenth century. The author critically examines the historic forces and events which helped the English language to take deep roots in the Indian mind. He rightly observes that Indians have shown considerable ability to adopt foreign languages using them for creative expression. As English has acquired international usage and application like Greek geometry and Arabic numbers, it can no longer be the monopoly of anyone group of people in any one part of the world. So the Indians found it very useful and convenient to employ English as a powerful medium of expression and a helpful tool for absorbing the culture of Europe. According to Karkala the nineteenth century has seen many significant changes in the national life of India like the emergence of the middle class Intelligentsia hankering after European culture, the revival of Indian classical learning and the establishment of the Indian National Congress. A number of Oriental Scholars, inspired by the example of Sir William Jones who founded the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1784, sought to reveal to the world the imprisoned splendour of the light of Asia.
The architect of modern India, Raja Rammohan Roy, effectively used English prose to express his spirit of enquiry, love, of truth and zeal for reform. He used language “like a surgeon’s knife to open the blisters of ignorance with delicate care.” He was a pioneer whose liberal use of English prose ushered a new era in Indian life and thought. Indo-English poetry flourished in Bengal during the second half of the nineteenth century. Henry Derozio, an inheritor of unfulfilled renown, was the formost among Indian writers of English poetry. Though his education was meagre, though he died at the age of twenty-three, Derozio shot into fame by voicing the feelings of fervent nationalism in poems like The Harp of my country, where, in spite of his Eurasian origin, he aspired to be the national bard of India. His long poem The Fakeer Jungheera narrates the unfortunate love story of Nalini, a young widow and expresses his reformistic fervour by condemning “sahagamana”.
The first Indian who wrote English verse was Kashi Prasad Ghose whose Minstrel and other poems was published in 1830. It showed lack of originality and sincerity though some critics found the imitative work quite pleasing. Michael Madhusudan Dutt tried his hand at English verse before he could hit upon the blank verse in Bengali which proved to be an adequate medium of his creative vigour. He wrote a long poem in English entitled The Captive Lady which narrated the love episode of Prithviraj and Samyukta employing the octosyllabic meter popularised by Scott Malabari and Byron. It is surprising to note that excepting Behramji Malabari none outside of Bengal has written English poetry worth mentioning. The tragic career of Manmohan Ghose who returned to India at the age of twenty-five after a distinguished academic career at Oxford and found himself an exile in his own land, presented the predicament of a poet wondering between two worlds. Though he was branded as denationalized, his achievement in English should make Indians feel proud of him when he conveyed in chiselled verse the philosophy of the Upanishads.
The Dutt-Family Album was the first anthology of Indo-English poetry. It contained poems composed by Govin Chunder and his two brothers. It is rightly considered a significant landmark in the sphere of Indo-English poetry. Govin Chunder’s gifted daughter, Toru Dutt, distinguished herself by the adaptation of ballads and legends from Sanskrit where she makes the ancient men and women come to life by the refreshing charm of her narration. It goes to the credit of Romesh Chunder Dutt to have rendered into English the great classics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. He will be remembered as a soulful translator of the Indian epics.
The chapters on Indo-English fiction, biography and criticism make this survey very comprehensive.
Along with useful biographical and historical material we find a good deal of judicious evaluation and balanced assessment of the works of individual authors set against the ground of the period to which they belonged. This survey enables us to place Indo-English literature in the proper historical perspective. It is a book which every lover of Indo-English literature should not only read but return again and again for the historical, biographical and aesthetic material it so admirably incorporates.
–DR. C. N. SASTRY
Telugu Upanishattulu: byM. Sitaramacharyulu Z. P. High School Errupalemt Khammam Dt. Price: Rs. 10.
This precious book which was awarded a prize by the Andhra Pradesh Sahitya Akademy, is a free Telugu translation of Ten Upanishadic Texts viz, Isa, Kena, Katha, Prasna, Mundaka, Mandukya, Taittiriya, Aitareya, Svetasvatara and Narayanaopanishad. Stories from Chandogya and Brlhadaranyaka Upanishads are also added at the end. Metrical parts of the Upanishads are translated into VrittagandhiTelugu, whereas the prose portions are translated into simple Telugu prose. Translation of Upanishads which have been commentated upon by different Acharyas according to their own interpretations is no doubt a very difficult and onerous task. But this author did justice to his undertaking and executed it in a pleasing manner. It is a running translation into lucid and graceful Telugu.
The translation is based, as per the author’s own words, on the “Upanishadanka” of “Kalyani” a renowned and popular Hindi monthly, and has a slight leaning to Visishtadvaita Philosophy. The first hundred pages in the text are devoted to a spirited and inspiring presentation of ancient Indian glory, culture and achievements in all aspects. The author expresses on page 86 that Bhakti and religious rituals have no place in Sri Sankara’s philosophy. But Sri Sankara provides a definite place for these two also. The true connotation of the word “Mithya” is not understood as it should be by the author. This book deserves a place in every Telugu home and library.
–B. KUTUMBA RAO
Kavyalahari: A collection of lectures delivered by Dr. D. Venkatavadhani. Yuvabharati, 5, Kingsway, Secunderabad-3 . Price: Rs. 5.
A team of young men who are very much devoted to literary activities made history–under the banner of Yuvabharati–in the history of Telugu literature by organising a series of lectures by Dr. D. Venkatavadhani, Professor of Telugu, Osmania University, and bringing out the text of the lectures into a handy volume. It is highly commendable that they printed 11,500 copies of the book and offered it at an incredible pre-publication price of Rs. 2!
The book under review contains detailed criticism of five of the most important kavyas in Telugu literature–Sringaranaishamu, Manucharitramu, Parijatapaharanamu, Vasucharitramu and Vijayavilasamu. The author who is a great critic, poet and Rasajna dwelt at length on the merits of the kavyas with profuse illustrations from each one of them and expounded in detail the poetic imagery and literary nuances of the famous poets. The book is a treatise on the kavyas and richly deserves a place in every library, personal as well as public. The Yuvabharati deserves congratulations on their unique venture.