This is an excellent book, one which should be on the list of anybody interested in the question of the origins of the Mahayana. Studies of this issue have come a long way since 1907 when D.T. Suzuki, in his Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism (1907) started with a set of premises about what the Mahayana should be and then tried to read back into the past from that to find its origins.
Othappu does not exactly mean ‘The Scent of the Other Side’, as readers may tend to think, looking at the subtitle! It is a word to be found in the Malayalam Catholic Bible meaning ‘to stumble’ or ‘to falter’ from the straight way of the faith and to turn to evil ways (p. xx).
Social change is an important subject in a society like ours which is both committed to and is undergoing social change. Though study of this important subject has engaged sociologists and other social scientists for a long time, there has so far been no comprehensive treatment of the subject. M.N. Srinivas is one of the Indian social scientists who have been concerned with the study of social change in Indian society, and he has written extensively on it.
Abdul Rahman Siddiqi belongs to the rare, and now practically invisible, Dilliwallas who were born and brought up in Delhi. He belongs to the Dilli Punjabi Saudagran community which migrated to Delhi from Panipat during the reign of Shah Jahan, to settle as a trading community.
This book is a collection of research papers written by former graduate students and other close associates of Professor Zimmerman, an eminent sociologist who has done significant work in sociology, especially socio-cultural change in the rural-urban context, inter-group relations, minority groups and their attempt during the last two decades to acculturate with majority groups.
It has been our firm belief for long, now reinforced by the present example that the festschrift volumes should be a tribute to the dead, or, at the most, presented in honour of those who have retired or about to retire from public life. A festschrift volume is perhaps too early for Professor Kaula by these standards.
Before I begin the review of G.J.V. Prasad’s work a word on the dust jacket cover: it speaks of the multicultural, multilingual, multifarious ways in which English is read, written, and spoken in India. Hence, fish swim in a sea of words taken from Hindi, Tamil and English, the fish possibly being us who swim in the multitudinous seas that make up the many currents of English usage in India today and of yore.
Iqbal A. Ansari’s book Uses of English, for the conservative, carries an explanatory sub-title ‘Varieties of English and Their Uses’. Conscious of some eyebrows being raised on the plural ‘Uses’ and afraid that the sub-title may not register, the author begins his preface with the following explication.
That there are multiple histories rather than a history of the Partition is borne out by studying the literature produced in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Contrary to popular perception, there is no generalized or undifferentiated response to the Partition among those who have chronicled it.
As the introduction to the Writers’ Workshop translation of Nagarjun’s novel Jamaniya ka Daba puts it, the author is one of the stalwarts of the Progressive movement in Indian literature, a movement committed to Marxism and to the depiction of social realism, Nagarjun usually handles social situations familiar in India, and in this novel it is the ‘god-men’s exploitation of the average Indian’s blind belief which is exposed.