This is not a plain tale from the Raj even though it is the journal of the wife of a British officer serving in India. The touch of the mem-sahib is inevitable since Honoria Lawrence was one; however, it remains a mere streak in an otherwise rich and complex personality and it is the individual who comes through strongly in the pages of the journal. She is a woman of many strands and if her husband was regarded as someone rather special then she has claims to the same regard in her own right.
In 2008, as America cheered and roared for change, Barack Hussein Obama, the son of an African father and a Caucasian mother, became the 44th President of the United States of America. Considering the blood splattered, radically disturbing history of the country, this indeed was a huge change.
This striking book, a collection of thirteen papers, on the genealogy, locations and practices of sociology in India tries to locate within the complex, contradictory, and contesting histories of sociological traditions in the various settings during the colonial period and immediately after, before the spiralling expansion of the university system in the 1960s.
Gail Omvedt’s book attempts to understand caste, critiquing the position that equates Indian tradition with Hinduism making Vedas the foundational texts of Indian culture that imprisons even secular minds within brahmanical perspective and proposes to go beyond the debate of posing secularism or reformist Hinduism as an alter-native to Hindutva.
Any serious student of Indian federalism must be aware that if Indian federa-lism has been the key to holding this very complex and culturally diverse country together in conditions of democracy over the last half a century-a remarkable record of nation and state building in sharp contrast to the former USSR and many countries in the non-western world-the method that has informed the process of federation building (and re-building) in India has remained what is known as ‘reorganisation of States’.