Tuesday, December 04, 2007

In Democratiya and Pragati

My essay on Jawaharlal Nehru as a writer of English prose, which I posted here some months ago, appears this week in the winter issue of the political journal Democratiya.

And my recent essay on Shashi Tharoor's recent book about Indian elephants, tigers and cellphones reappears in the December issue of Pragati.

And my apologies - my regrets, rather - for not having been able to post any new essays for so long. But over December there should be new essays here on EE Cummings and Mukul Kesavan, and a selection of the best books of the year.

1 comment:

The Unadorned said...


I quite liked this particular observation about Nehru's prose:

"Perhaps it is to these tendencies we may attribute one fault of Nehru’s writing, which is a fondness for generalities and groupings and a neglect of specificities, of details without which prose can become mere rhetoric. Consider that, although he travelled widely for decades on end, and was a captivating speaker who drew huge crowds, his references to the Indian peasantry almost always take the form of the generalized description – ‘the sunken eyes and hopeless looks of the people’, ‘the starving peasant’ for whom ‘hunger gnaws at his stomach’. There is no account in his letters or essays of an actual conversation with a peasant whose name is provided or who is seen as more than a downtrodden man or a hungry stomach. Nehru can thus seem patronising towards the very people whom he cared for so deeply."

Sometimes I think we Indians have never seriously objected to such display of patronising attitudes. The only requirement is the personality showing the gestures should be sufficiently charismatic.