New Login   

A Pot-Pourri

S. Gopal

Edited by B.N. Pandey
Vikas, New Delhi, 1977, 731, 125.00

VOLUME II NUMBER 6 November-December 1977

This fat book is really a rag-bag. It consists of the papers presented to a series of seminars held over two years, from 1972 to 1974, by the School of Oriental and African Studies in the University of London. The theme was leadership, but the word was interpreted so widely as to mean almost anything—­individual charisma, social process, bureaucratic machinery, tribal organiza­tion and anything else that anyone wished to talk or write about. We have here papers by not only historians but political scientists, social anthropologists and even a former chief minister of a state. Interdisciplinary studies are now the fashion; but no scholars have ever before understood it in this manner of picking disciplines at random and throw­ing them into one basket. One is sur­prised at the moderation of the organizers in not bringing in the physical and natural sciences as well, and telling us of the leadership of Bhabha and Bhatnagar; but perhaps it was not moderation but lack of persons who could hold forth on such subjects. For we have two papers on law which seem far-fetched enough. Indian readers will be surprised to learn that Shri P.B. Gajendragadkar has been exercising leadership in this country. In fact, these seminars show a lack of planning. It does not appear that themes within the general subject were selected after consideration and specialists who could present them were sought; rather, on the basis of the speakers who were available themes seem to have been handed out. The curious result is that despite the seminars plunging widely in all directions, there are glaring omissions. The title of the book itself, to start with is a misnomer. These are not studies in leadership in South Asia. There is but one article on bureaucratic politics in Nepal which is adequate by itself; but what one would have liked in addition is an analysis of monarchical rule. There is one article on parliamentary parties in Sri Lanka. But there is nothing at all about Pakistan. Apart from the functioning of political parties in the first twelve years of that country’s history, there have been three instances of military dictatorship as well as the idiosyncratic rule of Bhutto. All these clearly merit examination. In particular, as no other country in South Asia has had experience of government by soldiers, the experience of Pakistan cries out for analysis. But the organizers ...

Table of Contents >>
Please or to Read Entire Article

Free Access Online 12 Back Issues
with 1 year's subscription
Archive (1976-2011)
under construction.