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Development Realities

Virginius Xaxa

By H.Y. Siddiqui
Rawat Publications, Jaipur, 2004, pp. 296, Rs. 625.00

VOLUME XXIX NUMBER 12 December 2005

The book, as its cover jacket states, takes a fresh look at the process of development undertaken in the Indian subcontinent. The countries included are India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It assesses the achievements on social development front in these countries and explores the likely bearing the current economic, political and social realities will have on social development. The argument put forward is that while changes have occurred in the countries, they have failed to modernize; that gender as well as rural-urban gap in accessing education, health and economic and political participation remain very wide. It also argues that despite differences in the size of economy and nature of polity, the situation in the three countries is quite similar.   The book is organized into eight chapters including the introduction and conclusion. The introductory chapter begins with the problem of conceptualizing social development. It posits it in relation to two related concepts, development and change and then puts forth some of the indicators used to measure social development. Indicators highlighted are education, employment and income levels, expectation of life at birth, child mortality rates, maternal mortality rate, availability of safe drinking water and toilets etc. Having outlined the indicators, the chapter goes on discussing how development came to be conceptualized and indicators used as a measure of development, especially economic development. It then discusses social change and takes health, education and employment as their indicators. The chapter entitled, ‘The Politics of Modernization and Development’ critically examines the development thrust of the colonial and postcolonial states, their achievements and problems and finally the politics underlying the development agenda. The next three chapters discuss the economic development, political development and more importantly social development in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh respectively. Chapter six provides a comparative analysis of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh in regard to economic development in general and social development in particular. Chapter seven is entitled ‘Search for Civil Society’, which basically delves into the importance of NGOs in the development process. The final and concluding chapter summarizes the state of economic, political and social development in the three countries.   The book had great promise but it has belied that promise. There are flashes of ideas and insights, which could have been systematically explored and discussed. In view of the fact that there has been a flood of literature, both theoretical and empirical, the treatment given to the problematic of the study in ...

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