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Girija Kumar

Edited by V. Venkatappaiah
Vikas Publishing House, New Delhi, 1979, pp. x 626, Rs. 125.00

VOLUME III NUMBER 3 November/December 1978

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. The editor in his introduction has called Professor Kaula a live wire. This is possibly the only thing right about appraisal of the man made in the introduction. Kaula is the most controversial person in the world of Indian librarianship. To call him ‘one of the most influential librarians in the world’ is an unpardon­able exaggeration. The editor blazes an unhappy trail, thus denying to the readers an objective assessment of both strong and weak points of the subject of his too much adulation. The fact of the matter is that Kaula embodies the extremes of Indian librarianship in which uncritical praise for the ideas of the late S.R. Ranganathan is combined with grudging reluctance to accept developments on the international scene and their relevance to Indian conditions. It has however to be said to the credit of the editor that he has brought together nearly sixty pieces of writings on Library Science, both by foreign and Indian librarians, on contemporary issues. The fact that some of the writing seems to be dated does not detract from the above average quality of contributions. Professor Kaula has always taken pride in claiming a very close relationship with Dr. S.R. Ranganathan, the doyen of librarians in India, in the tradition of guru-chela associations. The festschrift should have been as much a tribute to Dr. Ranganathan because his shadow like Banquo's ghost seems to haunt the generation of Professor Kaula. It is a pity indeed that Dr. Ranganathan has been left out in the cold, so much so that the father-figure of librarianship is mentioned merely four times in the index. This is like overlooking the name of Karl Marx in any weighty work on Marxism. The generation of Professor Kaula was fed on the thoughts of Ranga­nathan. To bring out a volume of more than six hundred pages on Indian librarianship without making an assess­ment of the work of Ranganathan is inexplicable. To that extent, the festschrift  has missed a golden opportunity for making an objective assessment of Indian librarianship. ...

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