Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The nature and grounds of political obligation in the Hindu State by J.J.Anjaria; Published by Academic Foundation ; Pages 316 ; Price Rs 995/-
                                  This is a revised edition of a classic work published in 1935. The author Dr. J.J.Anjaria was a well-known economist who was a student inBombay University and the London School of Economics. He was Chief Economic Adviser in the Ministry of Finance and Executive Director in I M F and later held the post of Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India. G O I conferred on him Padma Sri and the L S E elected him as a Fellow. The revised volume has an introduction by Ulka Anjaria the author's granddaughter,
                                   The book under review analyses critically the role of political obligation for India's future--studying carefully the political philosophy embedded in our Ancient texts, the Mahabharata, Kautilya's Arthasastra,the Manusmriti, the Puranas, the Buddhist Dighnayaka ,the Jain scriptures and Jataka Tales. Anjaria extracts philosophical insights useful for a modern state that ensure that the citizens flourish under modern ideals and at the same time carry forward India's rich heritage, culturally and politically.
                                   In Ancient India political obligation is not merely political; because of its association with Dharma it becomes religious or spiritual. Anjaria pleads for the upkeep and nurture of the central core of Hindu culture and civilisation. The Hindu mind has always had a fascination for pondering over the nature of the eternal principle of the Universe. Ancient Hindu thinkers discussed social, economic and religious topics all together without drawing a clear line between them. Thus a study of political theory as such was never undertaken. They did lay down various maxims of policy and rules of statecraft in great detail.
                                 The first four chapters of the book are devoted to an analysis and explanation of these concepts in Hindu thought and their implications are given in detail and compared with western political theories. The different theories are related to the concept of Dharma and in this context the real nature of the Hindu state is analysed in the next four chapters. Anjaria highlights the various implications of Dharma and notes the defects of the Hindu theory of the State.
                                 The author attempts to comprehend the exact significance of the nature of political obligation and detects the  theoretical basis of the various practical rules and maxims. He affords the reader a proper perspective of the problem of political obligation as viewed by ancient thinkers and assesses their worth. The first chapter deals with the "Divine Rights " theory. The King has no divine right to go wrong. The Hindu thinkers have not offered the Divine Rights theory as sole justification of the King's authority. The next chapter is concerned with the "Contractual" theory. The people have no right to call into question any of the acts of a King because a contractual view of political obligation is not really propounded by the Hindu thinkers. The obligation rests solely on the concept of Dharma. The "Force" theory is the subject of the next chapter. The " Danda" should be connected with the real will of the individual and help him to realise his best self than to curb him. Danda will appear in its true form as a guarantor of freedom. Can we trace the "Organic" theory of the State in Hindu thought?. There is no evidence to prove this.
                                    The next four chapters deal with Dharma and its ramifications. The Dharmasutras deal in great length the functions of the King. The aim of the Hindu State is to maintain Dharma--the State must ensure conditions in which the individual can fulfill his Svadharma. We have a thorough analysis of the nature of the Hindu State. It bears the indelible stamp of Dharma--which is the guiding spirit of the polity. The Dharma Rajya of the future cannot be created on the foundation of an iniquitous social order. In the state we build up there shall not be a slave buried alive beneath the foundation.
                                   This is a work of astonishing scholarship, replete with apt quotes from our classic works. One is amazed at the depth of scholarship of Anjaria who is equally adept in the work of modern political thinkers and great works of Sanskrit in polity and mythology.


Global Value Chains In A Post-crisis World—Edited by Oliver Cattaneo, Gary Gereffi, Cornelia Staritz ; Published by Academic Foundation ; Pages 391 ; Price Rs. 695/-

                                                Academic Foundation deserve our thanks for bringing out a series of prestigious publications of the OECD  and World Bank and making them available to Indian readers. The subjects covered are of paramount importance—Global Crisis, Trade , Development and Growth.

                                                The book under review is a development perspective edited by two World Bank experts and an authority from DukeUniversityDurham.

                                                 The leaders of “The Group of Twenty” after their 2009 Summit designed a global plan for recovery and reform. The World Bank took the initiative to assemble researchers and trade experts to study the global crisis that afflicted the world in 2008-2009 and its effect on trade and development. The results of this effort got reflected in the book “Effective Crisis Response; Implications for the trading system”. The latest economic global disaster is the subject of the volume under review.

                                                The GFTA Project—Global Trade and Financial Architecture—was aimed at studying the reactions to the crisis. GFTA’s objectives are to identify and promote concrete policy options for re-invigorating and strengthening the multi-lateral economic systems and institutions which helped the globalization effort.

                                                  Surging public debts and deficits, increasing global balances and tensions in the monetary system are some of the challenges faced by the post-global crisis economy. Questions that spring to the mind are—Was the recent crisis the first global recession of our century or was it a collapse of globalization?. Has this crisis resulted in fundamental shifts ?. The answer to these questions are attempted through Global Value Chains (GVCs).  GVCs comprise the full range of activities required to bring a good or service from its birth through the different phases of production to delivery to the ultimate consumers as also disposal after use. The GVC   framework has been studied and developed by specialists who have tracked the global spread of industries and studied the implications for countries and corporations. The book is an analysis of GVC dynamics in the post-crisis environment with special focus on opportunities and challenges faced by developing countries attempting to improve their standing. We have an analysis of general trends , followed by specific assessment of  dynamics of different global industries-apparel, automobiles, electronics, information technology-enabled services as also special study of two agricultural commodities—cassava and timber.

                                               The volume concludes that GVCs have proved resilient. They are today crucial and firm structural peaks of the global economy. During the Asian Financial Crisis  in the late 1990s global supply chains bounced back quickly. The results of the studies in this book reveal that there has been a consolidation of GVCs and growing salience of the markets in the South. International production and consumption continue to remain global. The role of the South has grown but inequalities among developing countries threaten to rise. This could result in instability and holds a potential for crises.

                                               The book calls for a proper understanding of industry dynamics. Specific industry value chains have to be studied in depth and we must utilize the opportunities and challenges created by developing countries seeking entry into these chains.

                                                There are 17 contributors in this book . There are a large number of boxes, figures, tables and maps. Each chapter has an impressive list of references. The book is a monumental work on the challenges posed by the global crisis. It is highly useful for planners, economists and policy—makers.


Nhava & Sheva by Shyam Chainani ;Published by Academic Foundation ; Pages 258 ; Price Rs. 695/-


                                                   The author of this book , Shyam Chainani, was born in an affluent family, being the son of the former Chief Justice of theBombay High Court, Justice H.K.Chainani. He was educated in the Indian Institute of Technology and later at Cambridge and the Massachussets Institute of Technology. He was a totally dedicated environmentalist who bid goodbye to a great career in favour of the “Green Cause”. He was instrumental in ‘Matheran’ and ‘Mahabaleshwar’ being declared ecologically fragile zones. He compelled the Central Government to frame Heritage laws and  played a crucial role in protecting tenancy rights in Mumbai city.

                                                          Shyam was diagnosed with cancer and all he could think of was completing yet another book on the “Green Theme”. He declared,“I have only a few months to live and I need to finish my book before I die.” This is his third and last book which fetched for him an Intach Award. It is a pity that he did not live to see the release of this book.

                                                            Located a few miles off the Mumbai coastline these islands are also home to the famed Nhava Sheva port. The battle for Nhava Sheva was the turning point that converted  the author into an activist for the environment. It was the campaign against Rashtriya Fertilisers Chemicals who wanted to build a fertilizer plant on the beach and ONGC that aimed at building a materials dump at  Nhava that inspired Shyam to fight for preserving and protecting the coastline. It is well known that this fight for Nheva resulted in the CRZ  rules being enunciated by Smt.Indira Gandhi.

                                                          Shyam begins with a bit of interesting history. The Sir Mohamed Yusuf Seamen Welfare Foundation has been managing India’s oldest Nautical Institute (Training Ship Rahaman ) and theMarine Museum in Nhava and Sheva. There were attempts to acquire lands at Nhava for a  Regional  Park in  1970 and  Government planned in 1976 to convert Nhava into a supply base for ONGC. Shyam took up the problem of protecting Nhava and Sheva and his energy, determination, dedication to this cause shine brightly through this volume. This is a case study of environmental action to preserve and protect Nhava  and Sheva from the several threats posed by the Jawaharlal Nehru Port, the Bombay Port and the Bombay Mainland / Sewri—Nhava bridge. What a galaxy of actors—Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, T.N.Seshan, A.R.Anutulay, Tinnaikar, Salim Ali, Bittu Sahgal , JRD Tata and so many celebrities.

                                                      The chapter on “Nhava” is a stirring historical record of this isle. The Hindu names of Nhava are Devadevi and Nhave. Haji Hasham Yusuf was the founder of the Bombay Steam Navigation Company. His son A.G.Boatwala took over B S N and made it into a limited company and B S N  ran a number of services to a number of places in the Konkan Coast. The family established  the Yusuf College in Andheri and a Marine College. Ismail Yusuf obtained Nhava highlands on a 999 year lease from the British Government. The Marine College obtained affiliation from the BombayUniversity. We have a fascinating account of a 19th century hydraulic lift—an engineering marvel—which could raise a 25,000 ton vessel high and dry!.

                                                     There were several attempts to take over Nhava by CIDCO and  ONGC, who secured 54 hectares. They had planned a road which would pass through the Nautical Institute’s main campus and cut through the corner of the Museum. The author took up the issue with the “Save Bombay  Committee”. He strongly campaigned developing Nhava & Sheva as green belts or tourism spots. Canvassing support almost single handedly he saved Nhava & Sheva. Shyam has a word of praise for T.N.Seshan. According to him, while he was Environment Secretary he virtually always consistently took a tough uncompromising pro-environment stand which none of his predecessors and hardly any of his successors did.

                                   To put in a nutshell the results of Shyam’s efforts, the  Nautical  Institute and Marine Museum are not only intact but are flourishing and have been renovated and greatly expanded. Out of the 54 hectares of land with ONGC, 14 hectares were made into a tree nursery. The port has left Nhava alone. The rest of Nhava has been classified as Regional Park in NewBombay’s Master Plan. Shyam Chainani’s claim to fame will flow from the fact that he has saved the lovely island of Nhava, the institutions within it and the hundreds of hectares on Sheva.


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