07 September, 2012
Tradition and Archaeology: Early Maritime Contacts in the Indian Ocean
By- Himanshu Prabha Ray and Jean – Francois Salles (Eds.)
This volume compromises a collection of studies extending from the fourth century BCE to the fifteenth century CE and includes updated versions to the Introduction and Preface. The two broad themes examined are archaeological evidence of maritime links, and technological studies of water-craft involved in trade and communication. This inter-disciplinary dialogue provides new insights on early seafaring in the Indian Ocean and questions several theories that have continued to be repeated in archeological and historical writing.
Trade did not cease with the decline of empires; instead there were relocations in routes and changes in the participants involved. A focus on traditions of ship-building and navigation in a study of maritime contacts emphasizes the role of innovation and technological change vis-à-vis tradition and continuity. This addition to the corpus of research on Indian Ocean studies will be useful to archaeologists, historians, and ethnographers investigating the evolution of maritime technologies.
Himanshu Prabha RAY is Professor at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her recent publications include Colonial Archaeology in South Asia 1944-1948: The Legacy of Sir Mortimer Wheeler, OUP, 2008; The Archaeology in South Asia, CUP, 2003; and edited volumes, Reimagining Aśoka: Memory and History, OUP, 2012 (edited by Patrick Olivelle, Janice Leoshko and Himanshu Prabha Ray); Sacred Landscapes in Asia: Shared Traditions, Multiple Histories, Manohar, 2007.
Jean-Francois SALLES is Director of the Franc- Bangladesh Archaeological Mission to Mahasthangarh and was until recently Researchers, Dept, of Archéologie et histoire de l’Antiquité, Institut Francais du Proche-Orient, Amman, Jordan. His publications include France-Bangladesh Joint Venture Excavations at Mahasthangarh: First Interim Report, 1993-1999, edited by Md. Shafiqul ALAM and Jean-Francois SALLES, 2001 and “Pundranagara. Cité antique de Bengale”, sans la direction de J.-F. Salles, Indicopleustoi, Archaeologies of the Indian Ocean, Brepols, Turnhaut, 2007.
The Tejas Story: The Light Combat Aircraft Project
By- Air Marshal Philip Rajkumar (Retd.)
The Indian Light Combat Aircraft (Tejas) has had a long and checkered developmental history. Ever since the programme commenced with the formation of the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) in 1985, the project has been beset with difficulties like finding a suitable person to be the Chief Designer, marshalling talent and resources, the economic crisis of 1991 and the post-Pokharan II US technology sanctions.
Now for the first time the public will have an opportunity to know what went on inside the project with the publication of The Tejas Story, by Air Marshal Philip Rajkumar (Retd) who worked in the project for nine years from 1994 to 2003. He was in charge of the flight test programme which is a crucial phase in the development of any aircraft. His first person account written from that perspective is an absorbing read.
The author traces in some detail the development of the all important fly-by-wire flight control system, which was being developed in India for the first time. The less than ideal relationship between the three key players in the project, ADA, HAL and the IAF can be read between the lines. In spite of this, the many challenges overcome by the development team is a heartwarming success story of Indian technological endeavor.
The book must be read by all those keen on following India’s progress towards self-reliance in the defence sector.
Air Marshal Philip Rajkumar was born in 1941, graduated with a science degree from Central College, Bangalore and was commissioned in the Flying Branch of the Indian Air Force in 1962. After specializing as an experimental test pilot in 1972, he spent the next three decades participating in numerous indigenous aeronautical development projects both as a test pilot and programme manager. He retired in 2003 as the Director, Aeronautical Development Agency after spending his last nine years of service working in the LCA project.
ISBN 81-7304-764-2 2007 190p. Rs.525/ pounds 35
The Nadars of Tamilnad: The Political Culture of A Community in Change
By- Robert L. Hardgrave, Jr.
Among the various communities of south India, the Nadars have perhaps most clearly evidenced the impact of change over the past 200 years. Considered by high-caste Hindus in the early nineteenth century to be of extremely low status, the Nadars—toddy-tappers, climbers of the palmyra palm—suffered severe social disabilities and were among the most depressed communities in the Tamil country. Because of their sensitive response to social and economic change over the past century and a half, the Nadars have today become one of the most successful groups in the South, in both economic and political terms, and considerable command respect. From among their numbers have come leaders in business, industry, and the professions; and in politics, Kamaraj, their illustrious son, brought fame to the caste as Chief Minister of Madras and as President of the Indian National Congress.
The Nadars have had a turbulent and colorful history. Their struggle to rise above their depressed condition assumed dramatic forms in a series of escalating confrontations between the caste and its antagonists. From the breast-cloth controversy through the sack of Sivakasi to the Nadar Mahajana Sangam, the Nadars’ rise, exemplifying the processes of mobilization in Indian society, provides rich material for an analysis of the political life of a community in
When the book was first published in 1969, Lloyd Rudolph wrote, ‘Hardgrave illuminates in ways hitherto unexplored the processes of social and political change that have so profoundly affected India. I judge his book to be one of the most important and exciting studies in the Indian field in recent years.’ With this re-issue. The Nadars of Tamilnad is again available, and its compelling portrayal of a caste in transition stands as, one reviewer wrote. ‘one of the landmarks in South Indian social history’.
Robert L. Hardgrave, Jr. is the Louann and Larry Temple Centennial Professor Emeritus in the Humanities, Departments of Government and Asian Studies at the University of Texas of Austin.
ISBN 81-7304-701-4 2006 352p. Rs.895/ pounds 55