Books recieved

Foreign Aid and Politics in Nepal
by Eugene B Mihaly
Himal Books, Kathmandu, 2002 (2nd edition)
pp lx+237, NPR 460
ISBN 99933 43 40 4
When Mihaly wrote this book back in 1965, he was one of very few scholars questioning the efficacy of aid. That was the era of the Cold War, and developing countries were the recipient of large volumes of aid. Nepal, too, could not remain immune to the worldwide phenomenon, and countries as diverse as India, China, Switzerland, the USA and the USSR poured in aid through various means. It had not been many years since the inflow of external assistance began when Mihaly conducted his study. But there is no doubt what his conclusions were: foreign aid had not achieved what it had set out to do for multiple reasons. This reprint of a recognised classic begins with a wide overview of Nepal's foreign aid scene from the very beginning by Nepali scholar Sudhindra Sharma, who also neatly encapsulates the many debates that have characterised the business of foreign aid in Nepal.

The Romance of the State and the Fate of Dissent in the Tropics
by Ashis Nandy
OUP, Delhi, 2003
pp xii+218, INR 495
ISBN 019565864 7
Ashis Nandy, the New Delhi-based social and political commentator, explores key concepts in the mainstream culture of Indian politics, ranging from secularism, development and terrorism to dissent and history. He offers a dissenting perspective on the crisis of Indian democracy, in which some elements of the ideology of the state – such as secularism, development, nationalism and national security – have attenuated status. The ordinary citizen's unconcern with them is seen not as a liability but as a key to the resilience of Indian democracy. Nandy holds that dominant ideology responsible for many of the ills of Indian public life – growing terrorism, massive corruption, communal and ethnic violence, passive submission to mega-technology, and the failure to visualise an autonomous, alternative future for the post-colonial world.
Terror Counter-Terror: Women Speak Out
edited by Ammu Joseph and Kalpana Sharma
Kali for Women, Delhi, 2003
pp. xiii+284, INR 200
ISBN 81 86706 59 3
This anthology of women's voices against terrorism and violent counter-terrorism is compiled from previously published work in numerous magazines and journals from around the world. Contributors analyse the political, social and cultural contexts of violence in its varied forms and locations, but especially as it relates to women. Topics of discussion range from women's responses to the attacks of 11 September 2001 and the subsequent military campaign in Afghanistan to deliberations on communal violence in India and Islamist restrictions on women. The writings touch on aggressive masculinity, fundamentalism, war, global capitalism, politicised regions and ethnic nationalism.
If Each Comes Halfway
by Kathryn S March
Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 2002
pp xvi+270, price not mentioned
ISBN 0 8014 8827 3
Kathryn March uses the life stories of the Tamang women of Nepal she has collected over 25 years as a researcher in the field in the regions north of Kathmandu valley to explain how these women and she have been able to bridge their cultural differences to find common ground. Using the Tamang women's voices as they speak about themselves, the author weaves in a narrative to portray their lives in the mountains and valleys of central and eastern Nepal, the Tamang ancestral homeland. The book includes a CD of songs in which March's subjects sing about their innermost feelings.

Child labour and the right to education in South Asia: Need versus right?
Edited by Naila Kabeer, Geetha Nambissan and Ramya Subrahmaniam
Sage, Delhi, 2003
pp 416, INR 595/USD 18
ISBN 0761996257

Child labour and child rights have become prominent topics of debate in South Asia. This collection of more than a dozen essays examines the conflict between children's right to education and the economic compulsions that lead families to send their children into the workplace, the role of the state in upholding child rights, the relationship of caste and gender to child work, and the impact of globalisation and international trade agreements on the economics of child labour. With the UN Convention on Child Rights, now the most widely ratified treaty in the world, this volume comes as a timely resource in an atmosphere of increasing social activism and public discussion.

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Himal Southasian