Sunday, 1 March 2015

4 Aakars

Ideology Matters: China from Mao Zedong to Xi Jinping by Manoranjan Mohanty from Aakar Books.

China's notable successes as well as the problems it has encountered have resulted from policy debates and choices made by the Communist Party of China from the time of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, to the less charismatic leaders Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao and his successor Xi Jinping. The CPCs distinct style is to put the policy perspectives in fresh theoretical terms. These essays scrutinise the ideological statements to help understand Chinas reform strategy and the policy shifts.

One needs to know the contours of Maoism and its critical assessment by Deng Xiaoping to understand the reforms that he launched and the meaning of 'socialist market economy and the state-guided market process that has produced the high rate of growth in China. Deng's successor Jiang Zemin led China's accelerated growth with greater integration with the world economy and articulated his thinking as the 'Three Represents.

After him, Hu Jintaos decade of leadership, called by some as glorious decade by others a lost decade took China to become worlds second largest economy. How successful was he in addressing risings inequality and environmental degradation while practicing his scientific outlook on development? Xi Jinping after taking over in 2012 has given a stirring call for realising the Chinese dream and has initiated cautious measures on crucial issues.

In our Economics section, Rs. 550, in hardback, xx+208 pages, ISBN :9789350022658

Marxism as Scientific Enterprise by P. C. Joshi from Aakar Books.

In this collection of essays the eminent social scientist, Dr. P. C. Joshi, argues that Marxism needs to be extended beyond the traditional confines set by Lenin and Mao in order to remain relevant in societies in which individuals have freedom of political expression and which are witnessing gigantic strides in communication technology.

In democratic societies with a vibrant media, the Lenin-Mao inspired templates of conspiracy and peoples war carry far less traction than in autocracies where communism has been successful. Dr. Joshi argues that democracy is ingrained in the spirit and legacy of Marx and the two can be true partners in social development.

This require tapping into classes and strata not considered by mainstream Marxists such as intermediate classes, intellectuals and bureaucrats and harnessing the liberating potential offered by advances in technology.

In our Politics section, Rs. 295, in paperback, 223 pages, ISBN :9789350022757

Education, State and Market: Anatomy of Neoliberal Impact by Ravi Kumar from Aakar Books.

The volume looks at the nature of impact of neoliberal capitalism on education in India. It narrates the historical trajectory of shift from welfarism to neoliberalism; looks at how higher education as well as school level education has been impacted by neoliberalism. 

There are field-based narratives to document this impact while some chapters locate the language question as well as how disciplines like economics and legal studies are transformed within this context. It ends with discussing the possibilities to resist this onslaught of capital.

In our Education section, Rs. 595, in hardback, 309 pages, ISBN :9789350022818

When Godavari Comes: People's History of a River - Journeys in the Zone of the Dispossessed by R. Umamaheshwari from Aakar Books.

The book cruises through the length and breadth of Godavari (as much as possible), between years 2006 and 2013, into the villages to be submerged by the Indira Sagar Polavaram National multi-purpose Project of Andhra Pradesh-Telangana. Through an engaged first-person journal of journeys in these villages, the author records people's voices (and faces) and reflects on the issues, such as, historical past of Godavari region and its bearing on the present, idea of a river, forest and land and the male construct of a dam.

When Godavari comes, there is a churning that brings in new life, crops, on fields, marshes and wetlands and at the same time she also leaves some people stranded, manoeuvering their life's boat through, even as they are rendered at the mercy of the state. Yet, the destruction from a Godavari's coming is not permanent, nor an apocalypse, as a massive 'modern' displacement from 'development' is.

In journeying on Godavari, travelling with its flow, you meet these people- adivasi/tribal, dalits (and the other marginalised)- and hear their stories, their philosophies of life and of being reduced to a sunyam (zero). Indeed, a whole history is in the process of being written from above in this geographical-cultural-social space. This is the first book of this nature based almost entirely on people's voices from the submergence zone.

In our Ecology and Environment section, Rs. 1295, in hardback, 486 pages, ISBN : 9789350023082

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