Sunday, 15 March 2015

Cartel Regulation/ Culinary Culture in Colonial India

Cartel Regulation: India in an International Perspective by Lovely Dasgupta from Cambridge University Press (India).

The recent decision of the Competition Commission of India imposing Rupees 60 billion penalties on the Cement cartels exemplifies the extent to which cartelization affects the Indian consumers. The book looks into the law, policy and practice that inform the anti-cartel provisions within the Indian Competition Act 2002.

In the process, it tries to establish that even though the anti-cartel provisions of the Indian Competition Act are ambiguous on their support or opposition to cartels, the primary purpose of the Act is protection of the interest of consumers. Therefore, the Competition Commission of India and the Central Government are expected to come up with such regulations and notifications that help in clarifying the scope of the anti-cartel provisions in the interest of consumers.

The book also compares the Indian regulator’s approach vis-à-vis the approach taken by the fair trade regulators in more advanced jurisdictions like the EU, US and UK. Importantly, it introduces readers to a developing country perspective by bringing forth the impact of cartels on bargaining power of both end consumer as well as intermediaries. It also provides workable solutions to enhance the efficacy of anti-cartel provisions.

In our Governance section, Rs. 995, in hardback, viii+375 pages, ISBN : 9789382993759

Culinary Culture in Colonial India: A Cosmopolitan Platter and the Middle-Class by Utsa Ray from  Cambridge University Press (India).

This book utilizes the idea of cuisine to understand the construction of the colonial middle-class in Bengal. Colonial transformation contextualized the cultural articulation of a new set of values, prejudices and tastes for the colonial middle-class. This middle-class ensured that cuisine was not commoditized and remained domestic and embedded in the material culture of Bengal. One of the chief arguments of this book is that the middle-class in colonial Bengal indigenized new culinary experiences that came with colonialism.

This process of indigenization was an aesthetic choice imbricated in the upper caste and patriarchal agenda of middle-class social reform. While enabling the middle-class to soak in new culinary pleasures, the process of indigenization also made possible certain social practices, including the imagination of the act of cooking as a classic feminine act and the domestic kitchen as a sacred space. In these acts of imagination, there were important elements of continuity from the pre-colonial times, especially evidenced in the reinstitution of caste-based norms of gastronomy.

The process of indigenizing new gastronomic practices was at the same time anti-colonial yet capitalist, cosmopolitan yet gendered and caste based. Thus, the idea of a refined taste that was so integrally associated with the formation of the middle class in colonial Bengal became a marker of standards of good and bad, acceptance of some things, rejection of some others and in Pierre Bourdieu’s apt phrase ‘disgust for other tastes.

In our History section, Rs. 695, in hardback, 284 pages, ISBN :9781107042810

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