INDIA WAITS by Jan Myrdal


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The author of the controversial Report from a Chinese Village delivers a caustic and impassioned indictment of the economic, social, and political inequities threatening to tear apart contemporary India. Myrdal, son of two Nobel Laureates, looks at India through a Marxist-tinted lens and loudly proclaims his disgust at what he sees. He sets up his condemnation of modern Indian society with chunks of a 1961 New Delhi diary strewn with understated notes of horrors such as ""Sun. No longer so cold. Last night only four people froze to death."" The body of the book, written in 1981 and based on travels throughout India in 1980, follows: a scorching stream of rage directed at societal evils the author believes embedded in Indian life, evils he proclaims as having deepened and solidified since his earlier vistt. The abuses are known to all: starvation and squalor, incredible police brutality (including gut-wrenching descriptions of rape, torture, and murder), corrupt or callous politicians (Myrdal froths at the Indira Gandhi dynasty), obtuse European romanticism of colonial India. But with poker-hot prose, Myrdal makes us feel each horror anew, impressing through the force of his writing his conviction in the unacceptibility of hunger, poverty, and racism. Unfortunately, the author's sometimes apoplectic argument alienates when he displays admiration for the bloody mass rebellions (the Sepoy revolt, for example) that have punctuated Indian history, or explores only superficially the rich spiritual heritage so essential to India's character. Overall, a compelling and generally convincing condemnation of Indian society, regrettably undermined by excessive zealotry and a whispered call for violent revolution.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1986
Publisher: Lake View--dist. by Academy Chicago