Book title: REFLECTIONS ON NATION BUILDING: A Gypsy in the World of Ideas
Author(s): Rajen Harshe
ISBN: 9788182744943
Publication Year: 2011
Binding: HB
Pages: 176
Price: Rs. 495
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About the Book:

This unusual collection of essays dwells upon a wide variety of themes that essentially reflect, overtly or subtly, on the processes of nation building. As a result, the author traverses like a gypsy in the world of ideas to allow his soul to express itself before his readers. In this process, the book reveals author’s ever maturing understanding of a few memorable poems, the role of inspiring leaders, metaphysical essences of life and society, traumatic events and processes in history, the human quest towards institution /nation building and the likely role of younger generations in shaping India of tomorrow. A gypsy that is hiding deep down in the author’s mind continuously makes him restless within the narrow confines of the know would and wandering in the world of ideas appears to be an obvious outcome of his restlessness.

In the context of nation building the book sheds a new light, with some personal touch , on the contributions of leaders like Gandhi, Nehru, Tilak and Mandela. Subsequently it moves on to grasp on essence of life through the teaching of Savta Mali, a thirteenth century saint poet, with metaphysical depth, from Maharashtra. In addition to exploring the daunting tasks in understanding and interpreting history, the book analyses traumatic events and process in history like partition and erection of the Berlin wall. While perceiving  any trauma across time and space the author unveils the significance and impact of the nation of alienation in emerging and post industrial society by discussing a moving poem of Kusumagraj in Marathi, on the one hand, and writings of a few celebrated existentialist thinkers like Albert Camus, on the other hand.

After highlighting the global and anti-colonial perspectives on education of J. Krishnamurti and Frantz Fanon, respectively, the author handles themes related to institution and nation building. He underlines the significance of duties, his vision of India, challenges before younger generations amid growing frustrations on account of mounting socio-economic inequalities, the state of higher education in the globalising world and changing  requirements of foreign policy in the process of nation building. The book ends with a semi-autobiographical essay that virtually sketches a partial biography of two major educational institutes, namely universities of Hyderabad and Allahabad. Owing to its varied intellectual concerns and lucid style the book is eminently readable. Every thinking and sensitive mind, especially students literature, philosophy and social sciences would be benefitted by reading it.  

About the Author:

Rajen Harshe (b.1949), a renowned academician and educationist, is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Hyderabad. He was the first Vice Chancellor of the University of Allahabad (2005-2010) after it attained central status in July, 2005.

Dr. Harshe was educated in Fergusson College (Pune), Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi), Fondation Nationale Des Sciences Politiques (Paris) and Columbia University, Swenden (2003). As a part of the Indian delegation of Vice Chancellors he visited U.S.A. under International  Visitors’ Leadership Program (IVLP) in September 2007. He has traveled widely on prestigious assignments and earned national and international honours/ awards. Besides, he has been President of the African Studies association of India, sectional President  of the Indian History Congress for the year (2009-10), President of the Indian Congress of Asian and Pacific Studies ( 2009-10) and Editor in Chief of Africa Review. His main publications are Pervasive Entente: France and Ivory Coast in African Affairs ( 1984), Twentieth Century imperialism: Shifting Contours and Changing Conceptions (1997) Interpreting Globalisation: Perspectives in International Relations (ed.,2004) and Engaging with the World: Critical Reflections on India’s Foreign Policy (co-edited with K.K. Seethi, 2005). Dr. Harshe ahs to his credit over seventy articles in reputed anthologies and academic journals. He has been writing regularly for several major national dailies. The Hindustan Times (Allahabad edition) published  his fortnightly and popular column, ‘VC’s Diary,’ in 2008.

Dr. Harshe has had the privilege of functioning as an expert, consultant and resource person in several prestigious academic institutions as well as the Ministry of External Affairs, and Ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of India, the World Bank, Planning Commission of India, the National Knowledge Commission, the Ford Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation , the European Commission, the University Grants Commission of India, the Indian Council of Social Science Research and the National Assessment and Accreditation Council.

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