Journal of Arts & Ideas, no. 6 (Jan-Mar 1984) p. 82.


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Development as Will and Idea

Dipankar Gupta

T.N. Madan, Culture and Development, Oxford University Press, Delhi, 1983; pp. 61.

ELL before Schopenhauer, Fichte had announced that the world was his will and idea. It is said that the German metaphysicians had then asked him what his wife thought about it. When T. N. Madan advocates today that India's only hope is that "we" the intellectuals become receptive to popular participation and cultural pluralism can we not also wonder whether this too is not a simple assertion of his will and idea upon the world. As a sign of our times we no longer enquire if such a postulate has the approbation of the better half, but we place it in the context of how the other half dies.

The papers under review were originally delivered as the D.N. Majumdar Lectures in 1980 and have now been brought together in a slim volume called Culture and Development. The merit of these papers lies in the fact that Madan has consistently elaborated a pronounced D.N. Majumdar idiosyncracy, viz., the belief that sociologists can change the world. Madan has filed some of the roUgh edges off this position while remaining in essence a believer, albeit a modern one. In deference to contemporary scholarship on the subject of underdevelopment Madan devotes space in his papers to acknowledge how the other half dies as a result of the relentless pursuit of material wealth by the over-rich rich. He reminds us again of the finite resource base of this planet and of the grave ecological imbalances that threaten every sphere of the globe. Armed with this near incontrovertible truth Madan turns against the philosophical effluvium that materialist pursuits secrete. Third World countries like India should seek a different model of development other than the one in vogue the world over. This model does not pay

82 Janaury-March 19S4


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