Brie/Reply to a Critic
MADHU PRASAD has raised certain points in reviewing my book AN EYE TO IJ^DIA, to which1 I want to respond. These responses .are fraternal, just as the review was. I welcome the possibility for such a dialogue, and ask leave of you to use your space to conduct it.
First, there are minor matters which I want to correct, or dispose of. They have their own importance also. I was not in India for a year, but only during the winter of 1975-76. In this period, I obtained a good deal of information and travelled widely throughout India. Thereafter, I was in continuous receipt of documentary material sent to me from India, and I worked steadily—with one person's assistance—on accumulating, sifting and assembling side material until June 1976, when I started writing An Eye to India. It was Completed and the typescript handed over to Penguin by October 1976. (It was updated in December 1976, just before it went to the printers; and further revised in March-April 1977, when it was already at proof stage. The book could have been published in May 1977, if Penguin had so decided. They did not. It was published at the end of July, and reached India at the beginning of August. It was published in Britain in October 1977, and in other countries later).
Next—and still a minor matter—it was not S Doraiswamy who told me 'I am a poor person and India is a desert9, but a landless peasant in West Bengal. Instead, it was Doraiswamy who said of the Emergency
—and not directly to me—^it is not for this that Congress fought the British'. The error of attribution (on page 129) is one of the 65 printer's errors in the.book—the result of the pressure under which it was printed
—which are being corrected for its reprinting.
Next, what seems to be your rfeviewer^s mistake: India's population is obviously not ^one third the size of (China's)', but roughly one third less than China's. There is a substantial difference; of 300 millions.
Now, let me come to matters of real' substance, which I could not let pass without comment. After several pages of description of the book's contents, your reviewer instead of taking up analytically any of the main theoretical and political issues raised in my book—such as my