Dr Vaidehi Nathan
Transforming Capitalism – Improving the World for Everyone, Arun Maira, Westland in association with Nimby Books, Pp 209 (PB), Rs 295
Arun Maira has seen economics from two ends—the private sector and the government… After having worked with the Tatas for 28 years, Maira is now a Member, Planning Commission. Hence he is able to look at issues sympathetically and critically. His recent book Transforming Capitalism— Improving the World for Everyone is a collection of essays, some already published in newspapers.
The essays discuss the issues of trust between institutions, the role of the corporate and the need to have policies that reach out benefits to everyone. These issues assume relevance in the wake of the global financial crisis. The question on whether the “business of business is only business” or do the corporate have a social role is discussed by Arun Maira elaborately. He feels “Business has to play a more integrated role in society and has to develop new ways to fulfil this role purposefully because the old models are no longer effective”. In a right mixture of case studies and deductions, Maira demonstrates the need for a ‘kind gene’ in business.
The rising number of NGOs and the civil groups is part of the essays on ‘Institutions and Trust.’ Pointing out that NGOs are growing at a faster rate than businesses, Maira emphasizes the need to dovetail the efforts of both these groups with that of the government, in a common goal of benefiting the society. The need for policy stability from the government side for gaining the trust of the industry for its growth is naturally part of this.
There is one WMD Maira supports —Ways of Mass Dialogue. Pegging on the controversy over the nuclear deal, Maira insists that wider deliberations and discussions can resolve issues in a vibrant democracy like India.
Not very scholarly, Maira’s essays touch upon issues that are in the domain of common discussions. They are opinion pieces. There are printer’s devils which could have been avoided.
(Nimby Books, D-26, South Extension Part 2, New Delhi 110 049)
Woman-centric novel of lewd emotions
Dr Vaidehi Nathan
Overwinter, Ratika Kapur, Hachette India, Pp 239 (HB), Rs 495
Contemporary Delhi comes alive in Ratika Kapur’s debut novel Overwinter. Ketaki, a young girl, returning from America after a long spell, finds herself attracted to her uncle Deepak — mother’s sister’s husband. As she nurtures confused emotions, Deepak falls down during vacation and goes into coma and eventually dies.
Ketaki is an artist and designer. Deepak sets up the studio and home for her, not far from his flat. The aunt, apparently indifferent to her husband throws barbs at Ketaki, which puzzles her. In one of the fitful moments she tells Ketaki that Deepak and Ketaki’s mother were having an affair for years, under the very nose of both her and Ketaki’s father, a former army man now married to a foreigner and settled abroad. The aunt also insinuates that Deepak might have been seeing the woman he loved in the daughter.
In the meanwhile, there are other men in Ketaki’s life. A regular sleeping partner Krishan, a willing friend Adil and the man who wants to marry her Siddharth.
When Deepak dies, Ketaki finds herself wondering whether she should continue to stay in Delhi or not. After all, she stayed there only for him. She is ambivalent in her emotions towards him. Her friends are pressurising her to do a show of her and her mother’s works. The aunt wants to sell the house and go to the hills. And her aunt is the common link for Ketaki with her mother, her Deepak.
For a debut novel, Ratika’s is an interesting read, though the physical does get a bit strong.
(Hachette India, 4th/5th Floor, Corporate Centre, Plot No 94, Sector 44, Gurgaon 122 003)