ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Communication in the Time of Hucksters

Communication in the Time of Hucksters Ashok Mitra Culture, Communication and Social Change by P C Joshi; Vikas; pp 294 + index, Rs 250. P C JOSHI, kin to his more illustrious namesake, is a leading figure in the nation's academic establishment. He was director of the Institute of Economic Growth for a long spell, and has been closely associated with the activities of the Indian Council of Social Science Research and similar other official and semi-official bodies, His advice has been frequently nought by the government of India on problems of social communication, Joshi was chairman of the Committee for Software Planning for Doordarshan, and has been, for the past several years, chairman of the Indian Institute of Mass Communications, It is thus easy to forget that he has other credentials. He is the product of the School of Economics and Sociology at the University of Luck now, once presided over by Radha Kamal Mukherjee and Dhurjati Prasad Mukerji. Both these eminences believed in eclecticism, It was inconceivable to them that economics could be segregated from its social context or that sociology could have an existence beyond, and independent of, economic postulates. While Radha Kamal Mukherjee's forte was empirical explorations, D P Mukerji was a restless wanderer in the thickets of ideas and concepts. His instinctive predilection for left ideologies was well known; he would nonetheless, with relish, insist on spelling out his distinct position: he was not a Marxist per se, but a Marxologist. He adhered to no dogma, and was an intellectual dilettante in the best sense of the term, D P Mukerji would not mind quoting approvingly from Mitrany's Marx against the Peasant. Nor would he be averse to travel, occasionally, in the company of Ernst Cassirer, to the sociology of knowledge, breaking loose from what was regarded as the closed system of Kant-Hegel-Marx. He was a great believer in diversities; his intellectual pursuits exemplified these diversities- It would have been astonishing if the in lellection of such mentors did not leave its mark on Joshi's mind. The book under review, a compendium of articles earlier published in different journals and of addresses presented at different forums, and dedicated to the memory of D P Mukerji, betrays the ubiquitous presence of a specific social concern. D P never tired of asserting that social and economic planning in India would be bereft of its co-ordinates if the planning of culture were neglected, Joshi's endeavour in this book is to outline a format for the nation's cultural planning. It can be, and is, a forbidding task. For, behind the facade of a basic unity, culture in this country has many manifestations, and is inextricably linked to ethnic, religious and linguistic factors. There is, besides, the urban-rural fissure, and, something not ordinarily mentioned in respectable company, the immense class divide. Culture is an expression of life, it is at the same time a process by which one travels from one milestone of history to the next. It is however also a social composite; communications therefore have to be an integral part of it.

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