26 September, 2020

Blue Pencil Divinator

Ravi liked to ask questions and he expected answers that were lucid and logical. If God had a theory of this world, Ravi would have liked it to be coherent, consistent and, more importantly, fair-minded.

Blue Pencil Divinator
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
During the 1970s and early '80s, my generation, born around Independence, was jaded with the mushy, self-indulgent stuff that had been fed to us as 'Indian thought'. Restless for some fresh, incisive analyses of the issues confronting us, we realised that a series of new books had begun to appear, catering precisely to our demands. The authors of these books were articulate, confident of what they wished to say, steeped in Western theory but sensitive to our own past and grassroot realities: Romila Thapar, Ashis Nandy, Sudhir Kakar, J.P.S. Uberoi, Veena Das. Gratifying to me personally were two aspects of this phenomenon: the titles were all published by Oxford University Press with which I had once worked. And this scholarly renaissance had been stage-managed by one man—my friend and ex-colleague, Ravi Dayal.

Ravi died on Sunday, June 4, at the age of 68. Tobacco, with which he had had "45 years of happy and creative relationship" , had extracted its price from this warm, generous, stimulating human being. "Conversation with him," says...
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