German Writings on India and South Asia (4)
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    ‘Everywhere is becoming the same’? : Regulating IT-work between India and Germany by: Nicole Mayer-Ahuja

    ‘The world is flat’ – this popular account of current developments celebrates transnationally operating companies as great ‘equalisers’. Such tendencies of homogenisation come up against limits, however. Focussing on Indo-German project work in software programming, this study analyses the complex interrelations between the business models of transnationally operating companies and localised standards of regulating reproduction. They result in marked differences between the ways in which labour power is utilised in the companies’ Indian and German subsidiaries. The world is not ‘flat’ – instead, transnational corporate activities draw upon the combined and uneven development of world regions and reinforce difference rather than reducing it.

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    “When the War Began We Heard of Several Kings”: South Asian Prisoners in World War I Germany by: Heike Liebau, Ravi Ahuja, Franziska Roy,

    The age of catastrophe devoured lives from many parts of the globe. Yet the ‘Great War’ also occasioned new encounters and experiences. Never before had ten thousands of non-elite South Asians moved across Europe. About two thousand of them, mostly sailors and soldiers who hailed from villages in Bengal, Nepal, the Northwest Frontier and Punjab, were held for years in German prison camps. They attracted the close attention of army officers, diplomats and secret agents, of emigrant revolutionaries like Har Dayal and Virendranath Chattopadhyaya, of German artists, academics and industrialists. The captives made sense of these unusual encounters in their own ways. This volume approaches their difficult engagements from various angles. It introduces and makes available rich German archives as yet unknown to the non-German speaking world.

    The CD Rom attached to this book goes beyond the written word. It includes the Hindi and Urdu editions of the propagandistic camp journal Hindostan, transcripts of sound recordings in which the sailors and soldiers speak in their native tongues about their experiences as they are taken from place to place, perhaps in the hope that these might reach their families. There is nostalgia in their voices as they sing songs about their homes, while acutely critical comments on their lives in ‘vilayat’ give the lie to the notion of the apolitical peasant-soldier.

    The CD Rom also includes pictorial documents of paintings by the soldiers, and some powerful photographs of war camps in Zossen and Wünsdorf. The CD Rom also carries the Bibliography which is a special feature of this book. It is both extensive and rich, covering rare books which will be of enormous value to scholars and interested readers.

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    Cultural Encounters in India: The Local Co-Workers Of The Tranquebar Mission, 18th To 19th Centuries by: Heike Liebau

    Cultural Encounters in India : The Local Co-workers of the Tranquebar Mission, 18th to 19th Centuriesis an English translation of a German book which has won the Geisteswissenschaften International award for excellence in scholarship. It is now available for the first time to the English speaking world.
    The history of social and religious encounter in 18th century South India is narrated through fascinating biographies and day to day lives of Indian workers who worked in thefirst organised Protestant mission enterprise in India, the Tranquebar Mission (1706-1845). The Mission was originally initiated by the Danish King Friedrich IV, but sustained by religious authorities and mission organisations and supporters in Germany and Britain.
    The book challenges the notion that Christianity in colonial India was basically imposed from the outside. It also questions the approaches to mission history concentrating exclusively on European mission societies. Liebau maintains that the social history of 18th century South India cannot be understood without considering the contributions of the local converts and mission co-workers who played an important role from the very beginning in the context of Tranquebar Mission.

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    Much Ado Over Coffee – Indian Coffee House Then and Now by: Bhaswati Bhattacharya

    Based on oral history, fiction, interesting intellectual gossip, and records of the Coffee Board of India, Much Ado Over Coffee: Indian Coffee House Then and Now is a many-sited description of the Indian Coffee House, possibly the world’s first coffee house chain.
    The book offers interestingly written accounts of the addas or informal meetings, of the educated middle class in the cities of Calcutta, Allahabad and Delhi. Addas initially flourished in the neighbourhood tea shops, and then switched to the newly created coffee houses.
    Readers will encounter their favourite writers, and other famous people at close quarters here. Bhaswati Battacharya brings to life the lanes and by-lanes of these cities as they were then, through the sheer gift of her ethnographic skills. Some workers, now forgotten but who were once immensely popular with the regular visitors of the coffee houses, live on again on these pages bringing back old memories. In this context one should perhaps mention that in an interesting departure, some footnotes in this book are used to carry video links of luminaries visiting these coffee houses.
    Change has set in here too as everywhere else.