Jha, Prem Shankar 1917(?)-
Jha, Prem Shankar 1917(?)-
Born c. 1917. Education: Undergraduate degree; postgraduate studies at Oxford University, 1961.
Agent—Susijn Agency Ltd, 3rd Fl., 64 Great Titchfield St., London W1W 7QH, England.
Worked for the United Nations, 1961-68; Times of India, began as assistant editor, became economics editor, 1968-86; Economist, correspondent, 1986-90; Hindustan Times, editor, 1986-87; information advisor to the Prime Minister of India, 1986-87. Visiting assistant professor at various universities.
India: A Political Economy of Stagnation, Oxford University Press (Delhi, India), 1980.
(With T.M.C. Menon) Management of Public Enterprises in Developing Asian Countries: A Guide, Asian and Pacific Development Administration Centre (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), 1980.
In the Eye of the Cyclone: The Crisis in Indian Democracy, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1993.
Kashmir, 1947: Rival Versions of History, Oxford University Press (Bombay, India), 1996.
(With Harsha V. Dehejia and Ranjit Hoskote) Despair and Modernity: Reflections from Modern Indian Painting, foreword by Ashis Nandy, Motilal Banarasidass (Delhi, India), 2000.
(Editor, with Arvind N. Das) History in the Making: 75 Years of the "Hindustan Times," Hindustan Times (New Delhi, India), 2000.
A Jobless Future: Political Causes of Economic Crisis, Rupa (New Delhi, India), 2002.
The Perilous Road to the Market: The Political Economy of Reform in Russia, India, and China, Pluto Press (Sterling, VA), 2002.
The Origins of a Dispute: Kashmir, 1947, Pluto Press (Sterling, VA), 2003.
The End of Saddam Hussein: History through the Eyes of the Victims, Rupa (New Delhi, India), 2004.
The Twilight of the Nation State: Globalisation, Chaos, and War, foreword by Eric Hobsbawm, Vistaar (New Delhi, India), 2006.
Contributor to periodicals, including the Hindu, Hindustan Times, Outlook, Economic Times, and the Financial Express.
Prem Shankar Jha is a journalist and commentator on Indian and global affairs. Educated at Oxford University, Jha worked for the United Nations in the 1960s before entering the news publishing industry in 1968. He held several editorial positions with various periodicals, including the Times of India, the Economist, and the Hindustan Times. From 1986 to 1987 he served as an advisor to the Indian prime minister. Jha's published books focus primarily on Indian politics and development issues.
The first book Jha published, India: A Political Economy of Stagnation, covers India's economic lag from 1966 into the 1970s and argues that Gandhian policies were the solution to the stagnation. Divided into three sections, the eleven chapters discuss the economy's lackluster performance, the causes of this stagnation, and the policies of Gandhi and Schumacher. In the Economic Journal, P.N. Junankar concluded that "the book is well written and has many interesting and stimulating views." He added, however, that "the lack of an adequate bibliography is unfortunate." Nigel Crook also reviewed the book in the Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. One weakness he found "is the author's failure to address himself squarely to the supposed economic alternatives (especially more development of trade)." Crook complimented the chapter on agriculture, however, stating that "the detailed account of events and political manoeuvre as crises progress is masterful."
Jha's Kashmir, 1947: Rival Versions of History is about the various interpretations of the history of the India- Pakistan conflict over the Himalayan provinces of Jammu and Kashmir. In particular, Jha rebuts or, at least, provides alternative approaches to many of the claims made on the issue by Alastair Lamb. Reviewing the book in the American Historical Review, Robert G. Wirsing concluded that "this sometimes breezy but always thought-provoking book deserves a wide readership. Although it fails to deliver a knockout punch to Pakistan's version of events in 1947, it undoubtedly issues a serious challenge to it."
Covering market reform of the three giants of the Asian continent, Jha wrote The Perilous Road to the Market: The Political Economy of Reform in Russia, India, and China. In it he describes the market reforms taken by China in 1980, India in 1991, and Russia in 1992. Jha covers the positive as well as the negative aspects of market reform and addresses various issues unique to each nation. In a Journal of Economic Issues review, Jack Reardon began the article by simply stating that Jha "understands the evolution of market economies." He went on to elevate the book's status, reporting that it "deserves a place in the pantheon of reform texts." Reardon concluded that "in addition to a superb historical analysis of the problems facing Russia, China, and India, the book offers a recipe for successful reform firmly grounded in institutionalist principles."
The End of Saddam Hussein: History through the Eyes of the Victims was written in 2004, during the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. It does not analyze the motives for war like most books on Iraq published during this time. Instead, it looks at Iraq's recent history as a creation of the media and how the media influences foreign policy. In an Asia Times review, Chanakya Sen recalled how a villain in a James Bond movie manipulated global wars so that he could control the world through his newspaper. To this extent, Sen commented that "Jha's meticulous account is less cinematic, but equally gripping."
Jha's more recent The Twilight of the Nation State: Globalisation, Chaos, and War states that market capitalism is too unpredictable to develop freely. Jha cautions that globalization is leading the world into a new transition period that will not necessarily stabilize itself without guidance. Sayandeb Chowdhury, writing in Daily News & Analysis, had mixed feelings about the book. Chowdhury noted: "Whether to read Jha as a tarot card analyst, an aggrieved whistle-blower or a critic of futurism depends on how one is disposed towards globalisation. His scholarship cannot be doubted." In an article in Himāl Southasian, A.S. Panneerselvan wrote that the argument at the end of the book is not as strong as the earlier sections. Panneerselvan remarked: "Ending on such a flat note also gives an unfortunately anticlimactic end to an otherwise a path-breaking book." Aditya Nigam's review on the Tehelka.com Web site nevertheless asserted that "Jha's is an important book for anybody interested in understanding contemporary globalisation."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, February, 1998, Robert G. Wirsing, review of Kashmir, 1947: Rival Versions of History, pp. 270-271.
Asia Times (Hong Kong, China), May 6, 2005, Chanakya Sen, review of The End of Saddam Hussein: History through the Eyes of the Victims.
Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 1982, Nigel Crook, review of India: A Political Economy of Stagnation, pp. 378-379; 1999, David Taylor, review of Kashmir, 1947, pp. 167-168.
Daily News & Analysis (Mumbai, India), September 10, 2006, Sayandeb Chowdhury, review of The Twilight of the Nation State: Globalisation, Chaos, and War.
Economic Journal, December, 1983, P.N. Junankar, review of India, pp. 957-959.
Himāl Southasian, October, 2006, A.S. Panneerselvan, review of The Twilight of the Nation State.
Hindu Business Line, July 22, 2006, D. Murali, review of The Twilight of the Nation State.
Holiday (Dhaka, Bangladesh), December 24, 2004, "People Have Lost Contact with History," interview with Prem Shankar Jha.
Journal of Economic Issues, September, 2004, Jack Reardon, review of The Perilous Road to the Market: The Political Economy of Reform in Russia, India, and China, p. 873.
Pacific Affairs, winter, 2001, Reeta Chowdhari Tremblay, review of Kashmir, 1947, p. 569.
Tribune (Chandigarh, India), February 1, 2004, Rajendra Nath, review of The End of Saddam Hussein.
New Delhi Television Web site,http://www.ndtv.com/ (November 27, 2006), profile of Prem Shankar Jha.
Susijn Agency Web site,http://www.susijnagency.com/ (November 27, 2006), profile of Prem Shankar Jha.
Tehelka.com,http://www.tehelka.com/ (September 9, 2006), Aditya Nigam, review of The Twilight of the Nation State.
ZeeNews.com,http://www.zeenews.com/ (November 27, 2006), Rahul Kanwal, interview with Prem Shankar Jha.