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

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Reclaiming Nature and the Planet for All

Living Pathways: Meditations on Sustainable Cultures and Cosmologies in Asia by M Nadarajah; Penang: Areca Books, 2013; pp 184, price unstated.

Sustainable development has for some time animated discussions on growth, development and the future of the mankind in many quarters. Yet, for all its thrust and parry it has received little attention in policy formulations. The stranglehold of neo-liberal economics and their protagonists is too strong within the corridors of power for alternative arguments to find space outside seminar halls.

M Nadarajah shifts the focus of alternative thinking—from sustainable development to sustainable cultures of living and uses Asia as his field of study. Nadarajah examines in this book the Asian obsession with acquiring “developed nation” status that is in reality a copy of the West and the corporate agenda of putting profit first and consumption as the most important marker of happiness and development. In the critique that he mounts against this neo-liberal doctrine, Nadarajah falls back upon the wisdom and lifestyle of those whom modernity has marginalised in the developed world and brings onto the forefront several aspects of life that have been suppressed, forgotten and consigned to a hoary past. Such wisdoms are seen as belonging to an archaic past that must be transcended for modernity to deliver a better life. Nadarajah finds a treasure trove of stories of wisdom that have been made “redundant” by a lifestyle that premises itself on science and technology. This lifestyle, Nadarajah would argue, is antithetical to good living.

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