India: A Wounded Civilization

by V.S. Naipaul. Knopf, $7.95.
Althohough Indira Gandhi’s political defeat has pulled the rug from under some of the detail in Mr. Naipaul’s discussion of India, the main thrust of the book is unimpaired. Backing his case with evidence ranging from the work of novelists to his own observations, Mr. Naipaul argues persuasively that India’s problems can be ameliorated only by the abandonment of both classical Hinduism and the political philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi. He does not offer an alternative scheme of action, but he is eloquent on the difficulties of a society enmeshed in religious prohibitions and fragmented by a passion for personal salvation.