Stephen Haggard

Stephen Haggard has been living in New York as a Harkness Fellow and an organiser of exhibitions for the ‘Festival of India’ at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Every morning at dawn for most of his life Mahatma Gandhi would seat himself on the ground and write until lunchtime. His collected writings are a daunting prospect – even the 90-volume set published by the Government of India is incomplete. Gandhi wrote as a political propagandist, original and candid at all times, never insidious. As part of the campaigns he waged in both South Africa and India he founded, managed and edited a number of important journals about current issues, including Young India, Indian Opinion and Harijan. In their pages he would expound his principles, report on their practice, engage in debate with his critics, and publish his speeches and interviews. In addition to this, he conducted a voluminous private correspondence, writing as many as ten letters a day on subjects ranging from family news to philosophical problems. And once a week his daily verbal output was committed to paper: this was the day of silence that he had vowed to observe.

Hell on Earth

Stephen Haggard, 8 January 1987

The bloodiness of the events of the Seventies in Cambodia, and the desperate nature of the refugee exodus, have been of such monstrous proportions as to hinder the emergence of detailed accounts about what really happened. Someth May and Molyda Szymusiak (this is her adopted name) are two Cambodians who lived through the Khmer Rouge years and eventually gained refuge in the West. Someth May’s close collaboration with James Fenton on his book was the subject of a recent BBC documentary: credit for the vivid and readable style of Cambodian Witness must go to Fenton, whose name appears on the book as its editor. Molyda Szymusiak wrote her book in Paris with the help of her adoptive Polish parents: it was published in France in 1984 to an enthusiastic reception. The American translation which now appears is a slightly shortened version which unfortunately lacks the author’s original drawings but includes some seriously misleading historical notes.

Loose Canons

Edward Mendelson, 23 June 1988

Frank Kermode’s History and Value reads the literature of the Thirties as ‘a love story, almost a story of forbidden love’. The story is usually told in political terms, but the...

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