Sujit Saraf

The Shock of the Bomb

The Shock of the Old: Technology in Global History since 1900


Profile Books 270pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

On rural roads in northern India, a strange vehicle serves as taxicab. It has a chassis assembled from tractors, jeeps and bullock-carts, a scavenged gearbox and rear axle, and a diesel engine made from a water pump. It is painted in wild colours, bedecked with lights, rickety, cheap, dangerous and enormously popular. Over the years, it has collected a cult of its own – websites rave and tourists take photographs. When not in use, the taxi engine can irrigate fields of sugarcane and wheat. The name of this vehicle describes it very well – Jugad, meaning ‘makeshift arrangement’ in Hindi.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,
    • 'The heroic male nude could not, I think, be used today to signify civic pride and glory', as Michelangelo’s 'David… ,