The book is, both a challenging and an exciting preposition, challenging, because it brings together the intellectual initiatives of the nineteen contributors drawn from different social sciences disciplines, working on diverse crime themes, in pre-colonial, colonial and postcolonial time-frame in one large volume; and exciting, because it endeavours to run the two thought streams, namely, human rights and criminology in almost all the essays.
The book under review is a modified version of the author’s Ph.D. thesis submitted in 1997, and has taken a full decade to appear in print. The author, far from being distressed at this delay, is actually ‘glad’ that it ‘has taken so much time to appear as a book’. He notes in the preface,
This is a timely volume of essays, significant in the context of the present times of unprecedented turmoil and a stealthy erosion of the rights and liberties of an ever-increasing majority, who as the editor rightly points out, continue to be rendered ‘rightless’, even amidst an ever-expanding range of human rights instruments and laws.
The subtitle of this book encapsulates its contents. Future historians will undoubtedly judge the eight year long George W. Bush era harshly as being America’s wasted years. Following 9/11, the responsibility for bombing the World Trade Centre towers in New York was affixed on Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda organization hiding in Afghanistan.
A lot has been written and discussed about the linkage between religion and politics. The Iranian Revolution of the late 1970s in a way epitomized such a relationship. Omid Safi, who grew up in Iran during the revolutionary days and whose family later shifted to the United States, looks at the ideological and political aspects of Islam in the Saljuq era Iran of the eleventh and twelfth centuries.
The Centre for West Asian Studies was set up in the Jamia Millia Islamia in 2005. The Director of the Centre, Rajendra M. Abhyankar, has pointed out in his ‘Introduction’ that the Centre’s area of study is much larger than West Asia, and includes the Horn of Africa, Central Asia, Iran and Turkey.
Air Marshal Asghar Khan (retd.) has written extensively about the political developments in Pakistan since its inception in 1947. He had the advantage of a ringside view of history and was himself a participant in many of those developments. He is liberal and broadminded in his outlook.
The 26/11 terrorists attack in Mumbai witnessed among other things, a deluge of voices criticizing the Indian media for its coverage of the terror attack. The media was particularly slammed for sensationalizing the news through live coverage of the attacks on the Taj and Oberoi Trident hotels and for creating, if not reflecting, a (public) mood, of warmongering and most importantly, for not questioning the Indian government’s theory of Pakistan’s involvement in the terror attack. In any given situation, the media is the main source of information and therefore, ‘objective journalism’ is demanded, or so it has been argued.