Before you get too comfortable with a single view of Pakistan as a Talibanized state, here are two new publications that offer some new and previously less discussed dimensions of the state. The first one by Saadia Toor examines the progressive movement in Pakistan.
The Foreword to the volume by George Anderson, President of the Forum of Federations, informs us that at the end of the Second World War there were only four functioning federations, namely, the United States, Canada, Australia and Switzerland; today, the world has about thirty, and many more are on the path of becoming so.
Cosmopolitan political thought has recently received critical acclaim from several political theorists for a variety of reasons. Important among them is the concern to creatively interpret non-western socio-political ideas that, despite having western roots, cannot be comprehended meaningfully by employing western theoretical yardsticks.
Over a decade ago, political theorist Partha Chatterjee embarked on what was a novel journey in the history of political thought in India and, perhaps in the postcolonial, non-western world. Bringing together the results of decades of his own intellectual engagement with Indian politics and the question of subalternity in particular, Chatterjee began articulating a concept that has now acquired wide currency: his concept of ‘political society’.
Thomas Bernhard was one of the most significant voices in twentieth century Austro-German literature, and one of the most striking writers in the modernist tradition. Yet he remains little known to the outside world, partly because his long, allusive, fevered sentences are tough to translate.
Thomas Trautamnn, in his pioneering work, Languages and Nations: The Dravidian Proof in Colonial Madras (2006) demonstrated that the astounding ling-uistic discovery of familial relations between languages-the formulation of the Indo-Euro-pean and Dravidian families of languages -was an outcome of the interaction between western orientalists and indigenous Indian scholarship.
ANITA Desai’s latest novel Fire on the Mountain is a distinct let-down. It has many of the qualities that marked her first book, Cry, the Peacock; spareness, toughness and fine descriptive writing. But while Cry, the Peacock came off, Fire on the Mountain does not; perhaps because, trying the same trick once too often, Anita Desai achieves sensationalism instead of shock.
The recent exhibitions in Delhi and Mumbai of the works of painters Amrit and Rabindra, popularly known as the Singh Twins, drew in many accolades especially for ‘taking Indian miniatures to a completely new level’ because of their ‘reflec-tions on contemporary life.