Among the many metaphors for Afghanistan, cross roads in the most commonly used. Now it can additionally be described as the junction point of intellectual and academic endeavour: on war and terrorism; on religion and fundamentalism; on conflict zones and instability; on institution building and State construction.
The concept of self-determination generally implies that communities—ethnic, linguistic, regional or otherwise—should be left to themselves to choose the form of self-government that suits them best. But the ‘themselves’ are often politically, economically and socially too fragmented to come to a consensus on the best choice.
As the material power of India and China is being enhanced due to their economic growth rates in the last two decades, the established global power, the United States has been undertaking several studies and policy options to cope with the emerging actors in the international system.
Much opportunistic literature has been churned out on the emergence of Bangla Desh. Disappointingly, published material of relevance to a combatman or a keen student of military history has been restricted to some broad brushwork by people who were not quite near the scene of action, and written with the purpose of presenting a general over-view.
This is the 50th year of the war that China imposed on India in 1962. Was the war itself and the resulting consequences—the effects of which are still with us, not least, in the form of a ‘trust deficit’ in our relations with China—because of Mao’s ‘martial efficacy’ beliefs in contrast to Nehru’s ‘moral efficacy’ beliefs?
A debut novel, Ayesha Salman’s Blue Dust deserves praise for more than one reason. However, what struck me is its portrayal of complex psychological characters in an equally intricately knit narrative. Salman has written a story which is passionate, painful, psychological and surreal. I must confess it left me emotionally drained but perhaps intellectually enriched.
In the foreword to his novel A Life Incomplete the legendary Punjabi author Nanak Singh narrates the story of the very conception of his novel and interestingly, he calls the foreword ‘More Fact than Foreword’. To me this story is actually a masterstroke of the story teller’s fictional strategy: