A ncient Indians, like people elsewhere in the world, fought their wars for their king and country with the weapons of those times. However, not much is known about how those wars were fought, or of the strength and organizational structures of those armies, or even of the prevalent social milieu and the attitude of the populace to war and conflict.
We do not lack books on the history of Indian diplomacy or those dealing with India’s relations with specific countries and regions. There has also been a steadily broadening stream of books that narrate the professional experiences of those who have been in the business of dealing with foreign governments, though there is a general conviction that enough has not been brought out into the open about the past and that a good deal of important happenings behind the scene has been lost beyond retrieval because of the passing away of major participants who chose not to tell all.
It is not easy to review a book of this kind. A personal reflection of what I would describe as a ‘return journey’ of an Indian American and his interface with a ‘different’ yet ‘similar’ India. He does this with a certain degree of familiarity, which is partly first hand and partly acquired, and also with a certain degree of decultured astonishment. Son of a Tamil father and Punjabi mother born, brought up and accultured in America,
It is unsurprising that China, its development and its intentions, continues to hold the interest of academics around the world. As the world’s second largest economy, speculated to displace the United States from its current number one position in the coming decade, the role China plays in international affairs today and how it can be expected to behave in the future are issues that merit meditation.
Twenty years after the birth of Bangladesh, the three protagonist nations involved in this birth-Bangladesh, Pakistan and India have their own narratives on the event. Bangladesh has a war crimes tribunal (International Crimes Tribunal), Pakistan is reconciled to its break up but still sore with India and India remains triumphal about its own just war.
Rumour-mongering is a national pastime in Pakistan. This habit is perpetuated by the situation of extreme volatility, uncertainty and instability which has plagued Pakistan for the last three decades. Building on the late Benazir Bhutto’s statement that there is always ‘a story behind a story’ in Pakistan, James Farwell, in the book under review, seeks to provide a critical analysis of some important events which shaped Pakistani politics in recent years.