Re-viewing the Canon

This book is a collection of essays published in a Sri Lankan newspaper The Island as a weekly column. Written by the erudite and politically conscious Rajiva Wijesinha, the book is a delightful survey of twentieth century English literature. While he threatens/promises to locate his readings in contemporary Sri Lankan politics, we find that either he has edited them out of the book or that such anchoring was provided only now and then in the original columns themselves.

The World of Modern Pakistani Art

The book under review is a commendable study of modern art in Pakistan and closely analyses the work of a few prominent artists as it deconstructs notions of modernism in their work. While the title of the work makes a reference to the art of ‘South Asia’, it would perhaps have been more appropriate to restrict its scope to ‘Pakistan’ as almost all the artists and the work discussed in the book have emerged out of Pakistan.

Of Older Traditions of Scholarship

Commenting on the congruent genealogies of Oxford and the madrasas of South Asia (‘religious’ origins of both sets of institutions) and the eventual divergence (Oxford emerging as the fountainhead of ‘reason’ and madrasas positioning themselves as bastions of ‘orthodoxy’) between them, Masooda Bano argues that the main reason for the different development of these institutions was that they were operating in very different political environments.