Anindyo J. Mazumdar

The subject dealt with in Lethal Games is of considerable contemporary concern. It is important enough for a leisurely analysis by the academic community, policy makers and the bureaucracy who are normally pressed for time due to the hurly burly of the daily grind. The book has seven chapters and two annexures.

Reviewed by: K. Santhanam
P R Chari

The first fifteen years of a nuclear rivalry can be very rocky. This is when the rules of the competition are still being written, when vulnerabilities are greatest, and when monitoring capabilities are spotty, at best. It therefore comes as no surprise that India and Pakistan are going through a dangerous passage.

Reviewed by: Michael Krepon
Michael Krepon

The Stimson Center and Vision Books have brought out a well researched paperback on a subject which the Center has pioneered in South Asia – Confidence Building Measures and Risk Reduction. The hopes that motivated the Stimson Center, led by Michael Krepon, on leading India and Pakistan to a “progressive and cumulative set of CBMs between 1991 and 2003, have been belied, owing to ‘geopolitical realities’”.

Reviewed by: Raja Menon
Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema

Pakistan is a state that appears to be in rapid movement, but has in fact changed very slowly. In the last few years it has become an overt nuclear weapons state, the army seized power for the fourth time in a coup, there was an ill-fated military adventure across the Line of Control at Kargil, the leadership signed up with the American-led (but ill-named) war on terrorism, and most recently Pakistan’s revered “father of the bomb,”

Reviewed by: Stephen P. Cohen
Mridu Rai

History hangs heavy on Kashmir. The state’s complex and contested past resurfaces repeatedly in its present-day dilemmas, and today’s headlines are often coloured by references to disputes of the past. To understand what is going on right now draws one into what is a never-ending debate about events that took place half-a-century ago or more.

Reviewed by: Salman Haidar
Taslima Nasreen

Taslima Nasreen’s Nirbachito Column first came out in Bengali in 1991and soon thereafter it swept the Kolkata market, creating waves in the psyche of the Bengali bhadralog class; most women were elated, while conventional men and women did not conceal their scepticism and even launched sharp criticism of her contentions.

Reviewed by: Gargi Chakravartty
Paola Bacheta

The two books, Paola Bacheta’s Gender in the Hindu Nation and Shahnaz Rouse’s Shifting Body Politics under review are similar in that they both approach the formation of state and nation through the discursive strategies adopted by civil society. Predicated upon a largely unstated Gramscian understanding of the state and civil society the books remark upon how civil society organizations and formations negotiate with and complement the state.

Reviewed by: Sumathy Sivamohan
Anita M. Weiss

The book is a collection of papers by well known authors who are acknowledged experts in their fields of interest. The editors, Anita Weiss and Zulfiqar Gilani, have done excellent editorial work to bring out the basic problems that beset Pakistani society.

Reviewed by: General Jehangir Karamat
By Humayun Khan and G. Parthasarathy

Diplomatic Divide co-authored by two eminent diplomats of India and Pakistan, in a mere 138 pages, brings out in a very readable form, numerous anecdotes, incidents and behind the scene activities which has also influenced, even if momentarily, the crucial phases of India’s relationship with Pakistan.

Reviewed by: T. Ananthachari
Abida Sultaan

Shahryar Khan, formerly Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary and Ambassador in France, Jordan etc., and presently Chief of the Pakistan Cricket Board, is an old friend. This is his late mother’s autobiography.

Reviewed by: S.K. Singh
Barbara D Metcalf

“Scores of studies exist on caste groups,” Mushirul Hasan wrote recently, “but not on the Muslims.” For reasons beyond this review, over the past half century, social sciences in India have sported a blind spot that may be called the Case of the Missing Muslim.

Reviewed by: Satish Saberwal
Asgar Ali Engineer

A serious enquiry into the psychology of communal violence, this anthology brings together essays, editorials, surveys, articles, opinions, documents and reports. The book transcends its stated goal of providing the future generations with a great deal of information and its usefulness to policy makers to question the contentious issues of ‘secularism’, ‘nation’, ‘identity,’ and ‘community’ through a polyphony of voices.

Reviewed by: Tania Mehta
Edited by Denis Vidal , Gilles Tarabout and Eric Meyer

Religion is not about love and compassion only. It is also about exclusion, hatred and violence. Being a total narrative, religion gives meaning to existential and societal concerns of the believers.

Reviewed by: Purushottam Agrawal
Abhijit Gupta and Swapan Chakravorty

The history of the book, or book history, as it is beginning to be called now, has for long been the preserve of bibliographers and antiquarians. This has been especially so in India. Looking at books from a narrow and often bibliophilic, if not bibliomaniac, perspective they were more often than not most concerned with debates no more exciting than who printed the first book, which press came first, the role of Christian missionaries, who contributed more to such-and-such language printing, etc.

Reviewed by: A.R. Venkatachalapathy
Chandrika Kaul

The British established their Indian Raj by various means including the sword but undoubtedly they secured it with modern means of communication. Ruling India from distant London was a difficult and complex affair in which the press came to play a critical role specially from the mid-nineteenth century.

Reviewed by: Anirudh Deshpande
Himanshu Prabha Ray

Himanshu Prabha Ray’s The Archaeology of Seafaring in Ancient South Asia makes a convincing case for the need to abandon an insular view of ancient India. Viewing the subcontinent within the larger world of the Indian Ocean, it replaces the usual episodic view of trade by a nuanced long-term narrative that stretches from the third millennium BC to the fifth century AD.

Reviewed by: Upinder Singh
Michael Gottlob

Thank God for Michael Gottlob, who has put together a book we have felt the lack of for many years, and done nothing about. Here is two hundred years (1786-1993) of ‘the development of historical consciousness in South Asia’—from William Jones to Ramachandra Guha. This is the translation of what was part of an 8-volume series, in German, on “historical thinking in intercultural comparison”.

Reviewed by: Narayani Gupta
Jackie Assayag and Véronique Bénéï

For the best part of the decades after World War II, the social sciences and the humanities have been marked by debates that can be best described as mediations on the ‘encounter’ between the West and the non-West, the First and Third Worlds, of which Franz Fanon’s 1960’s writings were but the beginning. Since then the writings of Edward Said, and the refractions through poststructuralism and postcolonialism have produced a large body of writing in the academia. There are scholars from the West who have complicated this discourse.

Reviewed by: Ravi Sundaram
Judith M. Brown

As the fifth generation of the Nehru-Gandhis prepares to test his (and the family’s) popularity in the marketplace of the great Indian elections, attention will turn, once again, to the legacy of the dynasty and, more specifically, its most famous representative, Jawaharlal Nehru.

Reviewed by: Harsh Sethi