Rajiva Wijesinha

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.

Reviewed by: G.J.V. Prasad
Khaled Hosseini

From the author of the much acclaimed Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns comes another novel set in Afghanistan, moving with its actors to Europe and America.

Reviewed by: Ennapadam S. Krishnamoorthy
Iftikhar Dadi

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.

Reviewed by: Vikhar Ahmed Sayeed
Milo Cleveland Beach

This book is the revised and expanded edition of the 1981 edition of The Imperial Image by Milo Beach which focused on Freer Gallery collections produced for the Mughal Emperors ruling between 1560 and 1640.

Reviewed by: Meena Bhargava
Masooda Bano

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.

Reviewed by: Arshad Alam
Mohd. Sanjeer Alam

The empirical work for Religion, Community and Education was conducted in two locations of rural Bihar namely Phulwari and Kasba blocks of Patna and Purnea districts, and highlights the historical trajectories and how it has shaped the educational development and disparities in educational attainment of the two communities.

Reviewed by: Sabiha Hussain
Syed Farid Alatas

Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) was a scholar, most unique in the Islamic world. He is considered one of the most significant thinkers of the pre-modern Muslim world.

Reviewed by: Soheb Niazi
Filippo Osella & Caroline Osella

This is an anthology put together by the London and Sussex based Filippo-Caroline Osella team of anthropologists both having a keen research interest in South Asia.

Reviewed by: Tahir Mahmood
John R. Bowen

John R. Bowen’s A New Anthropology of Islam addresses an ontological problem in sociology and social anthropology, one that pertains to the relationship between culture and tradition.

Reviewed by: Tanweer Fazal
Carla Bellamy

The volume under review, a fine-tuned and reworked doctoral thesis, is a critical narrative of the interpretation of everyday and ritual life of a Muslim shrine known as Hussain Tekri. Carla Bellamy took a plunge into this rather adventurous journey with passion driven by irrepressible intellectual curiosity.

Reviewed by: Mujibur Rehman
Tanweer Fazal

None of the ideas/ideologies of the modern age have aroused so much passion and emotion as has ‘nation-statism’. Despite the fact that it has caused unprecedented human tragedy in the form of genocide, displacement, dispossession, destructions and devastations; and despite the claims of its demise in the face of globalization, the nation-state continues to remain a dominant socio-political frame within which human beings organize themselves.

Reviewed by: Mohd. Sanjeer Alam
Ira Marvin Lapidus

I must admit to having agreed to review this book with a high degree of trepidation. How could a single volume hope to cover in 658 pages, so vast an area with all its dimensions, conflict and, most of all the variety and the depth of its impact on civilizations across the world? And yet, by this singular work Lapidus, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of California at Berkeley, has, in a book more compact, placed himself in the recording of Islamic history on a pedestal equivalent to Gibbon’s for that of Rome.

Reviewed by: Wajahat Habibullah
Marie-Caroline Saglio-Yatzimirsky

So much has been written about Mumbai’s Dharavi—the ‘slum’, the ‘city’, the ‘urban settlement’. Books, articles, feature films, documentaries—an idea of Dharavi has emerged through multiple sources.

Reviewed by: Kalpana Sharma
Amitava Mukherjee

If there is any one specific condition that belies the hype of the success of the new economy in India, then it is that of the state of food security.

Reviewed by: A.R. Vasavi
Veena Jha

India’s tentative economic miracle faces many hurdles, but one of the chief difficulties is sustaining the political impetus for reform.

Reviewed by: Chetan Ghate
Charles K. Ebinger

South Asia is quite unfortunate when it comes to energy resources. It is home to about one-fifth of the global population, yet it has less than one percent of global oil and gas reserves. Its endowment is slightly better for coal and hydropower resources, but still they are less than 10 per cent.

Reviewed by: Nitya Nanda
Ian Talbot

As a new civilian government finds its feet following the historic transition of democratic power in Pakistan, it is important to carry out a holistic analysis of the multiple crises plaguing Pakistan.

Reviewed by: Arun Vishwanathan
Maya Tudor

Most comparisons of India and Pakistan are defined by which side of the border (or the Line of Control) you are standing on, and are often heavily rhetorically loaded: Pakistan as a failed army-state overrun by radicals and terrorists, India as a corrupt, unmanageable confederacy grappling with poverty and insurgencies.

Reviewed by: A. Gangatharan
Ejaz Hussain

There are many accounts by now of the military’s role in politics in Pakistan. Ejaz Hussain’s volume is a welcome addition to that. The primary objective of the volume is to build a model of civil-military relations applicable to the case of Pakistan which should explain the causes and mode of military intervention as well as the nature of military rule.

Reviewed by: Ajay Darshan Behera
Mahakrishna Rasgotra

Three narratives on science and technology (S&T) in China are prevalent today in scholarship and policy circles. Firstly, while China invented the printing press, paper-making, gunpowder and compass (the Four Great Inventions—sida faming) in the ancient times not excluding the Grand Canal or the Great Wall and other grand engineering projects, soon it was relegated to the background since the 15th century as western European countries marched with the ongoing scientific revolutions.

Reviewed by: Srikanth Kondapalli
C. Raja Mohan

The rise of China and India in the post-Cold War global power configuration is now universally accepted. What is less well known is back in the eighteenth century, these Asian giants accounted for nearly one half of the global manufacturing output. A potential reversal to that era is beginning to unfold.

Reviewed by: Kapil Kak
D. Suba Chandran and P.R. Chari

It is generally accepted that peace is a natural condition while war is an aberration. Peace is defined as ‘not violence’. Johan Galtung has defined violence in two categories, direct violence and indirect violence.

Reviewed by: Satyabrat Sinha
Updesh Kumar

Terrorism has traditionally presented states with a major security challenge. After 9/11, however, governments have become totally focused on this threat to national security for what they fear most is terrorist violence designed to achieve clearly defined political objectives like independence from central authority.

Reviewed by: P.R. Chari
Kanti P. Bajpai and Harsh V. Pant

Kanti Bajpai and Harsh V. Pant have edited this book for the benefit of graduate students studying Indian foreign policy, those teaching the subject as well as the general reader interested in its key aspects.

Reviewed by: Kanwal Sibal
Kanti P. Bajpai and Harsh V. Pant

Anyone who has asked an Indian Army officer why it has got bogged down in a bloody quagmire in the North East, why it made such a hash of the operation in Sri Lanka, or why the lives of so many jawans were squandered in Kargil, hears the same answer: ‘We fought with one hand tied behind our backs’. Apart from being hard to do unless you have a tail or other appendage to which the hand can be tied, that excuse absolves many sins. That is also the first of many limitations in this book.

Reviewed by: Satyabrat Pal
Bhupinder S. Chimni & Siddharth Mallavarapu

The discipline of International Relations in India, although vibrant and growing, has suffered from the straitjacket of having as its only points of reference, IR Theories originating in the western hemisphere.

Reviewed by: Sucharita Sengupta
Nitya Ramakrishnan

2013 has been a good year for law related publications in India, with a clutch of high quality titles from some of the leading publishing houses in the country. Among these, Nitya Ramakrishnan’s In Custody: Law, Impunity and Prisoner Abuse in South Asia would count among the more significant ones.

Reviewed by: Kabir Dixit
Haimanti Roy

Since the path-breaking work in the 1990s on women abducted during the Partition violence in divided Punjab, at least two generations of much needed scholarship have built upon and extended the literary archive of the years of trauma and displacement that followed the Partition of 1947.

Reviewed by: Vazira Zamindar
Sanjay Subrahmanyam

Is Indian Civilization a Myth? is a collection of articles by Sanjay Subrahmanyam, most of which have been previously published in Outlook, India Today and the London Review of Books.

Reviewed by: Rahul Govind