Anand A. Yang, Kamal Sheel and Ranjana Sheel

This publication is part of the Oxford Series on India-China Studies which aims to develop interdisciplinary research on historical and contemporary relations between the two countries. In so far as the effort is to bring to light scholarship beyond the current preoccupation with geopolitical issues, Thakur Gadhadhar Singh’s self-published travelogue from 1902 seems, at first glance, an excellent choice.

Reviewed by: Rukmani Gupta
Tariq Khosa

Tariq Khosa, a former Director General of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in Pakistan, grabbed the attention of the Indian media for a brief moment for an article he wrote in the Dawn newspaper on 3 August 2015 on the Mumbai attacks trial. In that article he pointed out how the investigations in Pakistan had been able to find strong evidence that the Mumbai attacks were planned and launched from Pakistani soil…

Reviewed by: Ajay Darshan Behera
Imrana Begum

Over the years, the different aspects of the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan and its fallout on Pakistan and the wider world have been discussed threadbare. Yet, books are being written on it and the book under review is one among such books published in 2017. As the title of the book indicates, the author of this book Imrana Begum discusses the various dimensions of the intervention of the erstwhile Soviet Union in Afghanistan and its multiple impacts on Pakistan.

Reviewed by: C Matthew Joseph
Chris Ogden

Under the assault of social media, attention spans have contracted somewhat. But that is not any reason to worry. There are short introductions available to catch up on weighty matters, such as in the case of national security. These help in gaining a working understanding of issues outside a reader’s usual beat and on the quick, being small handbooks intended unambitiously as ‘introduction’.

Reviewed by: Ali Ahmed
Devnath Pathak

The book under review, Another South Asia! orbits around a simple but ambiguous premise of what South Asia is. While the answer to this question varies academically, politically and discursively, Dev Nath Pathak, through this book, has tried to provide an alternative conceptualization or imagination of this region.

Reviewed by: Abhishek Mishra
Larry Pressler

In his memoir Neighbours in Arms, the former U.S. senator, Larry Pressler, advances a simple theme: ‘India’s democratic government [and] location … make it a natural … geopolitical ally. We should decisively choose India … We must downgrade Pakistan and treat it as it is: an irresponsible, dishonest, rogue state’ (pp. 53–54). His book focuses on his legislative efforts in the eighties and Pressler claims that if a law bearing his name

Reviewed by: Suvrat Raju
A.C. Grayling

In 2006, AC Grayling, a well known and respected British philosopher stirred up a lot of discussion with his book Among the Dead Cities: Was the Allied Bombing of Civilians in World War Two a Necessity or a Crime? The book delved into the aerial bombing of German cities by the British and the Americans. Grayling termed the bombing as a crime against humanity as he saw it as causing disproportionate harm to civilians, being militarily ineffective in defeating the Axis Powers.

Reviewed by: War: An Enquiry
Peter Adamson

Most books written on the history of philosophy tend to remain confined to a consideration of the more prominent and iconic philosophers, looking upon them as isolated islands that loom out in a vast sea that itself remains unexplored. In a history of Islamic philosophy, the familiar big names are the Mutazalites, Al-Farabi, Avicenna, Averroes, Al-Ghazali, Ibn Arabi, Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Khaldun, to name just a few.

Reviewed by: Amir Ali
Parimal Ghosh

Years ago I was told by a friend that if only Jyotibabu had become Jyotida, the Left would not have declined (and nearly disappeared) in West Bengal. In other words, had prominent bhadralok (babu) leaders—Jyoti Basu, for example—of the Left cared a little less about preservation of their self-image and more about ‘connection’ with people things would, perhaps, be different today. Readers, of course, will know that there is much more to the story of the end of Left rule in the State.

Reviewed by: Nabanipa Bhattacharjee
M K Das

Sandwiched between Sahyadri (Western Ghats) and the Arabian Sea, Kerala had always attracted migrants from different parts of India and from outside India. The peace and tranquility in the region, tolerance and hospitality towards aliens and, above all, its location in the midst of major international trading routes encouraged the movement of peoples and the emergence of a pluralistic society.

Reviewed by: V Suryanarayan
Sumanyu Satpathy

The Bengali word ‘Adda’ when translated as ‘gossip’ slips from a middle class ‘baithak khaana’ and enters into a parlour, club or salon. In the ‘baithak khaana’, ‘adda’ comprises passionate exchanges (the topics may include anything from political, cultural, linguistic to gastronomical), and is, first and foremost, a social speech-act that requires a performance of words-orally. ‘Adda’ relies on a communal appreciation of arguments as spoken words, often deploys sarcasm and laughter, and is solely dependent on the ‘delivery’ of an orator.

Reviewed by: Aratrika Das
Chinnaiah Jangam

If we are to see and analyse the agency of an untouchable in its struggles against British imperialism and against Brahmanism, a lot more needs to be done towards documenting the same and in exposing this ‘twin enemy’ of the people in general and of Dalits in particular. Over the years, there has been spate of some very serious scholarly work that documents Dalit struggles against Brahmanism and the political assertion of their movement as a whole.

Reviewed by: Moggallan Bharti
Gyanesh Kudaisiya

Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge…. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance…. Tryst With Destiny, J. Nehru.

Reviewed by: Sabyasachi Dasgupta
Naguib Mahfouz, Alan Byrne and Russell Harris

The Meaning of Civilization: Essays on Culture, Religion and Politics is a compilation of opinion pieces by Naguib Mahfouz, first published between 1974 and 1981. Written originally as a concise commentary on current affairs for the daily Al Ahram, bearing the title wijhat or ‘point of view’, they cover a range of subjects contiguous to the nature, culture and politics of religion, education, nationalism, popular culture and the bureaucracy in Egypt.

Reviewed by: Fatima Rizvi
Victor Mallet

Victor Mallet is the latest in a string of visitors over the centuries who have evocatively recorded their fascination for the Ganges: from Xuanzang, in the 7th century, who was in raptures of its waters, ‘dark blue in colour with great waves rising’; J.A. Hodgson, the first outsider to reach the Gaumukh glacier, who saluted with a bugle march the first appearance of the great river…

Reviewed by: Govindan Nair