India is a apparently lot more chaotic than I had thought. I mean, no one got blown up or kidnapped in English, August. And it's interesting to remember how much was going on in the world in - the October Revolution occurred, the Indian freedom struggle according to this book was going into high gear, and of course, there was a war on. This appeared to be made of essays and articles originally written for magazines, so I had to cut it some slack about citations.
There aren't any; no index, either. The piece about Afghanistan was an interesting contrast to Kabul Beauty School.
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The depiction of India honestly reminded me a lot of Iraq as it's depicted in The The Prince of the Marshes: : the interaction of a powerful religious nationalism movement, religious minorities, and tribal culture leading to violence. When I say tribal I'm thinking of the tribes as depicted in Beowulf as well as Iraqi tribes.
Weregild exists in both contexts, so why not compare them? I'm oversimplifying there but let's just say the connection makes some sense to me. Feb 12, Sanjay Varma rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction. Count me as a fan. The author is attempting to understand the human condition; he just happens to be writing about India. He offers no solutions, he merely describes the reality that people live. His style is journalistic, not magazine article. The chapters have titles such as Kashmir, Pakistan, etc. In each chapter, the author presents chronologically his research for that particular region.
His method is to interview and shadow the key players. It seemed to me that there were generally two type Count me as a fan. It seemed to me that there were generally two types of people with whom he met: political leaders and victims. Mishra is the type of journalist who would be killed if he wrote in Putin's Russia.
He persists in following every trail, until he has shown that the official version of events rests on a bed of lies. His main focus, and very appropriate for a book about India, is to raise the alarm over religious intolerance. A commentary on life in the subcontinent, that vividly portrays issues that pertain to the region- from the university politics of Uttar Pradesh to the lanes of Bollywood and from Ram Janmabhoomi to the plight of Kashmir, and thats only one country.
It also shows the role of Pakistan in the cold war, its dealings with the US , the mujahideen, communists and the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Touches on Nepal and the Maoists vs Monarchy tussle. Most importantly it also throws light on how re A commentary on life in the subcontinent, that vividly portrays issues that pertain to the region- from the university politics of Uttar Pradesh to the lanes of Bollywood and from Ram Janmabhoomi to the plight of Kashmir, and thats only one country.
Most importantly it also throws light on how religion can fuel the fires of jihad Afghanistan as well as serve as a cohesive force that becomes a source of cultural identity Tibet.
While it could be claimed that he does not devote the deserved attention to each part of the sub continent and therefore leaves the work incomplete, what I liked was that though Mishra tries his best to remain objective in his understanding of the issues, he is also not dispassionate, and tries to bring in a perspective that reflects the views and experiences of the resident population.
If you've read his earlier work, 'The Romantics', you'll feel a sense of deja vu, not just in the content, but in the tone too. Read it at a good time since the outcome of a lot of things discussed in the book is happening now - Prachanda's triumph in Nepal, the return of the Kasmiri pundits, the Tibetan protests.
The other good take out was his projecting of Buddhism as possibly the last bulwark against capitalism. No, I'm not a communist anymore, but strongly believe that our society needs an anti thesis, an option against the unbridled arrogance of money. May 28, Danesh Hussain Zaki rated it really liked it.
Pankaj Mishra provides honest, fearless reports from the areas he visits. The incidents and conditions that he reports are hardly covered or purposely censored in the mainstream media. He also mentions the threats he and his family have received due to his frank coverage.
The book is recommended to anyone who wants a honest, on-the-ground view of things. Jan 11, David Mason rated it liked it. Well written but really more of a collection of essays. I didn't check - were they all previously published somewhere? Not that it matters. My sense is nothing really new here. I thought the chapter on Tibet, in particular, was weak and cursory. I was hoping for a more thoughtful discussion, and perhaps some synthesis, but instead found a collection of essays more along the lines of "difficulties of modernization" or - because I hate the word "modernization", perhaps recent history showing some Well written but really more of a collection of essays.
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I was hoping for a more thoughtful discussion, and perhaps some synthesis, but instead found a collection of essays more along the lines of "difficulties of modernization" or - because I hate the word "modernization", perhaps recent history showing some difficulties the region faces.
Jan 12, Betsy D rated it really liked it. Mishra gives a fine review of the recent, tragic mostly, history of these areas, including Kashmir. Many cultural and historical factors contributed to their tragedies, but so did the CIA, using them as pawns in their "game" with the USSR. This makes me very sad. Of course, we don't know how the history would have proceeded without the CIA.
He tells a number of individuals' stories, to illustrate how history played out for a variety of people. Nov 15, ina rated it liked it Recommends it for: india farers.
Review: Temptations of the West by Pankaj Mishra | Books | The Guardian
First part of the book on India is excellent - the author clearly is at home with his material and has a "new historian" critical approach mixed with personal narrative. The remaining parts of the book are about Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tibet and are more textbook than personal narrative. It is clear that these parts of the book have been more difficult to write for the author, and I think one could find better histories than this. But all in all a good and interesting book. Aug 29, Vikram rated it it was ok. Interesting sections on Nepal and Tibet, but overall it's hard to take his narrative history style seriously because he offers no hard evidence, just personal observations.
For the larger sections in the book covering India including Bollywood, the BJP, Kashmir and Nehru's legacy, I did not feel that he added much to existing works on the same topics.
His latest book From the Ruins of Empire sounds promising. Apr 24, Tenzing rated it really liked it. The book made me realize how ignorant I am of the deeper context of many of the things - violence in Kashmir, Hindu-Muslim bloodshed - I was constantly exposed to in the papers and on TV while attending boarding school in India. Jun 09, Bharathi rated it really liked it. Extraordinarily good reporting. Most Indians look to the mainstream media for news. They lack the perspective that Pankaj Mishra brings to light. In his other South Asian potrayals, the writer is very sympathetic of his various subjects.
He writes keeping in mind the history and culture of the place and its peoples.
Feb 12, Heath rated it it was amazing. This is, from start to finish, a fantastic book. Intelligent, honest, and sharply written, it strikes a perfect balance between skepticism towards those in power with deep compassion for the ordinary people the powerful cause to suffer. I'm not sure why it took me so long to finish considering how much I enjoyed it. Jul 19, Sue Pit rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction.
Temptations of the West : how to be modern in India, Pakistan, Tibet and beyond
This book regards the current situation and recent history of Indian, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kashmire, Nepal and Tibet. While the writer does not write in a manner that is entirely reader friendly odd repetitions and lay out is such one can lose focus at times , it does provide the read with an excellent understanding of that area and why things may be as they are currently. Readers also enjoyed. About Pankaj Mishra. Pankaj Mishra. His first book, Butter Chicken in Ludhiana: Travels in Small Town India , was a travelogue that described the social and cultural changes in India in the context of globalization.
His novel The Romantics , an ironic tale of people longing for fulfillment in cultures other than their own, was published in 11 European languages and won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum award for first fiction. His book An End to Suffering: The Buddha in the World mixes memoir, history, and philosophy while attempting to explore the Buddha's relevance to contemporary times. Books by Pankaj Mishra. Exchange Offer cannot be clubbed with Bajaj Finserv for this product.
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