Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013

Postby ramana » 18 Jan 2014 03:27

A_Gupta and Abhishek,

After Evil: A Politics of Human Rights by Robert Meister
English | 2010 | ISBN: 0231150369 | 544 pages |

The way in which mainstream human rights discourse speaks of such evils as the Holocaust, slavery, or apartheid puts them solidly in the past. Its elaborate techniques of "transitional" justice encourage future generations to move forward by creating a false assumption of closure, enabling those who are guilty to elude responsibility.

This approach to history, common to late-twentieth-century humanitarianism, doesn't presuppose that evil ends when justice begins. Rather, it assumes that a time before justice is the moment to put evil in the past.

Merging examples from literature and history, Robert Meister confronts the problem of closure and the resolution of historical injustice. He boldly challenges the empty moral logic of "never again" or the theoretical reduction of evil to a cycle of violence and counterviolence, broken only once evil is remembered for what it was. Meister criticizes such methods for their deferral of justice and susceptibility to exploitation and elaborates the flawed moral logic of "never again" in relation to Auschwitz and its evolution into a twenty-first-century doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect. (RTP)


Jenny S. Martinez, "The Slave Trade and the Origins of International Human Rights Law"
English | 2012-01-04 | ISBN: 0195391624 | 263 pages |

There is a broad consensus among scholars that the idea of human rights was a product of the Enlightenment but that a self-conscious and broad-based human rights movement focused on international law only began after World War II. In this narrative, the nineteenth century's absence is conspicuous--few have considered that era seriously, much less written books on it. But as Jenny Martinez shows in this novel interpretation of the roots of human rights law, the foundation of the movement that we know today was a product of one of the nineteenth century's central moral causes: the movement to ban the international slave trade. Originating in England in the late eighteenth century, abolitionism achieved remarkable success over the course of the nineteenth century. Martinez focuses in particular on the international admiralty courts, which tried the crews of captured slave ships. The courts, which were based in the Caribbean, West Africa, Cape Town, and Brazil, helped free at least 80,000 Africans from captured slavers between 1807 and 1871. Here then, buried in the dusty archives of admiralty courts, ships' logs, and the British foreign office, are the foundations of contemporary human rights law: international courts targeting states and non-state transnational actors while working on behalf the world's most persecuted peoples--captured West Africans bound for the slave plantations of the Americas. Fueled by a powerful thesis and novel evidence, Martinez's work will reshape the fields of human rights history and international human rights law.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013

Postby ramana » 18 Jan 2014 04:05

Shantanu Das, "Functional Fractional Calculus, 2nd Edition"
S nger | 2011 | ISBN: 3642205445 | 644 pages |

When a new extraordinary and outstanding theory is stated, it has to face criticism and skeptism, because it is beyond the usual concept. The fractional calculus though not new, was not discussed or developed for a long time, particularly for lack of its application to real life problems. It is extraordinary because it does not deal with ‘ordinary’ differential calculus. It is outstanding because it can now be applied to situations where existing theories fail to give satisfactory results. In this book not only mathematical abstractions are discussed in a lucid manner, with physical mathematical and geometrical explanations, but also several practical applications are given particularly for system identification, description and then efficient controls.

In the second edition of this successful book the concepts of fractional and complex order differentiation and integration are elaborated mathematically, physically and geometrically. Various important new examples are presented, such as heterogeneity effects in transport background, the space having traps or islands, irregular distribution of charges, non-ideal spring with mass connected to a pointless-mass ball, material behaving with viscous as well as elastic properties, system relaxation with and without memory, or physics of random delay in computer networks . Special emphasis in this new edition is placed on the practical utility of local fractional differentiation for enhancing the character of singularity at phase transition or characterizing the irregularity measure of response function. Practical results of viscoelastic experiments, fractional order control experiments, design of fractional controller and practical circuit synthesis for fractional order elements are presented in a modern approach as well.

I met one genius kid 15 years old who is at UC Berkeley and she is studying this subject.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013

Postby ramana » 19 Jan 2014 02:17

"Age of Entanglement: German and Indian Intellectuals Across Empire" by Kris Manjapra
Harvard Historical Studies • 183
HarUni Press | 2013 | ISBN: 067472514X 9780674725140 | 455 pages |

This book explores patterns of connection linking German and Indian intellectuals from the nineteenth century to the years after the Second World War. The book underscores the connections between German and Indian intellectual history, revealing the characteristics of a global age when the distance separating Europe and Asia seemed, temporarily, to disappear.

Kris Manjapra traces the intersecting ideas and careers of a diverse collection of individuals from South Asia and Central Europe who shared ideas, formed networks, and studied one another's worlds. Moving beyond well-rehearsed critiques of colonialism toward a new critical approach, this study recasts modern intellectual history in terms of the knotted intellectual itineraries of seeming strangers.

Collaborations in the sciences, arts, and humanities produced extraordinary meetings of German and Indian minds. Meghnad Saha met Albert Einstein, Stella Kramrisch brought the Bauhaus to Calcutta, and Girindrasekhar Bose began a correspondence with Sigmund Freud. Rabindranath Tagore traveled to Germany to recruit scholars for a new Indian university, and the actor Himanshu Rai hired director Franz Osten to help establish movie studios in Bombay. These interactions, Manjapra argues, evinced shared responses to the cultural and political hegemony of the British empire. Germans and Indians hoped to find in one another the tools needed to disrupt an Anglocentric world order.

As Manjapra demonstrates, transnational intellectual encounters are not inherently progressive. From Orientalism and Aryanism to socialism and scientism, German-Indian entanglements were neither necessarily liberal nor conventionally cosmopolitan, often characterized as much by manipulation as by cooperation.

Note on Style and Transliteration
I. Stages of Entanglement
1. German Servants of the British Raj
2. Indian Subjects beyond the British Empire
3. German Visions of an Asianate Europe
4. Indian Visions of a Germanic Home
II. Fields of Encounter
5. The Physical Cosmos
6. International Economies
7. Marxist Totality
8. Geocultural Wholes
9. The Psychoanalytic Universe
10. Worlds of Artistic Expression
11. A New Order
Glossary of Bengali and German Names and Keywords
Selected Bibliography

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013

Postby ramana » 23 Jan 2014 02:22

Long book review on the Britsh and how they divide Greater Indian Region(GIR)

How Colonial Britain Divided to Rule

How colonial Britain divided to rule
Define and Rule: Native as Political Identity by Mahmood Mamdani

Reviewed by Piyush Mathur

In Define and Rule: Native as Political Identity, Mahmood Mamdani carries forward his pioneering, hefty contributions to (what I would call) an historical epistemology of world politics: this time by discussing (the European colonization of) not only Africa - his usual focus - but also India, the Malay States, and the Dutch East Indies.

Mamdani argues that the British-colonial turn to indirect rule as a response to India's Great Revolt of 1857 hinged on producing a set of codependent, dichotomous identities involving native and settler, to which the modern preoccupation with defining and managing difference is traceable. He concludes that "native does not designate a condition that is original and authentic" but was created in specific forms by "the colonial state" using specific tactics (p2).

Unlike previous European imperial governments, "including Roman and British 'direct' rule before mid-nineteenth century" and the French policy of "'assimilation'" as well as its early-20th-century counterpart of 'association'", indirect rule shifted the focus from civilizing and assimilating "colonized elites" to defining mass subjectivity in differentia from the elite imperial minority (p1, p43). However, indirect rule's institutionalization of both political and social differences distinguishes it from "the modern state" as well, which "ensures" political equality "while acknowledging" civil differences (p2).

The core of British indirect rule's ostensibly protectionist differentiation was replicated elsewhere So, after "the law enforced, the census recorded and history memorialized ... caste, religion, and tribe" among Indians, the Malay States saw their population defined as "civilized" versus "aboriginal"; residents of the Dutch East Indies found themselves defined as Europeans, foreign Orientals, or natives; and, after the Berlin Conference (November 15,1884 - February 26, 1885), the census generally classified Africans into "races" and "tribes" (p46, p35).

Indirect rule: intellectual and administrative

Mamdani discusses "the mode of indirect rule ... both as an intellectual reflection on the mid-nineteenth-century crisis of empire" - comprising the Great Revolt of 1857 and Morant Bay in Jamaica in 1865 - "and as a set of colonial reforms designed to ameliorate" it (p4).

He frames Sir Henry James Sumner Maine's (1822-1888) tremendously influential formulations on the British-Indian crisis as a template for the institutionalization of the native-settler dichotomy through subsequent Euro-imperial crises elsewhere. Regarding the latter, he discusses the writings of Frank Swettenham (1850-1946) in the Malay States, Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje (1857-1936) in the Dutch East Indies, and key colonial and nationalistic historians of Africa (especially on the Sudanic belt).

As for the colonial reforms themselves, he focuses on the British-Indian administrative initiatives following Queen Victoria's Proclamation of 1858; Swettenham's divisively protectionist measures in British Malaya following the 1874 Treaty of Pangkor; Cornelius Van Vollenhoven's (1874-1933) implementation of Snouck Hurgronje's formulations in the Dutch East Indies after the Aceh War (1873-1914); and the British tribalization of Darfur (where the Indian lessons were first applied within Africa) after the Battles of Omdurman (1898) and Umm Diwaykarat (1899).

Before getting to the details about the above, let me mention that the book's last section focuses on Africa's intellectual and administrative antidotes to the indirect rule's legacy. Here, Mamdani introduces and recommends the contributions of Nigerian historians - Kenneth Onwuka Dike, Abudullahi Smith, Yusuf Bala Usman, and Mahmud Tukur - crediting them for finding ways out of colonial as well as nationalistic historical accounts and historiographies.

While Dike's Trade and Politics in the Niger Delta, 1830-1835 (1956) had detailed the comingling of different groups of people throughout the middle of the 19th century as they moved into the Delta States (thereby exposing tribalism as a later, colonial manufacture), Smith had challenged the so-called Hamitic Hypothesis regarding African history.

Usman, partly developing upon the foregoing historians' work, had introduced a theory of historiography (via an innovatively rigorous history of Katsina) whose key contribution was to advise the historian to remain critically "conscious" of the "specific categories, conceptions and assumptions" (s)he aims to employ to write a history (instead of focusing predominantly on pursuing sources) - as these tools themselves (as much as the historian) are historical products (p92). Tukur's work on the history of Zaria, Nigeria had shown how different peoples comingled there prior to the British restriction of their movements and residence after the railways began to operate.

On the administrative side, Mamdani discusses and credits Mwalimu Kambarage Julius Nyerere's (1922-1999) exemplary "statecraft", which decolonized "the indirect rule state" without succumbing to violent Leninism - except that it ended up prioritizing "nation-building" over "democracy and social justice" (p5).

Post-1857 British India

Maine had blamed the failure of the "civilizing mission" of the liberal Utilitarians and Evangelicals on their lack of understanding of "native ... religions and social belief" (p9). Toward generating that understanding, he had shifted the attention to "observing daily life" of Indians (whom he had presumed were primitive) from the erstwhile Eurocentric Orientalist study of Sanskrit texts. He was driven by, and also contributed to, dubious theories of history that implied that one could understand the past of a presumed progressive or modern civilization (the West) by observing presumed primitive contemporary civilizations (the non-West).

On the whole, Maine's approach - Mamdani shows - was only superficially empirical, selective, racialized, analytically misleading, and logically flawed. He believed in a real India whose "'extreme geographical isolation'" had left it unadulterated by external influences and ended up manufacturing it while trying to articulate where to find it. He opined that the Indians were ancient offshoots of the so-called Aryan race - except that they had failed to progress from kinship-based "'natural groups'" to individuals and from "customary to civil law" because, like the Irish, they had failed to benefit from the Roman Empire (p16, p19).

Being custom-bound (as ensured by its religion - "'Brahminism'"), India - in Maine's framework - was also status-driven, cultural, and contextual. For having an abstract civil law, the West, on the contrary, was contract-based and free from culture as well as context. While India's civilization had been arrested by its customs (which he dubiously singularized as customary law), Western civilization had led to its civil, progressive, abstract, modern law (p6, p16, p20).

These ideas, Mamdani illustrates, retained "a theory of nativism" that rendered "the settler" as "modern", historically progressive, and belonging to a legislated or political society - and the "native" as traditional, defined by geography, naturally stagnated, insulated, and religio-cultural (p44, p6, p14). For Indians, unlike for the Europeans, Maine therefore recommended "local ... decentralized ... and customary" governance (p26).

Administratively, this discriminatorily protectionist stance came inscribed in "the doctrine of noninterference in the private domain, especially in religion" via Queen Victoria's Proclamation of 1858 (p26). The doctrine entailed distinguishing between the private and the public via "legal and administrative" reforms put in place through 1862-1872. Through these reforms, "multiple personal codes" (one for each officially recognized religious group) were promulgated; however, "a single legal bureaucracy" was institutionalized for the public sphere by rendering "Islamic law" inapplicable in criminal trials, abolishing "all Persian titles", and debarring "Muslim assistants to the colonial courts" (p29).

The government also restricted "the market" in the name of "protecting the village community from moneylenders", farmers from traders, and "the landlord's estate from division and fragmentation" (people so grouped through the Censuses' caste and tribe categories); it also established special protections to the religious minorities it defined: "Muslims in the 1880s and 1890s" followed by Sikhs, "non-Brahmin groups," and "Hill Peoples" (p27). Later, "the Indian Councils Act of 1909, also known as the Morley-Minto Reforms" created "separate electorates ... in the provincial and central legislative bodies" for whose council seats "only Muslims were entitled to vote" (p30).

The Malay States: "civilized" (by Islam) versus "aboriginal"

In the Malay States, the key distinction made was between "civilized" and "aboriginal," with "the regime of protection" for the latter having been established by Swettenham (p31). Initiating the British colonization, the Treaty of Pangkor (1874) "defined a Malay as 'one who habitually speaks Malay, professes the religion of Islam, and practices Malay customs'" - a definition still "enshrined in Article 160 of the Malay Constitution" (p31). This definition "turned non-Muslims who had hitherto been as Malay as Muslim Malays into the aborigines they are considered to be today" (p32).

However, these "aborigines" had themselves got this singular label in the 1940s, when the British attempted to isolate "the Malayan People's Army" - the anti-colonial "communist-dominated guerrilla force" - from the villagers when the Army was also resisting the Japanese invaders in 1941. The associated violence had pushed many "villagers and forest peoples" deeper into the forest; calling them "aboriginal" (Orang Asli), the British had then "appointed them an advisor" and resettled them as cultivators.

The British also created the Department of Orang Asli Affairs (JHEOA) in 1950, and enacted "the Aboriginal People's Ordinance" in 1954. Until then, these myriad peoples had many different, sometimes uncharitable, names in the administrative literature (p32).

At its inception in 1957, independent Malaysia "distinguished between...'Malay'...and 'Orang Asli'," with the former (Muslims) "acknowledged as civilized ... by religion" while "the fully indigenous (asli) status" of the latter "implied" their sole suitability "to be subjects" (p33). However, the riots of 1969 forced the creation of a new category of peoples called bhumiputera (sons of the soil) - comprising the downtrodden from many groups, including the Malay and Orang Asli - who received "special privileges" through "the New Economic Policy of 1971" (p34).

Nevertheless, a subsequent "constitutional amendment... criminalized public discussion of 'sensitive' issues" such as "the privileged position of Malays in law, the role of Malay sultans, the status of Malay as the official language and Islam as the official religion - and the questioning of Malay privileges" (p34).

The Dutch East Indies: Muslims versus natives

As with Maine in India, Snouck Hurgronje "saw external historical influences ... as impurities" in the Dutch East Indies (p41). Made the "Advisor on Native and Islamic Affairs" in 1891 against the backdrop of an 18-year-long Islamist-led uprising (the Aceh War) in "northern Sumatra", he viewed Islam as the key external influence on the native traditions (p34). He thus dichotomized between "religious Islamic law (hukom)" and "customary law (adat)": the former as "dogmatic", "unworldly", "written", "easy to identify", and the latter as "flexible", worldly or practical, unwritten, "difficult to discern", and negotiable (pp35-37).

Believing that these two inherently dichotomous laws' historical intertwining was responsible for the unrest, he recommended that "the Dutch distinguish between the Islamic scholars (ulama) and the customary chiefs (uleebalang) and ... support" the latter against the former (p37). In reality, Mamdani stresses, Snouck Hurgronje produced "the opposition that he claimed [had existed] from time immemorial" (p38).

While framing the ulama as the enemy of the Dutch, Snouck Hurgronje also distinguished "between Islam as a religion and Islam as a political ideology", advocating tolerance toward the former and "ruthless suppression" of the latter (p38, p39). In effect, "religious tolerance" became the policy "toward those who acquiesced in Dutch rule" whilst "a brutal counterinsurgency" ensued against those "who did not" (p39).

Snouck Hurgronje's recommendations culminated, via the efforts of Cornelius Van Vollenhoven (1874-1933), in "separate legal codes for Europeans, foreign Orientals, and natives" that remained in place until the inception of the Republic of Indonesia in 1945 (p42).

Africa: races versus tribes; Darfur

With "civil law" being viewed as "the marker of" civilization, "different systems of customary law" were said to exist among the colonized - and their imperial articulation divided "the colonized majority into ... administratively driven political minorities" that were called tribes in Africa (p45). In practical terms,
When a census-taker entered your name, it was either as member of a race or as member of a tribe. ... Races were said to comprise all those officially categorized as not indigenous to Africa... Tribes ... were all those defined as indigenous in origin. (p46-47)

Then, while "races were governed under a single law: civil law", each tribe, by definition, was viewed to have been governed by its own customary law, which turned out to be a caricatured cultural selection made under colonial supervision. Apportionment and content of rights were made to hinge on the perceived civilizational state and stage of the peoples: "the colonizing master race (Europeans)" had civil privileges over "colonized subject races (Asians, Arabs, Colored, and so on)," who had civil privileges over "native tribes" (p50-51).

Within customary law, "tribes" were divided into "native and non-native" - with the former favored and identified only in terms of "origin" (an ultimately unascertainable criterion). The presumed uniqueness of each tribe ensured the state's intervention to certify its traditionalism and authenticity - equally the parameter for the tribe's value as a native ally - and to singularize its governing authority in the "chief", inevitably an older male (p49). This contradicted Africa's "political history" of pluralism, in which "the definers of tradition could come from women's groups, age groups, clans, religious groups, and so on" depending on the "domain" (p49).

To illustrate the above generality of African colonization, Mamdani focuses on Darfur, where, after defeating "the Mahdiyya in the Battle of Omdurman", the British resorted to "tribalization" to counteract the Mahdiyya's Sufi-inspired ideology, Mahdism (p69, p71).

While being "anti-imperialist", mass-supported, and violently "repressive", the Mahdiyya themselves used to have an all-round cosmopolitan make-up (p71). The tribalization began to unfold as the British, making it "the centerpiece of their strategy in Sudan," sliced up "Darfur, the province into a series of homelands, dars" - which they had "identified with a tribe administratively tagged as native", attaching significant advantages to one's official nativity by origin (p71).

In this, the British "subverted" the customary meaning of dar, which used to signify "one of several locations, starting with one's immediate dwelling and extending to several localities in a series of concentric circles" (p71, p72). However, the new colonial definition of home as "tribal homeland ... became the basis of voluntary organization over time" (p72).

Uniquely for Africa, Darfur's tribalization systematized discrimination against "pastoralist tribes" in favor of "peasant" tribes (p73). That feature aside, the rest "is obtained in all African contexts ... from Eastern Africa to Nigeria, from Sudan to South Africa" excepting Rwanda, where "the historiography and the land tenure system, local administration and dispute resolution - were racialized" (rather than being "joined ... to a tribalized administration") in that "[e]very institution privileged Tutsi over Hutu" (p72).

The Hamitic Hypothesis, 'Arabization'

As for the intellectual component behind the construction of native versus settler dichotomy - and Africa's racialist tribalization - Mamdani blames the historiography that has rested on the so called "'Hamitic Hypothesis'," according to which "Africa was civilized from the outside, with light-skinned or fine-featured migrants from the north civilizing natives to the south" (p55).

He mentions the key historians - both colonial and anti-colonial nationalistic ones - who believed in that hypothesis, discussing some of them; he also outlines the key "forms" of this hypothesis.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries' colonial writings regarding central Africa, the Tutsi are "cast ... as the Hamites and the Hutu as the native"; in colonial accounts of West Africa, "the Berbers were cast" as "Hamites and ... presented as the founders of Hausa states and thus civilizers of the Hausa".

In writings regarding the Sudan, this hypothesis, which dubiously "knit together disparate histories of the Sudan" comes up as "Arabization" of native Negroes; and then there is the "Pan-Africanist version" - such as that authored by "Cheikh Anta Diop, who cast Egypt as the great civilizer of the rest of Africa".

Mamdani points out that while Diop "darkened the complexion of Hamites" by rendering "Egyptians of the Pharaonic period as a black people", he "left the logic of colonial historiography intact" (p54).

Focusing on its Arabization version, Mamdani debunks the belief that there was "an ongoing confrontation" between Arab invaders and native Negroes - averring that Arabs never invaded Sudan (p57). His account clarifies that Africa's Arabization had little to do with the Arabs, per se - and that the meaning of "Arab" in the historical context of Africa has been far from uniform.

Instead, an "Arab" identity was embraced in three major distinctive phases - between the early-16th century founding of the Sultanate of Funj and the 19th-century European colonization - by local royals, merchants, and masses respectively for spiritual, commercial, and political reasons (which he carefully outlines). In the last phase, for instance, "Arab" attracted many common Africans owing to "the anti-colonial pan-Arab movements, particularly Nasserism" (p59).

These temporal variations in the manifestation of Africa's Arabization aside, there were regional variations: While "settled" and powerful people got to be called Arab in "historical Funj, the heartland of northern Sudan", it was "nomads marginal to power" that were called Arab "in Darfur" (p59, p60).

In the book's last section, Mamdani provides a brief qualitative sketch of Africa's decolonization as a nationalistic "preoccupation of ... the intelligentsia and the political class" and as an attempt at going beyond the colonial dichotomy of settlers versus natives (p85). Through "the thick of civil war", the intellectuals attempted "to give the independent state a history", just as the politicians attempted "to create a common citizenship as the basis of national sovereignty" (p85).

As "mainly a post-colonial development", the African university has generally lacked distance from politics; hence, Mamdani credits here Nigeria and South Africa for "creating a significant density of institutional life" as a precondition for intellectual autonomy (p88). Given its benefit of autonomy, Nigeria happened to develop "an alternative historiography to colonial conventions on race and tribe" (p87, p88).


The lively, aphoristic writing of this short book improves upon Mamdani's previous books, which, though unfailingly thorough and groundbreaking, are typically ponderous. The book contains a number of interesting factual details and enlightening explanations that this review's reader must access on his or her own. This is not a comprehensive nor definitive book of history (but nor is Mamdani claiming that); it is better described as a historically informed theoretical explanation of the modern preoccupation with defining and managing difference.

A weakness of the work is that Mamdani does not question the conceptual status of "tribe" at all - let's say in the anthropological tradition. Hence, he is driven to showing that those that had been deemed "tribal" by the imperialists were not in fact tribal - by stressing such peoples' pre-colonial cosmopolitanism, demographic fluidity, or political organizing, etcetera. If, however, he had investigated further into the anthropological literature, then he would have come to know that the term "tribe" never actually came around meaningfully and has been deemed inherently flawed since Morton Fried (1975).

Another intriguing, worrisome problem with the book is that it shows no awareness of, and does not engage with the fact that the British efforts to develop pure, native law for India had dated as far back as Warren Hastings, the first governor-general of Bengal through 1772-1785, at whose initiative N B Halhed compiled A Code of Gentoo Laws; or, Ordinations of the Pandits in 1776. Further, compiling an "Ur-text that would simultaneously establish the Hindu and Muslim law" had preoccupied the British since Sir William Jones (1746-1794), well before the Great Revolt of 1857 or imposition of the indirect rule (Bernard Cohn, 1996, p69).

Mamdani likely has an explanation for his jump to Maine; however, he has not shared it with us. In any case, the book's early, pivotal dependence on this singular historical character - out of the crowded past - has about as many strategic disadvantages as benefits.

Define and Rule: Native as Political Identity by Mahmood Mamdani. Harvard University Press (September 17, 2012). ISBN-10: 0674050525. Price: US$25.62; 168 pages.

Piyush Mathur is an independent observer.

(Copyright 2013 Piyush Mathur)

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013

Postby ramana » 24 Jan 2014 09:19

Mahmood Mamdani, "Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror"
ISBN: 0375422854 | 2004 | B

In this brilliant look at the rise of political Islam, the distinguished political scientist and anthropologist Mahmood Mamdani brings his expertise and insight to bear on a question many Americans have been asking since 9/11: how did this happen?

Mamdani dispels the idea of “good” (secular, westernized) and “bad” (premodern, fanatical) Muslims, pointing out that these judgments refer to political rather than cultural or religious identities. The presumption that there are “good” Muslims readily available to be split off from “bad” Muslims masks a failure to make a political analysis of our times. This book argues that political Islam emerged as the result of a modern encounter with Western power, and that the terrorist movement at the center of Islamist politics is an even more recent phenomenon, one that followed America’s embrace of proxy war after its defeat in Vietnam. Mamdani writes with great insight about the Reagan years, showing America’s embrace of the highly ideological politics of “good” against “evil.” Identifying militant nationalist governments as Soviet proxies in countries such as Nicaragua and Afghanistan, the Reagan administration readily backed terrorist movements, hailing them as the “moral equivalents” of America’s Founding Fathers. The era of proxy wars has come to an end with the invasion of Iraq. And there, as in Vietnam, America will need to recognize that it is not fighting terrorism but nationalism, a battle that cannot be won by occupation.

Good Muslim, Bad Muslim is a provocative and important book that will profoundly change our understanding both of Islamist politics and the way America is perceived in the world today.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013

Postby LakshO » 26 Jan 2014 05:00

Since it is the 100th year of beginning of First World War, I want to read more about it. Any suggestions on good books that give a broad overview of the events and progress of the War? Would be nice if the book(s) had maps of various theaters so that I can understand the events better. I am not looking for books that discuss a single siege/front or even strategies of the belligerents.

Thanks for the reply.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013

Postby abhishek_sharma » 24 Feb 2014 00:59

The Case for Blunders: Freeman Dyson

Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein—Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe
by Mario Livio
Simon and Schuster, 341 pp., $26.00

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013

Postby svinayak » 24 Feb 2014 02:30

LakshO wrote:Since it is the 100th year of beginning of First World War, I want to read more about it. Any suggestions on good books that give a broad overview of the events and progress of the War? Would be nice if the book(s) had maps of various theaters so that I can understand the events better. I am not looking for books that discuss a single siege/front or even strategies of the belligerents.

Thanks for the reply.

Must Read

Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World (Modern Scholar)
by Margaret MacMillan, Richard Holbrooke (Foreword)
Written by the great granddaughter of British prime minister David Lloyd-George, who headed the British delegation in the peace talks after World War I, it not only sketches the fascinating personalities of the those who hammered out the Versailles Peace Treaty and the ill-fated League of Nations after World War I, but ends up giving a primer on the history of most European nations and China, India, Japan and the Middle East as well. If you want to see where problems still being fought over today came from (try Bosnia or Iraq for just two), this book will enlighten you. Very well written, very incisive and knowledgeable. It also is important because Dr. MacMillan makes a persuasive case that World War II didn't happen because the Allies foisted a punitive peace treaty on the Germans. Hitler, she points out, would undoubtedly have come to power and done what he did even if Germany's borders had been left the same and the reparations had been milder.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013

Postby ramana » 02 Mar 2014 04:41

Something that may explain the clash of democracies with rise of India

Ewan Harrison and Sara McLaughlin Mitchell, "The Triumph of Democracy and the Eclipse of the West"
English | ISBN: 1137353864 | 2013 | 288 pages |

This book explores the paradox of the worldwide spread of democracy and capitalism in an era of Western decline. The rest is overtaking the West as Samuel Huntington predicted, but because it is adopting Western institutions. The emerging global order offers unprecedented opportunities for the expansion of peace, prosperity, and freedom. Yet this is not the 'end of history', but the beginning of a post-Western future for the democratic project. The major conflicts of the future will occur between the established democracies of the West and emerging democracies in the developing world as they seek the benefits and recognition associated with membership of the democratic community. This 'clash of democratizations' will define world politics.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013

Postby ramana » 02 Mar 2014 22:49

Xiaobing Li - A History of the Modern Chinese Army
The University Press of Kentucky | 2007 | ISBN: 0813124387, 9780813124384 | English | 430 pages

Since the establishment of the Red Army in 1927, China's military has responded to profound changes in Chinese society, particularly its domestic politics, shifting economy, and evolving threat perceptions. Recently tensions between China and Taiwan and other east Asian nations have aroused great interest in the extraordinary transformation and new capabilities of the Chinese army. In A History of the Modern Chinese Army, Xiaobing Li, a former member of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), provides a comprehensive examination of the PLA from the Cold War to the beginning of the twenty-first century that highlights the military's central function in modern Chinese society. In the 1940s, the Chinese army was in its infancy, and many soldiers were rural conscripts and volunteers who had received little formal schooling. The Chinese military rapidly increased its mobility and weapon strength, and the Korean War and Cold War offered intense combat experience that not only allowed soldiers to hone their fighting techniques but also helped China to develop military tactics tailored to the surrounding countries whose armies posed the most immediate threats. Yet even in the 1970s, the completion of a middle school education (nine years) was considered above-average, and only 4 percent of the 224 top Chinese generals had any college credit hours. However, in 1995 the high command began to institute massive reforms to transform the PLA from a labor-intensive force into a technology-intensive army. Continually seeking more urban conscripts and emphasizing higher education, the PLA Reserve Officer Training and Selection program recruited students from across the nation. These reservists would become commissioned officers upon graduation, and they majored in atomic physics, computer science, and electrical engineering. Grounding the text in previously unreleased official Chinese government and military records as well as the personal testimonies of more than two hundred PLA soldiers, Li charts the development of China's armed forces against the backdrop of Chinese society, cultural traditions, political history, and recent technological advancements. A History of the Modern Chinese Army links China's military modernization to the country's growing international and economic power and provides a unique perspective on China's establishment and maintenance of one of the world's most advanced military forces.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013

Postby rohitvats » 02 Mar 2014 23:32

^^^This one I have...not much on 1962 war.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013

Postby LakshO » 13 Mar 2014 11:46

svinayak wrote:
LakshO wrote:Since it is the 100th year of beginning of First World War, I want to read more about it. Any suggestions on good books that give a broad overview of the events and progress of the War? Would be nice if the book(s) had maps of various theaters so that I can understand the events better. I am not looking for books that discuss a single siege/front or even strategies of the belligerents.

Thanks for the reply.

Must Read
...deleted image....

Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World (Modern Scholar)
by Margaret MacMillan, Richard Holbrooke (Foreword)

Thanks for the suggestion! While researching this book & other titles on WW1 on the web, I came across the following titles exclusively on WW1

The first title listed looks promising, just what I was looking for The First World War by John Keegan. This seems to be well recd & looks affordable.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013

Postby ramana » 29 Mar 2014 01:00

Philip Longworth, "Russia: The Once and Future Empire From Pre-History to Putin"

2007 | ISBN: 031236041X | 416 pages |

Through the centuries, Russia has swung sharply between successful expansionism, catastrophic collapse, and spectacular recovery. This illuminating history traces these dramatic cycles of boom and bust from the late Neolithic age to Ivan the Terrible, and from the height of Communism to the truncated Russia of today.

Philip Longworth explores the dynamics of Russia's past through time and space, from the nameless adventurers who first penetrated this vast, inhospitable terrain to a cast of dynamic characters that includes Ivan the Terrible, Catherine the Great, and Stalin.
His narrative takes in the magnificent, historic cities of Kiev, Moscow, and St. Petersburg; it stretches to Alaska in the east, to the Black Sea and the Ottoman Empire to the south, to the Baltic in the west and to Archangel and the Artic Ocean to the north.

Who are the Russians and what is the source of their imperialistic culture? Why was Russia so driven to colonize and conquer? From Kievan Rus'—-the first-ever Russian state, which collapsed with the invasion of the Mongols in the thirteenth century—-to ruthless Muscovy, the Russian Empire of the eighteenth century and finally the Soviet period, this groundbreaking study analyses the growth and dissolution of each vast empire as it gives way to the next.

Refreshing in its insight and drawing on a vast range of scholarship, this book also explicitly addresses the question of what the future holds for Russia and her neighbors, and asks whether her sphere of influence is growing.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013

Postby ramana » 31 Mar 2014 04:13

Citizenship and Its Discontents: an Indian history By Niraja Gopal Jayal
2013 | 346 Pages | ISBN: 0674066847 |

This is the first ever history of the idea of citizenship in India. Unlike the mature democracies of the west, India began as a true republic of equals with a complex architecture of citizenship rights that was sensitive to the many hierarchies of Indian society. In this provocative biography of the defining aspiration of modern India, Niraja Jayal shows how the progressive civic ideals embodied in the constitution have been challenged by exclusions based on social and economic inequality, and sometimes also, paradoxically, undermined by its own policies of inclusion. Citizenship and Its Discontents explores a century of contestations over citizenship from the colonial period to the present, analyzing evolving conceptions of citizenship as legal status, as rights, and as identity. The early optimism that a new India could be fashioned out of an unequal and diverse society led to a formally inclusive legal membership, an impulse to social and economic rights, and group-differentiated citizenship. Today, these policies to create a civic community of equals are losing support in a climate of social intolerance and weak solidarity. Once seen by Western political scientists as an anomaly, India today is a site where every major theoretical debate about citizenship is being enacted in practice, and one that no global discussion of the subject can afford to ignore.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013

Postby ramana » 05 Apr 2014 21:00

Follow-on to Wings of Fire

Turning Points: A Journey Through Challenges by A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
2012 | ISBN: 9350293471 | English | 176 pages |

It was like any other day on the Anna University campus in Chennai. I had delivered a lecture Vision to Mission and the session got extended from one hour to two. I had lunch with a group of research students and went back to class. As I was returning to my rooms in the evening the vice- chancellor, Prof. A. Kalanidhi, fell in step with me. Someone had been frantically trying to get in touch with me through the day, he said. Indeed, the phone was ringing when I entered the room. When I answered, a voice at the other end said, The prime minister wants to talk with you ... Some months earlier, I had left my post as principal scientific adviser to the government of India, a Cabinet-level post, to return to teaching. Now, as I spoke to the PM, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, my life was set for an unexpected change. Turning Points takes up the incredible Kalam story from where Wings of Fire left off. It brings together details from his career and presidency that are not generally known as he speaks out for the first time on certain points of controversy. It offers insight not only into an extraordinary personality but also a vision of how a country with a great heritage can become great in accomplishment, skills and abilities through effort, perseverance and confidence. It is a continuing saga, above all, of a journey, individual and collective, that will take India to 2020 and beyond as a developed nation.

he also wrote "Ignited Minds"

Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power Within India by A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

2012 | ISBN: 0143418076, 067004928X, 0143029827 | English | 205 pages |

When A.P.J. Abdul Kalam wrote India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium with Y.S. Rajan in 1998, little did they expect the magnitude of the response they would get. The idea that India could actually be a developed nation in a short time rather than remain condemned to a subsistence diet of marginal improvements and promises struck a chord among readers. The book continues to be a bestseller.

Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power Within India goes the logical next step and examines why, given all our skills, resources and talents, we, so obviously capable of being the best, settle so often for the worst. What is it that we as a nation are missing? For at the heart of Ignited Minds is an irresistible premise: the people of a nation have the power, by dint of hard work, to realize their dream of a truly good life.

Kalam offers no formulaic prescription in Ignited Minds. Instead, he takes up different issues and themes that struck him on his pilgrimage around the country as he met thousands of school children, teachers, scientists and saints and seers in the course of two years: the necessity for a patriotism that transcends religion and politics; for role models who point out the path to take; and for confidence in ourselves and in our strengths.

Who was he to write on so large a theme, he wondered as he started writing this book. But at the end, Kalam's humility notwithstanding, this may well prove to be the book that motivates us to get back on the winning track and unleash the energy within a nation that hasn't allowed itself full rein.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013

Postby gandharva » 07 Apr 2014 01:28

Sudheendra Kulkarni reviews SL Bhyrappa's "Aavarna"

Still Tightening The Veil

Bhyrappa’s fevered hatred of Indian Muslims and their heritage violates his own, bragged principle: truth-telling

Sudheendra Kulkarni

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New book by Prof. Christine Fair

Postby jrjrao » 11 Apr 2014 10:57

Hey folks:

Greetings to the ol’ timers!! I have not been away totally, and have in fact been lurking of late, lately especially.

In the past, I have dished out my fair bit of very fair criticism aimed at Dr. Unfair, i.e., Prof. Christine Fair.

But this time, she just has gotten a new book of hers released a couple days ago. This is available right now on Amazon Kindle (and also on Google Play Books), and will be available in print on May 26.

The book is titled:
“Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of Way”
C. Christine Fair.

Find it for ebook download on Amazon for $19.63 and Google Play Books for $15.33 (I bet these prices are customized for me, based on my browsing habits, and will be different for you in the US or elsewhere).

I am posting here to say that I have read this ebook already, and it is an excellent, excellent read.

As I said above, I have found Dr. Fair quarrelsomely unfair on a few issues in the past (such as her oft-stated — but without any evidence other than an “it must be so” belief — statement that India and the RAW is surreptitiously messing in Baluchistan), but this new book dissects the TSP unlike any prior book on TSP by a US based scholar. I found it way more incisive and illuminating, as compared to the TSP tomes written by our beloved Prof. Uneven Cohen.

At the end of this wonderfully researched book, Dr. Fair reaches (and emphasizes throughout the book ) the following conclusions:

(1) The TSP army owns the TSP, and that this TSP army can, continuously, ad infinitum, define and claim victory over Hindu India simply on the basis that it has not been overrun by India, and that it has stood up thus far to the big and hegemonic India, despite provoking and challenging this India numerously. And that it has thus successfully thwarted the Hindu India’s growth and “hegemony” (no matter having received however many physical beatings in however many prior wars)

Which means that:

(2) Quote: “Even after the 1971 war, Pakistan did not view itself as defeated; rather it saw itself as emerging from the wreckage still capable of challenging of India. In the army’s view, Pakistan will be defeated only when it can no longer actively work to deny India’s claims — on Kashmir specifically and on regional ascendancy in general. This is a startling realization, prompting us to ask what sort of defeat it would take for Pakistan to relinquish its revisionism? Would the world stand by as such a defeat was meted out to Pakistan, given the numerous risks for asymmetric retaliation as well as nuclear proliferation? As I discussed in Chapter 10, this is simply an unreasonably expectation.”

which leads Dr. Fair to say:

(3)Quote: “This suggests that the US and others should stop attempting to transform the Pakistan Army, or Pakistan for that matter. It is unlikely that the United States can offer Pakistan any incentive that would be so valuable to Pakistan…(that would make TSP and the TSP army fix itself)”.

In fact, given this long standing TSP disposition, Dr. Fair states that any concession or appeasement to TSP “is in fact the more dangerous course of policy prescription. This is exactly the conclusion that I hope readers will draw from my work here….”

And (sadly) in the end, what this means to India is that it will continue to face this f!cked up dangerous menace for ever:

(4)Quote: “This suggests that those who are interested in Pakistan and its destabilizing impact on regional and international security must adopt an attitude of sober realism about the possible futures for Pakistan and the region it threatens. In the absence of evidence that any existing approach can persuade Pakistan to abandon its most dangerous policies, it is time to accept the likely fact that Pakistan will continue to pursue policies that undermined American interests in the region. For India, the implications of this conclusion are stark: the Pakistan Army will continue to seek to weaken India by any means possible, even though such means are inherently risky. In the army’s eyes, any other course would spell true defeat (to India).”

I am figuring that after this book, Dr. Fair is unlikely to get a visa to visit TSP any time soon, and if she indeed does get a visa, then for her own safety and well being, she should avoid visiting the TSP.

I would love to have Dr. Shiv offer his take on this new book…..

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013

Postby Paul » 19 Apr 2014 14:58 ... uTube.html

Thousands of hours of historical footage showing major events, celebrities and simple day-to-day life from 1896 until 1976 has been uploaded to YouTube

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013

Postby ramana » 19 Apr 2014 23:27

Paul, Gold mine

Mapping the End of Empire: American and British Strategic Visions in the Postwar World by Aiyaz Husain
English | 2014 | ISBN: 0674728882 | 384 pages
By the end of World War II, strategists in Washington and London looked ahead to a new era in which the United States shouldered global responsibilities and Britain concentrated its regional interests more narrowly. The two powers also viewed the Muslim world through very different lenses. Mapping the End of Empire reveals how Anglo-American perceptions of geography shaped postcolonial futures from the Middle East to South Asia.

Aiyaz Husain shows that American and British postwar strategy drew on popular notions of geography as well as academic and military knowledge. Once codified in maps and memoranda, these perspectives became foundations of foreign policy. In South Asia, American officials envisioned an independent Pakistan blocking Soviet influence, an objective that outweighed other considerations in the contested Kashmir region. Shoring up Pakistan meshed perfectly with British hopes for a quiescent Indian subcontinent once partition became inevitable.
But serious differences with Britain arose over America's support for the new state of Israel. Viewing the Mediterranean as a European lake of sorts, U.S. officials--even in parts of the State Department--linked Palestine with Europe, deeming it a perfectly logical destination for Jewish refugees. But British strategists feared that the installation of a Jewish state in Palestine could incite Muslim ire from one corner of the Islamic world to the other.

As Husain makes clear, these perspectives also influenced the Dumbarton Oaks Conference and blueprints for the UN Security Council and shaped French and Dutch colonial fortunes in the Levant and the East Indies.

Will see if VCG papers are referenced.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013

Postby chetak » 21 Apr 2014 01:06

LakshO wrote:
svinayak wrote:{quote="LakshO"}Since it is the 100th year of beginning of First World War, I want to read more about it. Any suggestions on good books that give a broad overview of the events and progress of the War? Would be nice if the book(s) had maps of various theaters so that I can understand the events better. I am not looking for books that discuss a single siege/front or even strategies of the belligerents.

Thanks for the reply.{/quote}

Must Read
...deleted image....

Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World (Modern Scholar)
by Margaret MacMillan, Richard Holbrooke (Foreword)

Thanks for the suggestion! While researching this book & other titles on WW1 on the web, I came across the following titles exclusively on WW1

The first title listed looks promising, just what I was looking for The First World War by John Keegan. This seems to be well recd & looks affordable.

LakshO ji,

Most of the books are available on the net

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013

Postby ramana » 27 Apr 2014 02:56

Kojin Karatani , "The Structure of World History: From Modes of Production to Modes of Exchange"
2014 | ISBN-10: 0822356767, 0822356651 | 376 pages |

In this major, paradigm-shifting work, Kojin Karatani systematically rereads Marx's version of world history, shifting the focus of critique from modes of production to modes of exchange. Karatani seeks to understand both Capital-Nation-State, the interlocking system that is the dominant form of modern global society, and the possibilities for superseding it. In The Structure of World History, he traces different modes of exchange, including the pooling of resources that characterizes nomadic tribes, the gift exchange systems developed after the adoption of fixed-settlement agriculture, the exchange of obedience for protection that arises with the emergence of the state, the commodity exchanges that characterize capitalism, and, finally, a future mode of exchange based on the return of gift exchange, albeit modified for the contemporary moment. He argues that this final stage - marking the overcoming of capital, nation, and state - is best understood in light of Kant's writings on eternal peace. The Structure of World History is in many ways the capstone of Karatani's brilliant career, yet it also signals new directions in his thought.

Vasudev Kutumbam which Indian trading system tried and was taken over by the Brits and now the Americans without understanding it.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013

Postby abhishek_sharma » 27 Apr 2014 07:18

R. C. Dutt's Economic History of India Volume 1 PDF

Also, his biography was published a few years ago. A book review.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013

Postby ramana » 11 May 2014 21:08

Ancient Religions, Modern Politics: The Islamic Case in Comparative Perspective by Michael Cook
English | 2014 | ISBN: 0691144907 | ISBN-13: 9780691144900 | 568 pages |

Why does Islam play a larger role in contemporary politics than other religions? Is there something about the Islamic heritage that makes Muslims more likely than adherents of other faiths to invoke it in their political life?

If so, what is it? Ancient Religions, Modern Politics seeks to answer these questions by examining the roles of Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity in modern political life, placing special emphasis on the relevance--or irrelevance--of their heritages to today's social and political concerns.

Michael Cook takes an in-depth, comparative look at political identity, social values, attitudes to warfare, views about the role of religion in various cultural domains, and conceptions of the polity. In all these fields he finds that the Islamic heritage offers richer resources for those engaged in current politics than either the Hindu or the Christian heritages. He uses this finding to explain the fact that, despite the existence of Hindu and Christian counterparts to some aspects of Islamism, the phenomenon as a whole is unique in the world today. The book also shows that fundamentalism--in the sense of a determination to return to the original sources of the religion--is politically more adaptive for Muslims than it is for Hindus or Christians.

A sweeping comparative analysis by one of the world's leading scholars of premodern Islam, Ancient Religions, Modern Politics sheds important light on the relationship between the foundational texts of these three great religious traditions and the politics of their followers today.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013/2014

Postby Gerard » 19 May 2014 00:22

A Journey: Poems of Narendra Modi

Author: Translated by Ravi Mantha

Publisher: Rupa, Rs 295

KK SRIVASTAVA dissects poems written by Narendra Modi and concludes that the collection, evocative and poignant, once afloat on the surface will bring insightfulness in others’ hearts and awaken the minds to bloom, expand and glow

As I said: Nobody can live real poetry. You have to survive it.

—Veronica Valeanu-Romanian Poet

Illustratively, Giambattista Vico and Jorge Luis Borges, when they talk of the art of poetry, they leave a vexing choice to their readers as to the true cause of poetry. Borges gracefully blames perpetual ‘perplexity’, while Vico lays his hands on ‘curiosity, the daughter of ignorance’ as the principal element poetry springs from. Essentially speaking, every poet finds one raison d’etre or another for penning his thoughts but ultimately poetic outpourings owe their birth to, as Narendra Modi rightly mentions in his book of poems, A Journey: A collection of 67 poems, what has been ‘witnessed, experienced and sometimes imagined.’ Originally written in Gujarati, the translator has produced a work of terrific quality in highly involved and concerned manner with a zest admirable. This is a book of poetry, replete with emotions and feelings and remarkable for the poet’s deft handling of realities and intangibilities inherent in the core of human existence and alterations in it:


Bereft of love, crippled, melancholy, despondent

Each moment a pearl of sadness, threaded by absence.

Reminiscent of Ezra Pound’s Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (frankness as never before/disillusions as never told in the old days,…Bewildered that a world/Shows no surprise....The discouraging doctrine of chances/And his desire for survival/Faint in the most strenuous moods….) or Hindi poet Muktibodh’s Andhere Mein (In The Dark):

Wah rahasyamay vayakti

aab tak na pai gai meri abhivakti hai

sooni hai raah, azeeb hai failao

sard andhera

tilasmi khoh main dekha tha eak bar

aakhri bar hi…jahan mil sake mujhe

meri woh khoi hui

param abhivakti anivar

aatm sambhava

(That mysterious man/my expression I have not found as yet/empty road, strange expansion/darkness that mysterious cave I saw him once/last time/...where I may find/my lost/final expression/unstoppable/self-born). Modi’sA Journey succinctly captures the disquieting and destabilising issues plaguing a thinking man’s consciousness that vies with itself to achieve an equilibrium between a single consciousness and divergent voices rampant on the scene and his poems address the concerns as to how to accumulate that one single energy needed to intuit and activate cycles of spiritual and intellectual growth of the individuals and society.

Postmodern anxieties and aberrations seize the poet who not merely grapples with the echoes emanating from his longing for connections with what he calls, ‘All this is emptiness, A grand pillar, amidst ruins’, but also with the questions that meditate between stillness and arcane flux:


We yearn to become immortal


Clinging to the attachments of


And the betrayals of today.

Is there any meaning in a life like


Normally poets don’t escape a blurring of vision when they deal with dreams and realities but Narendra Modi neither suppresses truth nor shrinks from telling reality.

Seeds of Dreams

I am a man of naked reality.

I see the sky

To be infatuated by the rainbow.

But my home is built on stone

Never on a rainbow.

A Journey being a poetic attempt to delve into the introspective musings of the poet, (I explained this to myself/It was may awakening.) attains a wholeness of simplicity and intensity while retaining the passion for reality and commitment. The exterior of the poems explores the interior world of minds multitudinous and as the readers unravel intricate narrative thread of poems, they come face to face with the larger symbols that life lays bare before the brooding human consciousness lolling out before them.


So easy on the eye

As evening falls

Inside my mind’s eye, one tree

opens fully

In the darkness blossom starlike


Wearing butterfly’s wings I float in

the wind.

The poet’s loneliness is heroic and so are his struggles. He rejoices in his poem, Such People: ‘In the wind the tree swings without concern/Since time eternal, lies are alien to nature’. The poet derives unwavering fruitfulness in the face of life’s forbidding and blank walls. Sufferings become the journey in the end and the journey initiates a process of hope and dream.


And each face I see, unfolds a


My recall comes with ease

Those sufferings

They become the journey in the



Beyond the Picture

I rest in the cloak of a heap of plans

My voice a distant cry, now you see,

Your own reflection in my eyes.

‘The journey in the end’ or seeing ‘Your own reflection in my eyes’ suggests the significance of spiritual quest or a journey that leads one towards the interior world: Shuffling of the cards to enter a new world.

For poets time is a vibrating concept: A centre point with flashes that reflect on memory falling back on things luminous and things obscure but it stays alive albeit it’s blazing and fading tendencies. Reality of time has only one truth, that is, everything else occurs as its emanations. The mystical poet walks out of his meditation, the tyranny of time with new understandings of the individual, the society and cosmos: God and their relationships.

Tomorrow’s Challenge

And everywhere is darkness.

There is a challenge, there is a call.

Search for dreams in ruins

For they give living meaning

Forgetting yesterday

Opening our hearts today,

Taking support of each other

Usher a bright new beginning.

In this poem a discerning reader will spot the desire of ordinary men to live life ever seeking new instruments to replace hackneyed interpretations and to have faith in ultimate goodness of humanity though the path stays arduous.

To paraphrase John Kenneth Galbraith from his celebrated book, The Age of Uncertainty, great poets (italics mine) are always willing “to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time.” With metaphysical connotations, fabulously peaked imagination and zenith of emotional intensity, the poet whom the translator describes as ‘a spiritual seeker’ allows seamless merging into his poems of themes like seize, nostalgia, love, beauty, loss of innocence, abyss between the known and the unknown, waning human values, and ultimately achieves through these poems a unique world full of honesty and courage that aims at tackling major anxieties of our times. The voice in many poems exudes confidence with flashes of generosity, large-heartedness and unique wisdom. Versification is smooth and readers sink into a quagmire of music of sweet sounds. Poems in this collection, evocative and poignant, once afloat on the surface will bring insightfulness in others’ heart and awaken the minds to bloom, expand and glow.

The reviewer is a poet and Principal Accountant General (Audit), Madhya Pradesh at Gwalior

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013/2014

Postby ramana » 24 May 2014 04:10

G. W. Bowersock, "The Throne of Adulis: Red Sea Wars on the Eve of Islam"
ISBN: 0199739323 | 2013 |

Just prior to the rise of Islam in the sixth century AD, southern Arabia was embroiled in a violent conflict between Christian Ethiopians and Jewish Arabs. Though little known today, this was an international war that involved both the Byzantine Empire, which had established Christian churches in Ethiopia, and the Sasanian Empire in Persia, which supported the Jews in what became a proxy war against its longtime foe Byzantium. Our knowledge of these events derives largely from an inscribed marble throne at the Ethiopian port of Adulis, meticulously described by a sixth-century Christian merchant known as Cosmas Indicopleustes. Using the writings of Cosmas and a wealth of other historical and archaeological evidence from the period, eminent historian G. W. Bowersock carefully reconstructs this fascinating but overlooked chapter in pre-Islamic Arabian history. The flashpoint of the war, Bowersock tells us, occurred when Yusuf, the Jewish king of Himyar, massacred hundreds of Christians living in Najran. The Christian ruler of Ethiopia, Kaleb, urged on by the Byzantine emperor Justin, led a force of 120,000 men across the Red Sea to defeat Yusuf. But when the victorious Kaleb--said to have retired to a monastery-left behind weak leaders in both Ethiopia and Himyar, the Byzantine and Persian empires expanded their activity in the Arabian territory. In the midst of this conflict, a new religion was born, destined to bring a wholly unanticipated resolution to the power struggle in Arabia. The Throne of Adulis vividly recreates the Red Sea world of Late Antiquity, transporting readers back to a remote but pivotal epoch in ancient history, one that sheds light on the collapse of the Persian Empire as well as the rise of Islam.


A History of Early Southeast Asia: Maritime Trade and Societal Development, 100-1500 by Kenneth R. Hall
English | ISBN: 0742567613, 0742567605 | 2011 |

This comprehensive history provides a fresh interpretation of Southeast Asia from 100 to 1500, when major social and economic developments foundational to modern societies took place on the mainland (Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam) and the island world (Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines).

Kenneth R. Hall explores this dynamic era in detail, which was notable for growing external contacts, internal adaptations of nearby cultures, and progressions from hunter-gatherer and agricultural communities to inclusive hierarchical states. In the process, formerly local civilizations became major participants in period's international trade networks.

Incorporating the latest archeological evidence and international scholarship, Kenneth Hall enlarges upon prior histories of early Southeast Asia that did not venture beyond 1400, extending the study of the region to the Portuguese seizure of Melaka in 1511. Written for a wide audience of non-specialists, the book will be essential reading for all those interested in Asian and world history.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013/2014

Postby abhishek_sharma » 24 May 2014 08:10

The Man Who Saw Tomorrow

Book: Kanshiram: Leader of the Dalits
Author: Badri Narayan
Publisher: Penguin/Viking

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013/2014

Postby Rony » 04 Jun 2014 17:36

God's Terrorists: The Wahhabi Cult and the Hidden Roots of Modern Jihad by Charles Allen

An important study of the little-known history of the Wahhabi, a fundamentalist Islamic tribe whose teachings influence today's extreme Islamic terrorists, including the Taliban and Osama bin Laden.

In today's post-9/11 world, the everyday news shows us images of fanatic fighters and suicide bombers willing to die in holy war, martyrs for jihad. But what are the roots of this militant fundamentalism in the Muslim world? In this insightful and wide-ranging history, Charles Allen finds an answer in the eighteenth-century reform movement of Muhammed ibn Abd al-Wahhab and his followers--the Wahhabi--who sought the restoration of Islamic purity and declared violent jihad on all who opposed them, Moslems and pagans alike.

As the Wahhabi teaching spread in the nineteenth century, first, to the Arabian peninsula, and then, to the region around the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, their followers brought with them a vicious brand of political ideology and militant conflict. The Wahhabi deeply influenced the rulers of modern Saudi Arabia and their establishment of a strict Islamic code. A more militant expression of Wahhabism took root in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan, where fierce tribes have waged holy war for almost two hundred years. The ranks of the Taliban and al-Qaeda today are filled with young men who were taught the Wahhabi theology of Islamic purity while rifles were pressed into their hands for the sake of jihad.

God's Terrorists sheds shocking light on the historical roots of modern terrorism and shows how this dangerous theology lives on today.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013/2014

Postby Rony » 13 Jun 2014 05:35

Hindu Resurgence In Indonesia
by Ravi Kumar , Suruchi Prakashan - Publisher

This is the astonishing and inspiring story of millions of Muslims returning to their ancestral faith of Hinduism. A country with the
largest Muslims population of the world, Indonesia where majority of the Indonesian Hindus are located in Bali Island, Java, Sumatra, Lombok, Kalimantan and Sulawesi. Hinduism in Indonesia is conspicuously different from India as they never apply the Indian caste system rigidly. The Balinese caste system is a system social organization similar to and yet different from the Indian caste system. In recent years, the resurgence of Hinduism in Indonesia is occurring in all parts of the country. Inspirations from Hindu Majapahit Empire, influence of Ramayana, Mahabharat, and Sanskrit are few reasons for resurgence among Muslims. The author has presented this book in a meticulousway for all the readers.

Available in Google books

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013/2014

Postby Rony » 18 Jun 2014 18:56

Deconstructing the Collapse of Sahara

In his book Sahara: The Untold Story author Tamal Bandyopadhyay explains the intricate innards of the company. An extract:

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013/2014

Postby Rony » 19 Jun 2014 16:12


Agrasena was the legendary king of Agroha (now in the Hisar district of Haryana). It is said that 17 of his sons decided to become tradesmen. As their profession was vanijya, Hindi for commerce, they came to be called the Banias. When north India was hit by waves of invaders, the community spread to towns and villages in other parts of the country. For centuries together, they controlled commerce in the country as traders, shopkeepers, moneylenders and bankers. Some of them even financed wars and military campaigns. The most famous of them are those from the arid regions of Rajasthan - what was once called Maru Desh, or desert. Over time, they came to be collectively called the Marwaris.

The rise of the Marwari community has been documented very well by several researchers. Thomas A Timberg is an old expert on the subject. His Harvard doctoral dissertation was on the rise of the Marwaris as industrialists. In 1978, he wrote The Marwaris: From Traders to Industrialists, which is recognised as one of the most authoritative texts on the community. The Marwaris: From Jagat Seth to the Birlas is his second book on the subject and the fifth in Penguin's "The Story of Indian Business" series.

The all-important question is, what is it that has made the Marwaris so successful in business? Gurcharan Das, in the foreword to the book, says it is something akin to the Protestant ethic,[Macaulay mind at work.Why not call it as Hindu work ethic.belief in hard work, thrift and rationality, the reasons he gave are typical Hindu qualities] which, according to Max Weber, made Europe progress faster than others: belief in hard work, thrift and rationality. Apart from that, the readiness to postpone instant gratification, coupled with the ability to take risks, has stood the Marwaris in good stead. They are practical people who stay away from disruptive confrontations as much as possible. The Marwaris have given to the world the hundi system of bill discounting, the parta way of accounting, and established the importance of trust in business (in other words, the importance of protecting one's honour, or saakh, by sticking to one's word). The Marwaris were vilified for long in popular culture as bloodsuckers; it is only in the post-liberalisation era that people have woken up to the contribution that the community has made to economic growth.

The most famous of all Marwari families are the Birlas. Before them was Jagat Seth of Murshidabad, who, along with Omichund and Mir Jafar, is said to have conspired against Siraj-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Bengal, in the Battle of Plassey in 1757. That gave the East India Company its first decisive victory in India and helped establish its first colony. Various travellers of that time wrote about Jagat Seth's enormous wealth (one traveller described him as "the greatest shroff and banker in the known world") and his clout in the Bengal court. But who really was Jagat Seth? Mr Timberg tells us that Jagat Seth (the name means banker to the world) was an honorific given to one Fateh Chand by the Mughal emperor in 1722.

The founder of this house was Hiranand Sahu, who came from Nagaur in Marwar to Patna in 1652. He lent money to local chieftains as well as foreign traders there. His eldest son, Manik Chand, moved to Dhaka, the capital of Bengal and a key centre of commerce, in the later years of the 17th century. When Murshid Quli Khan, the Nawab, moved the capital to Murshidabad, Manik Chand too went along with him. On his death, in 1714, Manik Chand was succeeded by Fateh Chand - or Jagat Seth. Between 1718 and 1730, he lent on an average Rs 4 lakh a year to the East India Company. But he knew how to hedge against his risks. As late as 1757, he was also lending Rs 4 lakh a year to the Dutch East India Company and Rs 15 lakh to the French East India Company.

Though Jagat Seth supported the British in the politics around the Battle of Plassey, his importance began to decline soon thereafter. The capital moved to Calcutta, which left the family (Jagat Seth died in 1763) stranded at Murshidabad. It failed to diversify into new areas like inland trade. Splits led to costly litigation and some serious erosion of the family's wealth. Even in Murshidabad, by 1971, the largest banker was not the house of Jagat Seth but Manohar Das Dwarka Das, a Varanasi Agarwal. By the 19th century, the Jagat Seth family was forced to seek a pension from the British government in order to survive.

Gurcharan Das, in the foreword, says that in his childhood, elders would take three names while talking about fabulous wealth: (JRD) Tata, (Ghanshyam Das) Birla and (Ramkrishna) Dalmia. Thus, two of the three richest Indians were Marwari gentlemen; the third, Tata, was a Parsi. Since then, the world of business has become more open. Other communities have made serious inroads into Marwari territory. In "The Billionaire Club", Business Standard's annual listing of stock market wealth, there were just two Marwaris among the top 10 in 2013 - and three among the richest 25. Their representation was particularly weak in sunrise sectors, such as information technology, pharmaceuticals, financial services and real estate.

If their importance has reduced, how relevant is Mr Timberg's book? This series of books is meant to introduce the reader to the country's business history. It serves that purpose.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013/2014

Postby Rony » 19 Jun 2014 19:47

Koenraad Elst's review of Kalavai Venkat's book

What Every Hindu Should Know about Christianity by Kalavai Venkat

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013/2014

Postby ramana » 20 Jun 2014 06:09

Chinese and Indian Strategic Behavior: Growing Power and Alarm by Dr George J. Gilboy and Dr Eric Heginbotham
English | 2012 | ISBN: 1107020050 , 1444156276 | 376 pages |

This book offers an empirical comparison of Chinese and Indian international strategic behavior. It is the first study of its kind, filling an important gap in the literature on rising Indian and Chinese power and American interests in Asia.

The book creates a framework for the systematic and objective assessment of Chinese and Indian strategic behavior in four areas: (1) strategic culture; (2) foreign policy and use of force; (3) military modernization (including defense spending, military doctrine, and force modernization); and (4) economic strategies (including international trade and energy competition). The utility of democratic peace theory in predicting Chinese and Indian behavior is also examined. The findings challenge many assumptions underpinning western expectations of China and India.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013/2014

Postby Multatuli » 04 Jul 2014 20:39

American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World

by David E. Stannard

For four hundred years-from the first Spanish assaults against the Arawak people of Hispaniola in the 1490s to the U.S. Army's massacre of Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee in the 1890s-the indigenous inhabitants of North and South America endured an unending firestorm of violence. During that time the native population of the Western Hemisphere declined by as many as 100 million people. Indeed, as historian David E. Stannard argues in this stunning new book, the European and white American destruction of the native peoples of the Americas was the most massive act of genocide in the history of the world.

Stannard begins with a portrait of the enormous richness and diversity of life in the Americas prior to Columbus's fateful voyage in 1492. He then follows the path of genocide from the Indies to Mexico and Central and South America, then north to Florida, Virginia, and New England, and finally out across the Great Plains and Southwest to California and the North Pacific Coast. Stannard reveals that wherever Europeans or white Americans went, the native people were caught between imported plagues and barbarous atrocities, typically resulting in the annihilation of 95 percent of their populations. What kind of people, he asks, do such horrendous things to others? His highly provocative answer: Christians. Digging deeply into ancient European and Christian attitudes toward sex, race, and war, he finds the cultural ground well prepared by the end of the Middle Ages for the centuries-long genocide campaign that Europeans and their descendants launched-and in places continue to wage-against the New World's original inhabitants. Advancing a thesis that is sure to create much controversy, Stannard contends that the perpetrators of the American Holocaust drew on the same ideological wellspring as did the later architects of the Nazi Holocaust.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013/2014

Postby ramana » 07 Jul 2014 22:18

Dhandha: How Gujaratis Do Business by Shobha Bondre
2013 | ISBN: 8184003129 | English | 296 pages |

Dhandha, meaning business, is a term often used in common trade parlance in India. But there is no other community that fully embodies what the term stands for than the Gujaratis.

Shobha Bondre’s Dhandha is the story of a few such Gujaratis: Jaydev Patel—the New York Life Insurance agent credited with having sold policies worth $2.5 billion so far; Bhimjibhai Patel—one of the country’s biggest diamond merchants and co-founder of the ambitious ‘Diamond Nagar’ in Surat; Dalpatbhai Patel—the motelier who went on to become the mayor of Mansfield County; Mohanbhai Patel—a former Sheriff of Mumbai and the leading manufacturer of aluminium collapsible tubes; and Hersha and Hasu Shah—owners of over a hundred hotels in the US.

Travelling across continents—from Mumbai to the United States—in search of their story and the common values that bond them, Dhandha showcases the powerful ambition, incredible capacity for hard work, and the inherent business sense of the Gujaratis.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013/2014

Postby ramana » 01 Aug 2014 21:04

Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East
by Barry Rubin, Wolfgang G. Schwanitz

English | 2014 | ISBN: 0300140908 | 360 pages |
During the 1930s and 1940s, a unique and lasting political alliance was forged among Third Reich leaders, Arab nationalists, and Muslim religious authorities. From this relationship sprang a series of dramatic events that, despite their profound impact on the course of World War II, remained secret until now. In this groundbreaking book, esteemed Middle East scholars Barry Rubin and Wolfgang G. Schwanitz uncover for the first time the complete story of this dangerous alliance and explore its continuing impact on Arab politics in the twenty-first century.

Rubin and Schwanitz reveal, for example, the full scope of Palestinian leader Amin al-Husaini’s support of Hitler’s genocidal plans against European and Middle Eastern Jews. In addition, they expose the extent of Germany’s long-term promotion of Islamism and jihad. Drawing on unprecedented research in European, American, and Middle East archives, many recently opened and never before written about, the authors offer new insight on the intertwined development of Nazism and Islamism and its impact on the modern Middle East

Waiting for book Anglo-Saxons Islamists and the New Middle East.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013/2014

Postby ramana » 02 Aug 2014 02:19

The Second Arab Awakening: And the Battle for Pluralism
by Marwan Muasher

English | 2014 | ISBN: 0300186398 | 232 pages |
This important book is not about immediate events or policies or responses to the Arab Spring. Instead, it takes a long, judicious view of political change in the Arab world, beginning with the first Awakening in the nineteenth century and extending into future decades when—if the dream is realized—a new Arab world defined by pluralism and tolerance will emerge.

Marwan Muasher, former foreign minister of Jordan, asserts that all sides—the United States, Europe, Israel, and Arab governments alike—were deeply misguided in their thinking about Arab politics and society when the turmoil of the Arab Spring erupted. He explains the causes of the unrest, tracing them back to the first Arab Awakening, and warns of the forces today that threaten the success of the Second Arab Awakening, ignited in December 2010. Hope rests with the new generation and its commitment to tolerance, diversity, the peaceful rotation of power, and inclusive economic growth, Muasher maintains. He calls on the West to rethink political Islam and the Arab-Israeli conflict, and he discusses steps all parties can take to encourage positive state-building in the freshly unsettled Arab world.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013/2014

Postby wig » 11 Aug 2014 08:30

Afzal Guru linked to militants since 1998, claims book ‘Aayina’ contains information about Guru’s life
Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, who was hanged last year, was linked to militancy since 1998 and was in charge of providing logistics to militants in operations outside Kashmir, a new book has revealed.

The book, written by Guru in 2010 during his years in the Tihar Jail, contains information about his life as an overground worker for militants, his meetings with Ghazi Baba, who masterminded the Parliament attack, and his views about the situation in the subcontinent.

Titled ‘Aayina’ (mirror), the book has a brief introductory note about Guru, which says he first joined militancy in the late 1980s, but distanced himself from it as he was not convinced about fighting on a “national and linguistic” basis.

“In 1998, after a meeting with Ghazi Baba, (Guru) joined the jihad full-time and remained (with it) till the end,” it reads. It says Guru was “in charge” of a secretive “upper ground network” of militants and controlled logistics for “movement from Kashmir to India”. The book rejects theories propounded by a few writers and activists projecting Guru as a victim of conspiracy.

A chapter written by Jaish-e-Mohammad commander Mufti Mohammad Asgar Khan Kashmiri has sharp criticism of those who projected Guru as a “common man” and dumped his relation to militancy in an attempt to prove him “innocent”. “It was a very crude way to prove him innocent. Such people should remain silent instead of writing and speaking anything,” the Jaish commander writes.

Kashmiri writes that Guru’s secretive role as a militant operative was unknown even to his family. Kashmiri eulogises Guru as a “great martyr” and writes that he weaved such a “network” that any target in Kashmir could have been attacked within 24 hours and any target in India within a week.

In the book, Guru writes that a meeting with Ghazi Baba in 1998 changed him and “induced a revolution in the days and nights of his life”. Ghazi Baba was the Jaish chief operational commander who was killed in a gunfight during a raid on his hideout in Srinagar in 2003.

Guru has written extensively about meetings with his “mentor” Ghazi Baba and shares the details of their discussion on religion, politics, militancy and events after 9/11.

In a chapter on Kashmir’s first suicide bomber, Afaq Shah, Guru provides a brief account of a meeting in which the 20-year-old Srinagar resident volunteered to drive an explosive-laden vehicle into the Army’s 15 Corps headquarters. It is not clear whether Guru wrote an eyewitness account or heard about the meeting.

In the chapter titled ‘Taliban’, Guru writes about his and Ghazi Baba’s dejection over Pakistan joining the US war to topple the Islamic regime in Afghanistan.

“When I asked Ghazi Baba what will happen now, he answered in a single word: Taliban,” Guru writes. This suggests that their meetings took place even during the two months between October, 2001, when the US attacked Afghanistan, and December, 2001, when militants attacked Parliament.

Guru writes about an incident in which he went to a snow-covered mountain to meet Raashid, presumably Ghazi Baba’s deputy, where he saw a militant who had come from England. It is not clear whether the militant, whom Guru saw digging a cave hideout, was Birmingham resident Mohammad Bilal, alias Abdullah Bhai, the second suicide bomber. Bilal had blown an explosive-laden vehicle outside the headquarters of the Army in Srinagar.

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013/2014

Postby ramana » 31 Aug 2014 20:12

The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization's Northern Future
Language: English | ISBN-10: 0525951814 | 2010 | 336 pages |

A vivid forecast of our planet in the year 2050 by a rising star in geoscience, distilling cutting-edge research into four global forces: demographic trends, natural resource demand, climate change, and globalization.

The world's population is exploding, wild species are vanishing, our environment is degrading, and the costs of resources from oil to water are going nowhere but up. So what kind of world are we leaving for our children and grandchildren? Geoscientist and Guggenheim fellow Laurence Smith draws on the latest global modeling research to construct a sweeping thought experiment on what our world will be like in 2050. The result is both good news and bad: Eight nations of the Arctic Rim (including the United States) will become increasingly prosperous, powerful, and politically stable, while those closer to the equator will face water shortages, aging populations, and crowded megacities sapped by the rising costs of energy and coastal flooding.

The World in 2050 combines the lessons of geography and history with state-of-the-art model projections and analytical data-everything from climate dynamics and resource stocks to age distributions and economic growth projections. But Smith offers more than a compendium of statistics and studies- he spent fifteen months traveling the Arctic Rim, collecting stories and insights that resonate throughout the book. It is an approach much like Jared Diamond took in Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse, a work of geoscientific investigation rich in the appreciation of human diversity.

Packed with stunning photographs, original maps, and informative tables, this is the most authoritative, balanced, and compelling account available of the world of challenges and opportunities that we will leave for our children.

Its not only us on BR but a whole lot of folks are trying to see the future!!!

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Re: Book Review Folder - 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013/2014

Postby member_27582 » 14 Nov 2014 20:41

Dear Gurus,

Can anyone suggest a book/s on the following

1. About history of Kashmir ( the right history!!!)
2. Indian history particularly on the Indian Kings (Hindu kings)


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