May, 2014

  • 28 May

    Book Review: Who Foiled a Deal on Siachen?

    A new book reveals that while Manmohan Singh wanted to find a solution to India’s dispute with Pakistan over Siachen glacier, opposition from his army chief and senior colleagues, scuttled any prospects for this. The army chief General JJ Singh, acted in a duplicitous way. In close-door briefings, the General would say that a deal with Pakistan was doable, but in public he would back A.K. Antony when the defense minister chose not to back the PM.

  • 17 May

    Book Review: The Pashtun Question

      As the government in Pakistan completes its first year in office, the Afghans move to the second round of their presidential elections and the US and NATO forces potentially pack their bags, a brilliant Pashtun journalist has released a book that not only raises the Pashtun question but also pledges to provide the key answers, if not the key, …

April, 2014

  • 25 April

    Book Review: The Meat Racket

    If the meat industry’s slaughter practices seem brutal to you, check out the economics. Capital requirements are daunting: the industry needs vast, well-vented feeding barns, high-tech slaughter facilities, fleets of trucks equipped with energy-sucking coolers. Demand fluctuates, ramping up production in good times and leaving producers holding unwanted livestock (or meat) in bad. And our meatpackers are caught in a …

  • 14 April

    Lifting Asia Out of Poverty

    Developing-Asia’s impressive growth continues but faces a new challenge — inequality is on the rise. Over the last few decades, the region has lifted people out of poverty at an unprecedented rate. But more recent experience contrasts with the ‘growth with equity’ story that characterized the newly industrialized economies’ transformation in the 1960s and 1970s.   Treating developing Asia as …

March, 2014

  • 11 March

    Book Review: Empowering Pak Army was a US Mistake

    “Empowering the Pakistani military at the cost of democratic institutions was an American mistake and Washington’s personalization of relations with different autocrats has significantly weakened the state of Pakistan,” so says a recent book which has been authored by a former high-ranking official of the US State Department who had served the policy planning staff of the secretary of state …

February, 2014

  • 27 February

    Fact-fudging in Gujarat

    Journalist Manoj Mitta’s investigative book, The Fiction of Fact-Finding: Modi and Godhra, deserves more than just a book review. The author has clinically revealed the convoluted process through which Chief Minister Narendra Modi of the Indian state of Gujarat was declared to have not been culpable in the communal riots of 2002.   Modi is now the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in India’s general elections. To prove that …

  • 15 February

    Totalizing History, Silencing Dissent in India

    The agreement by Penguin Books India, a unit of Penguin Random House, to withdraw as well as destroy all existing copies of its 2009 book titled The Hindus: An Alternative History by Wendy Doniger, a professor of religion at the University of Chicago, within six months, is both disturbing as well as foreboding.   The lawsuit filed against Penguin India by Dina …

January, 2014

  • 22 January

    The World’s Most Seductive Metal

    The subtitle of Matthew Hart’s new book Gold might have benefited from an added phrase. Gold is not only “the world’s most seductive metal”; it’s also the most useless. The task Hart has set himself in writing Gold is to explore the reasons why humankind is so obsessed with a metal that has proved to have few industrial applications and for the past several …

  • 22 January

    Scientists Oppose Canada’s ‘War on Science’

    Seven of Canada’s most prized scientific libraries are being shut down and some of their contents have already been burned, thrown away or carted off by fossil fuel consultancy firms. This development is part of a Harper administration plan to slash more than $160 million in the coming years from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, or DFO — an agency charged …

  • 18 January

    Becoming Mohammad Yousuf

    Believe it or not, societal prejudice against Dalits was a significant factor behind the decision of former Pakistani cricket star Yousuf Youhana to convert from Christianity to Islam and adopt the name of Mohammad Yousuf, so writes former diplomat Shaharyar M Khan in his book, Cricket Cauldron: The turbulent politics of sport in Pakistan. Khan was the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, between …