A sumptuous biographical saga, both intimate and epic, about the waning of the British Empire in India
John Auden was a pioneering geologist of the Himalaya. Michael Spender was the first to draw a detailed map of the North Face of Mount Everest. While their younger brothers--W. H. Auden and Stephen Spender--achieved literary fame, they vied to be included on an expedition that would deliver Everest's summit to an Englishman, a quest that had become a metaphor for Britain's struggle to maintain power over India. To this rivalry was added another: in the summer of 1938 both men fell in love with a painter named Nancy Sharp. Her choice would determine where each man's wartime loyalties would lie.
Set in Calcutta, London, the glacier-locked wilds of the Karakoram, and on Everest itself, The Last Englishmen is also the story of a generation. The cast of this exhilarating drama includes Indian and English writers and artists, explorers and Communist spies, Die Hards and Indian nationalists, political rogues and police informers. Key among them is a highborn Bengali poet named Sudhin Datta, a melancholy soul torn, like many of his generation, between hatred of the British Empire and a deep love of European literature, whose life would be upended by the arrival of war on his Calcutta doorstep.
Dense with romance and intrigue, and of startling relevance for the great power games of our own day, Deborah Baker's The Last Englishmen is an engrossing story that traces the end of empire and the stirring of a new world order.
Arundhati Roy --"India's most impassioned critic of globalization" ("New York Times")--has expanded the compelling first edition of "Power Politics" with two new essays on the U.S. war on terrorism. A Book Sense 76 choice for November/December 2001 and "Los Angeles Times" "Discoveries" selection, "Power Politics" challenges the idea that only experts can speak out on such urgent matters as nuclear war, the privatization of India's power supply by U.S.-based energy companies, and the construction of monumental dams in India.
Arundhati Roy, the internationally acclaimed author of "The God of Small Things," brings her keen novelist's eye to her analysis of the tragic events of September 11 and the military response, starting with the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan.
Four centuries ago, a Muslim woman ruled an empire. Nur Jahan, daughter of a Persian noble and widow of a subversive official, became the twentieth and most cherished wife of the Emperor Jahangir. Nur ruled the vast Mughal Empire alongside her husband, leading troops into battle, signing imperial orders, and astutely handling matters of the state.
Acclaimed historian Ruby Lal uncovers the rich life and world of Nur Jahan, rescuing this dazzling figure from patriarchal and Orientalist clichés of romance and intrigue, and giving new insight into the lives of women and girls in the Mughal Empire. In Empress, Nur Jahan finally receives her due in a deeply researched and evocative biography that awakens us to a fascinating history.
Because clothing, food, and shelter are basic human needs, they provide excellent entries to cultural values and individual aesthetics. Everyone gets dressed every day, but body art has not received the attention it deserves as the most common and universal of material expressions of culture. The Grace of Four Moons aims to document the clothing decisions made by ordinary people in their everyday lives. Based on fieldwork conducted primarily in the city of Banaras, India, Pravina Shukla conceptualizes and realizes a total model for the study of body art--understood as all aesthetic modifications and supplementations to the body. Shukla urges the study of the entire process of body art, from the assembly of raw materials and the manufacture of objects, through their sale and the interactions between merchants and consumers, to the consumer's use of objects in creating personal decoration.
To best understand and address the inequality in India today, Arundhati Roy insists we must examine both the political development and influence of M. K. Gandhi and why B. R. Ambedkar's brilliant challenge to his near-divine status was suppressed by India's elite. In Roy's analysis, we see that Ambedkar's fight for justice was systematically sidelined in favor of policies that reinforced caste, resulting in the current nation of India: independent of British rule, globally powerful, and marked to this day by the caste system.
This book situates Ambedkar's arguments in their vital historical context-- namely, as an extended public political debate with Mohandas Gandhi. "For more than half a century--throughout his adult life-- Gandhi's] pronouncements on the inherent qualities of black Africans, untouchables and the laboring classes remained consistently insulting," writes Roy. "His refusal to allow working-class people and untouchables to create their own political organizations and elect their own representatives remained consistent too."
In The Doctor and the Saint, Roy exposes some uncomfortable, controversial, and even surprising truths about the political thought and career of India's most famous and most revered figure. In doing so she makes the case for why Ambedkar's revolutionary intellectual achievements must be resurrected, not only in India but throughout the world.
--Junot D az
"The fierceness with which Arundhati Roy loves humanity moves my heart."
In The Raja's Magic Clothes, Joanne Punzo Waghorne places before our eyes British imperialism and a small South India kingdom in the actual settings in which they performed their interplay--not only in the Indian world but also in the world of English courtiers, diplomats, and scholars. The Raja's Magic Clothes explores the refashioning of the rituals of kingship in Pudukkottai during the crucial period from 1858 to 1947. Waghorne discusses these changes in the context of a profound but undeclared reciprocity that occurred between British overlord and Indian prince, between British bureaucrat and Hindu pandit, and between British scholar and British civil servant in creating the grand ceremonial system of the Raj, and with it the multifarious world of ornamental things that permeated Victorian life.
While scholars at Oxford and Cambridge worked diligently to create distinctions to mark West from East, rational from magical, and British from Indian, the British governors were sitting beside native princes like the Raja of Pudukkottai on his very throne and under his sacred canopy. The Raja's Magic Clothes reveals how the gap between the pragmatic need for a shared royal ritual and the theoretical construction of difference left open a space where overt theologies were masked, allowing the British and their Indian players to don old royal ornaments--recovering religious things from a world beyond magic and reason.
Since Joanne Waghorne was permitted use of the Palace Records for the first time, The Raja's Magic Clothes includes significant new material for scholars. In addition, the book provides the first full photographic documentation of the old palace at Pudukkottai, the Dakshinamurti temple within that palace, and the interior of the state Tirugokarnam temple, giving readers the opportunity to see the palace and both temples not only for the beauty of their art and architecture but also in the context of the complex ritual system.
For over two decades now, India is seen to be on the cusp of claiming its place in the 'Asian Century'. Yet, India still has to overcome major challenges such as regional and societal income disparities, moving up the value chain towards greater innovation, and bringing about an overhaul in its manner of governance for the nation to prosper and actually step into the future. This visionary document presents India's national assets, its problems/liabilities and their inter-relationships to identify those at the top of the hierarchy, the quality of life, and lifestyles we wish to achieve in various sectors (urban, rural or tribal). The authors then delineate important actionable points and the steps that Indian government(s) ought to take in order to use our assets to overcome our problems so that the nation can reach the goals, towards which all development should take us. Contents: The History; An Agenda for the Nation; Successes and Failures; Moving Forward; Appendices.