As the world's largest democracy and a rising international economic power, India has long been heralded for its great strides in technology and trade. Yet it is also plagued by poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, and a vast array of other social and economic issues. Here, noted journalist and former Financial Times South Asia bureau chief Edward Luce travels throughout India's many regions, cultures, and religious circles, investigating its fragile balance between tradition and modernity. From meetings with key political figures to fascinating encounters with religious pundits, economic gurus, and village laborers, In Spite of the Gods is a fascinating blend of analysis and reportage that comprehensively depicts the nuances of India's complex situation and its place in the world.
A lively new history of India, a nation struggling to resolve its colonial legacy and paradoxical extremesAs it enters its sixtieth year of independence, India stands on the threshold of superpower status. Yet India is strikingly different from all other global colossi. While it is the world's most populous democracy and enjoys the benefits of its internationally competitive high-tech and software industries, India also contends with extremes of poverty, inequality, and political and religious violence.
This accessible and vividly written book presents a new interpretation of India's history, focusing particular attention on the impact of British imperialism on Independent India. Maria Misra begins with the rebellion against the British in 1857 and tracks the country's advance to the present day. India's extremes persist, the author argues, because its politics rest upon a peculiar foundation in which traditional ideas of hierarchy, difference, and privilege coexist to a remarkable degree with modern notions of equality and democracy. The challenge of India's leaders today, as in the last sixty years, is to weave together the disparate threads of the nation's ancient culture, colonial legacy, and modern experience.
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.
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 clich s 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.
Siddhartha Deb grew up in a remote town in the northeastern hills of India and made his way to the United States via a fellowship at Columbia. Six years after leaving home, he returned as an undercover reporter for The Guardian, working at a call center in Delhi in 2004, a time when globalization was fast proceeding and Thomas L. Friedman declared the world flat. Deb's experience interviewing the call-center staff led him to undertake this book and travel throughout the subcontinent.
The Beautiful and the Damned examines India's many contradictions through various individual and extraordinary perspectives. With lyrical and commanding prose, Deb introduces the reader to an unforgettable group of Indians, including a Gatsby-like mogul in Delhi whose hobby is producing big-budget gangster films that no one sees; a wiry, dusty farmer named Gopeti whose village is plagued by suicides and was the epicenter of a riot; and a sad-eyed waitress named Esther who has set aside her dual degrees in biochemistry and botany to serve Coca-Cola to arms dealers at an upscale hotel called Shangri La.
Like no other writer, Deb humanizes the post-globalization experience--its advantages, failures, and absurdities. India is a country where you take a nap and someone has stolen your job, where you buy a BMW but still have to idle for cows crossing your path. A personal, narrative work of journalism and cultural analysis in the same vein as Adrian Nicole LeBlanc's Random Family and V. S. Naipaul's India series, The Beautiful and the Damned is an important and incisive new work.
The Beautiful and the Damned is a Publishers Weekly Best Nonfiction title for 2011.
A history of yoga's transformation from sacred discipline to exercise program to embodied spiritual practice- Identifies the origin of exercise yoga as India's response to the mania for exercise sweeping the West in the early 20th century - Examines yoga's transformations through the lives and accomplishments of 11 key figures, including Sri Yogendra, K. V. Iyer, Louise Morgan, Krishnamacharya, Swami Sivananda, Indra Devi, and B. K. S. Iyengar - Draws on more than 10 years of research from rare primary sources and includes 99 illustrations In The Path of Modern Yoga, Elliott Goldberg shows how yoga was transformed from a sacred practice into a health and fitness regime for middle-class Indians in the early 20th century and then gradually transformed over the course of the 20th century into an embodied spiritual practice--a yoga for our times. Drawing on more than 10 years of research from rare primary sources as well as recent scholarship, Goldberg tells the sweeping story of modern yoga through the remarkable lives and accomplishments of 11 key figures: six Indian yogis (Sri Yogendra, Swami Kuvalayananda, S. Sundaram, T. Krishnamacharya, Swami Sivananda, and B. K. S. Iyengar), an Indian bodybuilder (K. V. Iyer), a rajah (Bhavanarao Pant Pratinidhi), an American-born journalist (Louise Morgan), an Indian diplomat (Apa Pant), and a Russian-born yogi trained in India (Indra Devi). The author places their achievements within the context of such Western trends as the physical culture movement, the commodification of exercise, militant nationalism, jazz age popular entertainment, the quest for youth and beauty, and 19th-century New Age religion. In chronicling how the transformation of yoga from sacred discipline to exercise program allowed for the creation of an embodied spiritual practice, Goldberg presents an original, authoritative, provocative, and illuminating interpretation of the history of modern yoga.
The bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman and The Map That Changed the World examines the enduring and world-changing effects of the catastrophic eruption off the coast of Java of the earth's most dangerous volcano -- Krakatoa.
The legendary annihilation in 1883 of the volcano-island of Krakatoa -- the name has since become a byword for a cataclysmic disaster -- was followed by an immense tsunami that killed nearly forty thousand people. Beyond the purely physical horrors of an event that has only very recently been properly understood, the eruption changed the world in more ways than could possibly be imagined. Dust swirled round die planet for years, causing temperatures to plummet and sunsets to turn vivid with lurid and unsettling displays of light. The effects of the immense waves were felt as far away as France. Barometers in Bogot and Washington, D.C., went haywire. Bodies were washed up in Zanzibar. The sound of the island's destruction was heard in Australia and India and on islands thousands of miles away. Most significant of all -- in view of today's new political climate -- the eruption helped to trigger in Java a wave of murderous anti-Western militancy among fundamentalist Muslims: one of the first outbreaks of Islamic-inspired killings anywhere.
Simon Winchester's long experience in the world wandering as well as his knowledge of history and geology give us an entirely new perspective on this fascinating and iconic event as he brings it telling back to life.