Temptations of the West: How to Be Modern in India, Pakistan, Tibet, and Beyond

Temptations of the West: How to Be Modern in India, Pakistan, Tibet, and BeyondA New York Times Book Review Editors ChoiceIn Temptations Of The West,Pankaj Mishra Brings Literary Authority And Political Insight To Bear On Journeys Through South Asia, And Considers The Pressures Of Western Style Modernity And Prosperity On The Region Beginning In India, His Examination Takes Him From The Realities Of Bollywood Stardom, To The History Of Jawaharlal Nehru S Post Independence Politics In Kashmir, He Reports On The Brutal Massacre Of Thirty Five Sikhs, And Its Intriguing Local Aftermath And In Tibet, He Exquisitely Parses The Situation Whereby The Atheist Chinese Government Has Discovered That Tibetan Buddhism Can Be Packaged And Sold To Tourists Temptations Of The West Is Essential Reading About A Conflicted And Rapidly Changing Region Of The World

Pankaj Mishra is a noted Indian essayist and novelist.In 1992, Mishra moved to Mashobra, a Himalayan village, where he began to contribute literary essays and reviews to The Indian Review of Books, The India Magazine, and the newspaper The Pioneer His first book, Butter Chicken in Ludhiana Travels in Small Town India 1995 , was a travelogue that described the social and cultural ch

[Reading] ➬ Temptations of the West: How to Be Modern in India, Pakistan, Tibet, and Beyond ➳ Pankaj Mishra – Stockbag.info
  • Paperback
  • 323 pages
  • Temptations of the West: How to Be Modern in India, Pakistan, Tibet, and Beyond
  • Pankaj Mishra
  • English
  • 15 December 2017
  • 9780312426415

10 thoughts on “Temptations of the West: How to Be Modern in India, Pakistan, Tibet, and Beyond

  1. says:

    My feelings on Temptations of the West are very mixed To start, the book has little do with the title, or subtitle How to be Modern. Mishra writes mainly of the history of the subcontinent rather than its future His journalistic tendencies come out a lot throughout the book Each chapter reads like distinct articles rather than as chapters of a single unified book However, whether they are distinct articles or unifying chapters, his editor could have been stepped in Particularly in the chapters on Kashmir and Pakistan, he really could have wrapped his points better There was always another episode or encounter that got in the way of the larger narrative On the positive, Mishra get his content spot on I will start with Kashmir As a secular Hindu Indian American, I have never understood why India and Pakistan have pushed the world to the brink of nuclear war 2 4 times over this woe begotten state of rock and snow I ve heard fundamentalist Hindus or nationalistic Indians argue passionately that India should sacrifice all to keep Kashmir, to avenge Kargil But why The argument usually follows the vein of it belongs to us Misra provides context for both Muslims and Hindus He also provides a thread that links the anti Soviet Afghan freedm fighters to the Kashmiri insurgency movement 1990s and back to the Taliban of the 2000s Mishra does this a lot Whether it his chapter on Ayodhya or Allahabad, he provides links to other mass movements in the subcontinent over the past 100 years The larger point that he seems to make is that the region is a much brutal and hopeless place than I ve ever thought Ex it s the fate of Brahmins whose land was taken by Nehru and then whose job prospects were given to untouchables Or Muslims who escape one massacre just to wait for the next massacre all with the governments tacit approval Or it s Afghan women who either face the rage of extremists in the city or the dead, arid land in the countryside Pankaj, dude, let s go out get a beer, watch some football and lighten up a bit Or should that be a hot toddy and cricket.

  2. says:

    An extremely insightful book, providing an illuminating account of Pankaj Mishra s travels in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal and Tibet Mishra takes us to cities and remote regions in these countries, uniquely experiencing modernity, development and changes wrought by capitalism Meeting politicians, social activists, religious fanatics, traders, intellectuals and ordinary men and women, Mishra elucidates local history, politics, conflict and gains made by the powerful and the privileged The prologue is one of the most well written sections of the book in which Mishra tells the story of his stay in the historical town of Varanasi, time spent in a fast dying public library and his encounter with a very interesting character, Rajesh The chapters on Allahabad, Ayodhya, Kashmir and Pakistan are also brilliantly written and make one think hard about people trying to eke out a respectable existence amid tumult and turmoil This book not only focuses on the aspirations of common people in South Asia and beyond, but also puts a spotlight on the chauvinism and appalling indifference exhibited by the urban middle classes Many hailing from the urban areas of India and Pakistan, normally supporting the majoritarian rule, will find this book revealing and might even come to question the lies systematically fed to them by the state and mainstream media.

  3. says:

    Wow This is totally my kind of nonfiction The author, an Indian educated journalist, lends his personal understanding of South Asian culture, language, and history to current events in these countries The first chapter was my favorite, especially the strange juxtaposition of a Brahman immersed in Edmund Wilson with a Princeton undergrad smoking hookah in late 80s Benares Throughout the book, I was disturbed by the accounts of corruption and violence that rampages in nations pushed into modernization compared to the middle class corruption of 19th century Paris , but I was glad to find a happy ending The conclusion is that a nation or people who are grounded in eternal moral principles can withstand any chain of world events.Ironically, the journalistic style of the book reminded me of those I ve read by Krakauer the differences are that I found this book much intellectually challenging, and deeply empathized with the views of this author.

  4. says:

    An illuminating read by an excellent writer Content was nicely presented, lively and from an interesting viewpoint Recommended if you re interested in learning about the people, culture and day to day life in India.

  5. says:

    I really enjoyed it because I got to read about Nepal and Kashmir and Hindu nationalism and Afghanistan, places about which I had known nothing before But I have a feeling that I will return to this book after a few years and find it pretty much self mastabatory is that a word

  6. says:

    This is the first book by Mishra that I have read I d heard of him from his fights with Rushdie and Ferguson In my mind he was always the review world s Rakhi Sawant Reading this book has possibly elevated him Sawants and Kardashians don t go to Afghanistan and Tibet but it still is a tepid book A sparkling collection the back cover declares , Pankaj Mishra looks at the surprising ways modernity has come to South Asia It also notes that the books contains lurid and astonishing characters from societies that are struggling to define themselves Every writers dream, every readers nightmare While the characters might be intriguing to a westerner who is being introduced to South Asia by this book, they are no revelation to us natives With one foot in JNU s campus and one foot in London where as he notes, he divides his time , Mishra peeks into Mumbai, where he critiques the likes of KHNH and KKHH for the NRI s , Mallika Sherawat As she spoke, she kept brushing back thick wavy hair from her full lipped, oval face Mallika and I sat on the sofa, separated by a few inches the narrow space into which she suddenly dropped, while still speaking of Almodovar, two glossy photos and a struggler doesn t everyone writing about Bollywood In Afghanistan he meets war lords and new ministers struggling to find a place in the new country and in Tibet where he travels by Land Cruiser he sadly admires the beauty While to us there might be nothing new in Mishra s essay s, maybe someone in the west might find use with the book Sadly he seems to have taken the role of the slightly leftist conscience keeper to readers in the west, vacated by Roy , who has scooted, well to the left Mishra has probably just started thriving in that world I just hope he starts writing better books because he seems to be an otherwise excellent writer

  7. says:

    I liked temptations of the west because of its narrative style different from what I am used to in the academic genre Mishra is discussing important questions about modernity and tradition in south Asia using very personal stories of real people in different locations in south Asia and raising the fundamental question of becoming modern over and over again through out the book It is easy to see that the book s overarching frame work of thinking is post colonial studies though what makes the book different from academic tomes and accessible to a larger audience is restraint from engaging with just the academic community Mishra is writing to a wider audience and trying to take what is usually just an academic conversation among 10 15 people at a time, to a much wider audience in south Asia and interested folks elsewhere I hope people read this book.

  8. says:

    The book is a journalist s experiences in his native India, where he focuses on politics and Kashmir, in Pakistan where he explores a jihadism, in Nepal where Maoism rebellion is covered and in Tibet where Dalai Llama and the Tibetan struggle is touched upon I really enjoyed his objective and impartial depiction of Hindu fundamentalism in India and the distinction made with Islamic fundamentalism which was pretty poignant I also enjoyed the Pakistani and a Afghani analysis The Pakistani areas covered were in the war torn North West provinces The last chapters on Nepal and Tibet were not as good as the initial ones as the author does not display the same depth of analysis Nevertheless, the book is an important reference to any one trying to understand these countries from an insider point of view.

  9. says:

    Mishra is a very good writer and this book is in many ways illuminating It discusses some aspects of contemporary life, the stresses of contemporary life in South Asia I had hoped for of the sort of analysis the title seems to promise an explicit examination of the strains put on the people in these nations by the demands of modernity and the modern market culture Instead, the book is largely narrative not in itself a bad thing with each chapter following a regular pattern exemplary narrative, background or history, exemplary narrative The book is also a reworking of articles published in the New Yorker and sometimes has an episodic feel Weakest is the chapter on Nepal best, the one on Pakistan and the section on Kashmir A good book, but not the one I d hoped for and expected.

  10. says:

    The author is a brahmin journalist who shares his own experience with the history of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan He goes from the violence against the various ethnicities and religions to the not so golden world of Bollywood It s interesting in the journalistic parts while it s a little too generic when he talks about history.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *