Temptations of the West by Pankaj Mishra
How to Be Modern in India, Pakistan, Tibet, and Beyond

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Synopsis

A vivid, often surprising account of South Asia today by the author of An End to Suffering


In his new book, Pankaj Mishra brings literary authority and political insight to bear on travels that are at once epic and personal. Traveling in the changing cultures of South Asia, Mishra sees the pressures--the temptations--of Western-style modernity and prosperity, and teases out the paradoxes of globalization. A
visit to Allahabad, birthplace of Jawaharlal Nehru, occasions a brief history of the tumultuous post-independence politics Nehru set in motion. In Kashmir, just after the brutal killing of thirtyfive Sikhs, Mishra sees Muslim guerrillas playing with Sikh village children while the media ponder a (largely irrelevant) visit by President Clinton. And in Tibet Mishra exquisitely parses the situation whereby the Chinese government--officially atheist and strongly opposed to a free Tibet--has discovered that Tibetan Buddhism can "be packaged and sold to tourists."
Temptations of the West is a book concerned with history still in the making--essential reading about a conflicted and rapidly changing region.

 

About Pankaj Mishra

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Pankaj Mishra was born in India in 1969 and lives in London and Mashobra, India. The author of An End to Suffering (FSG, 2004) and Temptations of the West (FSG, 2006), as well as a novel, The Romantics, he writes for The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Book Review, and The Guardian.
 
Published April 17, 2002 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 452 pages
Genres: History, Travel, Political & Social Sciences, Biographies & Memoirs, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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By Mishra’s account, even the most ardent Hindu nationalists do not wish, “like the jihadis, to challenge or reject the knowledge and power of the West.” Pakistan, however, seems to him “much further away.” Though he constantly scrutinizes his own prejudices, the author cannot deny that he feels ...

Mar 15 2006 | Read Full Review of Temptations of the West: How ...

The New York Times

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Part autobiography, part travelogue, part journalism, it is written not from a political or polemical position but from that of a small-town, upper-caste, lower-middle-class Indian with a taste for Western literature.

Jul 23 2006 | Read Full Review of Temptations of the West: How ...

The Guardian

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Temptations of the West: How to be Modern in India, Pakistan and Beyond by Pankaj Mishra Picador £16.99, pp439 In the second of the nine essays in this engaging and illuminating anthology, Pankaj Mishra meets Tarun Vijay, editor of the Hindi magazine of the RSS, an evangelical organisation 'dedic...

Jun 25 2006 | Read Full Review of Temptations of the West: How ...

The Guardian

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Temptations of the West: How to Be Modern in India, Pakistan and Beyond by Pankaj Mishra 247pp, Picador, £16.99 When the divisions of the cold war were still in place, communist regimes were seen as belonging to an eastern bloc that stood apart from the main body of western civilisation.

Jun 10 2006 | Read Full Review of Temptations of the West: How ...

India Today

A quick visit to Sri Lanka or Burma, strangely absent from his regional wanderings, might help him take a more nuanced view of Buddhism in the modern world, in the same way that he does so intelligently with Hindus in India, Muslims in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and Maoists in Nepal.Despite these ...

Sep 11 2006 | Read Full Review of Temptations of the West: How ...

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