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

Pankaj Mishra

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 Beyond

  • Title: Temptations of the West: How to Be Modern in India, Pakistan, Tibet, and Beyond
  • Author: Pankaj Mishra
  • ISBN: 9780312426415
  • Page: 411
  • Format: Paperback

A 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 JawaharlalA 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.

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

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 more 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 more. Particularly [...]

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. T [...]

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 moder [...]

Much excellent reportage but not enough analysis to deliver what the title promises―analysis appears, on a different plane, in his latest book, Age of Anger.I could write a long essay about my readings of Pankaj Mishra, on and off, over the last ten years or so, but I’ll save that for the long-pending review of his Age of Anger, of which this book is a logical precursor. In fact, the continuity, and evolution, of his ideas and interests from his very first book is remarkable.From the very be [...]

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?)

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 ‘lur [...]

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 bo [...]

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 [...]

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 more 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 [...]

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 more interesting in the journalistic parts while it’s a little too generic when he talks about history. developingreport/Revie

A series of essays which are more personal experiences of an Asian Indian journalist. Well-written and each essay contains intriguing and/or lesser-known facts, e.g Western involvement in so many of these countries and involvement that made the countries worse. The style is a bit chatty and wandering.

Very interesting read (though the title can be a little misleading - its not a book preaching anything) about contemporary stories from India (stories about India dominate the book much more than Pakistan or Tibet) - Dalit identity politics from Uttar Pradesh (India's largest state and the home of the cow belt and caste politics), aspiration of migrants in search of the Bollywood dream and massacre of Sikhs in Chittisinghpura among others. For me the story that really stood out was about the Chi [...]

Een bij vlagen prachtig relaas over India, Pakistan, Afgahnistan, Nepal en Tibet, en de worsteling met het westen en de eigen geschiedenis. Het werd mij duidelijk dat veel leed was veroorzaakt door het westerse kolonialisme, wat vervolgens door de eigen en huidige bestuurders nog een stukje verder geholpen werd. De situatie is alleen maar slechter geworden , door vooral veel politieke eigen intresse.

Will be an excellent travelogue on one’s trip in India (thou I read it in my room). Insightful, journalistic but writing with sentiments. It is like Arundhati Roy without the smart sarcasm (which I also love).

I picked this one up for its interesting subtitle — How to Be Modern in India, Pakistan, Tibet, and Beyond — but it turned out to be a little misleading. Most of the time, Mishra is complaining about modernity, by which he mostly seems to mean contact with the West and the side effects of same (e.g. "the profound modernity of religious nationalism").Mishra doesn't really completely convince me that the region's problems stem exclusively from modernity as he defines is, but this book gave me [...]

Count me as a fan. The author is attempting to understand the human condition; he just happens to be writing about India. He offers no solutions, he merely describes the reality that people live.His style is journalistic, not magazine article. The chapters have titles such as Kashmir, Pakistan, etc. In each chapter, the author presents chronologically his research for that particular region. His method is to interview and shadow the key players. It seemed to me that there were generally two type [...]

A commentary on life in the subcontinent, that vividly portrays issues that pertain to the region- from the university politics of Uttar Pradesh to the lanes of Bollywood and from Ram Janmabhoomi to the plight of Kashmir, and thats only one country. It also shows the role of Pakistan in the cold war, its dealings with the US , the mujahideen, communists and the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Touches on Nepal and the Maoists vs Monarchy tussle. Most importantly it also throws light on how re [...]

Temptations of the West: How to be Modern in India, Pakistan and Beyond contains treatises on the author’s travels through India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal and Tibet. Pankaj Mishra provides honest, fearless reports from the areas he visits. The incidents and conditions that he reports are hardly covered or purposely censored in the mainstream media. Reports from Kashmir, Pakistan’s play in Afghanistan and the political reasons on events and the governments responses, are well covered. He [...]

Well written but really more of a collection of essays. I didn't check - were they all previously published somewhere? Not that it matters. My sense is nothing really new here. I thought the chapter on Tibet, in particular, was weak and cursory.I was hoping for a more thoughtful discussion, and perhaps some synthesis, but instead found a collection of essays more along the lines of "difficulties of modernization" (or - because I hate the word "modernization", perhaps recent history showing some [...]

Interesting sections on Nepal and Tibet, but overall it's hard to take his narrative history style seriously because he offers no hard evidence, just personal observations. For the larger sections in the book covering India including Bollywood, the BJP, Kashmir and Nehru's legacy, I did not feel that he added much to existing works on the same topics. His latest book From the Ruins of Empire sounds promising.

The book made me realize how ignorant I am of the deeper context of many of the things - violence in Kashmir, Hindu-Muslim bloodshed - I was constantly exposed to in the papers and on TV while attending boarding school in India. Makes me question the value of much of the `learning' that goes on in classrooms all over South Asia. As Bob Marley once memorably said, "If I were educated I'd be a damn fool."

First part of the book on India is excellent - the author clearly is at home with his material and has a "new historian" critical approach mixed with personal narrative. The remaining parts of the book are about Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tibet and are more textbook than personal narrative. It is clear that these parts of the book have been more difficult to write for the author, and I think one could find better histories than this. But all in all a good and interesting book.

Mishra gives a fine review of the recent, tragic mostly, history of these areas, including Kashmir.Many cultural and historical factors contributed to their tragedies, but so did the CIA, using them as pawns in their "game" with the USSR. This makes me very sad. Of course, we don't know how the history would have proceeded without the CIA.He tells a number of individuals' stories, to illustrate how history played out for a variety of people.

This book regards the current situation and recent history of Indian, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kashmire, Nepal and Tibet. While the writer does not write in a manner that is entirely reader friendly (odd repetitions and lay out is such one can lose focus at times), it does provide the read with an excellent understanding of that area and why things may be as they are currently.

its an easy read, very insightful at times but its slightly confusing as we dont know if its an objective view or personal account but it does not diminish the authors skill in examining the soth asian socities, especially his view of the rise of hindu nationalinsim. its good summer reading and i laughed out loud at the cow urine lab!

Extraordinarily good reporting. Most Indians look to the mainstream media for news. They lack the perspective that Pankaj Mishra brings to light. In his other South Asian potrayals, the writer is very sympathetic of his various subjects. He writes keeping in mind the history and culture of the place and its peoples.

This is, from start to finish, a fantastic book. Intelligent, honest, and sharply written, it strikes a perfect balance between skepticism towards those in power with deep compassion for the ordinary people the powerful cause to suffer. I'm not sure why it took me so long to finish considering how much I enjoyed it.

Thank you Christopher for this book for Christomas. I learned a lot from it about India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nepal. Even about Tibet. This book gave me insights in the culture and historical conflicts through journalistic essays on each country.

The title is misleadingI thought I was going to read something social/cultural, but in the tiny print in one of the book reviews,it is about "modern politics [and economics] in South Asia. A bit of a tiring and confusing read for this foreigner

Excellent introduction to contemporary Indian politics, and the complicated relationships between post-colonial East and West. Also, a pleasure to read. Check out Mishra's articles in the New Yorker. Top-notch.

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