From Pankaj Mishra, author the successful Temptations of the West and Butter Chicken in Ludhiana, comes a provocative account of how China, India and the Muslim World are remaking the world in their own image.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE ORWELL PRIZE 2013
The Victorian period, viewed in the West as a time of self-confident progress, was experienced by Asians as a catastrophe. As the British gunned down the last heirs to the Mughal Empire, burned down the Summer Palace in Beijing, or humiliated the bankrupt rulers of the Ottoman Empire, it was clear that for Asia to recover a vast intellectual effort would be required.
Pankaj Mishra's fascinating, highly entertaining new book tells the story of a remarkable group of men from across the continent who met the challenge of the West. Incessantly travelling, questioning and agonising, they both hated the West and recognised that an Asian renaissance needed to be fuelled in part by engagement with the enemy. Through many setbacks and wrong turns, a powerful, contradictory and ultimately unstoppable series of ideas were created that now lie behind everything from the Chinese Communist Party to Al Qaeda, from Indian nationalism to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Mishra allows the reader to see the events of two centuries anew, through the eyes of the journalists, poets, radicals and charismatics who criss-crossed Europe and Asia and created the ideas which lie behind the powerful Asian nations of the twenty-first century.
Indian-British historian and international affairs commentator Mishra (Temptations of the West) looks at how, between about 1870 and 1940, "some of the most intelligent and sensitive people in the East responded to the encroachments of the West (both physical and intellectual) on their societies." In particular, he focuses on Jamal al-Din al-Afghani and Liang Qichao, intellectuals and political activists. Born in a small town in Iran, al-Afghani was the ultimate Islamic cosmopolitan, living for periods of time in Delhi, Kabul, Istanbul, Cairo, Tehran, London, Moscow, and Paris. Ultimately, al-Afghani anticipated today's Islamists as "the first thinker to see the concepts Islam' and the West' as violently opposed binaries." Chinese thinker Liang insightfully criticized the Western imperialism that devastated much of Asia well into the 20th century, favored Japanese authoritarianism with a modernist bent over American democracy (with its racism and corporate domination of the electoral process), and remained a believer in Confucianism to the end of his life. Mishra looks more briefly at a third figure, the Bengali philosopher and writer Rabindranath Tagore, and such individuals as Ho Chi Minh and the pre-Khomeini Iranian Islamist Ali Shariati make "cameo" appearances. Well-researched and crisply written, this scintillating work will help American readers understand the political and intellectual roots of Islamism and other non- and anti-Western thought in Asia today.
Awful racist book
This book supports black supremacy
And isn’t factually accurate