book-reviews, books, international-affairs, politics, uncategorized

NIXON, INDIRA AND INDIA: Politics and Beyond

indira_gandhi_and_richard_nixon-300x222
Nixon, Indira and India: Politics and Beyond By Kalayani  Shankar Macmillan, Delhi , 2010 Pages 443, Rs.445
At a time when India is seen, rightly or wrongly, as intensely  engaged in an effort to get closer and closer to United States, it is useful  read this book by the well- known journalist and author Kalyani Shankar. The principal theme is how Indira Gandhi was crafty enough to outwit Richard Nixon ,himself a superb practitioner  of the wicked  art of real politik, in the context of the 1971 war between India and Pakistan bringing into being Bangladesh. Those of us who are old enough do  have an idea of how Indira Gandhi did it. But Shankar by accessing the declassified US material and using her contacts with some of the major actors, including Henry Kissinger, has given us a  reasonably  comprehensive account of what happened and why it happened the way it happened. (more…)

November 10th, 2010 | category:book-reviews, books, international-affairs, politics, uncategorized |
book-reviews, books, international-affairs, politics, uncategorized

Book Review: CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM AT WAR

Children of Abraham at War
Children of Abraham at War – The Clash of Messianic Militarisms by Talmiz Ahmad Aakar Books, Delhi, 2010 475 pages; Rs 1,250 
A clash of prejudices As I finished reading the book, I thought of two other books — Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations. All three authors look for the big picture. Unlike the other two, however, the book under review is free from any trace of civilisational ego-centricism. Both Fukuyama and Huntington assume without providing much corroborating evidence the essential, inherent superiority of the western civilisation over others. Ambassador Talmiz Ahmed, currently posted to Saudi Arabia, is refreshingly free from such an ego-centric predicament, as historian Toynbee put it. Why is it that Ahmed is free and the other two are not? The answer is fairly simple. In addition to being an industrious scholar, the author has spent most of his 35-year career in West Asia. He has had the advantage of talking to a wide spectrum of people there, observing their behaviour and the interaction between the West and Islam. (more…)

November 10th, 2010 | category:book-reviews, books, international-affairs, politics, uncategorized |
book-reviews, books, international-affairs, politics, uncategorized

Book Review: A JOURNEY

A Journey by Tony Blair
A Journey by Tony Blair Hutchison, London, 2010 Pages 718, Rs. 999
Apologia for a war Given that 92,000 copies were sold in the first four days, Tony Blair has felled a large number of trees to argue a case that is seriously flawed. By sheer coincidence, as soon as the reviewer finished the book, the new Labour Party leader Ed Miliband came out with a categorical statement that the Iraq war was “wrong, wrong, wrong”. I had always thought that Tony Blair was really Tory Blair. I felt vindicated after reading the book written in the style of Christian apologetics to defend a position, not primarily to narrate what happened, how and why. (more…)

November 10th, 2010 | category:book-reviews, books, international-affairs, politics, uncategorized |

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