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

Pankaj Mishra, Author . Farrar, Straus & Giroux $25 (323p) ISBN 978-0-374-17321-0

Mishra eloquently expresses his indignation at folly and injustice in these eight travelogues and profiles illuminating the challenge of Western-style globalization in South and Central Asia, where the pull of the West is countered by the politics of nationalism. In "Allahabad: The Nehrus, the Gandhis, and Democracy," Mishra weaves bitter commentary on the postcolonial dynasties into his observations of the "uneven" process of democracy at work during the 2000 elections in the "decaying" North India city of Allahabad. Mishra draws a complex portrait of successful Bollywood filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt in "Bollywood: India Shining," whom Mishra is prepared to find reprehensible but comes to afford grudging respect. Mishra brings the same eye for character to "Kashmir: The Cost of Nationalism," about the brutal "cycle of retribution" between Muslims and Hindus in the contested region. On meeting a pro-India renegade commander who epitomizes an "unthinking preference for violence and terror," Mishra watches the man's "movie star glamour and... brute power" fall away as the commander demands a "free hand" in dealing with Muslim guerrillas. These instances of vivid description and personal reaction provide moments of clarity in this dense, well-written book (after An End to Suffering ). (June)

Reviewed on: 03/06/2006
Release date: 06/01/2006
Paperback - 438 pages - 978-0-330-43468-3
Hardcover - 247 pages - 978-0-330-43467-6
Paperback - 323 pages - 978-0-312-42641-5
Open Ebook - 448 pages - 978-0-330-54311-8
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4299-5464-8
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