Temptations of the West
How to Be Modern in India, Pakistan, Tibet, and Beyond
By Pankaj Mishra
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hardcover, 9780374173210, 336pp.)
Publication Date: June 13, 2006
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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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.
PANKAJ MISHRA was born in north India in 1969. He is the author of An End to Suffering and The Romantics (which won the Los Angeles Times’s Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction) and a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books.
Praise for An End to Suffering:
“Mishra’s book is in the best tradition of Buddhism, both dispassionate and deeply engaged, complicated and simple, erudite and profoundly human.” —Adam Goodheart, The New York Times Book Review