The Tears of the Rajas: One Family’s Experience of Serving the East India Company

From my personal blog: Ferdinand Mount’s The Tears of the Rajas: Mutiny, Money and Marriage in India 1805-1905 (Simon & Schuster 2015) tells the story of his grandmother’s family—the Lows of Chatto–who spent a century serving the East India Company. The book focuses on Mount’s  great-great grandfather, John Low, who arrived in India in 1805 […]

The Depiction of the Indian Subcontinent in 19th Century French Grand Opera

From my personal blog: [Kabir’s note: A change of pace from the usual topics. As Zack says there is no need to be so confrontational all the time] During the mid-nineteenth century, European composers experienced a vogue for depicting the Orient on stage.  Not only was the Orient an exotic location, but the operas set […]

Shujaat Bukhari, Editor of ‘Rising Kashmir’, Shot Dead in Srinagar

From TheWire.in [Kabir’s Note: This is extremely tragic. We don’t know who the gunmen were. But this is an attack on freedom of expression and a great loss to Kashmir’s media fraternity] New Delhi: Veteran journalist Shujaat Bukhari, editor-in-chief of the Srinagar-based newspaper Rising Kashmir, was shot dead on Thursday by unknown assailants. Two personal […]

Pranab Mukherjee’s Not-so-Secular History Lesson

Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee in The Wire. in https://thewire.in/politics/pranab-mukherjee-not-so-secular-history-lesson-rss-meet Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee ” teaches poetry at Ambedkar University, New Delhi. He is a frequent contributor to The Wire and has written for The Hindu, The New York Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, Guernica, Outlook and other publications.” [Kabir’s Note: It is not my intention to […]

Pakistan’s attempts to secularise qawwali are unnecessary – it has always been pluralistic

By Hammad Khan in Scroll. in [Kabir’s note: A nice change from geopolitics and caste] One of the characteristics of the modern weltanschauung (worldview) is to identify religion as distinct from culture. Islam, and Islam in Pakistan, doesn’t escape this bifurcation either. One popular example is qawwali. The recent secularisation of qawwali – the shift […]

Bhatkhande: The Contradictions of Music’s Modernity

I am excerpting this post from my personal blog. This semester,in my “Evolution of Music in South Asia” course, I gave 2.5 lectures on Chapter 3 of Professor Janaki Bahkle’s book Two Men and Music: Nationalism and the Making of an Indian Classical Tradition—  focusing on Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande. In her book Two Men and […]

Indian Ink: Literary Insights into Colonialism and Identity

I am excerpting an article from my personal blog. I originally wrote this essay in May 2009 and it was published on The South Asian Idea. It’s interesting to me how long I have been thinking about some of the same issues.  I have always been fascinated by the Raj.  In fact, in my Directing […]

W.H. Auden on Partition

Since on the “Brown Roundup” thread, there was some spirited discussion about baby Prince Louis and his being named after Lord Mountbatten, I was reminded of W.H. Auden’s poem “Partition”. It’s a short poem, so I’m just going to copy it out from my edition of Auden’s Collected Poems (Edited by Edward Mendelson).  The poem […]

A Golden Age: Literature and Nationalism

I am cross-posting my review of Tahmima Anam’s novel “A Golden Age” from my personal blog.  This review was originally published on The South Asian Idea in 2010. She spoke, with fluency, the Urdu of the enemy. She was unable to pretend, as she saw so many others doing, that she could replace her mixed […]