Bio for Pankaj Mishra
Why China’s Riches Won’t Bring It Freedom
May 19, 2013 | 40 CommentsModern history is the story of how liberal democracy, originating in the U.K. and America, spread around the world. This may sound like an absurd fantasy. In actuality, this Whiggish narrative of progress underpins most newspaper editorials, political commentary and speeches in the West, and frames larger views of political developments in the non-West.
Asian Leaders’ Tough Talk Hides Failure of Leadership
May 05, 2013 | No commentsVisiting China in 1928, when a rising Japan had begun to prey on its neighbor, the Japanese poet Akiko Yosano took a surprisingly broad-minded view of anti-Japanese passion among the Chinese: “It’s surely frightful from the imperialists’ point of view,” she wrote in her travelogue, “but for the Chinese people it must be celebrated in the name of humanity.”
In Asia, Thatcher’s Iron Lady Walked on Clay Feet
April 16, 2013 | No commentsThe “ideological legacy” of Margaret Thatcher, according to the Economist, rivals “that of Marx, Mao, Gandhi or Reagan.” She made “Britain great again,” the Daily Telegraph asserts. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, the historian Andrew Roberts hails Thatcher for her loyalty to the U.S. and Israel, and claims that “Thatcherism will always remain, and the world is better for it.”
To Erase Militarist Past, Japan Must Re-Learn It
April 14, 2013 | No commentsIt was raining heavily last week when I visited Tokyo’s controversial Yasukuni Shrine, which commemorates Japanese who died in the “imperial cause.” But the tour buses still discharged scores of elderly Japanese visitors, and I received approving looks and even a faint smile from two Japanese women as we stood in the rain before the memorial to an Indian jurist called Radha Binod Pal.
What Naipaul Got Right, and Wrong, About India
March 31, 2013 | No commentsWhile reading a shocking report about extrajudicial killings and torture by Indian security forces in Kashmir, I was reminded of V.S. Naipaul’s “India: A Million Mutinies Now,” arguably the most influential book about modern India.