On the (book)shelf

Titles available at Books n Beans (Lahore) or through www.vanguardbooks.com

On the (book)shelf


The Fickle 70s: Memoirs, 1972-79
FS Aijazuddin
Sang-e-Meel Publications (2016)

This volume of Mr Aijazuddin’s memoirs covers the story of his personal and professional life after his marriage to Shahnaz in December 1971 until his departure for the Gulf in 1979. He narrates, as an insider, the nationalisation of industries, banks and insurance companies by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s PPP government in the 1970s, the reorganisation of the public sector with the creation of holding corporations, and the role of the Board of Industrial Management and later the Ministry of Production. His account recalls the abortive elections in 1977, the take-over by General Ziaul Haq, Bhutto’s trial for murder and his subsequent hanging in 1979.

In an early review Mani Shankar Aiyar wrote: In troubled times like these when Pakistan and Pakistanis are being pilloried, it comes as a relief when the most civilized Pakistani of them all, the scholar, Fakir Syed Aijazuddin, presents one with his latest book, The Fickle 70s, an autobiographical account of the Bhutto decade that saw Pakistan trying to rise Phoenix-like from the disaster of the 1971 war […] The book, witty, whimsical, penetrating in its insights, exquisitely crafted, is based on the diaries he wrote contemporaneously.’

Fakir Syed Aijazuddin, OBE, FCA, has had a distinguished professional career as a Chartered Accountant at a senior level in the private and public sectors, both in Pakistan and abroad. In addition, he is an internationally recognised art-historian and author of more than a dozen books. Their subjects include a catalogue of miniature painting from the Punjab Hills, the work of 19th century British and European artists who visited the Punjab and other areas that are now Pakistan, a definitive monograph on antique maps of the region, two books on the history of Lahore, one on Dr Henry Kissinger’s secret visit to China in July 1971, another on President Richard Nixon’s policy towards Pakistan during 1969-1974, and a recently published volume of memoirs.


Revolutionary Ideas: An Intellectual History of the French Revolution from The Rights of Man to Robespierre
Jonathan Israel
Princeton University Press (2014)

Historians of the French Revolution used to take for granted what was also obvious to its contemporary observers—that the Revolution was shaped by the radical ideas of the Enlightenment. Yet in recent decades, scholars have argued that the Revolution was brought about by social forces, politics, economics, or culture—almost anything but abstract notions like liberty or equality. In Revolutionary Ideas, one of the world’s leading historians of the Enlightenment restores the Revolution’s intellectual history to its rightful central role. Drawing widely on primary sources, Jonathan Israel shows how the Revolution was set in motion by radical eighteenth-century doctrines, how these ideas divided revolutionary leaders into vehemently opposed ideological blocs, and how these clashes drove the turning points of the Revolution.

In this compelling account, the French Revolution stands once again as a culmination of the emancipatory and democratic ideals of the Enlightenment. That it ended in the Terror represented a betrayal of those ideas—not their fulfillment.

Jonathan Israel is professor of modern history at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He is the author of A Revolution of the Mind: Radical Enlightenment and the Intellectual Origins of Modern Democracy (Princeton).


The Army of Afghanistan: A Political History of a Fragile Institution
Antonio Giustozzi
Hurst (2016)

This book is the first full length political history of the Afghan Army, and as such is unparalleled in the range and depth of its analysis of this vitally important institution. Giustozzi locates the Army’s development within the wider context of state-building in Afghanistan. His volume includes a brief survey of the period to 1953, but focuses mainly on subsequent developments, over the last four decades, as the officer corps began to be politicised and later factionalised, especially during the Russian-backed regime of the Communist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), which ruled the country from 1978 to 1992. Despite the stress on the politics of praetorianism, the volume describes the Afghan Army’s performance on the battlefield in detail, highlighting the potential contradiction between military effectiveness and political loyalty to the ruling elite. The volume covers developments to the end of 2013 and is the result of extensive interviews conducted with both Afghan Army officers and their advisers and mentors.

Antonio Giustozzi is a Research Fellow at IDEAS, London School of Economics. He is the author of Koran, Kalashnikov, and Laptop: The Neo-Taliban Insurgency in Afghanistan 2002-2007, Decoding the New Taliban, and Empires of Mud: Wars and Warlords in Afghanistan.


The Guru in South Asia: New Interdisciplinary Perspectives
Eds. Jacob Copeman & Aya Ikegame
Routledge (2012)

This book provides a set of fresh and compelling interdisciplinary approaches to the enduring phenomenon of the guru in South Asia. Moving across different gurus and kinds of gurus, and between past and present, the chapters call attention to the extraordinary scope and richness of the social lives and roles of South Asian gurus. Prevailing scholarship has rightly considered the guru to be a source of religious and philosophical knowledge and mystical bodily practices. This book goes further and considers the social engagements and entanglements of these spiritual leaders, not just on their own (narrowly denominational) terms, but in terms of their diverse, complex, rapidly evolving engagements with ‘society’ broadly conceived. The book explores and illuminates the significance of female gurus, gurus from the perspective of Islam, imbrications of guru-ship and slavery in pre-modern India, connections between gurus and power, governance and economic liberalization in modern and contemporary India, vexed questions of sexuality and guru-ship, gurus’ charitable endeavours, the cosmopolitanism of gurus in contexts of spiritual tourism, and the mediation of gurus via technologies of electronic communication.
Jacob Copeman is Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh, UK.

Aya Ikegame is Research Associate for the ERC-funded OECUMENE project ‘Citizenship after Orientalism’ at the Open University, UK.


The Pakistan Anti-hero: History of Pakistani nationalism through the lives of iconoclasts
Nadeem Farooq Paracha
Vanguard (2017)

In The Pakistan Anti-Hero, NFP further explores the political and social evolution of Pakistan’s polity which he first investigated in his best-selling debut, End of the Past. He expands this investigation by closely tracking the country’s social and political trajectory through the lives of ‘anti-heroes’ – or those men and women whose place in history has transcended model heroic characteristics. From digging deeper into the psyches and histories of well-known men and women, to looking closer at the lives of those who have only briefly been explored, Paracha surveys the lives of scholars, ideologues, sportsmen, authors, politicians, militants, actors and even some obscure personalities that he met as a young man and then as a journalist.

He cuts through the mainstream historical accounts of certain famous as well as notorious figures to study them in a more detached and yet empathetic manner to gain a starker understanding of a nation which has continued to develop through multiple existential crisis.

Nadeem Farooq Paracha is one of Pakistan’s best known journalists, cultural critics and satirists. He began his career as a journalist in 1990. He last book, End of the Past, is a bestseller.


The Politics of International Intervention: The Tyranny of Peace
Eds Mandy Turner & Florian P. Kühn
Routledge (2016)

This book critically explores the practices of peacebuilding, and the politics of the communities experiencing intervention. The contributions to this volume have a dual focus. First, they analyse the practices of western intervention and peacebuilding, and the prejudices and politics that drive them. Second, they explore how communities experience and deal with this intervention, as well as an understanding of how their political and economic priorities can often diverge markedly from those of the intervener. This is achieved through theoretical and thematic chapters, and an extensive number of in-depth empirical case studies. Utilising a variety of conceptual frameworks and disciplines, the book seeks to understand why something so normatively desirable – the pursuit of, and building of, peace – has turned out so badly. From Cambodia to Afghanistan, Iraq to Mali, interventions in the pursuit of peace have not achieved the results desired by the interveners. But, rather, they have created further instability and violence. The contributors to this book explore why. This book will be of much interest to students, academics and practitioners of peacebuilding, peacekeeping, international intervention, statebuilding, security studies and IR in general.

Mandy Turner is Director of the Kenyon Institute, at the Council for British Research in the Levant, East Jerusalem and Visiting Research Fellow at the Middle East Centre, London School of Economics, UK.
Florian P. Kühn is Interim Professor for Comparative Politics at Magdeburg’s Otto von Guericke University, Germany.