On the (book)shelf

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

On the (book)shelf


Land and Forest Governance in Swat
Oxford (hardcover), 2016
PRs 1950

The book is a comprehensive and systematic study of land and forest governance in Swat State (1915–1969). It is rich in factual information, has been written in a simple style, and presented methodologically. It is based heavily on primary source material—both published and unpublished—as well as on respected secondary sources and one-on-one interviews.

The book details how forests have been managed in the Swat State areas and Kalam from the 16th century to 2014. It also discusses issues of land tenure and ownership system in the region, without which forestry issues and the accompanying complexities cannot be fully understood. The political and administrative backdrop to all these issues have also been explored in detail.

About the Author
Born in the Hazara village in Swat, Sultan-i-Rome received his primary and secondary education at government schools in Hazara and Kabal. He completed his bachelor’s from Government Jahanzeb College, Swat, master’s in General History from the University of Karachi, and PhD from the University of Peshawar. He is presently Associate Professor of History, and Department Chairman at Government Jahanzeb College, Swat.

Sultan-i-Rome is a life member of the Pakistan Historical Society and a sitting member of its Executive Committee. He is also a life member of the Council of Social Sciences Pakistan, and the Pukhtu Adabi Board. His fields of interest include the political, social, and economic history of the region, its culture, and its natural resources.
Sultan-i-Rome has published, to date, more than fifty research articles in academic journals, books, anthologies, and proceedings; and two working papers.


Mullahs on the Mainframe: Islam and Modernity among the Daudi Bohras
Jonah Blank
The University of Chicago Press (paperback), 2001
PRs 2797

Policy adviser to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and a senior editor at U.S. News and World Report, Blank (Arrow of the Blue-Skinned God) here focuses on the Bohras, a community of Shia Ismaili Muslims from Gujarat numbering upwards of a million worldwide. This is a groundbreaking work for two reasons: it is the first full description of a community never before studied from outside, and it demonstrates that an orthodox Islamic community can also embrace Western ideas and technology by adopting all aspects of modern culture that are not forbidden to it. The Daudi Bohras are both “traditional” and “modern.” Blank reviews the community’s history, organizational structure, rituals, domestic life, orthopraxy, and maintenance of community boundaries. The Bohra have dramatically improved orthopraxy among members, creating a high level of observance of basics while increasing the educational level and scientific sophistication of the community (“there is no conflict whatsoever between science and faith”). The author demonstrates the extent to which Westerners have adopted a view of Islam distorted by stereotypes, fostered by media reports, and sustained by a triumphalism about values that Westerners believe are exclusively theirs. What the Bohras have done, Blank concludes, is to “break down the false dichotomy between modernity and tradition, to let members of the community revel in both.” This brilliant study is both academically rigorous and a welcome introduction to the real success of this Islamic community in the modern world. Highly recommended for all


The Panama Papers: Breaking the Story of How the Rich and Powerful Hide their Money
Bastian Obermayer and Frederik Obermaier
Oneworld (paperback), 2016
PRs 995

Late one evening, investigative journalist Bastian Obermayer receives an anonymous message offering him access to secret data. Through encrypted channels, he then receives documents revealing how the president of Argentina has sequestered millions of dollars of state money for private use. This is just the beginning.

Obermayer and fellow Süddeutsche journalist Frederik Obermaier find themselves immersed in the secret world where complex networks of letterbox companies help the super-rich to hide their money. Faced with the contents of the largest data leak in history, they activate an international network of journalists to follow every possible line of inquiry. Operating in the strictest secrecy for over a year, they uncover cases involving European prime ministers and international dictators, emirs and kings, celebrities and aristocrats. The real-life thriller behind the story of the century, The Panama Papers is an intense, unputdownable account that proves, once and for all, that there exists a small elite living by a different set of rules and blows their secret world wide open.


Civil Rights in Peril: The Targeting of Arabs and Muslims
Edited by Elaine C. Hagopian
Haymarket Books (paperback), 2004
PRs 995

Muslims and Arab-Americans are increasingly under attack as a result of the US ‘war on terror’ - at home, as well as abroad. Since the tragic events of September 11, Arab and Muslim Americans have faced a major assault on their civil liberties. While targeting vulnerable groups and drawing on racist stereotypes about Arabs and Muslims, these measures threaten millions of people, including immigrants, activists, trade unionists, academics, writers, and anyone who the government wishes to define as a ‘threat’ to national security. The Patriot Act and new immigration laws primarily aimed at Muslims and Arabs have greatly expanded federal powers and eroded longstanding civil liberties. The US government has used its expanded powers to detain, deport, and try individuals, at times without access to lawyers or full disclosure of evidence and charges used against them. Civil Rights in Peril seeks to expose the impact of these new governmental powers on Muslims and Arabs, as well as other groups and individuals targeted as part of the Bush administration’s ‘war on terror’, and to show how ordinary people can resist these attacks on our fundamental rights. This powerful anthology, edited by the well-known scholar and activist Elaine Hagopian, includes essays by Samih Farsoun, Naseer Aruri, Susan Akram, Nancy Murray, Robert Morlino and William Youmans.


Faith & Freedom: Women’s Human Rights in the Muslim World
Edited by Mahnaz Afkhami
IB Tauris (paperback), 1995
PRs 2280

Over half a billion women live in the Muslim world. Despite the rich complexity of their social, cultural, and ethnic differences, they are often portrayed in monolithic terms. Such stereotyping, fueled by the resurgence of Islamic fundamentalism, has proved detrimental to Muslim women in their campaign for human rights. This book is the first detailed study to emphasize Muslim women’s rights as human rights and to explore the existing patriarchal structures and processes that present women’s human rights as contradictory to Islam. Academics and activists, most of whom live in the Muslim world, discuss the major issues facing women of the region as they enter the twenty-first century. They demonstrate how the cultural segregation of women, contradictory and conflicting legal codes, and the monopoly on the interpretation of religious texts held by a select group of male theologians, have resulted in domestic and political violence against women and the suppression of their rights. The contributors focus on ways and means of empowering Muslim women to participate in the general socialization process as well as in implementing and evaluating public policy.

About the Author
Mahnaz Afkhami is executive director of the Sisterhood Is Global Institute and executive director of the Foundation for Iranian Studies.