Oh this is exciting. Dawn interviewed
my baby brother author Ilhan NiazÂ for its weekly 'Books and Authors'Â supplement. Read the interview here.
Ilhan's description of the book:
â€œThe first chapters of the book deal with the subcontinent and describe the major empires that ruled the region. I started with the Harappan civilisation, moving on to the Guptas, Mauryas and Mughal period; this is what we call â€˜macro historyâ€™. The following chapters go on to explain India and Pakistan and their common culture of power that has evolved in the 60 years of independence. The culture of the ruling elite is essentially the same â€” subsequently any consequent inadequacies in both states are also basically the same.â€�
When the interviewer suggests that it might be the heat that predisposes the people of the subcontinent to emotion and egotism (the comparison being, as always, with the 'cool' British), Ilhan responds:
â€œWe can observe that since 1066 AD, there has been no invasion of England, whereas the region we are now sitting in has endured 70 major invasions between 1000 AD and 1800 AD. It could be this atmosphere of heightened insecurity and instability that contributes in making a nation more spiritually and emotionally charged.â€�
And of course this post wouldn't be complete without a plug for An Inquiry into the Culture of Power of the Subcontinent. I'm more than halfway through it and have put it on hold only because I have deadlines I can't extend. It's a great read.
Things don't seem to be settling down in Islamabad, which is worrying. Ilhan's latest article in Dawn is about the writ of the state and its lack of authority not just in Pakistan but in the Subcontinent in general, since our history at least is shared and we all seem to be happy to accompany each other down the toilet.