Posts Tagged ‘Pankaj Mishra’

Interrogating Pankaj Mishra’s Weltanschauung

November 11, 2012

By Vijay Vikram

From the Ruins of Empire: The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia, Pankaj Mishra, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 356 pages

Pankaj Mishra is a fascinating creature. He was born to a family of pauperized Brahmins in Jhansi, a small town in the north of India in 1969. By the age of 20, he had spent “three idle, bookish years at a provincial university in a decaying old provincial town.” Like many young men of a bookish disposition, he had little idea of what to do with himself. He harbored literary ambitions, but was uncertain how to fulfill them. Add to this an aversion to “the modern world of work and achievement … careers and jobs” and we find ourselves in the company of a distinctly brooding, melancholy character who would either beat the odds and rise to make a mark on the world of English literature or die in obscurity.

He succeeded. By 2012, Mishra had completed the journey from periphery to metropole in a most spectacular manner. (more…)

Asian Responses to Colonialism

September 22, 2012

By Kabir Altaf

Pankaj Mishra’s new book From the Ruins of Empire: The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia (FSG 2012) describes the Asian response to the colonial encounter.  The book covers the decades from the mid-nineteenth century to the beginning of World War II.   Mishra argues that the West “has seen Asia through the narrow perspective of its own strategic and economic interests, leaving unexamined–and unimagined–the collective experiences and subjectivities of Asian peoples.” His book does not attempt to replace this Eurocentric perspective with an Asia-centric one, but “seeks to open up multiple perspectives on the past and the present, convinced that the assumptions of Western power–increasingly untenable–are no longer a reliable vantage point and may even be dangerously misleading” (8). (more…)