Tinderbox book. Read 73 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Nations do not commit suicide, nor die of accidents or old age. There is. MJ Akbar, Tinderbox: The Past & Future of Pakistan, Harper & Collins. Publishers India (with India Today Group) Delhi, , pp. ISBN Read Tinderbox by M j Akbar for free with a 30 day free trial. Read unlimited* books and audiobooks Tinderbox: The Past and Future of Pakistan. By M j Akbar.
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M.J. Akbar, Tinderbox: The Past and Future of Pakistan, Harper Collins, New Delhi,. , pp., Rs , ISBN Ali Ahmed*. MJ. Download Citation on ResearchGate | On Jan 1, , Farzana Shaikh and others published Tinderbox: the past and future of Pakistan by M. J. Akbar; Pakistan. Tinderbox: The Past and Future of Pakistan [M.J. Akbar] on homeranking.info *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. “Among many recent books on Pakistan, Mr.
East Dane Designer Men's Fashion. Timothy Snyder. Jul 25, Asad Khan rated it really liked it. Therefore it was a very refreshing read with a relatively new point of view for me. Pakistan, perhaps inevitably, glorified the destroyer of Somanath. Nancy Goldstone.
Strength, guile, and the exploitation of competing egos had enabled the British to destroy Indian princes. A subaltern war needed other solutions. Their most successful tactic was the slow injection of inter- and intra-communal hostility into the popular discourse.
Do all you can, therefore, to prevent all having a common feeling. There were many options available: An unusual provocation for discord was history.
Both Hindus and Muslims were tempted by an imagined past.
Influential Hindu intellectuals explained centuries of Muslim rule as unrelieved tyranny that had kept a civilized and non-violent people, the Hindus, subservient.
Muslim zealots glorified the worst examples of aggression, like the iconoclast and looter Mahmud of Ghazni, and encouraged Muslims to believe that they were superior to Hindus.
The upper-caste Hindu resurgence of the nineteenth century was infected by an undercurrent of anti-Muslim bias, in which Muslims had to be punished for real or imagined sins from the past. The British did not invent fantasy; Muslims and Hindus were quite capable of deluding themselves.
But history became a frontline weapon in the armoury of colonial power, particularly when it could be fired with stealth. The potential of Hindu—Muslim strife was always present below, and occasionally above, the surface.
Textbook history is rarely the memory of peace. Chronicles of conflict were mutilated by exaggeration and propaganda. While Muslim self-glorification easily encouraged excess, nineteenth-century Hindu intellectuals had a different dilemma: The alibis extended from a rapacious, barbaric, culture-insensitive Islamic temperament an image easily extended to the rape of a beautiful wife and the rape of Mother India , to betrayal.
Muslim partisans were equally eager to claim superior genes, and taunt Hindus as cowards. As acrimony gravitated towards hatred, the British did not have much to do, except watch, and, when opportunity presented itself, nudge.
A strange alchemy of past superiority and future insecurity shaped the dream of a separate Muslim state in India. Modern India has named its nuclear missiles after the elements: Agni, Aakash, Prithvi.
Fire, Sky, Earth. The past, however, is more shaded and complex than a one-dimensional metaphor would suggest. While battlefield conflict between Hindus and Muslims forms most of the text of historical narrative, Indian society developed along a more cooperative axis, even as rulers learnt that the battle cries that had brought them to power would not help them survive it.
Mahmud of Ghazni, the first Muslim to invade central India, is renowned for his wanton destruction of Hindu temples, particularly the revered Shiva shrine at Somanath on the coast of Gujarat. Zahiruddin Babur revived Muslim rule from near-terminal decline and founded the Mughal Empire in Ahmad Shah Abdali was the Afghan king whose decisive intervention in the third battle of Panipat, in , prevented Mughal Delhi from falling to the ascendant Marathas; without Abdali, there would have been a Hindu emperor in Delhi in the middle of the eighteenth century.
History and its manipulated symbols matter in a subcontinent that won freedom from the British in but has yet to find peace with itself. A war over symbols began the moment India became free, and it centred around the ruins of Somanath temple, destroyed nine centuries before by Ghazni.
A senior Congress leader, K. He left the Congress in , arguing that violence might be justified in self-defence. He returned to the Congress in and served as food minister after Munshi had the support of the first home minister of India, the redoubtable Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, but the first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, thought that the state should have nothing to do with religious projects like temple construction.
Ghazni, a feared iconoclast and military genius, massacred an estimated 50, defenders and plundered the wealth of Somanath in This was the high point of sixteen undefeated campaigns in which Mahmud looted a string of towns across north India.
The scars, their memory revived in the decades of verbal and physical confrontations that preceded the creation of Pakistan, had filled with fresh blood by He financed the reconstruction through donations from individuals as well as a grant of Rs 5 lakhs a substantial contribution at the time from the government of Saurashtra. Prasad was an enthusiastic supporter, and wanted to be present at the inauguration of the rebuilt temple in Nehru thought that the constitutional head of a secular state had no right to give official legitimacy to such an event by his presence.
While it is easy to understand a certain measure of public support to this venture we have to remember that we must not do anything which comes in the way of our State being secular.
That is the basis of our Constitution and Governments therefore, should refrain from associating themselves with anything which tends to affect the secular character of our State.
They may have found it impolitic to say so publicly, but many Congressmen believed, as Munshi did, that Islam had destroyed the religious and social integrity of India. Munshi lamented, in Somanath: Pakistan, perhaps inevitably, glorified the destroyer of Somanath. Ghazni has been turned into a forefather of Pakistan in textbooks.
Islam, in fact, came to India long before the armies marching in its name. The first Indian converts to Islam were residents of the southern coastal region of Malabar, in north Kerala, hosts and partners of Arab merchants and seafarers. Its food and culture have been influenced by the Arab connection, and it remains a preponderantly Muslim district to this day. Qasim brought an Arab army to the northern shores in Sind to establish a bridgehead from where he could clear the sea of pirates who had become a menace to Arab ships on the traditional and lucrative trade routes between Arabia and the Gujarat—Sind coastline.
It petered out in the deserts of Sind, and could never penetrate either east or north into the Rajput kingdoms of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Punjab. They held their line against the mlechha , the impure, as Hindus termed the invaders.
This line was breached, repeatedly, by Ghazni, ruler of Afghanistan between and Popular lore suggests that the mountains around the battlefield were named the Hindu Kush Killer of Hindus because of the numbers slain. Jaypal immolated himself on a funeral pyre; Mahmud extended his domains to roughly the point marking the international border between India and Pakistan today.
Muslims ruled this region on either side of the Indus till the rise of the Sikhs under the inspirational leadership of Maharaja Ranjit Singh — His booty from Rayy in Persia was said to be only a little less than that from Somanath. But what might be called the Pakistani memory of Mahmud, passed on to new generations through schoolbooks, does not dwell on this inconvenient truth. Alberuni travelled to India with Mahmud and recorded the economic devastation and the hatred for Mahmud and Muslims it generated.
Muslims became the archetypal uncivilized barbarians who would never permit another faith to coexist with honour. The hangover lingers to this day. Mahmud laid waste rich pilgrimage cities like Mathura and important provincial centres like Kannauj. He used naptha and fire to level the Krishna temple at Mathura, an architectural masterpiece. Propaganda by the victor, and horror of the victim, both tend to exaggerate, but iconoclasm served a dual need: Mahmud could fill his treasury even as he posed as a champion of Islam in an age when Muslims seemed invincible.
The most tempting target was Somanath, surrounded by the Indian Ocean on three sides, rich with the offerings of sea-faring merchants and inland pilgrims. According to one account, the loot from Somanath was valued at 20 million dirhams worth of gold, silver and precious gems. The historian Romila Thapar offers an interesting Islamic explanation for the destruction of the temple.
Thapar suggests a link between Somanath and the famous controversy over the three principal goddesses of pre-Islamic Arabia, Lat, Uzza and Manat, daughters of the supreme deity.
Her shrine was in Qudayd, near the sea. The pre-Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca was considered incomplete without a visit to Qudayd. The Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, challenged this heresy with the message of tawhid , or the One God, and was forced to emigrate by his own tribe, the Quraysh, who had turned the mosque at Kaaba into a place of idol worship. In , the Prophet returned to Mecca and destroyed the idols inside Kaaba, including those of Lat and Uzza.
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Save For Later. This is a touchy topic in South Asia, but whether you agree with his thesis or not, you can't fault Akbar for putting it forward so cogently. My only complaint, and it is a gentle one, is that the book - like so much journalism in India - relies on assumed knowledge about the background to certain events and people. If you have grown up steeped in Indian or Pakistani history and politics, I suspect it is a far easier read.
I found myself reaching for other sources thank you, wikipedia to fill in the blanks at times. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book.
Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other: Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Tinderbox by M. Nations do not commit suicide, nor die of accidents or old age. There is, however, a serious malaise within Pakistan's body politic, arising from one gene within the country's DNA.
The question is not whether Pakistan will survive, but what it will survive as: Jinnah visualized a Pakistan that had a Muslim majority, but was sec Nations do not commit suicide, nor die of accidents or old age. Jinnah visualized a Pakistan that had a Muslim majority, but was secular in its practices. He did not comprehend that he had created an opportunity for those committed to an alternative ideology.
The most powerful of these ideologues was an extraordinary cleric with exceptional persuasive powers, Maulana Maududi. If Jinnah was the father of Pakistan, Maududi emerged as its godfather. This book explores the roots of this ideology in the history of Indian Muslims; how it has, with meticulous perseverance, crept into the life of Pakistan; and what the implications are for the future.
If these implications were limited to Pakistanis, it might have been a containable problem, but their impact has had explosive consequences for the region and the world. Without understanding the why, it is virtually impossible to know what needs to be done.
Get A Copy. Published by HarperCollins first published January 1st More Details Other Editions 8. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Tinderbox , please sign up. This question contains spoilers… view spoiler [Frankly speaking i just picked up this book just because it had interesting title Finished in one sitting and i must say , one of the best book i have read on Pakistan.
But something which caught my eye and i have not read it before regarding Indian deal on Kashmir before 65 war of converting LOC to IB and giving sq extra.
Can you please share more information on it and was same deal offered in 71? See 1 question about Tinderbox…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. Sort order.
Oct 11, S. I remember my school days' exams, where I used to keep the essay writing exercise towards the end, cause that would take considerable time and thought. I reach the essay question without realizing that there are only few minutes left before the warning bell to ring. I begin in style, elaborating the most un-important thing with "you need to provide the context before you come to the actual gist" rationale.
And then suddenly the warning bell rings and then I have to finish the essay in next 10 mi I remember my school days' exams, where I used to keep the essay writing exercise towards the end, cause that would take considerable time and thought. And then suddenly the warning bell rings and then I have to finish the essay in next 10 minutes. I rush through jumping from point to point, sometimes passing through them, skipping them, brushing them and leaving the whole work hugely unsatisfactory.
This book reads like that. Akbar, a prominent journalist, politician in India, trying to tackle the complex question of Pakistan's past and future, starts off in style, spending more than two third of the book talking about pre-independence time Islamic history in the Indian sub-continent, providing unimportant names and narrating many irrelevant incidents, and finally skittering through the most important aspects that would define the troubling times of today.
Informative, for sure. But, sadly not as insightful as I expected it to be. This is the 3rd book by MJ Akbar that I read, and although I admit that I like many of his newspaper columns, I think it would take a stronger persuasion for me to take another book by him.
View all 6 comments. Aug 01, Anil Swarup rated it really liked it.
Pakistan is a lost case, sitting on a tinder box, ready to implode. The signs are quite visible and Akbar brings it out in his own inimitable style. A book worth reading and worth keeping as well. I am not a league-y. My mother's family is very congressi so we buy a lot of the reasoning that goes behind Mr. Akbar's thesis of how Pakistan was formed. A lot of this book is well written research until we get to Pakistan's independence. Then the narrative breaks down and the author does not seem to have good sources to draw upon.
The period after Pakistan's independence looks like it is patched together from newspaper clippings, mostly. Nevertheless a good read on how Pakistan has gone a bit I am not a league-y. Nevertheless a good read on how Pakistan has gone a bit haywire in this day and age. The billion dollar question is how do we put it back together again.
Mar 30, Jay Vardhan rated it liked it Shelves: In Muslim of British India opted for a separate homeland because they felt they would be physically safe and their religion secure in a new nation called Pakistan. In Tinderbox, MJ Akbar grapples with the question: In this book, the author first gives a short history of the Muslim rule in India and tries to show that during this period the majority Hind In Muslim of British India opted for a separate homeland because they felt they would be physically safe and their religion secure in a new nation called Pakistan.
In this book, the author first gives a short history of the Muslim rule in India and tries to show that during this period the majority Hindus which were ruled by minority Muslims lived happily and had the freedom to worship their gods and celebrate their festivals.
This narrative of the Muslim rule is quite popular in India. The Muslim rule in India can be divided into two phases three if you include the Muslim conquest of Arab, but I won't go there because its effects were negligible in the Subcontinent Delhi Sultanate and Mughal Period.
In this book, MJ Akbar tries to project that, in the Sultanate period, the relation between the two communities were not bad.
According to Akbar: The Muslim elite considered itself superior to the Hindus, but made no effort to impose its mores n those who wanted to be left alone. He also cherry picks facts from various sources to buttress his arguments. This narrative is also prevalent in our textbook. But this view of the Sultanate period is absolutely false. The same sources which MJ Akbar uses also contain facts which show that the reality was very different.
Every temple from the North to the South bears evidence of the assaults which were carried out by Sultanate Rulers of Delhi. This whitewashing of the brutal history of Sultanate period is not needed. Both the communities can live together without manufacturing fake history. Rather than manufacturing fake narratives we should focus on personalities like Akbar and Dara Shikoh which represents the pluralist culture of India. The history of Pakistan movement or the search for a separate homeland for the Muslims of the Subcontinent, according to Akbar, starts with the downfall of Mughal Empire.
Akbar gives a sweeping account of the Freedom struggle and how the idea of a separate homeland became a reality. He also gives a brief history of Pakistan. This is a good book to know about the history of Pakistan Movement but not for the history of Pakistan.
Founding father Vs God father: Jinnah Vs Maududi Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic State - to be ruled by priests with a divine mission. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizens and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan. Pakistan, and the constant struggle between the childrens of Jinnah, founder of pakistan, and the heirs of maulana maududi, founder of jaamat-e-islami, and the God father of pakistan.
And the conflict between these two ideologies will define the future of pakistan. Neither the 'two-nation theory' nor the word 'pakistan' was coined by Jinnah. The former was the idea of sir syed ahmed khan, and the latter was the gift of Chaudhary rahmat Ali. But Jinnah accomplished one thing, that he cunningly mixed religion with politics and he also exploited the popular slogan of mullahs i.
Islam was in danger, and the result was pakistan.
Before India's partition Jinnah proclaimed that Hindus and Muslims can't live together they are two separate nations but ironically after the creation of Pakistan, Jinnah said that pakistan would be a secular Muslim majority nation not a theocratic state. And he basically underestimated the forces which he used for the creation of pakistan and rightly after his death these forces started the 'talibanization' of pakistan.
Infact with jinnah's death the vision of his secular Pakistan got buried alongside with him. And the man who single handedly destroyed jinnah's dream was the disciple of maududi, general Zia-ul-haq who had changed the slogan of pakistan army to jihad fi sabil allah Jihad in the name of allah. And the Author rightly said that pakistan displays the characteristics of a ''Jelly state'', neither it will achieve stability, nor disintegrate. I will recommend this book to those Readers who are interested in reading about pakistan and its conflicting ideology, and the language of the book is not that tough and the author also included some photographs which will make your reading more pleasurable.
My Ratings: Table of contents: The age of defeat 2. A scimitar at somnath 3. A theory of distance 4. An english finesse 5. Grey wolf 6. Gandhi's maulanas 7.
The non-violent jihad 8. The Muslim drift from Gandhi 9. Breaking point Faith in Faith The godfather of pakistan God's general The long jihad The siege within Darkside of the moon Oct 11, Manish rated it it was ok Shelves: MJ Akbar begins off in style. The early Islamic contacts through trade and violence, the dynasties, their decline and the British policies that impoverished them were pretty well narrated.
Hailing from Malabar, I was not aware that the Moplah rebellion also had its links to the Khilafat movement. Akbar also managed to portray Jinnah without much of a bias and my curiosity to understand him better has been roused. Post , Akbar loses the plot and the last quarter of the book brings forth characters like Maulana Maudidi, the military dictators, Bhutto and ends up in a bit of incoherence.
Jul 25, Asad Khan rated it really liked it. An insightful and captivating account of South-Asian History. View 1 comment. Comprehensively commendable! Its a good contemporary book to read, as from few others native Pakistani writers highlighted, pathetic historical deliberate mistakes of statesmen for Islam and Ideology, Pak thrives on. Theory of distance offered by Eminent political theologian, Shah Waliullah, as the base of Jihad as well, as at one moment the writer jotted down, "19th century, Jihad had become 'a source of chronic danger to the British power in India" is the main theme mostly discussed time and ag Comprehensively commendable!
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