With an official population approaching fifteen million, Karachi is one of the largest cities in the world. It is also the most violent. Since the mid-1980s, it has endured endemic political conflict and criminal violence, which revolve around control of the city and its resources (votes, land and bhatta-"protection" money). These struggles for the city have become ethnicized. Karachi, often referred to as a "Pakistan in miniature," has become increasingly fragmented, socially as well as territorially. Despite this chronic state of urban political warfare, Karachi is the cornerstone of the economy of Pakistan. Gayer's book is an attempt to elucidate this conundrum. Against journalistic accounts describing Karachi as chaotic and ungovernable, he argues that there is indeed order of a kind in the city's permanent civil war. Far from being entropic, Karachi's polity is predicated upon organisational, interpretative and pragmatic routines that have made violence "manageable" for its populations. Whether such "ordered disorder" is viable in the long term remains to be seen, but for now Karachi works despite-and sometimes through-violence.
A Matter of Rats
It is not only the past that lies in ruins in Patna, it is also the present. But that is not the only truth about the city that Amitava Kumar explores in this vivid, entertaining account of his hometown. We accompany him through many Patnas, the myriad cities locked within the city—the shabby reality of the present-day capital of Bihar; Pataliputra, the storied city of emperors; the dreamlike embodiment of the city in the minds and hearts of those who have escaped contemporary Patna's confines. Full of fascinating observations and impressions, A Matter of Rats reveals a challenging and enduring city that exerts a lasting pull on all those who drift into its orbit. Kumar's ruminations on one of the world's oldest cities, the capital of India's poorest province, are also a meditation on how to write about place. His memory is partial. All he has going for him is his attentiveness. He carefully observes everything that surrounds him in Patna: rats and poets, artists and politicians, a girl's picture in a historian's study, and a sheet of paper on his mother's desk. The result is this unique book, as cutting as it is honest.
State and Nation Building in Pakistan
Religion, violence, and ethnicity are all intertwined in the history of Pakistan. The entrenchment of landed interests, operationalized through violence, ethnic identity, and power through successive regimes has created a system of ‘authoritarian clientalism.’ This book offers comparative, historicist, and multidisciplinary views on the role of identity politics in the development of Pakistan. Bringing together perspectives on the dynamics of state-building, the book provides insights into contemporary processes of national contestation which are crucially affected by their treatment in the world media, and by the reactions they elicit within an increasingly globalised polity. It investigates the resilience of landed elites to political and social change, and, in the years after partition, looks at the impact on land holdings of population transfer. It goes on to discuss religious identities and their role in both the construction of national identity and in the development of sectarianism. The book highlights how ethnicity and identity politics are an enduring marker in Pakistani politics, and why they are increasingly powerful and influential. An insightful collection on a range of perspectives on the dynamics of identity politics and the nation-state, this book on Pakistan will be a useful contribution to South Asian Politics, South Asian History, and Islamic Studies.
This up-to-date account of Pakistan's complicated political tapestry focuses on two related sets of questions. The first concerns the ethnic tensions within Pakistan, including the Mohajir movement, Pashtun and Baloch nationalisms, and the 'Punjabization' of the country. The second focus is the country's complex position within the South Asian region. Kashmir has been for years the main bone of contention between India and Pakistan. Since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan twenty years ago, Pakistan has been also one of the main players in the Afghan war; especially after it supported the Taleban. The book examines Pakistan's foreign policy, including the dialectic between domestic and foreign policy and the role of the army. The many questions raised include the definition of identity, the intersection of religious and ethnic factors, a deeply flawed institutionalization of democracy, control of the state, and the potentially explosive interaction of regional and domestic politics.
Faith Based Violence and Deobandi Militancy in Pakistan
This book documents and highlights the Deobandi dimension of extremism and its implications for faith-based violence and terrorism. This dimension of radical Islam remains largely ignored or misunderstood in mainstream media and academic scholarship. The book addresses this gap. It also covers the Deobandi diaspora in the West and other countries and the role of its radical elements in transnational incidents of violence and terrorism. The specific identification of the radical Deobandi and Salafi identity of militants is useful to isolate them from the majority of peaceful Sunni and Shia Muslims. Such identification provides direction to governmental resources so they focus on those outfits, mosques, madrassas, charities, media and social medial channels that are associated with these ideologies. This book comes along at a time when there is a dire need for alternative and contextual discourses on terrorism.
Koran Kalashnikov and Laptop
Announcements of an impending victory over the Taliban have been repeated ad nauseam since the Allied invasion of Afghanistan in 2002, particularly after the Presidential elections of 2004, which were said to have marked the "moral and psychological defeat of the Taliban". In moments of triumphalism, some commentators claimed that "reconstruction and development" had won over the population, despite much criticism of the meagre distribution of aid, the lack of "nation-building" and corruption among Kabul's élite. In March 2006, both Afghan and American officials were still claiming, just before a series of particularly ferocious clashes, that "the Taliban are no longer able to fight large battles". Later that year, the mood in the mass media had turned to one of defeatism, even of impending catastrophe. In reality, as early as 2003-5 there was a growing body of evidence that cast doubt on the official interpretation of the conflict. Rather than there having been a "2006 surprise", Giustozzi argues that the Neo-Taliban insurgency had put down strong roots in Afghanistan as early as 2003, a phenomenon he investigates in this timely and thought-provoking book.
Islamism in the Shadow of Al Qaeda
From reviews of the original French edition: "Burgat's book delivers the keys to the writings of Azzam, Zawahiri, and bin Laden." --Le Monde Diplomatique "Unlike his contemporaries, Burgat doesn't give in to the media-talk that surrounds us. . . . With his immense historic and sociological background, he offers us a complete, panoramic view of that Arabic Other. . . . Few know the Arab Muslim world better than Burgat." --Politis A renowned authority on Islamic movements, François Burgat lived for eighteen years on the Arabian Peninsula, including his time as director of the French Center for Archaeology and Social Sciences at Yemen. He also dedicated many months to fieldwork in North Africa. Bringing Burgat's decades of expertise to the complex dialogues that have marked the post-9/11 world, Islamism in the Shadow of al-Qaeda delivers much-needed clarity and historical perspective. In Burgat's eyes, most of the West's political and media rhetoric has only fueled al-Qaeda's case, revealing a woeful lack of comprehension regarding the violent authoritarianism that divides the Middle East and creates a breeding ground for terrorism. Islamism in the Shadow of al-Qaeda provides a primer of the three eras of political Islam, from the 1928 founding of the Muslim Brothers to the rise of post-colonial dictatorships and the current radicalization of "Generation al-Qaeda." Offering a new roadmap for stability, Burgat bridges the ideologies--political, religious, and cultural--that must be traversed if the deadly sectarianism is to be superseded.
South Asian Sufis
Often described as the soul of Islam, Sufism is one of the most interesting yet least known facet of this global religion. Sufism is the softer more inclusive and mystical form of Islam. Although militant Islamists dominate the headlines, the Sufi ideal has captured the imagination of many. Nowhere in the world is the handprint of Sufism more observable than South Asia, which has the largest Muslim population of the world, but also the greatest concentration of Sufis. This book examines active Sufi communities in Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh that shed light on the devotion, and deviation, and destiny of Sufism in South Asia. Ã?Â Drawn from extensive work by indigenous and international scholars, this ethnographical study explores the impact of Iran on the development of Sufi thought and practice further east, and also discusses Sufism in diaspora in such contexts as the UK and North America and Iran's influence on South Asian Sufism.
Islam Sufism and Everyday Politics of Belonging in South Asia
This book looks at the study of ideas, practices and institutions in South Asian Islam, commonly identified as ‘Sufism’, and how they relate to politics in South Asia. While the importance of Sufism for the lives of South Asian Muslims has been repeatedly asserted, the specific role played by Sufism in contestations over social and political belonging in South Asia has not yet been fully analysed. Looking at examples from five countries in South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan), the book begins with a detailed introduction to political concerns over ‘belonging’ in relation to questions concerning Sufism and Islam in South Asia. This is followed with sections on Producing and Identifying Sufism; Everyday and Public Forms of Belonging; Sufi Belonging, Local and National; and Intellectual History and Narratives of Belonging. Bringing together scholars from diverse disciplines, the book explores the connection of Islam, Sufism and the Politics of Belonging in South Asia. It is an important contribution to South Asian Studies, Islamic Studies and South Asian Religion.