Romila Thappar is Associate Professor of English specialising in Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Dayton. Her research and teaching emerge from her intersecting interests in global, gender and environmental issues and include South Asian literature and culture, environmental justice and ecofeminist theory. Rahman’s work has appeared in The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Journal of Postcolonial Writing, ariel: A Review of International English Literature, ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, Environmental Communication, and Lit: Literature, Interpretation, Theory. She is also the guest editor of a forthcoming special issue of South Asian Review titled “The Environment of South Asia” and the author of Place and Postcolonial Ecofeminism: Pakistani Women’s Literary and Cinematic Fictions (University of Nebraska Press, 2019; Folio Books, 2021).
Razi Azmi has lived in six countries across five continents and has visited many more, making a total of ninety-six. He has studied at universities in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Russia and the United States, getting his PhD in modern history from Miami University, Ohio. An academic affiliated with Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad (Pakistan), he has also taught at universities in the US and Morocco. Finally settling down in Australia, he retired after many years of service with the government there. In retirement, he travels as often as possible. When not travelling, he works part-time as a translator and interpreter in five languages. Dr Azmi is the author of two books, dozens of research papers and hundreds of newspaper articles. He is married with two sons and four grandchildren.
Amit Basole is Associate Professor of Economics at Azim Premji University, Bangalore where he also heads the Centre for Sustainable Employment. He is the lead author of State of Working India, a periodic report on India’s labour market. Urdu poetry as well as history and architecture of the Indian subcontinent are his passions.
Anjum Altaf a South Asian living in Lahore, is the author of Transgressions: Poems Inspired by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Aakar Books Delhi 2019, Liberty Books Karachi 2020, Kindle 2021. He obtained a MA and PhD from Stanford University and was Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Lahore University of Management Sciences.
Sherry Rehman is the Founding Chair and serving President of the Jinnah Institute and the Vice-President of Pakistan People’s Party. She is a fourth-term parliamentarian, diplomat, journalist and civil society activist who has received Pakistan’s highest civil award, the Nishan-e-lmtiaz. Rehman has served as the Leader of Opposition in Senate, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States and Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting. She has received several awards including the title of Democracy’s Hero; The Freedom Award for her work for media independence; the International Peace Award for Democrats; and the Jeanne Kirkpatrick Award for Women. Identified as one of the Top Global Thinkers of 2011 by Foreign Policy magazine, she was cover-titled by Newsweek Pakistan as “Pakistan’s Most Important Woman”.
Imtiaz Ahmad Sahibzada Born in 1936, Imtiaz Ahmad Sahibzada, joined the erstwhile Civil Service of Pakistan in 1959. After serving in a number of assignments in the provincial bureaucracy of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including that of the Chief Secretary, he was transferred to Islamabad in 1987. There he served as Secretary to the Federal Government in diﬀerent ministries and superannuated in 1996 as the Cabinet Secretary. Thereafter, he went on to become a member of the Federal Public Service Commission, a member of the National Security Council, Chairman of the Federal Lands Commission, Wafaqi Mohtasib (Ombudsman) of Pakistan and Advisor to the Prime Minister on Tribal Aﬀairs. He finally retired from public service in 2008. He is the author of two books, The Pilgrim of Beauty and A Breath of Fresh Air. While the former is a collection of selected poems of Ghani Khan (Bacha Khan’s son) translated into English from Pakhto, the latter is a compilation of the speeches and interventions of Ghani Khan in the Central Legislative Assembly of India, 1946. Sahibzada had a close friendship with Abdul Ghani Khan, an artist, a member of the Indian Legislative Assembly (1946–47) and one of the greatest Pakhto poets. He first met him in 1947 and remained closely associated with him until his death in 1996.
Ali Raza is a historian specializing in the history of modern South Asia. He received his DPhil from the University of Oxford and was a research fellow at the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin. His research and teaching interests include the social and intellectual history of South Asia, comparative colonialisms, decolonization and post-colonial theory. Raza’s work has appeared in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East; South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies; Itinerario; South Asian History and Culture; and Contemporary South Asia. He is also the co-editor of The Internationalist Moment: South Asia, Worlds, and World Views, 1917-39 (Sage, 2014) and the author of Revolutionary Pasts: Communist Internationalism in Colonial India. (Cambridge, 2020; Folio, 2020)
Tahira Naqvi is a translator, writer and Senior Urdu Language Lecturer in the Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University. She has translated into English the of Saadat Hasan Manto, Khadija Mastur, Hajira Masrur and has rendered into English the major works of Ismat Chughtai. Most recently she has published a collection of translations of poems by Fahmida Riaz.
Fahmida Riaz was a progressive Pakistani Urdu poet, writer, and translator. Born in 1946 in Meerut and educated in Hyderabad (Sindh) and London, she was a prominent voice in the feminist struggle in Pakistan. During the Zia era, she was charged with sedition and forced to go into exile. She is the author of many collections of poetry. Three volumes of her novels and collection of short stories, apart from the Urdu translation of selected verses from Shaikh Ayaz and the Iranian poet, Farough Farrakhzad have also been published. She also translated in rhyme a selection of ghazals from Divan-e-Shams Tabriz into Urdu, titled Khaan-e-aab-o-gil. She died on November 21, 2018 after battling a long illness.
Sopan Deb is a writer for the New York Times where he has covered culture and basketball. He is also a New York City–based comedian. Before joining the Times, Deb was one of a handful of reporters who covered Donald Trump’s presidential campaign from start to finish as a campaign embed for CBS News. He covered hundreds of rallies in more than forty states for a year and a half and was named a “breakout media star” of the election by Politico. At the New York Times, Deb has interviewed high-profile subjects such as Denzel Washington, Stephen Colbert, the cast of Arrested Development, Kyrie Irving, and Bill Murray. Deb’s work has previously appeared on NBC, Al Jazeera America, and in the Boston Globe, ranging from examining the trek of endangered manatees to following a class of blind filmmakers in Boston led by the former executive producer of Friends. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for Larger Than Life, a documentary he produced for the Boston Globe, which told the story of NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell’s complicated relationship with the city of Boston. He lives in New York City with his fiancée, Wesley.
Eric Rahim was born in 1928, in what was then still British-ruled India. Having graduated from Forman Christian College, Lahore, in 1948 he worked in the English-language newspaper Dawn, Karachi, and subsequently for The Pakistan Times, Lahore. In 1958 he left Pakistan to study economics in London. He graduated from University College London (UCL) in 1961, obtaining a BSc. (Econ) degree with first-class honours, and later completed a (London) Ph.D. on Michal Kalecki’s theory of income distribution. He was appointed in 1963 to a Lectureship, later to a Senior Lectureship, at Strathclyde University, Glasgow, Scotland; currently, he is an Honorary Senior Lecturer. Aside from his teaching career, focussing on economic theory and development economics, he has worked overseas in Ethiopia, Pakistan, Ghana and Turkey on British Council and OECD programmes, and with the World Bank and United Nations Social and Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific. He is the author of numerous articles in the academic press and progressive media.
Faraz Talat is a medical doctor and the founder of the cultural space Cafe Sol in Islamabad. He is also a writer with numerous online publications on the subjects of civil rights, public health, and arts and culture. He is presently working in the psychiatric field, focusing on community programs that aim to make mental healthcare more accessible to the public. Seventy Four is his debut novella.
Niloufer Siddiqui is an Assistant Professor at the University at Albany, State University of New York in the Department of Political Science. Niloufer completed her PhD in Political Science at Yale University in 2017. Her book project examines why political parties engage in violence and the variation in violence strategies that they employ. Other research interests include political behavior, the politics of religion and ethnicity, electoral dynamics in developing or transitioning democracies, and voters and foreign policy. Siddiqui previously worked at the International Crisis Group (ICG) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Islamabad and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in New York. She has an MA in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a BA in English from Haverford College.
Sahar Shafqat is Professor in the Department of Political Science at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where she focuses on political parties, social and political movements, democratization, ethnic conflict and nationalism, and gender and sexuality studies. Sahar received a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College in Economics and International Relations, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Texas A&M University. Sahar has previously taught at Southwestern University in Texas, and at Habib University in Karachi. Sahar has published articles in academic journals like Law and Social Inquiry and Asian Survey, and in publications like Express Tribune and Baltimore Sun, and has done media appearances on outlets such as Al Jazeera and Democracy Now.
Mariam Mufti is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political science at the University of Waterloo, Canada. She studies the politics of hybrid regimes, with a particular focus on the role of the military, political parties, and identity in the processes of recruitment and selection of the political elite in Pakistan. She has published articles in peer-reviewed journals such as Comparative Politics, Politics and Governance and Journal of Women, Politics, and Policy. Apart from academic research, she has considerable policy-relevant consultancy experience, having authored monographs on democratic development, political parties and religious extremism for The Asia Foundation, Centre for Strategic International Studies (CSIS) and Department for International Development (DFID). Dr. Mufti has written over 25 articles for widely-read international newspapers, magazines and blogs on politics in South Asia. In keeping with her interest in undemocratic, hybrid regimes, she has also appeared in a 6-part series The Dictator’s Playbook on PBS (released in 2018).
ٹونی عثمان تقریبا تین دھائیوں سے ناروے میں ٹیلی ویژن، تھیٹر اور ریڈیو سے منسلک ہیں۔ ٹونی عثمان پروڈکشنز کے نام سے انکی ایک رجسٹرڈ تھیٹر کمپنی ہے جس کے وہ آرٹسٹک ڈائریکٹر ہیں۔ اسی کمپنی کے بینر تلے ہی تاریک ایام کو 2018ء میں اوسلو میں اسٹیج پر پیش کیا گیا تھا۔
Tithi Bhattacharya is Associate Professor and Director of Global Studies at Purdue University. She was one of the main organizers of the International Women’s Strike in the United States and is on the editorial board of the International Socialist Review.
Slavoj Žižek is one of the most prolific and well-known philosophers and cultural theorists in the world today. His inventive, provocative body of work mixes Hegelian metaphysics, Lacanian psychoanalysis, and Marxist dialectic in order to challenge conventional wisdom and accepted verities on both the Left and the Right.
Raza Rumi is a policy analyst, journalist and an author. He is Director, Department of Journalism at Ithaca College, New York. Rumi is also visiting faculty at Cornell Institute for Public Affairs. He has been a fellow at the New America Foundation, United States Institute of Peace and the National Endowment for Democracy. He is the editor of Naya Daur and frequently writes for leading English dailies of Pakistan. He has authored several books including Being Pakistani: Society, Culture and the Arts (2018) and Delhi by Heart (2013).
Harris Khalique is a leading Urdu and English language poet. He is also an essayist and columnist. During the 1980s and 1990s, some of his poems faced censorship in Pakistan. Anthologised and published internationally, he is translated into several languages and his poetry is composed to music and dance. Khalique is a University of Iowa Honorary Fellow in Writing and has spoken and written widely on themes straddling literature, politics, history and human rights. He is the recipient of the President’s Award for Pride of Performance – one of the highest civilian honours in Pakistan – and the UBL Literary Excellence Award.
Anniqua Rana lives in California with her husband and two sons. When she’s not working as an educator in the community college system, she visits her family in Pakistan and England. The rest of the time, she reads, cooks, travels, and enjoys mystical music and poetry and does whatever it takes to keep her grounded and happy. Wild Boar in the Cane Field is her debut novel.
Romila Thappar is Emeritus Professor of History at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She has been General President of the Indian History Congress. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and holds honorary doctorates from Universities of Calcutta, Oxford and Chicago, among others. She is an Honorary Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, and SOAS, London. In 2008 she was awarded the prestigious Kluge Prize of the Library of Congress, USA.
George Orwell (June 25, 1903 to January 1, 1950), born Eric Arthur Blair, was a novelist, essayist and critic best known for his novels Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. Born to British civil servant, Orwell spent his infancy days in India and came to England with his mother when he was one year old. Like many other boys in England, Orwell was sent to boarding school. In 1911 he went to St. Cyprian’s in Eastbourne, where he got his first taste of England’s class system. On a partial scholarship, Orwell noticed that the school treated the richer students better than the poorer ones. He wasn’t very popular with his peers, and in books he found solace from his difficult situation. He read works by Rudyard Kipling and H.G. Wells, among others. Due to impoverishment, he had to discontinue formal education. Instead he joined the India Imperial Police Force in 1922. After five years in Burma, Orwell resigned his post and returned to England. He was intent on making it as a writer.
Friedrich Engels, an illustrious German philosopher, social scientist and journalist, was born on November 28, 1820 in Barmen, Rhine province, Prussia. He is considered as the closest collaborator of Karl Marx in the foundation of modern communism. Although born to an affluent German businessman, Engels received little formal education. But his inquisitive potential developed in him a fancy for Hegel who influenced him the most later on. In 1845, Engels published ‘The Conditions of the Working Class’, his first notable communist treatise which introduced him to another revolutionary communist, Karl Marx. Same year, Engels went to Brussels to join Marx in organizing the German workers like the French and English workers were uniting. They became members of the German Communist League and were asked to draft a manifesto for the organization, which is now widely known as the Communist Manifesto. Thereafter, they worked together till Marx’s death in 1883, with Engels editing the second and third volumes of the famous Das Kapital after his friend’s death. Marx regarded him as highly informed on economics, political and military issues. Friedrich Engels died on August 5, 1895 in London, England
Karl Marx, a communist revolutionary, sociologist, historian, and economist was born on May 5, 1818 in Trier, Rhine province, Prussia. Also inspired by Hegel, Marx gave the philosophy of ‘Historical Materialism’, according to which, a person should view history dialectically, viewing the changes in material conditions as the means of influence on the society. In ‘The Condition of the Working Class in England’, ‘Communist Manifesto’ and ‘Das Kapital’, his views against capitalism found clear expression. Published in collaboration with his colleague Friedrich Engels, Marx differentiated communism from numerous other socialist movements in these books. He presented the struggle of the working class under the rule of the bourgeoisie and gave ideas for social reorganization and unification of the proletariat against capitalists. His strong views and ideas inspired communism and socialism, the two revolutionary theories which deeply affected the world socially, economically and politically. He died on March 14, 1883, in London, England.
Seema Mustafa is one of the most popular South Asian print and television journalists. She is known for championing the cause of Muslims in India against systematic state oppression. Currently, she is the Editor-in-Chief of The Citizen, a digital newspaper she founded. Seema has authored four books so far, one of which is a co-authored one.
Bilal Zahoor studied Chemical Engineering from University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, but didn’t let his academic training hinder his passion for establishing an independent publishing house in Pakistan. An avid reader of local and foreign progressive literature and a freelance editor and writer, Bilal believes that his reading, writing and editing experiences could be best converged only in the form of a publishing platform. He founded Folio Books in 2017 and is currently the Editorial Director of the publishing house while also playing Creative Head and Editor-in-Chief.
Professor Uzi Rabi is the Director of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies and a senior researcher at the Center for Iranian Studies, both at Tel Aviv University. Formerly, he was the Head of the Department of Middle Eastern and African History at Tel Aviv University. From 2004-2005, he held a visiting professorship at the Lipinski Institute of San Diego State University. Prof. Rabi is the director of the TAU Workshop, an annual ten-day seminar for international scholars that focuses on the geopolitical situation of Israel and its neighbors, and the co-editor of Bustan: The Middle East Book Review. His research focuses on the modern history and evolution of states and societies in the Middle East, Iranian-Arab relations, oil and politics in the Middle East, and Sunni-Shi’i dynamics; within this framework he has supervised the dissertations of numerous doctoral candidates in this field over the years. He has authored numerous books and scholarly papers to date.
Abdelilah Bouasria is a visiting professor of Arabic studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California. He worked for three years as a journalist at Voice of America in Washington DC and one year as an Arabic teacher and a Spanish test developer at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California.
Edna Fernandes was born in Nairobi to parents of Goan origin and grew up in London, where she lives. She was special correspondent for Britain’s Mail on Sunday newspaper, foreign correspondent for the Financial Times and political correspondent for Reuters. Her first book, Holy Warriors: A Journey into the Heart of Indian Fundamentalism, was a finalist for UK’s 2008 Index on Censorship Award and was nominated for the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Best Book Award. Her second book, The Last Jews of Kerala, was shortlisted for the 2009 Crossword Book Award and was a Sunday Times Travel Book of the Year.
Vijay Prashad is a professor of International Studies at Trinity College, Connecticut. He is author of fifteen books, two of them picked by the Village Voice as books of the year, as well as nine edited volumes. He writes regularly for Frontline (India), The Hindu (India), BirGün (Turkey) and Alternet (USA) and appears regularly on The Real News Network and Democracy Now. He is the Chief Editor of LeftWord Books (New Delhi). Strongmen is his first ever edited book published by a Pakistani publisher, Folio Books.
Afia S. Zia is a feminist researcher with a doctoral degree in Women and Gender Studies from the University of Toronto. She is the author of Sex Crime in the Islamic Context (1994, ASR) and has contributed essays to several edited volumes including, Contesting Feminism: Gender and Islam in Asia and Voicing Demands.