Views and Reviews
by Ammar Ali Qureshi
“A highly interesting and instructive book, a compilation of published columns and book reviews by Ammar Ali Qureshi. His scholarship, his command over the entire gamut of subjects that he delves into in each of his pieces, from columns to book reviews, and his captivating style makes the reading of the book a pleasurable experience”
– Muhammad Ziauddin, former Executive Editor The Express Tribune
“Ammar Ali Qureshi has done something refreshing that is not frequently seen in this part of the world. Borrowing from his guru AJP Taylor, he has picked some of his own published book reviews and essays from the last fifteen years to bring a book into shape. Qureshi’s lens is wide, whether it is trends, people, history, contemporary politics or culture. Each piece is interesting and readable, and carries the mark of his depth of knowledge and erudition. Therein lies the value of this publication.”
– Farah Zia, former Editor The News on Sunday
“Ammar Ali Qureshi’s unique blend of political analysis, cultural salience and spirit of reform shines through in this great collection of articles he has written during a most crucial time in Pakistan’s history. Voices like Qureshi’s help connect the high minded with the banal in just the right measure.”
– Mosharraf Zaidi, Columnist The News, and Policy Analyst
Release date: August 2021
Covid-19 Shakes the World
by Slavoj Zizek
Rs. 795 Rs. 399
As an unprecedented global pandemic sweeps the planet, who better than the supercharged Slovenian philosopher, Slavoj Žižek to uncover its deeper meanings, marvel at its mind-boggling paradoxes, and speculate on the profundity of its consequences, all in a manner that will have you sweating profusely and gasping for breath?
We live in a moment when the greatest act of love is to stay distant from the object of your affection. When governments renowned for ruthless cuts in public spending can suddenly conjure up trillions. When toilet paper becomes a commodity as precious as diamonds. And when, according to Žižek, a new form of communism may be the only way of averting a descent into global barbarism.
Written with his customary brio and love of analogies in popular culture (Quentin Tarantino and H.G. Wells sit next to Hegel and Marx in these pages), Žižek provides a concise and provocative snapshot of the crisis as it widens, engulfing us all.
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.
“An impressive feat… [Žižek] at his most powerful.” —The Guardian
“Passages of beauty… a hire-wire juxtaposition of far-left political theory and pop culture, held together by the force of [Žižek’s] rumpled charm.” —BuzzFeed
“Žižek leaves no social or cultural phenomenon untheorized, and is master of the counterintuitive observation.” —The New Yorker
“The most dangerous philosopher in the West.” —Adam Kirsch, The New Republic
A 21st Century Perspective
by Bilal Zahoor and Raza Rumi
This book brings together the leading contemporary currents of thought from a galaxy of established scholars and intellectuals of Pakistan. It is a monumental contribution to the national debate on a series of crises and lingering issues that need attention of the stakeholders all around.
The book covers three major areas of investigation into public life in the country. One, it delves into the historical, sociological and cultural causes of various political conflicts, ranging from the negative role of the educational curricula for national harmony to cultural violence and persistent militarism to the curse of enforced disappearances. There are highly analytical contributions that define the conflict-resolution nexus. Two, the book is a source of inspiration on the liberal agenda of creating a scientific frame of mind, setting the feminist debate in a global context, challenging the shrinking space for media and focusing on the largely forgotten area of industrial relations. Readers will find ample issue orientation in the analysis and policy orientation in the deliberations. Three, the book enters a domain of hope, planning for a bright future and focusing on some longer-term issues couched in comprehensive new approaches to development, environment, energy, foreign policy and feminism.
The scope of the book is amazingly wide, the analysis is rich with conceptual references and empirical finding, and the scholarly idiom is comprehensible for both the articulate section of the population and the scholarly community.
“Rethinking Pakistan brings together some of the best minds of the country and invites them to reflect upon the most pressing issues that it is facing in all spheres – including politics, external relations, environment, human rights, gender relations, religious fundamentalism, education, freedom of expression … It is a most valuable collection that is highly accessible to everyone.”
– Christophe Jaffrelot, Professor, Sciences Po; Author, The Pakistan Paradox
“This book brings together the leading contemporary currents of thought from a galaxy of established scholars and intellectuals of Pakistan. It is a monumental contribution to the national debate on a series of crises and lingering issues that need attention of the stakeholders all around. The book covers three major areas of investigation into public life of the country. One, it delves into the historical, sociological and cultural causes of various political conflicts, ranging from the negative role of the educational curricula for national harmony to cultural violence and persistent militarism to the curse of enforced disappearances. There are highly analytical contributions that define the conflict-resolution nexus. Two, the book is a source of inspiration on the liberal agenda of creating a scientific frame of mind, setting the feminist debate in a global context, challenging the shrinking space for media and focusing on the largely forgotten area of industrial relations. One finds ample issue-orientation in the analysis and policy-orientation in the deliberations. Three, we enter a domain of hope, planning for a bright future and focusing on some longer-term issues couched in comprehensive new approaches to development, environment, energy, foreign policy and feminism. The scope of the book is amazingly wide, the analysis is rich with conceptual references and empirical findings, and the scholarly idiom is comprehensible for both the articulate section of the population and the scholarly community per se.”
– Mohammad Waseem, Professor, LUMS; Author, Politics and the State in Pakistan
“Each of the essays depicts Pakistan’s current social, political and economic challenges with analysis that makes this publication one of the few credible works on Pakistan available in recent times. The contributors are some of the most respected experts in the field on which they have expounded their thoughts, laying bare the malaise that have stunted social progress, democratic development and economic stability in the country. The essays also show a way forward making this a must-read for all generations of Pakistanis who wish to understand and contribute to the elimination of existing threats to peace, security and respect for human rights.”
– Hina Jilani, Advocate, Supreme Court of Pakistan; Co-founder, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
“Rethinking Pakistan is a wide-ranging analytical dissection of the Pakistani polity and offers a well-meaning, progressive prescription for present-day Pakistan, stitched together by an eclectic list of experts spanning diverse backgrounds and subjects. From energy self-sufficiency and scientific development to freedom of the press and the essential question of the dominance of the military over civilian affairs, this compendium offers a suitable guide for anyone who seeks to understand the striking mix of contemporary and historic challenges faced by Pakistan in the twenty-first century. A must-read on Pakistan’s contemporary realities and future prospects.”
– Shashi Tharoor, Ex-Foreign Minister, India; Author, An Era of Darkness
“The book sets up an unfamiliar but authentic diagnostic mosaic of Pakistan that the state prefers ignoring. It collects and presents the genius that Pakistan sets aside, stretched out on its ideological bed of repeated blunders. What emerges is an intensely original view from the marginalised intellect the world recognises as Pakistan’s survival kit.”
– Khaled Ahmed, Consulting Editor, Newsweek Pakistan; Author, Pakistan: The State in Crisis
Publisher: Folio Books
Division: Folio Course Books
Publishing date: February 2019
Availability: In Stock
The Formation of Karl Marx’s Worldview
by Eric Rahim
Rs. 995 Rs. 695
A Promethean Vision outlines the main intellectual stages in the development of Karl Marx’s theory of historical development, often referred to as historical materialism or the materialist conception of history. The book charts Marx’s journey from his early life as a Young Hegelian immersed in German philosophical tradition through his turn toward political economy. In Eric Rahim’s interpretation his worldview developed as a synthesis of his philosophical thinking (critique of Hegel and Feuerbach) with classical political economy of Adam Smith. The central point is that Marx’s worldview should be seen as a method for analysing historical development and not as a ‘historical-philosophical theory’ with a deterministic approach to the understanding of historical development.
“As an account of how Marx came to develop his materialist conception of history I cannot think of a better one [book].”
– Professor David McLellan, Goldsmith’s College, University of London; Author of Karl Marx: His Life and Thought
‘This is a remarkably clear exposition of Marx’s vision of human development. Eric Rahim demonstrates that Marx’s materialist understanding of human development bears no relation to the crude deterministic caricatures offered by some of his critics. For Marx, Rahim argues, what each generation inherits from its predecessor contains the potential for further development. Realisation of this potential requires that human beings understand both the possibilities and constraints of their particular conjuncture and act on them. This is not straightforward. Advance is possible but it is not automatic or pre-determined.”
–Dr. Renee Prendergast, Queen’s University of Belfast; Co-editor of Contributions to the History of Economic Thought
“It is no accident that after the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, Marx’s Capital and Keynes’s General Theory returned to the bestseller list. Eric Rahim’s new volume, A Promethean Vision: The Formation of Marx’s Worldview, is an indispensable complement to a reading or re-reading of Capital. Rahim’s volume is an exemplary work of analysis and scholarship. It tells the reader where and what Marx was doing up to the writing of Capital. It sets out the historical and political environment in which Marx found himself and explains most clearly what his ideas were at each moment of time and how they evolved. The narrative is backed by detailed evidence and accounts of the interactions of Marx with his contemporaries and of their inter-related influence on one another. A striking feature of the volume is Rahim’s great ability to set out the essence of Marx’s ideas and breakthroughs.”
–Professor GC Harcourt, University of New South Wales; Author of Some Cambridge Controversies in the Theory of Capital
Rights: World excluding United Kingdom
Poetry for a New Generation
Rs. 500 | $ 7.00
This is an unusual book — the focus is not on what Ghalib means but on what Ghalib makes us think of contemporary issues. It puts Ghalib to work and brings Ghalib to life. It is an invitation to think with Ghalib about all the big issues — faith and religion, us and them, the nature of divinity, being and nothingness, the importance of thinking for oneself, what it means to believe, and what it takes to be human. It is a roller-coaster ride with one of the most creative minds of all time.
“To think with Ghalib is to think with a fifteen-hundred-year-old sub-continental tradition of dissent that passes through Lal Ded, Kabir, Nanak and Ravidas before it reaches him. The only reason his name sounds odd in their saintly company is that, outside invisible lovers of poetry, he did not leave behind a panth. One can only be grateful to Altaf and Basole for giving us a book that is almost an act of inspiration: 30 couplets in English, Urdu, Nagari, and a transliteration of the original in Roman. Then comes the prose reflection on the couplet: lucid and explorative, it leaves us surprised at how we could have lost the questioning path that was there for the following. A panth of non-believers and doubters, then, something the sub-continent needs more than ever.”
– Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, poet, translator and literary critic
“Thinking with Ghalib is an invitation to South Asian readers to delve into, engage with, and enjoy the unique imagination of the founder of Urdu poetic discourse, shaping the creative orientations of generations through the printed media and expanding schools. By focusing on couplets, Altaf and Basole ask the reader to join them in a quest to experience tradition and modernity as a continuous public debate through one of the enduring forms of artistic expression in our cultures. A brilliant contribution to understanding the past in the present.”
– Ashraf Ghani, co-author, Afghanistan: A Lexicon
“With unusual clarity and a genuine sense of wonder, Altaf and Basole deliver a careful dialogue in thinking through Ghalib’s euphorically elevating verses as he romps through temple, tower and palace, manipulating complex realities in staggering two-line zingers. A must-read for people of all ages and all nationalities.”
– Azra Raza, co-author, A Tribute to Ghalib: Twenty-One Ghazals Reinterpreted
“Mirza Ghalib’s very survival as an inevitable and constant reference point for great poetry, and oftentimes for life’s travails, is a testimony to both the immediacy of his relevance and his transcendence of time. What makes him the extraordinary poet is his extreme sensitivity to the richness of his cultural heritage as well as its attributes of imprisonment. Ghalib imbibes the richness and yet rebels against it. Questioning from within is the single most striking characteristic of his poetry in tune with questioning that has sustained human civilization’s quintessential spirit through the ages: from Socrates to the Charvakas, from Mansoor al-Hallaj and Kabir to Descartes. This amazing experiment in unearthing the layers of meaning(s) in Ghalib’s couplets from their innermost depths sets a superb example of seeking out the soul of poetry. In any case, dissent resides at the very heart of ghazal, the poetry of love, as its raison d’ȇtre. Anjum Altaf and Amit Basole, both Professors of Economics, engaging in this literary endeavour also questions the neat disciplinary divides that academics are so enamoured of.”
– Harbans Mukhia, former Professor of History, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Trustee, Ghalib Institute, New Delhi
“Here is a unique attempt — often brilliant, wise, provocative and always bravely original — to help young people, especially from South Asia, to discover (or rediscover) the poetry of Ghalib, and in it find both questions and possible pathways to answers to some of the most urgent and perplexing riddles of our times.”
– Harsh Mander, author and Director of Centre for Equity Studies, New Delhi
“This a truly invaluable collection of specific Ghalib couplets, reprinted in the Roman, Arabic and Devnagari scripts and accompanied by an informed interpretation in English by Anjum Altaf and Amit Basole. The two authors succeed in highlighting the timelessness of Ghalib’s work and skilfully place his ideas and the profound questions about our world — and indeed human nature itself — within a modern context. The importance of this book lies in the fact that it is aimed at a young audience in the sub-continent and the diaspora. The discussion on each and every couplet succeeds in simplifying, yet highlighting, the complexities and nuances of Ghalib’s words. In the process, the book draws attention to subtleties of the Urdu language itself — and is likely to encourage young readers to reach out for more … I wish my daughters had had a book like this to introduce them to Ghalib when they were at school!”
– Muneeza Shamsie, writer and critic
“These selections, explanations and reflections will bring Indians and Pakistanis closer to Ghalib’s genius and, inshallah, to one another.”
– Rajmohan Gandhi, historian and author of Punjab: A History from Aurangzeb to Mountbatten
“This remarkable book offers yet another way to enjoy Ghalib, through an in-depth, contextual and nuanced exposition of thirty of his couplets. Two centuries after his time, the great bard comes back to life in the skilled analysis of Altaf and Basole, giving new meaning to the line hui muddat ke Ghalib mar gaya, par yaad aata hai.”
– Raza Mir, author of Ghalib: A Thousand Desires
“This collection of Ghalib’s couplets was thoughtfully designed to be accessible to language learners at all levels. The writing style is light, even as it engages readers in an essential exploration of what Ghalib’s poetry means now. Each interpretation is deeply grounded in an understanding of Ghalib and his intellectual and social milieu, as well as a profound sensitivity to the poetry itself. In addition to a greater understanding of each couplet, readers will acquire the habits that will help them appreciate the world of Urdu poetry on their own. I only wish there had been a resource like this when I was learning Urdu.”
– Roanne L. Kantor, Assistant Professor of English, Stanford University
“Thinking with Ghalib is a welcome addition to the large archive on Ghalib for three reasons: first, because it makes this nineteenth century poet relevant to the twenty-first century readers in South Asia and the world; secondly, because it is a product of the collaboration of two prominent Pakistani and Indian intellectuals at a distressful juncture of our history which is a good omen for peaceful coexistence through shared intellectual and aesthetic continuities; and, thirdly, because it is in three scripts—the Perso-Arabic script of Urdu, the Devanagari script of Hindi and other Indian languages and the Roman script used for English and other Western languages which makes Ghalib available not only to South Asians but a very large part of the world. This book, I hope, will be the pioneer in the fashion for rewriting our classics so that they appeal to the present generation.”
– Tariq Rahman, Dean, School of Education, Beaconhouse National University, Lahore; author of Language and Politics in Pakistan
“As a Ghalib-lover I often read him and apart from the ecstasy I receive from some of his couplets, what strikes me poignantly is his humanism. Like Shakespeare, Ghalib is always in sympathy with human nature in all its shapes and degrees, elevations and depressions. This is the main premise of Thinking with Ghalib, a meticulously researched book by Anjum Altaf and Amit Basole.
“That Ghalib is for all times is an acknowledged fact. Altaf and Basole explain why it is so. More: they explore the layered meanings of Ghalib’s couplets and relate them to the critical political, psychological and economic issues of our times. Students of literature would benefit hugely from this book which ought to be a part of the syllabi of our universities.”
– Zia Mohyeddin, President of NAPA and author of A Carrot is a Carrot, The God of My Idolatry, and Theatrics
Publisher: Folio Books
Release date: July 10, 2021
Availability: In Stock