Photograph: Mumbai Cutting Chai(Tea), (CHAI & GUPSHUP, Accessed, 30th Jan 2021)

You ask, “From whom?” I reply, “Life.” And I rephrase the question: What do you want from your life? You ask, “Why should I want anything?” I say, “Because you are a person. And people usually like to want.” You are convinced enough and agree to play along temporarily to think about what you would want from life if you wanted anything from it.

Now that you are here and alive you do stuff like eat, drink, breathe, sleep, shit, and hopefully, at times, think. You need to do these things to live, but these aren’t what you would like…

Review of Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II, by John W. Dower

Japanese officials prior to signing the surrender agreement on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945, during the surrender ceremony marking the end of World War II. Photograph: Max Desfor/AP, (The Guardian, Accessed, 02nd Oct 2020)

Embracing Defeat is the Pulitzer and National Book Award winning historical opus of the immediate post World War II period in Japan by MIT professor John W. Dower. It is a thematically written account covering the period after Japanese surrender in 1945 to 1952, when the war ravaged country was subjected to American rule with the idealistic aim of “democratising and demilitarising” it.

Japan was a closed economy ruled by feudal Shoguns who were forced open to trade by the US naval commodore Mathew Perry in 1852. It began to industrialise from the 1870s during the Meiji era when the…

Book Review — The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence, and the Pillage of an Empire by William Dalrymple[1]

The Mughal emperor Shah Alam hands a scroll to Robert Clive, the governor of Bengal, which transferred tax collecting rights in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa to the East India Company. Illustration: Benjamin West (1738–1820)/British Library, The Guardian (Accessed, 16th August 2020)

“A commercial company enslaved a nation comprising two hundred million people”, wrote Tolstoy in a letter to the Hindu in 1908.[2] The Anarchy, by William Dalrymple, is a riveting historical account about how the East India Company (EIC) used the chaotic instability of the 18th century to take control of the Indian subcontinent.

The EIC was one of the world’s first successful privately owned joint stock corporation, founded in the year 1600 by a group of Londoners wanting to improve their fortunes by exploring new markets in the East. Unlike most modern corporations, it ended up building its own army…

Khushwant Singh (in 1993): The Sardar of Sex, Scotch and Scholarship, Shobha De, November 30, 1999, (Updated March 31, 2014), India Today (accessed , 10th June, 2020)

It turns out that the dirty old sardar wasn’t so dirty. Neither was he “Not a nice man to know” as he made a claim to be. He was quite an astute observer of his times and lived a remarkable life. Khushwant Singh was one of the most prolific writers to emerge from India post-independence, with over 40 plus books, short stories, articles leading to a long successful career spanning more than 60 years. He skillfully entertained his readers through various phases of his eventful life.

He was born in pre-independence India around 1914 (his exact date of birth is…

Angad Sahota

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