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M.J. Akbar Launches His Latest Book Tinderbox

The book was released by Vice President of India Dr. Hamid Ansari yesterday in capital.

M.J. Akbar Launches His Latest Book Tinderbox

The book was released by Vice President of India Dr. Hamid Ansari yesterday in capital.

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | January 12, 2011

In a grand evening at Hyatt regency in Delhi MJ Akbar’s latest book “Tinderbox: The Past and Future of Pakistan” was released by Honorable Vice President of India Dr. Hamid Ansari yesterday. Addressing on the occasion he said that the book dilates on a concept. As with other ideas, their interpretation and actualisation is time and space specific. Some in Pakistan seeking empowerment and legitimisation read into it a political agenda and a military strategy. A great many scholars and practitioners of Islam the world over would interpret and practice it differently. Nor should it be forgotten that in the eighties of the last century, the term was lauded and lionised in many of the chancelleries of the world! Elaborating further, Dr. Ansari said, “This book is vintage MJ. Incisive analysis, brilliant passages, wide sweep, bold judgements. One could agree or disagree, but read one must. I was intrigued by the title and had to look up the dictionary meaning of the term Tinderbox. It is defined as a small container holding flint, firesteel and tinder, used together to help kindle a fire. I assume the author intends to depict a flammable or an explosive mix.”

He continued, “Also intriguing is the subtitle: The Past and the Future of Pakistan. Both themes are valid and worthy of discourse. Ventures in futurology, however, would be more productive if they analyse the present more thoroughly in all its ingredients. This would necessitate closer scrutiny of the ethnic, regional and sociological aspects to comprehend the volatility that characterises the scene. No less relevant are the direct and indirect consequences of the involvement of the state, and segments of society, in quest of regional strategic objectives.” The event was also attended by Senior BJP leaded L.K. Advani and Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. On this occasion, both the stalwarts of politics did not mind the gap between their party lines and shared the stage and spoke about MJ Akbar’s contribution to the world of journalism. Remembering his days in Pakistan as a teenager, Advaniji shared his experiences about the country which is fighting a battle for survival.

Aroon Purie, Editor-in-chief, India Today Group, also acknowledged MJ’s contribution to the world of Journalism.

The book narrating the history of Pakistan has been published by Harper Collins.

In Tinderbox: The Past and future of Pakistan, MJ Akbar embarks on a historical whodunit to trace the journey of an idea, and the events, people, circumstances and mindset that divided India. The investigation spans a thousand years, and an extraordinary cast; visionaries, opportunists, statesmen, tyrants, plunders, generals, and an usual collection of theologians, beginning with Shah Waliullah who created a ‘theory of distance’ to protect ‘Islamic identity’ from Hindus and Hinduism. Akbar brings an impressive array of research, perception and analysis to solve this puzzle, writing the story in fluent, engaging style that makes a difficult subject deceptively accessible. There could be no better guide to the subcontinent’s past, and a glimpse into its future.

M.J. Akbar is the Editorial Director of India Today and Headlines Today and Editor of the Sunday Guardian, published from Delhi and London. Akbar is one of India’s most perceptive and widely read commentators, his previous books are India, The Siege Within: Challenges to a Nation’s Unity (Penguin, 1984), Nehru: The Making of India (Viking/Penguin, 1989), Riot After Riot (Penguin, 1990), Kashmir: Behind the Vale (Penguin, 1992), The Shade of Swords: Jihad and the Conflict between Islam and Christianity (Routledge and Roli, 2002), Byline (Roli, 2004) and Blood Brothers (Roli India).

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