Author(s): M. J. Akbar
An historical whodunnit tracing a thousand years of conflict, here could be no better guide to the greatest political faultline of our times: the relationship between India and Pakistan. Tinderbox - It's defined as a small container holding flint, firesteel and tinder, used together to help kindle a fire/a potentially explosive place or situation - a handy metaphor for the relationship between India and Pakistan. This is a controversial book about one of the most important issues of our day. India and Pakistan is one of the greatest political fault lines of the modern world. You must've heard the phrase Planet India - a new breed of people driven by consumerism, economic strength/superpower, liberation, young population, fusion with the West. The real powerhouse of Asia is India, not China. And the fear of Pakistan is well known - the discovery of Bin Laden in a major city, the ongoing threat of terrorism and the Mumbai attacks, the threat of nuclear war closely monitored by the west. Highly-regarded writer and political commentator MJ Akbar has written a manifesto for peace and tribute to modern India. Everyone interested in the world should want to read this book.'Tinderbox' is split into three sections, one which covers the period from the advent of Turko-Afghan invaders in Northern India till the time the British replaced India's Muslim rulers, the second stretches over the period of British rule and the freedom movement and the third starts from the time of Partition and Independence and goes on till the present. Each of these sections is characterised by the same brevity and excellent analysis, interspersed with anecdotes, some funny, some well-known and many I hadn't heard of, till I read this book. In Tinderbox: The Past and Future of Pakistan, M.J. 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, plunderers, generals, and an unusual 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 a 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.