Book Review: Delhi in Historical Perspectives by K.A. Nizami translated by Ather Farouqui

At the outset Ather Sahab deserves a big thanks for having sent me this book. I would rate this book as one of the best books on Delhi that I have read. Deeply researched with references drawn from original sources, the book provides detailed insight into the social, political (fleetingly), economic and cultural life of the city spanning seven centuries.

Beginning with the early history of the city, it divides itself into 3 chapters, Delhi under the Sultanate, Delhi under the Mughals and Ghalib’s Delhi. The vicissitudes that this world city faced, it’s days of glory, of sackings by marauders, losing it’s capital status to Agra, the revival of the glorious days under Shah Jahan and then the fury of the British, following the first war of Independence in 1857, all are brought out so lucidly in the book.

It is important to note that even when Delhi saw it’s political and economic status diminished, it never lost its cultural effervescence, an effervescence rooted in the shared cultural values of the elites of the time.

An excellent read! मज़ा आ गया पढ़ने में!


Book Review: Muslims and Media Images, News versus views, edited by Ather Farouqui

At the outset a real heartfelt thanks to Ather Sahab for sending this book to me. It was a fabulous read, really enjoyed reading it. Though the book came out in 2009, the issues raised in the essays of the book remain relevant even today. Thank you again Sir.

My main takeaways;

1. The book is divided into four parts: (a) Image and depiction of the Muslims in the English Media (b) Transcending Boundaries, dealing with examples of how Muslims are reported in (some) foreign countries and also in parts of India. (c) Muslim and Urdu Journalism and (d) Popular images and stereotypes of Muslims.

2. Now for some super short summary of the main issue that the authors have highlighted in their essays. You want details, please read the book. You will enjoy it. 

– In his essay Vinod Mehta argues that Muslim hopes of non Muslims promoting their cause is slightly far fetched. Muslim critics of media should understand that media is business and it has its own compulsions. He argues that fringe amongst the Muslims get more space because they make a better copy. The responsibility for changing this lies with the Muslims themselves.

– Rajni Kothari Sahab argues that the role of media has been negative and Muslims have been portrayed negatively.

– Kuldip Nayar argues that the national press is on the whole balanced and fair, and Muslim talk of majoritarianism in media is basically fear psychosis.

– Mrinal Pande argues that women and minorities are at a disadvantage because Hindu males control the media.

– Howard Brasted provides a glimpse of how the Australian media perceives Islam.

– Chandan Mitra argues that while the English media does not project a positive image of the Muslims but it is not really biased against the Muslims. He argues that the Urdu media is itself not interested in projecting a positive image of the Muslims.

– Siddharth Varadarajan argues that even though the Indian press do not support communal forces but they under the influence of the Congress party have made the Mullas the spokesmen of the Muslim community.

– KMA Munim pleads for a powerful Muslim press to spread the message of the glories of Islam amongst the youth, so that they can draw inspiration from it and gain self confidence.

– Sabya Sanchi’s provides us with a glimpse of the composite culture of Bengal and the difference in the trauma of partition that a Bengali faced from that of a North Indian. He also highlights the negative stereotypes of Muslims that was projected by the vernacular press of Bengal.

– Charles J Borges discusses the reporting on Goan Muslims by the Goan press as well as the Muslim welfare organisations working in Goa.

– Dagmar Markova writes about the experience that Muslims have in the Czech Republic as well as how they are perceived by the majority.

– Estelle Dryland argues that Muslim journalism is still living in the past and that is the reason why the media image of Muslims is negative.

– Susan B Maitra discusses the demonisation of the Muslims in the western press as an enemy of western civilisation.

– Robin Jaffrey laments on the condition of Urdu in India and on the minuscule circulation of Urdu newspapers.

– Ather Farouqui sahab in his essay laments on the failure of the Urdu press to raise substantive issues concerning Muslims, instead focusing on sectarian and emotive issues.

– Wahiduddin Khan argues that Urdu press is overtly dependent on international press for news coverage. The Urdu press also suffers from chronic protest mentality and is prone to externalising all the problems/shortcomings of Muslims.

– Arshad Amanalullah while highlighting the problems faced by the Urdu press expects that positive change may happen in the future under the forces of globalisation and privatisation.

– Moinuddin Jinabade examines the negative depiction of Muslims in Bollywood.

– John W Wood argues that both commercial and independent cinema have mostly ignored Muslim issues and concerns (barring meagre attempts by some in Bengali and Malayalam cinema).

Enjoyed reading the essays. Ather bhai, kitabein dene ki meharabaani jaari rakhiyega Huzoor. 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽 Bahut shukriya phir se!

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