Book Review: Ayesha Jalal, The Struggle for Pakistan: A Muslim Homeland and Global Politics

Published date01 June 2015
Date01 June 2015
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Book Reviews
Ayesha Jalal, The Struggle for Pakistan: A Muslim Homeland and Global
Politics. Harvard, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press,
2014, 396 pp. + appendices, $35.
Pakistan is a country full of riddles. It is a state which was created out of
confusion and contradictions, and a state yet to build up a nation within.
The logic of its creation and the causes for its survival are two questions
that seemed very interesting as well as intriguing for generations of
scholars studying South Asia as a region or focusing particularly on
Pakistan. Many scholars have tried to address the questions from differ-
ent angles, based on their respective understandings. Politicians with
their autobiographies or journalists with their personal memoirs or report-
age have not lagged much behind the scholars in addressing these issues.
Naturally, a number of volumes appeared in print during the last few
decades. The producers of this large array of literature fall broadly into
two segments: Pakistanis and non-Pakistanis—Americans, Europeans, or
Indians. A third category, however, could also be identified, namely,
Pakistanis settled abroad, mostly in the United States or Britain.
Pakistanis writing on these issues from Pakistan have a natural tilt to
their state, while mostly criticizing the successive governments on the
ground of historical and geostrategic disadvantages it encountered from
the time of its creation. But there is hardly any evidence of writings
which look at the original issue with a critical gaze, the very issue of
Partition and the creation of Pakistan. On the other hand, American and
European writers suffer from seeing the whole picture in a very wide
frame, thanks to geographical and sociocultural distance. Macro viewing
is crucial to any political analysis for without it the contextual dimension
is lost. But a macro view without the backup of micro inputs and under-
standings of the ground realities tends to generate wrong perceptions.
Jadavpur Journal of
International Relations
19(1) 64–81
2015 Jadavpur University
SAGE Publications
DOI: 10.1177/0973598415599885

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT