Pankaj Mishra

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Pankaj Mishra in 2014

Pankaj Mishra (born 1969) is an Indian essayist and novelist.


  • Even equality is a deeply problematic concept. It has its origins in Christianity, where it is conceived as equality before God. When you transfer that into a competitive commercial society, it becomes elusive, even deceptive. Really, the drama of the modern world is the collision between the promise of equality and the fact of structural inequality…
  • Supremacy of all stripes—racial, ethnic, national—works in insidious ways, burrowing deep inside impeccably liberal minds…
  • As a writer I am more interested in describing the past accurately than in outlining the future; we need a new past if we are to make sense of our intolerable present or work to change it…
  • Writing about Kashmir was a strange and painfully isolating experience, but an absolutely crucial one. It made me see that, whether you are Indian or American, black, brown, or white, it is best not to get morally intoxicated by words like "secularism" and "liberalism" or to simply assume that you stand on the right side of history after having professed allegiance to certain ideological verities. Rather one should try to perceive the scramble for power, the clash of interests, that these resonant claims to virtue conceal; one should ask who is using words like "secularism" or "liberalism" and for what purposes…

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