We are pleased to announce the publication of the latest Royal Asiatic Society Book – Refugees and the Politics of the Everyday State in Pakistan: Resettlement in Punjab, 1947 -1962, by Elisabetta Iob. Published by Routledge, the book provides a comprehensive and in-depth analysis of the resettlement and rehabilitation of Partition refugees in Pakistani Punjab. It focuses on the Punjabi refugee middle and upper-middles classes. With an emphasis on the everyday experience of the state, the author challenges standard interpretations of the resettlement in the region and calls for a more nuanced understanding of their rehabilitation. Through use of the primary sources of Pakistani documents, US and British records, judicial records, and Urdu and English newspapers, the author provides a window onto the everyday life of a state, its institutions and its citizens.
Elisabetta Iob is a historian currently based at the Department of Social Sciences and Politics, University of Trieste, Italy. Her research interests focus on Pakistan’s socio-political history and culture. The book is available from the Royal Asiatic Society and from Routledge.
This week we have hosted two events also connected with books. On Tuesday 24th October we welcomed Professor Francis Robinson, Marion Molteno and Dr Rakshanda Jalil. The evening was a discussion around, and a celebration of, the work of Ralph Russell, and in particular, A Thousand Yearnings: A Book of Urdu Poetry and Prose. This new edition of Russell’s anthology of Urdu literature contains an introduction by Marion Molteno. The event was well attended, with a keen interest in the work of Ralph Russell and this new publication.
On Thursday 26th October, Dr Yuka Kadoi lectured on “Arthur Upham Pope and A New Survey of Persian Art”. She described the process whereby she became interested in Arthur Upham Pope and his career in sourcing Persian art. She also described the collaboration between many scholars to produce the new book of the same name, arising after a symposium that Dr Kadoi had organised to conincide with her exhibition on Pope in Chicago. Pope certainly was an interesting character and Dr Kadoi provided many insights into both his life and that of his wife, and collaborator, Phyllis Ackerman.
Our next event will also be connected to a new book (so may be the title should have been “A Quartet of Books”). On Thursday 2 November, at 6.30 pm, Charles Allen will lecture on “History and Myth: India and Britain Seventy Years On”. This lecture relates to his new publication Coromandel: A personal history of South India, in which, Allen continues his investigation into early Indian history, begun in Ashoka. At each point in his journey through the Indian south, Allen met with local historians, gurus, politicians and other colourful personalities, and with their help he uncovers some extraordinary stories about the past. A traveller’s tale, Allen moves through contemporary India, to discover much about the present and the past. We hope that many of you will be able to join us for this event.