M.J. Akbar 2 books (The Shade of Swords, Akbar – Tinderbox)

M.J. Akbar 2 books (The Shade of Swords, Akbar – Tinderbox)



Nations do not commit suicide, nor die of accidents or old age. There is, however, a serious malaise within Pakistan’s body politic, arising from one gene within the country’s DNA. The question is not whether Pakistan will survive, but what it will survive as: a modern democracy or an illiberal theocracy.

Jinnah visualized a Pakistan that had a Muslim majority, but was secular in its practices. He did not comprehend that he had created an opportunity for those committed to an alternative ideology. The most powerful of these ideologues was an extraordinary cleric with exceptional persuasive powers, Maulana Maududi. If Jinnah was the father of Pakistan, Maududi emerged as its godfather.

This book explores the roots of this ideology in the history of Indian Muslims; how it has, with meticulous perseverance, crept into the life of Pakistan; and what the implications are for the future. If these implications were limited to Pakistanis, it might have been a containable problem, but their impact has had explosive consequences for the region and the world. Without understanding the why, it is virtually impossible to know what needs to be done.


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