Pankaj Mishra

All articles by this author

Rise of the Egocrats

Rise of the Egocrats

Trump’s shout-outs, whether to Vladimir Putin or Modi, have resonated across an expanded theater of demagoguery.

Trump’s behavior also manifests the traits diagnosed in Modi, very early in the Indian’s political career, by the social psychologist Ashis Nandy: the American, too, seems a “classic, clinical case” of the “authoritarian personality,” with its “narrowing of emotional life” and “fantasies of violence.”

Growing Stupid Together

Growing Stupid Together

"Reality-concealing rhetoric" and our responses to terrorism

The terrorist attacks on September 11 provoked, immediately afterward, an assertion of civilizational identity and solidarity. A small group of criminals and fanatics did not pose a mortal threat to the most powerful and wealthy societies in history. Still, the collective affirmations of certain Western freedoms and privileges—“we must agree on what matters: kissing in public places, bacon sandwiches, disagreement, cutting-edge fashion,” Rushdie wrote—seemed a natural emotional reflex at the time.

First Love

First Love

In December 2004, I traveled on the road from Uzbekistan across the Oxus River on which the first Soviet convoys had rolled into Afghanistan twenty-five years before. Fearful of ambushes, the Soviets had mined the surrounding desert right up to the verges; and venturing out of the car for a pee I walked into a minefield—one of the many across Afghanistan that had killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of people—and then had to learn, for some long minutes, how hard it is literally to retrace one’s steps.

Among the Believers

Among the Believers

The Hindu nationalists used the folksy symbols of Hinduism even as they struck deals with big businessmen and multinational corporations. They pointed to various terrorist and Islamic fundamentalist threats to India, and promised to restore the national virility that a “liberal and secular elite” had apparently sapped.

Rise of the Egocrats

Rise of the Egocrats

Trump’s shout-outs, whether to Vladimir Putin or Modi, have resonated across an expanded theater of demagoguery.

Trump’s behavior also manifests the traits diagnosed in Modi, very early in the Indian’s political career, by the social psychologist Ashis Nandy: the American, too, seems a “classic, clinical case” of the “authoritarian personality,” with its “narrowing of emotional life” and “fantasies of violence.”

Growing Stupid Together

Growing Stupid Together

"Reality-concealing rhetoric" and our responses to terrorism

The terrorist attacks on September 11 provoked, immediately afterward, an assertion of civilizational identity and solidarity. A small group of criminals and fanatics did not pose a mortal threat to the most powerful and wealthy societies in history. Still, the collective affirmations of certain Western freedoms and privileges—“we must agree on what matters: kissing in public places, bacon sandwiches, disagreement, cutting-edge fashion,” Rushdie wrote—seemed a natural emotional reflex at the time.

First Love

First Love

In December 2004, I traveled on the road from Uzbekistan across the Oxus River on which the first Soviet convoys had rolled into Afghanistan twenty-five years before. Fearful of ambushes, the Soviets had mined the surrounding desert right up to the verges; and venturing out of the car for a pee I walked into a minefield—one of the many across Afghanistan that had killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of people—and then had to learn, for some long minutes, how hard it is literally to retrace one’s steps.

Among the Believers

Among the Believers

The Hindu nationalists used the folksy symbols of Hinduism even as they struck deals with big businessmen and multinational corporations. They pointed to various terrorist and Islamic fundamentalist threats to India, and promised to restore the national virility that a “liberal and secular elite” had apparently sapped.