Americans, it would seem, can never read Ernest Hemingway's fiction without a picture of Hemingway the man in mind; the writer's mythology threatens to supplant the force of his work. If there is a comparable figure in Indian literature, it is Sadat Hasan Manto (1912-1955), whose centenary is May 11. Manto, who wrote in Urdu, was both the enfant terrible of his literary milieu and the sharpest and most disillusioned observer of the extraordinarily fascinating political currents of his age.
For those accustomed to the raucousness of elections in the Indian subcontinent, Europe’s own periodic festivals of democracy can seem to have the solemn bearing of a funeral. No less than the future of Europe appeared to be at stake as Germany went to the polls last weekend. The prospect of four more years for Angela Merkel, the chief enforcer of austerity, concentrated the minds of unemployed youth in Greece and Spain as well as derivatives traders in London.
Standard Chartered Plc’s Asian private-bank asset growth has stagnated this year as the lender focused on wealthier clients and investment returns were curtailed by volatility in regional financial markets.