Burma defines itself as a Buddhist nation, a Theravada one at that, as it has been for roughly the past millennia. But within the folds of the country’s often-intermeshed history and myth, there is a silent but quite ubiquitous realm – a spirit realm dominated by the cult of the nat. A nat is essentially the spirit of a dead person, a ghost with personality and distinctive animistic qualities. That it is separate from the institutional religion is without doubt, but its relationship to mainstream religion and society is very ambiguous.
Romila Thapar addresses invitees at the
Southasian relaunch of Himal Southasian,
IIC, New Delhi, January 2013.
flickr / The US Army
On 1 December 2013, Afghan President Hamid Karzai accused the US of cutting fuel supplies to Afghan security forces. Despite US pressure, Karzai continues to stall the signing of a Bilateral Security Agreement.
From our archive:
Subel Bhandari looks at the Strategic Partnership Agreement, noting its avoidance of contentious issues. (April 2012)
Vijay Prashad reviews Syed Saleem Shahzad’s Inside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11, discussing Taliban strategy in the context of NATO withdrawal. (October 2011)
Aunohita Mojumdar explores questions of accountability in relation to the West’s “hasty exit strategy”. (February 2011)