In 1835, Britain's Lord Macaulay scoffed that "a single shelf of European books [is] worth the whole literature of India and Arabia." Hindu literature says MIT philosophy professor Huston Smith lacks a tragic element because in the Hindu view no one lifetime determines achievement or failure.
The family is important in Indian literature and drama. Both the “Mahabharata” and “Ramayana”—the two most famous works of Indian literature and theater— are family epics, featuring cousins, uncles and aunts “struggling and killing each other over land and dharma and then mourning inconsolably." Many American dramas feature tough individuals. When these stories are adapted to India the individuals are first given a mother, father and ideally a brother or sister. The Hindi version of Harry Potter sells for $3.60. In Kerala, books in Malayalam outsell English books 10 to 1.
Many Indians ave a passion for Persian poetry. “Laila Majnu” is a great Persian love story also well known in India. Sufism—mystical Islam—has had a strong impact on Indian literature. This is most evident in the poetry of great masters such as Kabir (1440-1518) a poet saint who helped introduce Sufi mysticism to wide audience among Muslims , Hindus and Sikhs.
The Gupta Empire (A.D. 320 to 647) is regarded as the classical period or golden age of Hindu art, literature and science. Art (often erotic), architecture and literature, all patronized by the Gupta court, flourished. Philosophy and science also enjoyed a kind of golden period. Under the Guptas, the Ramayana and the Mahabharta were finally written down in the A.D. 4th century. India's greatest poet and dramatist, Kalidasa, acquired fame expressing the values of the rich and powerful. Poetry in the Gupta age tended towards a few genres: religious and meditative poetry, lyric poetry, narrative histories (the most popular of the secular literatures), and drama. The Nalanda University in Bihar, came to fame during the Gupta rule. [Sources: Glorious India, Library of Congress *]
Although Sanskrit was the language of learning and theology in South India, as it was in the north, the growth of the bhakti (devotional) movements enhanced the crystallization of vernacular literature in all four major Dravidian languages: Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada; they often borrowed themes and vocabulary from Sanskrit but preserved much local cultural lore. Examples of Tamil literature include two major poems, Cilappatikaram (The Jewelled Anklet) and Manimekalai (The Jewelled Belt); the body of devotional literature of Shaivism and Vaishnavism — Hindu devotional movements; and the reworking of the Ramayana by Kamban in the twelfth century.
English is arguably the most important thing the British left behind in India. English helped unify the Indian subcontinent by providing a common language for a region with a multitude of languages and dialects. It also provided a common tongue for administration and education. The Indian constitution and Indian legal code are written in English and the famous speech delivered by Nehru after India became independent was in English. English is especially popular among the affluent middle class. As was true in the colonial era, English is a prerequisite to getting ahead, especially in the outsourcing and technology world. English is more widely spoken in southern India than northern India in part because southerners loath to use Hindi.
The way English is spoken varies a great deal from place to place and with levels of fluency and wealth. It is commonly said that there are at least 15 different kinds of English, one to go with each of the each of the official languages.
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Early Indian Literature and Theatre
Dr. Jukka O. Miettinen of the Theatre Academy of Helsinki wrote: “Theatre and dance, which are inseparable art forms in Indian culture, are present even in the earliest works of Indian literature. The Veda literature, or the four Vedas, which forms the basis of early Brahmanism and later Hinduism, mentions dance and open-air theatrical performance. Otherwise, the Vedas mainly include invocations and hymns to the gods, ritual formulas, and short stories. [Source: Dr. Jukka O. Miettinen,Asian Traditional Theater and Dance website, Theatre Academy Helsinki /=/]
“The Vedic tradition evolved orally through the centuries and received its written form much later in the post-Vedic period. Towards the end of the Vedic period, various gods, which were originally rather simple personifications of aspects of nature, began to acquire complicated mythologies, which personalised them. These mythologies were further elaborated in the early centuries A.D. by the Purana literature, while at the same these mythical stories became the main theme for much of the Indian theatrical arts. /=/
“Indian literary heritage includes several shastras or manuals (also code, theory, treatise) covering a vast range of subjects from cooking, elephant and horse breeding, and lovemaking, as well as several art forms, such as poetics, music, theatre, and dance. The earliest treatise for theatre and dance is the Natyashastra or the Drama Manual. Other shastra manuals also give information about theatrical practices, each according to their own specific viewpoint. The Kamashastra (Kamasutra), the treatise on love, informs us about the kind of role that theatrical performances had in the life of the upper class educated male citizen. The Arthashastra, the treatise on politics and administration, on the other hand, gives detailed information about the role of different kinds of performers in the ideal, yet highly hierarchical, society described in this manual written in the 4th century B.C.” /=/
Sanskrit and Early Indian Literature
Modern linguistic knowledge of the process of assimilation of Indo-Aryan language comes through the Sanskrit language employed in the sacred literature known as the Vedas. Over a period of centuries, Indo-Aryan languages came to predominate in the northern and central portions of South Asia. [Source: Library of Congress *]
Sanskrit is the ancient language of India and the sacred language of Hinduism. The Asian cousin of Latin and Greek, it is ideal for chanting as it is full of sounds that resonate in a special way. Traditionally it was a taboo for any caste other than Brahmans (India’s highest caste) to learn Sanskrit—"the language of the gods." The Hindu epic “Ramayana” described a lower caste man who had molten metal poured in his ear after he listened to Sanskrit scriptures reserved for upper class Brahmans.
As Indo-Aryan speakers spread across northern and central India, their languages experienced constant change and development. By about 500 B.C., Prakrits, or "common" forms of speech, were widespread throughout the north. By about the same time, the "sacred," "polished," or "pure" tongue — Sanskrit — used in religious rites had also developed along independent lines, changing significantly from the form used in the Vedas. However, its use in ritual settings encouraged the retention of archaic forms lost in the Prakrits. Concerns for the purity and correctness of Sanskrit gave rise to an elaborate science of grammar and phonetics and an alphabetical system seen by some scholars as superior to the Roman system. By the fourth century B.C., these trends had culminated in the work of Panini, whose Sanskrit grammar, the Ashtadhyayi (Eight Chapters), set the basic form of Sanskrit for subsequent generations. Panini's work is often compared to Euclid's as an intellectual feat of systematization.*
Sanskrit, Prakrits and the History of Indo-Aryan Languages of India
The Prakrits continued to evolve through everyday use. One of these dialects was Pali, which was spoken in the western portion of peninsular India. Pali became the language of Theravada Buddhism; eventually it came to be identified exclusively with religious contexts. By around A.D. 500, the Prakrits had changed further into Apabhramshas, or the "decayed" speech; it is from these dialects that the contemporary Indo-Aryan languages of South Asia developed. The rudiments of modern Indo-Aryan vernaculars were in place by about A.D. 1000 to 1300.*
It would be misleading, however, to call Sanskrit a dead language because for many centuries huge numbers of works in all genres and on all subjects continued to be written in Sanskrit. Original works are still written in it, although in much smaller numbers than formerly. Many students still learn Sanskrit as a second or third language, classical music concerts regularly feature Sanskrit vocal compositions, and there are even television programs conducted entirely in Sanskrit.*
Dr. Jukka O. Miettinen of the Theatre Academy of Helsinki wrote: ““The classical language of Indian civilisation is Sanskrit. The four Vedas were written in Sanskrit, and later an enormous corpus of literary works of various kinds, including the so-called Sanskrit Dramas, which will be discussed later, were written in Sanskrit. Panini, the great grammarian of Sanskrit, mentions a short text on acting in the 5th century B.C. Sanskrit remained the language of the educated elite until the Indian Medieval Period. The way people informally spoke Sanskrit, however, changed through the centuries. Thus Sanskrit ceased to be a natural, spoken language, a process similar to the fate of Latin in Medieval Europe. [Source: Dr. Jukka O. Miettinen,Asian Traditional Theater and Dance website, Theatre Academy Helsinki /=/]
“The opposite of standard Sanskrit is Prakrit, varieties of dialects, which evolved from Sanskrit. For example, one revolutionary aspect of the Buddha’s career as a teacher was that he preached in Prakrit, which was understood by ordinary people too. Prakrit became an important element in classical Sanskrit Drama, since the clown and many minor characters spoke vernacular Prakrit. India now has dozens of languages, including English, which, alongside Hindi, is a kind of universal language throughout the country. Sanskrit, however, remains an important key to understanding India’s religions and philosophy, as well as classical literature and theatre.” /=/
Buddhist Literature and Theatre
The Jatakas is a group of stories that tell of Buddha's rebirths in the form of Bodhisattvas and animals, with each story embodying lesson from Buddha's teachings.
Dr. Jukka O. Miettinen of the Theatre Academy of Helsinki wrote: “Buddhist literature indicates that early Buddhism also created a rich theatrical tradition. For example, the Pali Suttas (5th–2nd centuries B.C.) mention theatre groups and various kinds of performers. It was by no means forbidden to portray the Buddha himself on stage, as has been sometimes the case later. [Source: Dr. Jukka O. Miettinen,Asian Traditional Theater and Dance website, Theatre Academy Helsinki /=/]
“The Buddhist theatrical tradition spread later via the caravan route network, or the “Northern Silk Road”, to East Asia, and influenced the development of early theatre in Central Asia, China, Korea and even Japan. Another wave of influence spread to the regions of the Himalayas, where a rich tradition of monastery dramas evolved. /=/
“The Indian cultural sphere was the source of important Buddhist literature, which has been employed by numerous theatrical traditions both in ancient India and present-day Southeast Asia. The Buddhist Jataka or Birth Stories are morally instructive stories that came about at different times, in which the main character is an animal, a human being or a superhuman being seeking to do good. They were gathered into a collection of 547 (or 550) stories in the Pali language, the sacred language of Buddhism. The main characters were described as early incarnations of the Buddha. The Jatakas give much valuable information about various theatrical practices from the period they were written, i.e. c. 600–200 B.C.” /=/
Panchatantra and Other Old Indian Stories
“The Panchatantra” is one of the best-known collections of old stories. "Panchatantra" is a Sanskrit word that means "five books." Each book has a framework story, sort of like “Arabian Nights”, into which shorter stories are interwoven. The fable-like stories ar e full of humor and sagely advice. Many scholars say that “The Panchatantra” was originally composed in Kashmir about 200 B.C. According to legend, it was written for three princes to teach them the principals of "right living." Many of the stories are attributed to a writer named Bidpai, a wise man from India.
The Gupta period (A.D. 320 to 647) literature consists of fables and folktales written in Sanskrit. These stories spread west to Persia, Egypt, and Greece, and became the basis for many Islamic literary works such as, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves and Aladdin and his Magic Lamp. The Panchatantra and Kamasutra were written during this period. [Source: Glorious India]
Storytelling has been a popular form of entertainment in India for centuries. Many regions and ethnic groups have their traditions of folk stories. The “Hitopadesa” ("Book of Good Counsel" in Sanskrit) is another book of fables written after “The Panchatantra”. The stories from “Arabian Nights” are very popular in India, Many of the stories originated in India. Ancient philosophers were articulated by Shakyamuni.
Balladeers today begin learning the art of storytelling, dancing singing and playing the 19-stringed “ravanhatta” at the age of ten or eleven. By the age of about 15 they become full-fledged “bhopas,”balladeers and to tell and act out a 14th century story about a Rajput chief named Pabuji. The story is traditional performed at night in front of a huge illustrated scroll and it can take up to a week to relate. [Source: Veenu Sandal, Smithsonian]
Books: 1) O’Flaherty, Wendy Doniger, Hindu Myths. Harmondsworth: Penguin Classics, 1975; 2) Zimmer, Heinrich., Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992; Ions, Veronica; 3) Indian Mythology. New York: Peter Bedrick, 1984; 4) Jaffrey, Madhur, Seasons of Splendour: Tales, Myths, and Legends of India, New York: Athenaeum, 1985.
Little Black Sambo
The Little Black Sambo story is set in India. It was originally a children's book written and illustrated by Helen Bannerman, and first published by Grant Richards in October 1899. The story was a children's favorite for half a century until the word sambo was deemed a racial slur in some countries and the illustrations considered reminiscent of "darky iconography". Both text and illustrations have undergone considerable revision since. [Source: Wikipedia +]
Sambo is a South Indian boy who lives with his father and mother, named Black Jumbo and Black Mumbo, respectively. Sambo encounters four hungry tigers, and surrenders his colourful new clothes, shoes, and umbrella so they will not eat him. The tigers are vain and each thinks he is better dressed than the others. They chase each other around a tree until they are reduced to a pool of melted butter. Sambo then recovers his clothes and his mother, Black Mumbo, makes pancakes out of the butter. +
The book has a controversial history. The original illustrations by Bannerman showed a caricatured Southern Indian or Tamil child. The story may have contributed to the use of the word "sambo" as a racial slur. The book's success led to many pirated, inexpensive, widely available versions that incorporated popular stereotypes of "black" peoples. For example, in 1908 John R. Neill, best known for his illustration of the Oz books by L. Frank Baum, illustrated an edition of Bannerman's story. +
In 1932 Langston Hughes criticised Little Black Sambo as a typical "pickaninny" storybook which was hurtful to black children, and gradually the book disappeared from lists of recommended stories for children. In 1942, Saalfield Publishing Company released a version of Little Black Sambo illustrated by Ethel Hays. During the mid-20th century, however, some American editions of the story, including a 1950 audio version on Peter Pan Records, changed the title to the racially neutral Little Brave Sambo. +
Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Indian Writers
Novelist Bankin Chandrra Chatterji (1836-94) wrote European-influenced literature. The great Tamil poet and journalist Subramania Bharari (1881-1921) was from Madras. He was exiled by the Raj to the French enclave of Pondicherry.
Trinidad-born, Indian writer V.S. Naipaul is often named as a possible recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature. He won the Booker Prize for his book “India: A Million Mutinies”.
Kannada-language novelist, critic and poet U.R. Ananthamuthy (1932-2014) was born in Thirtahalli Taluk and is considered as one of the pioneers of the Navya movement. He was to be honored with the Jnanpith Award for the Kannada language, the highest literary honour conferred in India. In 1998, he received the Padma Bhushan award from the Government of India. He was the vice-chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University in Kerala during the late 1980s. He was one of the finalists of Man Booker International Prize for the year 2013.
Nirad Chaudhuri was 90 when his 979-page analysis of Indian intellectual life, “Thy Hand, Great Anarch! India: 1921-1952", was published. Sometimes called the “enfant terrible”of Indian letters, he made a name for himself in 1951 with his first book, “The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian”, described by Winston Churchill as "one of the best books he ever read." Educated in an East Bengal village and in Calcutta, Chauduri wrote a biography on the founder of the British Raj, Robert Clive, but turned down a requests by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to write a biography on her second husband Aristotle Onassis. He was 100 when his book “Three Horsemen of the Apocalypse” was published.
R.K Narayan (1906-2001) is famous for his novels set in the small, fictional town of Malgadi in southern India. Bibhuti Bhushan Banerji wrote the Apu trilogy and “Pather Panchali”, made into a movie by the great Indian filmmaker, Satyajit Ray. Khushwant Singh is one of India's best known contemporary authors. A Sikh with a reputation as a eccentric, his book books include serious works of history, dirty joke books and “The Fantasies of an Octogenarian”, written when he was 84. His works captured the essence of ordinary life.
Often compared to William Faulkner, Narayan is one of the greatest and celebrated novelists in India. He is distinguished for his simple and unpretentious English writing style and is one of the most widely read Indian novelists. His stories were grounded in a compassionate humanism and celebrated the humour and energy of ordinary life. R.K. Narayan’s writing style was marked by simplicity and subtle humour. He told stories of ordinary people trying to live their simple lives in a changing world. Narayan was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature multiple times but did not win the honor. His popular works include The English Teacher, The Financial Expert and Waiting for the Mahatma. [Source: Lelobook, Encyclopedia Britannica]
Narayan was born on October 10, 1906 in Madras. His father was a provincial head master. Narayan spent his early childhood with his maternal grandmother, Parvathi in Madras and used to spend only a few weeks each summer visiting his parents and siblings. R.K. Narayan studied for eight years at Lutheran Mission School close to his grandmother’s house in Madras, also for a short time at the CRC High School. When his father was appointed headmaster of the Maharaja’s High School in Mysore, R.K. Narayan moved back in with his parents. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of Mysore.
Narayan’s original name was Rasipuram Krishnaswami Narayanswami. He took the name R. K. Narayan at the suggestion of Graham Greene. He learned Tamil and English in school. Narayan completed his education in 1930 and briefly worked as a teacher before deciding to devote himself to writing. He began with his first novel Swami and Friends in 1935. Besides novels, he wrote short stories, travelogues, condensed versions of Indian epics in English besides his memoir.
Books by R.K Narayan
Naryan’s His first novel, Swami and Friends (1935), is an episodic narrative recounting the adventures of a group of schoolboys. That book and much of Narayan’s later works are set in the fictitious South Indian town of Malgudi. Narayan typically portrays the peculiarities of human relationships and the ironies of Indian daily life, in which modern urban existence clashes with ancient tradition. His style is graceful, marked by genial humour, elegance, and simplicity. [Source: Lelobook, Encyclopedia Britannica]
Narayan wrote fourteen novels, five volumes of short stories, a number of travelogues and collections of non-fiction, condensed versions of Indian epics in English, and the memoir My Days. Among the best-received of Narayan’s novels are The Bachelor of Arts (1937), The Dark Room (1938), The English Teacher (1945), The Financial Expert (1952), Waiting for the Mahatma (1955), The Guide (1958), The Man-Eater of Malgudi (1961), The Vendor of Sweets (1967), Malgudi Days (1982), A Tiger for Malgudi (1983) and and The Grandmother’s Tale (1993). Narayan also wrote a number of short stories; collections include Lawley Road (1956), A Horse and Two Goats and Other Stories (1970), and Under the Banyan Tree and Other Stories (1985). In addition to works of nonfiction (chiefly memoirs), he also published shortened modern prose versions of two Indian epics, The Ramayana (1972) and The Mahabharata (1978).
In 1958 Narayan’s work The Guide won him the National Prize of the Indian Literary Academy, his country’s highest literary honor. In 1980 he was awarded the A.C. Benson Medal by the Royal Society of Literature and in 1982 he was made an Honorary Member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Besides, he was also conferred honorary doctorates by the University of Mysore, Delhi University and the University of Leeds. Narayan died in 2001 at the age of 94. He wrote for more than fifty years, and published until he was eighty seven.
Rabindranth Tagore (1861-1941), a poet, philosopher and writer from Calcutta, was the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in literature. He was a formidable personality who played a major role in shaping the cultural life of India at the turn of the 20th century, “when the country was struggling for its independence and searching for its identity in the international community. He also helped introduce Indian literature to the West.” [Source: Suketa Mehta, Time, August 23, 1999, Dr. Jukka O. Miettinen,Asian Traditional Theater and Dance website, Theatre Academy Helsinki]
Tagore had a long white beard. He looked more like a holy man than a writer. In addition to being a poet and fiction writer he was also a dramatist, composer, playwright, painter, educator political thinker, and philosopher of science. Although he has been forgotten in much of the world and India he remains greatly loved among Bengalis in India and Bangladesh.
Nehru once wrote, "Gandhi and Tagore. Two types entirely different from each other, and yet both of them typical of India...There are many of course who may be abler than them or greater geniuses in their own line...It is not so much because of any single virtue, but because of the “tout ensemble”, that is felt. Among the world's great men today Gandhi and Tagore were supreme as human beings."
Tagore won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. The chairman of the committee that selected him said, "In times to come, history will know better how to appraise the importance and influence of his work and draw inspiration from it.” While he was in Sweden to receive the award Tagore insisted that a goat be taken his Stockholm hotel room so that he could a fresh supply of goat milk.
Tagore was born in north Calcutta on May 6, 1861 into one of the richest and most progressive families in Bengal. His father was Maharishi Deberndranath Tagore, a famous intellectual in his own right. Tagore briefly studied in England in 1878-80, exploring the works of Shakespeare, but returned to India to take care of his father's estates.
Tagore came from an influential Bengali Brahman family of several generations of intellectuals. 1901 he moved to Santiniketan in eastern India, and established there an institution that was to become his own Santiniketan University. Tagore died on August 7, 1941 at the age of 80 in the house where he was born.
Tagore was good friends with Satyajit Ray. Most of Ray's best films were adaptions of Tagore works. Ray said the great poet was intimidating. "You could never really get very close to him because he was a remote kind of thinker. His looks and everything, his beard and his enormous height, even his speech was very florid. He never used a wrong word. Everything was so incredible perfect. That's off-putting.” [Source: Julian Crandall Hollick, Smithsonian magazine]
Tagore traveled widely around the world. His visit to Southeast Asia in 1927, in particular, opened his eyes to realise the role of Indian culture in a wider Asian framework. Despite being rich, Tagore had great empathy for the poor. He had a famous meeting with Albert Einstein on July 14, 1930.
Works by Tagore
Tagore wrote more than 2,500 songs about God, nature and love as well poems and prose. He also produced more than 2,000 paintings and drawings, 28 volumes of poetry, drama, operas, short stories, novels, essays, diaries and large number of letters. The emotional impact of the world was also equal yo the output.
Tagore's works initially won him recognition in Bengal. “Gitanjali”, an English translation of some of his poems, won worldwide acclaim in 1913, and paved the way for his winning the Nobel prize. The surprising thing about this work was that would probably have been better if Tagore hadn't translated the poems himself. Tagore wrote “Gitanjali” after his wife, son and daughter died in quick succession.
One of his more interesting short stories, Kabuliwalah”, is about the friendship between a murderous Afghan merchant and a small girl told in the eyes of an upper-class Bengali man. Tagore’s novel Home and the World” is about a housewife who turns her back on her family and joins the struggle against British colonialism.
Tagore songs are collectively known as Rabindrasangeet” ("the music of Rabindra"). They are frequently heard on the streets of Calcutta and are fixtures of wedding and festivals. One goes something likes this: "the necklace bruises me; it strangles when I try to take it off. It chokes my singing. Take it from me! I'm ashamed to wear it. Give men a simple garland in its place."
On his dabbling with dance and opera, Jukka O. Miettinen of the Theatre Academy Helsinki wrote: “He was particularly interested in, what he called, the “operatic” Southeast Asian theatre forms. He exclaimed that India had lost this kind of forms and he dedicated much energy to creating his own theatrical style, also combining dance and music Tagore had seen Manipuri dances even as early as in 1919 and became a great admirer of them. He invited an important teacher-guru to teach them at his own university, Santiniketan. He used the Manipuri style as the basis for his own dance plays, called rabindra nritiya natyas. He also wrote a drama-opera, Valmiki, and plays dealing with social issues, such as The Post Office and Untouchable Girl. In many ways he was an influential personage, who gave the cultural life of new India an internationally recognisable face. [Source:Dr. Jukka O. Miettinen,Asian Traditional Theater and Dance website, Theatre Academy Helsinki /=/]
Tagore and Indian National Anthem
Tagore Rabindranth wrote a poem which became the Indian National Anthem. It goes:
”Where the mind is with fear and the head is held high; Where knowledge is free; Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls; ...Where the clear stream of reason has not lost it way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit; ...Into that heaven of freedom, my Father. let my country awake”
Another song-poem “Amar Sonar Bangla” ("My Golden Bengal") became the national anthem of Bangladesh.
Tagore, the Activist
In 1901, Tagore founded the Santiniketan school in rural Bengal to protest the existing system of education. It was a school and a university combining what he believed where the best of India and British learning, with a strong emphasis on the arts. Among those who studied there Indira Gandhi, Amartya Sen and Satyajit Ray. After Tagore died Santiniketan went into decline and eventually closed.
Although Tagore was no great fan of the British, he had strong views about the direction that the independence movement should take. Tagore did not support Gandhi's non-cooperation movement with the British. After the Amritsar Massacre in 1919 Tagore renounced British knighthood given to him in 1915.
Tagore was a strong anti-nationalist. Explaining his ideal of the Universal Many he wrote, "Patriotism cannot be our final spiritual shelter; may refuge is humanity."
Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, and various books, websites and other publications.
Last updated June 2015