On 1 February 1936, Begum Hasrat Mohani, famed Indian writer and independence activist, sends the first of several letters to her daughter. She’s traveling on the Hajj, passing through Iran and Iraq on her way to Mecca. Along the way, she writes to her daughter, noting the sights and sounds she experiences on her pilgrimage—and give us a glimpse into a different kind of travel writing, from a different kind of travel writer.
The history of India and Pakistan since Partition has been marked by countless skirmishes—and four major wars. The second conflict—the 1965 war between India and Pakistan along the long land border—featured some of the largest tank battles since the Second World War and some of the first skirmishes between the Indian and Pakistani air forces. It reshaped regional and global geopolitics, pushing India closer to the Soviet Union and Pakistan closer to China.
Myanmar—or Burma, if that’s the name you prefer—is one of a small set of countries: nations that, despite natural bounty and a vibrant population, remain underdeveloped due to conflict, economic mismanagement and international isolation.
Europeans have been writing about China for centuries–ever since The Travels of Marco Polo described it as a faraway and mystical kingdom. European thinkers like Voltaire and Montesquieu used China to support their own theories of political philosophy, then writers in early modernity tried to explain why China was falling behind—and then, with the rise of Maoist China, how it represented true revolutionary potential.
Hakkenden is a classic work of Japanese literature: the story of the eight warriors, born from Princess Fuse and the dog Yatsufusa, has been adapted to manga, movies and anime. And its tropes continue to pop up in Japanese popular culture today.
Tonlé Sap is one of Southeast Asia’s, if not one of the world’s, natural wonders. Between the dry and wet seasons, the lake expands almost six times in size to cover an area the size of Kuwait. The flows are so strong that the Tonlé Sap river actually reverses course, with water from the lake flowing into the Mekong river.
2019 marked the five-hundred year anniversary of the launch of Ferdinand Magellan’s voyage around the world–a milestone marked by commemorative sailings, museum exhibitions, and a joint submission from Spain and Portugal to UNESCO. Two years later, the Philippines marked their own commemoration of Magellan’s voyage: the 500th anniversary of his death at the hands of local leader Lapu-Lapu.