The northeast Indian state of Assam has had a complex history. As independence loomed, Assam was a large British province, bordering the fellow British colony of Burma and covering a large segment of India’s northeast. Today’s Assam is much smaller: First Partition cut Assam off from the rest of India, with just a tiny “chicken neck” of land connecting the state with India proper. Then decades of tension between the Assamese and minority groups led to new states being created from within its borders: Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram, to name a few.
Silk—a luxury fabric, a valuable trade good, and a scientific marvel. This material, created by the bombyx mori silkworm, has captivated artisans for centuries—and it captivated science presenter and writer Aarathi Prasad, who was studying the scientific potential of silk for new treatments.
It was common during the years of the U.S. invasion of Iraq to talk about the Sunni-Shia split—and how the sectarian violence was the result of a “centuries-long hatred” between the two different religious schools. But seeing this divide as the result of a longstanding feud—or to see it in the model of other religious schisms, like the Catholic-Protestant split and the centuries of war that followed—would be a mistake, argues Toby Matthiesen.
For the third anniversary of the Asian Review of Books podcast, I wanted to do something a little different today—and talk about another one of my hobbies, video games. For video game players of—let’s call them the elder millennial set and older—there’s something special about the final dozen or so years of the 20th century. The Super Nintendo, the Sega Genesis, the Nintendo 64 and the Sony PlayStation: it was a period of technical advancement and creative experimentation that led to classics still beloved today.
Sae, former journalist turned a young mother of two in 1992 Seoul, is waiting for her husband, an engineer for a small construction company. He’s late. A neighbor rushes down with the news: a high-rise downtown has collapsed, trapping hundreds inside—the same high-rise that Sae’s husband is working.
Adoniram Judson was the 19th-century version of an American celebrity. Americans flocked to listen to his tales of being one of the first missionaries to enter the Kingdom of Burma. Americans wanted to hear of his mission in the Buddhist kingdom; Judson was reportedly uncomfortable with the attention.
It’s one of the strange artifacts of history that Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania, was once controlled by the Sultanate of Oman. In 1832, then Sultan Sayyid Saïd bin Sultan al-Busaidi made the island his capital, with the empire split in two upon his death: one based in Muscat, one based in Zanzibar.