Indian author Pankaj Mishra is the 2014 winner of the “Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding.” In a DW interview, Mishra talks about his book and the impact of colonialism on current Asian-European ties.
DW: What inspired you to write this book?
Pankaj Mishra: The inspiration was partly the realization that countries in our part of the world, like India, are deeply connected to histories of other countries, other societies and yet we don’t know enough about that aspect.
For instance, someone like Rabindranath Tagore, we know him as the author of our national anthem, we know of his intellectual companionship with Gandhi and Nehru, but we know nothing about his friendship with people in China, Java, Cairo, Teheran, not to mention Latin America and the degree to which he engaged with the culture and societies of these countries. I wanted to write a book which brings to light our connected histories and get away from the framework of nationalist histories.