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Informed commentary on the South Asian belt
RAGINI BHUYAN  16th Oct 2011

Daisy Rockwell’s illustrations gives the blog a unique appeal

f you're interested in learning about South Asia and are looking for some informed commentary on the region's issues, then you must visit ChapatiMystery (CM). The site is the brainchild of historian Manan Ahmed, who has a Ph.D in the history of Islam. The website's name and tagline 'What's the vertiginous chapati saying to me?' is taken from Homi Bhabha's essay In a Spirit of Calm Violence about the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny. The British suspected that mutineers were using secret paper messages baked inside chapattis to spread news of the revolt.

The site offers newbies an introductory tour, with the 'About CM' tab taking you on a guided tour. Click on this tab to get links to the latest posts, posts on Pakistan (Ahmed is from Pakistan), etc. CM features long, analytical and often academic analyses of current affairs and sociopolitical issues around the world, although many of the posts are specific to Pakistan and US-Pakistan dynamics. The blog also features guest bloggers, who post on interesting topics. It's not only the content but also Daisy Rockwell's illustrations that give the blog its cool quotient. Rockwell, with a Ph.D in South Asian literature, creates illustrations that blend photomontage and art. The site's quirky photos and montages cheer you up. For example, a bygone era painting of ladies at a bath, which is completely incongruous yet refreshing given the context of the blog. The blog also has noteworthy fans; it's been praised on Salon, CNN, MSNBC, Slate and Amazon. Ahmed himself is a well-known commentator on South Asian issues, and has written in the LA Times, The Guardian among other publications. CM discusses key issues with panache. If you thought historians weren't cool, this blog will convince you otherwise.

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