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Excerpted from Temptations of the West: How to be Modern in India, Pakistan, Tibet, and Beyond by Pankaj Mishra. Copyright © 2006 by Pankaj Mishra. Published in June 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Learning to Read
I spent four months in Benares in the winter of 1988. I was twenty years old, with no clear idea of my future, or indeed much of anything else. After three idle, bookish years at a provincial university in a decaying old provincial town, I had developed an aversion to the world of careers and jobs which, having