Islamabad—An Oxford University Press Pakistan (OUP) publication “Old World Empires: Cultures of Power and Governance in Eurasia” written by Ilhan Niaz, was judged the winner of the Higher Education Commission’s (HEC) national award for ‘Best Book Publication in Social Sciences, 2013-2014’, to be awarded this year.
Ilhan Niaz, born on 10 October 1980, is a professor of history at Quaid-e-Azam University. He is winner of the first Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) Award for best non-fiction in English in 2011 and the winner of the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan’s (HEC-P) Best Book Publication in Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities of 2010 Award. Niaz has completed his post graduation from Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. He did his MSc in history in 2003, M.Phil in 2004 and his PhD in 2009.
The PhD thesis became the basis for his second book which won the KLF Award and the HEC Best Book Publication Award. He has been published in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, www.foreignaffairs.com, and other leading international publications.
The book under discussion is an historical survey of the origins, development, and nature of state power in Eurasia. It covers several historical monarchies and autocracies and provides an insight of how the rulers of bygone days resorted to intrigues, coercion, torture, and complete obedience from their relatives, subordinates, and subjects in order to have absolute control over all matters of governance.
The HEC awards were instituted in 2006. The commission, responsible for formulating the higher education policy of the country, confers the award each year on a publication for its originality; value to the academic community and policy makers; and contribution to further advancement of knowledge through the quality of empirical evidence, research, and new insights provided by the book.
The previous HEC awards in the social sciences category have also been given to books published by OUP: The Charismatic Leader: Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and the Creation of Pakistan by Sikandar Hayat won the 2008-9 award; The Culture of Power and Governance of Pakistan 1947–2008 by Ilhan Niaz won the 2010 award; Wavell and the Dying Days of the Raj: Britain’s Penultimate Viceroy in India by Muhammad Iqbal Chawla won the 2011 award; and Empire in Retreat: The Story of India’s Partition by Rabia Umar Ali won the 2012 award.