Khaled Hosseini has certainly made Afghanistan proud by capturing the contemporary life in his beautifully crafted second novel. I’d read Kite Runner when it came out and was spellbound by his storytelling prowess and this novel just cements his position as the leading storyteller of his time. He beautifully captures the travails and disasters that communism and Islamic terrorism has brought to his unfortunate country. This book would always be cherished as an indispensable guide to understand contemporary Afghanistan and as a journal of its struggle against evil.
Afghanistan was once a cradle for civilisation and a leader in Buddhist thought, the advent of Islam reduced it to penury and shackeled it with illiteracy & extremism. The worse came when it ended up as a playground for powerful forces on both sides of the cold war. This is a story of the indomitable spirit of battered nation whose women though most oppressed in the world still refused to bow down. They’ve risen again and again over the last few centuries striving to get parity with men or at least
be allowed to have tolerable partnership.
When I was studying at Delhi in late 90s, I used to see so many of these Afgani families living a pitiable existence in the lanes of Lajpat Nagar and this rendering by the author has brought back those images of beautiful people forced to live in exile in the dead heat of New Delhi, looks of those sorrowful eyes longing for the cold & splendid valleys they’d left behind. I sincerely hope that Afghanistan finally is able to pull off the yoke of Islamic terrorism, mostly sponsored by Pakistan and find their rightful place in the comity of nations. It heartens to see the slow progress being made in that regard, the heroics of Afganistan Cricket team and in particular the splendid effort of Rashid Khan in IPL 2018 won the hearts of millions of Indians. India’s own history has always been entangled with Afghanistan’s and in recent times India has housed the Afgani exiles and has been helping with its development effort. I really wish for a time when Afghanistan and India can have the same relationship as we currently have with Nepal so that Indians can go and visit the beautiful landscapes and Afghanis cam visit India and see with their own eyes how their nation can also be transformed into a forward looking modern country like India.