Book Review – India from Curzon to Nehru and after by Durgadas


India from Curzon to Nehru and afterIndia from Curzon to Nehru and after by Durga Das
5 of 5 stars


I would rate this as the best book to understand India’s freedom struggle and to understand the role played by its heroes like Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, NetaJi and many others in throwing off the yoke of British empire. The book covers the history of Indian freedom struggle starting from Curzon and Tilak moving on to the phase where Gandhi came to the scene and led from the front to get India its independence and finally covering the Nehru era post independence. The author does not do any hero worship but provides an unbiased opinion of these heroes based on the facts and actual events covered by him as the leading journalist of that time.

The book covers in detail what led to the avoidable partition of India and role played by Gandhi, Nehru and Jinnah in carving out an Islamic state which later failed spectacularly and finally metamorphosed into a terrorist state. The book also documents how this division of India was supported by British government and the role played by British leaders like Churchill who allegedly offered Pakistan on the platter to Jinnah. According to the author there were mistakes, omissions, ego clashes which led to the formation of an Islamic state within Indian subcontinent. Gandhi was against it but ultimately had to accept the fact that a section of Muslim population was not ready to live under Hindu rule. Gandhi correctly forecasted that state of Pakistan will remain in continuous conflict with India and the armies of the two nations will be fighting the endless and futile battles. The book also overs the dark side of Gandhi how he betrayed the nation by failing to stop Bhagat Singh’s execution as part of Gandhi-Irwin pact, his puerile fights against the likes of Subhash Chandra Bose, Kriplani, CR to maintain his hegemony over Congress.

The author also provided clues on how Jawahar Lal Nehru was preferred by Gandhi over other much deserving candidates first for the post of Congress President and then for the Prime Ministership of India. The socialist outlook of Nehru led to the state controlled economy in post independent India condemning multiple generations of Indians to poverty and deprivation off basic amenities. The author was well travelled and was in position to compare the policies in India with other states like Japan and Germany and came to the conclusion that approach of Indian government to focus more on heavy industries at expense of agriculture and private enterprise led to the chaos in economic sphere. The author met a number of world leaders as part of his journalistic duties and most had the common view that Nehru had no understanding of economics and made India a beggar nation dependent on outside aid.

The author also covered the 1962 debacle where Indian forces were routed by Chinese Red Army. The book has in the appendix, a letter written by Patel to Nehru forewarning him about the menace of China and how it needs to be tackled. Even after Patel’s passing, Nehru was warned repeatedly by Army Generals and opposition leaders but did not heed to their advice not taking any steps to control the situation finally made himself and whole of India a laughing stock among the polity of nations.

The books also documents how the egoistic Nehru would take the fight with his political opponents to the extreme like when he tried to scuttle the second term for President Rajendra Prasad and how he decided not to even attend his cremation. And how Nehru’s ego came in between and antagonised a number of countries in India’s neighbourhood like Vietnam, Burma, Nepal. Nehru wanted to be treated like world statesman but failed to understand that for that he first needed to make India economically advanced. A leader of a beggar nation cannot expect to be treated as an equal by developed countries. The author also covers the grooming of Indira Gandhi by Nehru and how the stage was set for her to take his legacy forward. This nepotism did not go well with senior Congress leaders and led to the breakup on Congress and set the rot in Congress organisation where rulers started exploiting the masses and led to the widespread corruption in all spheres across India.

The book can act as a great antidote to the propaganda machinary of Congress party and should be preferred over books by Congress acolytes like Ram Chandra Guha who are prone to hero worship. This book is a treasure trove of information on Indian politics and is a must read for anyone who wish to get a fair perspective on the Indian Independence struggle, the resulting partition of India and why contemporary India still lags behind other comparable nations like China, Japan, Germany etc. in both the quality of life of its citizens and robustness of its democratic institutions.


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Using blockchain to settle foreign exchange transactions

Wells Fargo is collaborating with HSBC to optimize settlement of foreign exchange transactions and reduce settlement risk.
— Read on

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देव शब्द रूप संस्कृत भाषा में


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संस्कृत में गिनती

संस्कृत हिंदी English
1 प्रथमः एक One
2 द्वितीयः दो Two
3 तृतीयः,त्रीणि तीन Three
4 चतुर्थः चार Four
5 पंचमः पाँच Five
6 षष्टः छः Six
7 सप्तमः सात Seven
8 अष्टमः आठ Eight
9 नवमः नौ Nine
10 दशमः दस Ten
11 एकादशः ग्यारह Eleven
12 द्वादशः बारह Twelve
13 त्रयोदशः तेरह Thirteen
14 चतुर्दशः चौदह Fourteen
15 पंचदशः,पञ्चदश पन्द्रह Fifteen
16 षोड़शः सोलह Sixteen
17 सप्तदशः सत्रह Seventeen
18 अष्टादशः अठारह Eighteen
19 एकोनविंशतिः,ऊनविंशतिः उन्नीस Nineteen
20 विंशतिः बीस Twenty
21 एकविंशतिः इक्कीस Twenty One
22 द्वाविंशतिः बाइस Twenty Two
23 त्रयोविंशतिः तेइस Twenty Three
24 चतुर्विंशतिः चौबीस Twenty Four
25 पञ्चविंशतिः पच्चीस Twenty Five
26 षड्विंशतिः छब्बीस Twenty Six
27 सप्तविंशतिः सत्ताईस Twenty Seven
28 अष्टविंशतिः अट् ठाईस Twenty Eight
29 नवविंशतिः,एकोनत्रिंशत् उनतीस Twenty Nine
30 त्रिंशत् तीस Thirty
31 एकत्रिंशत् इकत्तीस Thirty One
32 द्वात्रिंशत् बत्तीस Thirty Two
33 त्रयस्त्रिंशत् तेतीस Thirty Three
34 चतुर्त्रिंशत् चौतीस Thirty Four
35 पञ्चत्रिंशत् पैंतीस Thirty Five
36 षट्त्रिंशत् छत्तीस Thirty Six
37 सप्तत्रिंशत् सैंतीस Thirty Seven
38 अष्टात्रिंशत् अड़तीस Thirty Eight
39 ऊनचत्वारिंशत्, एकोनचत्वारिंशत्,उनतालीस Thirty Nine
40 चत्वारिंशत् चालीस Forty
41 एकचत्वारिंशत् इकतालीस Forty One
42 द्वाचत्वारिंशत् बियालीस Forty Two
43 त्रिचत्वारिंशत् तेतालीस Forty Three
44 चतुश्चत्वारिंशत् चबालीस Forty Four
45 पंचचत्वारिंशत् पैंतालीस Forty Five
46 षट्चत्वारिंशत् छियालीस Forty Sic
47 सप्तचत्वारिंशत् सैंतालीस Forty Seven
48 अष्टचत्वारिंशत् अड़तालीस Forty Eight
49 एकोनपञ्चाशत्, ऊनचत्वारिंशत् Forty Nine
50 पञ्चाशत् पचास Fifty
51 एकपञ्चाशत् इकक्यावन Fifty One
52 द्वापञ्चाशत् बाबन Fifty Two
53 त्रिपञ्चाशत् तिरेपन Fifty Three
54 चतुःपञ्चाशत् चौबन Fifty Four
55 पञ्चपञ्चाशत् पच्पन Fifty Five
56 षट्पञ्चाशत् छप्पन Fifty Six
57 सप्तपञ्चाशत् सत्तावन Fifty Seven
58 अष्टपञ्चाशत् अट् ठावन Fifty Eight
59 एकोनषष्टिः,ऊनषष्टिः उनसठ Fifty Nine
60 षष्टिः साठ Sixty
61 एकषष्टिः इकसठ Sixty One
62 द्विषष्टिः बासठ Sixty Two
63 त्रिषष्टिः तिरेसठ Sixty Three
64 चतुःषष्टिः चौसठ Sixty Four
65 पंचषष्टिः पैसठ Sixty Five
66 षट्षष्टिः छियासठ Sixty Six
67 सप्तषष्टिः सडसठ Sixty Seven
68 अष्टषष्टिः अडसठ Sixty Eight
69 एकोनसप्ततिः,ऊनसप्ततिः उनहत्तर Sixty Nine
70 सप्ततिः सत्तर Seventy
71 एकसप्ततिः इकहत्तर Seventy One
72 द्विसप्ततिः बहत्तर Seventy Two
73 त्रिसप्ततिः तिहत्तर Seventy Three
74 चतुःसप्ततिः चौहत्तर Seventy Four
75 पंचसप्ततिः पिचत्तर Seventy Five
76 षट्सप्ततिः छियत्तर Seventy Six
77 सप्तसप्ततिः सतत्तर Seventy Seven
78 अष्टसप्ततिः अठत्तर Seventy Eight
79 नवसप्ततिः, एकोनाशीतिः,ऊनाशीतिः उनयासी Seventy Nine
80 अशीतिः अस्सी Eighty
81 एकाशीतिः इक्यासी Eighty One
82 द्वाशीतिः बियासी Eighty Two
83 त्रयाशीतिः तिरासी Eighty Three
84 चतुराशीतिः चौरासी Eighty Four
85 पंचाशीतिः पिच्चासी Eighty Five
86 षडशीतिः छियासी Eighty Six
87 सप्ताशीतिः सत्तासी Eighty Seven
88 अष्टाशीतिः अट् ठासी Eighty Eight
89 नवाशीतिः,एकोननवतिः, ऊननवतिः नवासी Eighty Nine
90 नवतिः नब्बे Ninety
91 एकनवतिः इक्यानवे Ninety One
92 द्वानवतिः बानवे Ninety Two
93 त्रिनवतिः तिरानवे Ninety Three
94 चतुर्नवतिः चौरानवे Ninety Four
95 पंचनवतिः पिचानवे Ninety Five
96 षण्णवतिः छियानवे Ninety Six
97 सप्तनवतिः सतानवे Ninety Seven
98 अष्टनवतिः, अष्टानवतिः अठानवे Ninety Eight
99 नवनवतिः, एकोनशतम्, ऊनशतम् निन्यानवे Ninety Nine
100 शतम्, एकशतम् सौ, एक सौ Hundred,One hundred
101 एकाधिक शतम् एक सौएक One hundred one
1000 सहसम्र एक हजार One Thousand
10000 अयुतम् दस हजार Ten Thousand
100000 लक्षम् एक लाख One Lac

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संस्कृत लकार

संस्कृत भाषा में लकार कुल दस होते हैं।

  • लट् लकार (Present Tense)
  • लोट् लकार (Imperative Mood)
  • लङ्ग् लकार (Past Tense)
  • लृट् लकार (Second Future Tense)
  • विधिलिङ्ग् लकार (Potential Mood)
  • आशीर्लिन्ग लकार (Benedictive Mood)
  • लिट् लकार (Past Perfect Tense)
  • लुट् लकार (First Future Tense or Periphrastic)
  • लृङ्ग् लकार (Conditional Mood)
  • लुङ्ग् लकार (Perfect Tense)


उनमें से सबसे मुख्य पाँच लकार होते हैं। (लट् लकार, लङ् लकार, लोट् लकार, लृट् लकार तथा विधि लिङ् लकार) ही प्रचलन में है और इन्ही संस्कृत लाकर का सबसे ज्यादा प्रयोग भी किया जाता है।

इस बात को स्मरण रखने के लिए कि धातु से कब किस लकार को जोड़ेंगे, निम्न श्लोक स्मरण कर लीजिए-

लट् वर्तमाने लेट् वेदे भूते लुङ् लङ् लिटस्‍तथा ।
विध्‍याशिषोर्लिङ् लोटौ च लुट् लृट् लृङ् च भविष्‍यति ॥

अर्थात् लट् लकार वर्तमान काल में, लेट् लकार केवल वेद में, भूतकाल में लुङ् लङ् और लिट्, विधि और आशीर्वाद में लिङ् और लोट् लकार तथा भविष्यत् काल में लुट् लृट् और लृङ् लकारों का प्रयोग किया जाता है।


लट् लकार (Present Tense)

लट् लकार – (वर्तमान काल), वाक्य, उदाहरण, अर्थ – संस्कृत वर्तमान काल में लट् लकार का प्रयोग होता है। क्रिया के जिस रूप से कार्य का वर्तमान समय में होना पाया जाता है, उसे वर्तमान काल कहते हैं, जैसे- राम घर जाता है- रामः गृहं गच्छति। इस वाक्य में ‘जाना’ क्रिया का प्रारम्भ होना तो पाया जाता है, लेकिन समाप्त होने का संकेत नहीं मिल रहा है। ‘जाना’ क्रिया निरन्तर चल रही है। अतः यहाँ वर्तमान काल है। क्रिया सदैव अपने कर्ता के अनुसार ही प्रयुक्त होती है। कर्त्ता जिस पुरुष, वचन तथा काल का होता है, क्रिया भी उसी पुरुष, वचन तथा काल की ही प्रयुक्त होती है। यह स्पष्ट ही किया जा चुका है कि मध्यम पुरुष में युष्मद् शब्द (त्वम्) के रूप तथा उत्तम पुरुष में अस्मद् शब्द (अहम्) के रूप ही प्रयुक्त होते हैं। शेष जितने भी संज्ञा या सर्वनाम के रूप हैं, वे सब प्रथम पुरुष में ही प्रयोग किये जाते हैं।

1. युष्मद् तथा अस्मद् के रूप स्त्रीलिंग तथा पुल्लिंग में एक समान ही होते हैं।
2. वर्तमान काल की क्रिया के आगे ‘स्म‘ जोड़ देने पर वह भूतकाल की हो जाती है, जैसे– रामः गच्छति। (राम जाता है), वर्तमान काल- रामः गच्छति स्म। (राम गया था) भूत काल।


लोट् लकार (Imperative Mood)

लोट् लकार – (आज्ञार्थक), वाक्य, उदाहरण, अर्थ, आज्ञा, प्रार्थना अनुमति, आशीर्वाद आदि का बोध कराने के लिये लोट् लकार का प्रयोग किया जाता है।



लङ्ग् लकार (Past Tense)

लङ् लकार – (अनद्यतन भूत काल), वाक्य, उदाहरण, अर्थ – संस्कृत. अनद्यतन भूत में लङ् लकार होता है, जो कार्य आज से पूर्व हो चुका है अर्थात् क्रिया आज समाप्त नहीं हुई बल्कि कल या उससे भी पूर्व हो चुकी है, वह अनद्यतन काल होता है।



लृट् लकार (Second Future Tense)

लृट् लकार – (सामान्य भविष्यत काल), वाक्य, उदाहरण, अर्थ – संस्कृत. सामान्य भविष्यत काल में ‘लुट् लकार’ का प्रयोग किया जाता है। क्रिया के जिस रूप से उसके भविष्य में सामान्य रूप से होने का पता चले, उसे ‘सामान्य भविष्यत काल’ कहते हैं; जैसे – विमला पुस्तकं पठिष्यति। (विमला पुस्तक पढ़ेगी।)



विधिलिङ्ग् लकार (Potential Mood)

विधिलिङ् लकार – (चाहिए के अर्थ में), वाक्य, उदाहरण, अर्थ – संस्कृत विधि (चाहिये)निमन्त्रण, आदेश, विधान, उपदेश, प्रश्न तथा प्रार्थना आदि अर्थों का बोध कराने के लिये विधि लिङ् लकार का प्रयोग किया जाता है ।


आशीर्लिन्ग लकार (Benedictive Mood)

आशीर्लिन्ग लकार – (आशीर्वादात्मक), वाक्य, उदाहरण, अर्थ – संस्कृत. आशीर्वाद के अर्थ में आशीलिङ् लकार का प्रयोग किया जाता है, जैसे– रामः विजीयात्। (राम विजयी हो।)



लिट् लकार (Past Perfect Tense)

लिट् लकार – (परोक्ष भूत काल), वाक्य, उदाहरण, अर्थ – संस्कृत. ‘परोक्ष भूत काल’ में लिट् लकार का प्रयोग होता है। जो कार्य आँखों के सामने पारित होता है, उसे परोक्ष भूतकाल कहते हैं।

उत्तम पुरुष में लिट् लकार का प्रयोग केवल स्वप्न या उन्मत्त अवस्था में ही होता है; जैसे– सुप्तोऽहं किल विलाप। (मैंने सोते में विलाप किया।)
या जो अपने साथ न घटित होकर किसी इतिहास का विषय हो । जैसे :– रामः रावणं ममार । ( राम ने रावण को मारा ।)



लुट् लकार (First Future Tense or Periphrastic)

लुट् लकार – (अनद्यतन भविष्यत काल) में लुट् लकार का प्रयोग होता है। बीती हुई रात्रि के बारह बजे से, आने वाली रात के बारह बजे तक के समय को ‘अद्यतन’ (आज का समय) कहा जाता है। आने वाली रात्रि के बारह बजे के बाद का जो समय होता है उसे अनद्यतन भविष्यत काल कहते हैं; जैसे – अहं श्व: गमिष्यामि। (मैं कल जाऊँगा)



लृङ्ग् लकार (Conditional Mood)

लृङ्ग् लकार – (हेतु हेतुमद भूतकाल), वाक्य, उदाहरण, अर्थ – संस्कृत. क्रियातिपत्ति में लृङ्ग् लकार होता है। जहाँ पर भूतकाल की एक क्रिया दूसरी क्रिया पर आश्रित होती है, वहाँ पर हेतु हेतुमद भूतकाल होता है। इस काल के वाक्यों में एक शर्त सी लगी होती है; जैसे– यदि अहम् अपठिष्यम् तर्हि विद्वान अभविष्यम्। (यदि मैं पढ़ता तो विद्वान् हो जाता।). जब किसी क्रिया की असिद्धि हो गई हो । जैसे :- यदि त्वम् अपठिष्यत् तर्हि विद्वान् भवितुम् अर्हिष्यत् । (यदि तू पढ़ता तो विद्वान् बनता।)



लुङ्ग् लकार (Perfect Tense)

लुङ्ग् लकार – (सामान्य भूत काल), वाक्य, उदाहरण, अर्थ – संस्कृत. लुङ् लकार में सामान्य भूत काल का प्रयोग होता है। क्रिया के जिस रूप में भूतकाल के साधारण रूप का बोध होता है, उसे सामान्य काल कहते हैं। सामान्य भूत काल का प्रयोग प्रायः सभी अतीत कालों के लिये किया जाता है; जैसे– अहं पुस्तकम् अपाठिषम्। (मैंने पुस्तक पढ़ी।)

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I shall not live in vain…


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Book Review – The Patient Assassin by Anita Anand


The Patient Assassin: A True Tale of Massacre, Revenge and the RajThe Patient Assassin: A True Tale of Massacre, Revenge and the RajAnita Anand
5 of 5 stars

This is the fascinating story of Sardar Udham Singh who patiently but meticulously planned the assassination of the culprits of Jallianwala Massacre at Amritsar. The massacre in 1919 is arguably the most cowardly and dastardly act by British imperialiam anywhere in their brutal empire and led to the cold blooded execution of around 2000 unarmed and peaceful demostrators in a park in Amritsar including numerous women and children. It took Udham Singh more than two decades to bring his plan to execution but ultimately he did it in style by shooting dead Sir Michael O’Dwyer at London thus ending the life of a bigot who had ordered Martial Law in Punjab which ultimately resulted in the infamous massacre. Udham Singh took over the fictional identity of Mohammed Singh Azad in executing the revenge plan, a name which has a syllable each of the Muslim, Sikh and Hindu communities trying to unite Indian people who were being deliberately misled by the divide and rule policies of British occupation forces.

The author has done commendable research to bring to light hidden aspects of Udham Singh’s life, how he abandoned the love of his life, his own children and never let anything come in between him and his revenge. The story of Udham Singh’s meeting with Bhagat Singh, another Indian nationalist hero in Punjab jail where both were incarcerated at the same time needs perhaps further research but meeting with young Braveheart was quite impactful on Udham Singh and made his resolve ever firmer to exact revenge for Amritsar massacre.

The narrative of Indian independence struggle was hijacked by Nehru and Gandhi duo post 1947 and an utter falsehood of non violent nature of the struggle was imprinted on the minds of Indian population. This meant that the contribution of heroes like Udham Singh was sidelined or in most cases suppressed. Indian independence struggle was multi faceted and the part played by Ghadar party has been underplayed, it’s enlightening to read this story and understand the role of the number of Ghadar party leaders like Lala Hardayal who kept the armed struggle against the British occupation running as far as he Californian shores, Mexico border, Communist Russia, UK and other numerous locations.

The book also brings to the light, depravity of Nehru and Gandhi who publicly denounced the courageous act of Sardar Udham Singh at behest of their English lords, never in the annals of history, would anyone find a treachery as horrendous as that. What was worse was that Nehru actually ensured that his crony Krishan Menon was part of the defence of Udham Singh at London court-house and the guy did not let Nehru down. It is on record that Krishan Menon did not utter even a single word at the farce trial in defence of Udham Singh and he went one step further by ensuring that the final words of Udham Singh in that courtroom never see the light of the day. The author dug out those final words of Udham Singh’s and I wish that outcry of Inquilab Zindabad in defence of his motherland reaches to the ears of every Indian who should absolutely read this book. It took a Modi government to get the hero his due and after a lapse of seven decades, a statue of the Udham Singh was finally installed at Jallianwala park in 2018. A nation which cannot give its own heroes their due is bound to fail, it’s high time we Indians take cognisance of our own heroes and throw the pretenders like Nehru to the dustbin of history.

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Book Review – Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri


WhereaboutsWhereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri
3 of 5 stars

What is the point of writing this book? Life in modern world is at best empty and barren, the rampant virus has exacerbated that loneliness in the last couple of years. But with or without the virus, that is a common malady of this era, lonely people looking out for ‘crumbs of happiness’ from others. Nobody wants to invest in relationships or familial bonds but expect others to show kindness or even shower love on them. But is it a topic worthy of writing a book about? Perhaps, if author has a possible remedy or even hint of a cure… but Jhumpa Lahiri does not offer any of that in the book. The book is self translated in English by the author from Italian, in which it was originally written. I read the English translation so can’t even adjudge if Italian version is any better. The translated book is more like a diary of an Italian woman living alone, working in some academic field, seems a bit autobiographical. There is no storyline, just small chapters where the protagonist ruminates about her life and others she meets, a bit of voyeurism in it. Every book is an expression of reality that an author is purpose bound to spill out , but I’m not sure what is it for this one. Each chapter covers some random thoughts from the protagonist, there is an attempt to connect the storyline but reader is left bewildered on the point behind reviewing the life of a bored and lonely middle aged woman. The setting is an austere apartment in some remote Italian town and there are only a handful of characters in the book, all of whom happen to cross paths with the protagonist in her daily mundane life. That’s all there is in the book. Jhumpa’s earlier works were better but will give her a pass on this one as it looks more an experiment by the author on writing in Italian, a new language for a native English writer.

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Book Review – Stranger to History by Aatish Taseer


Stranger to History: A Son's Journey through Islamic LandsStranger to History: A Son’s Journey through Islamic LandsAatish Taseer
5 of 5 stars


Aatish Taseer was conceived of a whirlwind affair between a Pakistani Muslim politician and an Indian Sikh Journalist. And life can never be simple born on such fault lines of incompatible religious and political outlooks. This memoir is interesting because it shows in glaring light how an individual’s life gets affected by these societal constructs of statehood and religious identity. Aatish did a commendable job at documenting these fault lines in lucid prose and insightful observations while visiting Turkey, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan capturing how faith has affected the broader society. Another great writer, V.S. Naipaul did a similar journey across some of these countries and made more or less similar observations, but with Aatish it was more of a personal discovery whereas Naipaul’s observations were more of a neutral and unbiased spectator.

Aatish’s father left him and his mother when he was just 18 months old and he was raised alone by his Sikh mother in Delhi. All his childhood he lived with a ghost of an absent father and tried to make sense of his absence from his life. As a grown up he wanted to understand and decode these rifts created by ideological and political differences that are powerful enough to make a father abandon his own child and wife. For Aatish it was an attempt towards personal discovery, a pilgrimage of sorts. He wanted to understand how Islamic faith can seep in a society and trump familial bindings as well as moral and ethical values. He starts his journey in Turkey where he discovers how political regime is trying to keep faith at bay causing dichotomy in society. People attracted to faith end up creating their own ghettos, in spite of heavy censure from the state. They have built little glasshouses where faith can be planted keeping out the vices of modernity and state persecution. The young’s of the society are forced to learn secular values at schools by state but at homes they live within the shackles of faith introduced to them by their families and that is confusing to them. He observes that society has got divided among the faithfuls and not so faithfuls and is almost on cusp of open conflict between these two worldviews.

Next Aatish moves to Syria in search of a purer form of Islam but there he finds that regime is using faith to further their own agenda. All problems of governance are blamed not on an inefficient and corrupt government but on ‘world system’ that somehow is limiting the purity of faith. He finds that faithful from all over the world have congregated in Syria in search of the pure faith which they cannot experience in their native lands. This search for purity has made the society so finicky that they’re ready to kill and destroy for some cartoons published in a far away Norway, in the name of faith. Aatish observed that blaming outsiders for their internal problems is an attitude of a defeated civilisation which is stuck in the past long gone glory.

Aatish’s next stop is the headquarters of faith i.e. Saudi Arabia, there he performs Umrah at Grand Mosque but gets chided for wearing the articles of another faith on his body by the believers. Aatish laments the fact Islam is so exclusive that it can’t tolerate even a petty signature from a different faith on a believers body. But his own internal struggle with faith is more threatening to him than a verbal slight from a faithful. Aatish also observes that faith is in every aspect of life in Saudi Arabia and that stifles any progress or change. He questions this aspect of faith where it has to be everywhere in an individual’s life, in food, in clothing, even in bedroom. He observes that this was not always like this but is a recent phenomena when Sunni Wahhabism took hold in Saudi Arabia with the discovery of oil.

Aatish interested in seeing the other flavour of Shia Islam lands next at Tehran but there he observes that regime has used faith to criminalise the whole society. People have been booked and even beaten mercilessly for any petty misdemeanours like wearing a T-Shirt or putting lipstick, he calls it a tyranny of trifles. Interestingly he manages to meet a group of Iskon followers in Tehran who have left faith to go and start worshipping Krishna, Hindu god. He observes that regime’s brutality has disenchanted the whole society with mosques left empty and people openly questioning the basic tenets of faith. The highlight of this section is the heart rending story of a woman who has lost count of the times she has been booked and beaten, in particular one instance where she was beaten mercilessly for no reason et al by a group of plainclothesman. The regime finally got sniff of Aatish and he was questioned by security agencies and was not able to get an extension of his tourist visa forcing him to leave abruptly for Pakistan, his final destination.

For Aatish, Pakistan was not much different from India, he observed that though the country was created on the principle of faith but it is now anchored more on the negation of India than anything else. He visits a feudal lord in Sindh province and observes that feudalism is so prevalent in Sindh because of the lack of a middle class, society is made up of only haves and have nots. Hindus who earlier formed bulk of middle class in Sindh moved out during partition and Muhajirs who migrated to Sindh from India could not fill that gap causing a stunted society. He moves to Hyderabad next where he encounters a community stuck in the past, left destitute by the state. Faith has not been able create a cohesive society and he observes open enmity between Sindhi’s and Muhajirs communities causing widespread disaffection with faith and people waiting for the next big idea that can keep the society intact. Even the mighty Indus has been reduced to a thin stream of water not because of faith but degradation of faith in Pakistan is a good analogy for a river getting dry due to climate change.

Finally Aatish reaches Lahore where he meets his father after a long gap but could not get that closeness from him that he expected. He remains baffled why his father is still not ready to accept him as his own son, and how social constructs like faith and politics are still able to suppress the basic human emotions.

It’s a good book to understand the impact of faith on Islamic societies and how faith is being used by corrupt regimes to stifle freedom and enquiry in these societies.


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Don’t Rush Me, Please

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