Stranger to History. A Son’s Journey through Islamic Lands. Aatish Taseer. Stranger to History. download cover image. “Stranger to History is a. I met Aatish Taseer. in New York last year, at the prize-giving ceremony of the National Book Awards of the USA. (my wife’s book, The Convert. Stranger to History – A Son’s Journey through Islamic Lands by Aatish Taseer – ebook () published by Canongate 19 March The story of a .

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Having said that, it counts for a rich read and furthers my desire to read more about the experiences from that part of the world.

Born in India as the only child to a Sikh mother she never married and a Muslim dad who lived on the other side of the border, Aatish embarks on a journey through Muslim lands in the hope of learning to understand how to approach his dad.

By depicting the homes deserted by the Hindu middle class and the crumbling shrines where Hindus tasefr Muslims once prayed together, he makes his parents’ separation an image of the rupture of partition, one of the two great ethnic cleansings of whose effects still plague us all. I have my own views on that, but it is interesting that few of the representatives in this book talk of the beauty of Islam, the peace of it, what it could be and could mean, if it didn’t feel the need to spend all of its time fighting to be heard.

Aatish was in Syria during the “draw Mohammed” cartoon controversy and tzseer burning of the Danish embassy.

Review: Stranger to History by Aatish Taseer | Books | The Guardian

He grew up in India amongst his Sikh relatives with little or no contact with his biological father till he was in his 20s. Aatish tries to talk to his from his school, but ends up having a cold conversation with this father.


It was founded on faith, but was never part of the tradition of high Islam. Writers such as Pankaj Mishra and William Dalrymple offer much more interesting insights into modernity’s cruel impact on traditional Islam, but Stranger to History shines when Taseer concentrates on what he knows best: Retrieved from ” http: Yes, we know how religion has been exploited for political gains and when the two are mixed nothing spiritually pure comes out of it.

In the book, Aatish, relates his experience in these countries. The one time the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan are mentioned, the word is bracketed between inverted commas, as if it were no more than a Muslim fantasy.

The veil has dropped.

Stranger to History: A Son’s Journey through Islamic Lands

I felt that he captures the turbulations in the unique father son relationship from his point very well, and of the tumultous relationship of Pakistanis with India post partition well. But though the mosques were empty in Tehran, though I hardly ever heard the call to prayer, never saw a woman fully veiled or a man with a beard, unless he was a government man, the revolution had not been kind: Stranger to History is a remarkable book — touching, brave, honest, elegantly written and filled with political and historical insight.

And in “Distrust” he visits his father one last time on the day of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. Syrians certainly know how to avoid political taboos, but Taseer’s assertion that they only talk politics in the privacy of their cars couldn’t be further from the truth. While he roams around the cities and countryside of these Islamic homelands, he experiences how these all are similar because of religion but different due to culture.

About a years ago, when James Joyce was as old as Mr.

This quest for personal actualisation and an ethnic understanding are both deep and compelling journeys and they ground this sometimes meandering, but never short of insightful book. To understand what is it actually to be a Muslim in the present world. Most of the terrorists today are religious.


STRANGER TO HISTORY by Aatish Taseer | Kirkus Reviews

The most absorbing pages of the book are those that relate his three-hours of inte Though nominally a Muslim because his father was one, author seeks to establish in his mind just what Islam is all about. Jun 18, Pratiti rated it really liked it.

Uistory Iran he falls into the underground party scene and runs into a group of closeted Hari Krishnas in Tehran. In a chilling scene he’s interrogated by Iranian security who demand names of his contacts and details of his activities. He meets the younger generation of British Pakistanis or Pakistani Brits full of radical faith and patriotism for an imagined country, full of aggression.

In the second part, in Iran, the writer encounters a kind-of secular rebellion complete with Hare Krishnas, God help us against a state that seeks to impose its own version of Islam on the people. Aug 16, Phoenix rated it really liked it Shelves: There atishh a Mandarin translated version. Paradoxically, aside from the Ayatollahs, politicians and the Basiji’s, religion is on the decline – he finds the mosques are largely empty.

At an early age he writes a letter to his strangerr and his father does not bother to reply back. The last two chapters pack a double extra punch: It is older generations too, less angry, more resigned, but still of the same mindset.