"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: nadiakhaan
Full Name: Nadia Khan
User since: 10/Jan/2009
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Dark side of Pakistani politics - Book Review by Nadia Khan

'Stranger to History' an autobiography of Aatish Taseer


Stranger to History is an upcoming autobiography or a personal memoir, will be available from February 17th 2009, of a son's journey through Islamic lands. As a child, he had seen his father's photograph in a browning silver frame. He was raised by his Sikh mother; Tavleen Singh in Delhi , his Pakistani father, a renowned politician, remained a distant figure, almost a figment of his imagination, until he crossed the border when he was twenty-one to finally meet him. 

Stranger to History is the story of a journey made by him to answer the questions â€" who he is, his roots, and where he belongs to, starting from Istanbul, Islam's once greatest city, to Makkha, its most holy, and then home, through Iran and Pakistan. Ending in Lahore , at his estranged father's home, on 27th December 2007, the night Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. It is also the story of a divided family, if our politician would accept their estranged loved ones, over the past fifty years. Part memoir, part travelogue, probing, stylish and troubling, Stranger to History is an outstanding record in which he had revealed the immoral behaviour of a Pakistani politician, who is still enjoying the main role in Pakistan's politics.

In the years that followed, the relationship between father and son revived, and then fell apart. For him, their tension had not just to do with the tensions of a son rediscovering his missing father â€" they were intensified by the fact that he is an Indian, his father Pakistani political figure, a public office bearer, and Muslim. It had complicated his parents' relationship then and now it complicated his.

These strange relationships forced him to ask bigger questions:


o       Why did his father, despite claiming to be irreligious, describe himself as a 'cultural Muslim' and then disowned him?

o       Why did being Muslim mean that your allegiances went out to other Muslims before the citizens of your own country? 

o       Why did Muslims see modernity as a threat, if it is?

o       What made Islam a trump identity, especially when you are in politics?

o       What made sub-continent political figures to disown their own loves? 


To find out all this he has rightly said, “'I had sought out my father because I couldn't live with the darkness of not knowing him. If I hadn't, all my life I would have had to cover it up with some idea of him taken from my mother on faith. I felt it would have limited me. History should never be taken on faith.'


This book is an autobiography of Aatish Taseer, who was born in 1980 in Mumbai , India when his father Salman Taseer, presently Governor of Punjab, has sought political asylum to stay in India during Zia ul Haq regime. Aatish was educated at Amherst College in Massachusetts and worked as a reporter at Time magazine and has written frequently for Time, The Sunday Times, and Prospect Magazine. He speaks five languages and currently lives between London ( England ) and New Delhi . This is his first book.


Beside an emotional trauma, this book is a documented proof of our elite class lust and immoral behaviour. On holding public office in Islamic Republic of Pakistan, it might refer to clause(s) of Article 63, which reads, “A person shall be disqualified from being elected or chosen if he is propagating any opinion, or acting in any manner, prejudicial to the Ideology of Pakistan , or the sovereignty, integrity or security of Pakistan , or morality ¦¦. I leave it to our Pakistani legal experts to justify the morality in above case and to provide justice to a nation, father to a son and husband to a single-mother!

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