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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Aatish Taseer had worked as a reporter for Time magazine. Categories Fiction Non-fiction Children’s books Authors. Something tells me tha Aatish Taseer has an interesting background.

He is seeking specific answers and so his questions are focussed. A Muslim cannot be separated from Islam, a moderate Muslim distances himself from Islam but that does not change the characteristics of the faith. Forbidden parties, spontaneous revolts. That is perhaps the essence strangr faith. What does being Muslim mean?

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

Jun 18, Pratiti rated it really liked it. By depicting the homes deserted by the Hindu middle class and the crumbling shrines where Hindus and 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.

The book is a very good one to read, considering this is the first one from the author. He knew their holidays and rituals as well as anyone else’s i. Religion has become a political and historical grievance against the modern world.

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

To write a travel memoir on his journey towards his father via religion is no easy task. I spent some time in Teheran in the early seventieswhen the Shah was at the height of his power. The author yo that he also visited Oman and Yemen, but for reasons not specified he was unable to write about his experiences there.


The Muslims Taseer meets in each country are tied together by a common history, the history of Islam, that connects them across geographical and political boundaries. Published November 13th by Graywolf Press first published November 2nd Xtranger example, in Karaikal, where I went to college, the annual Kandoori festival, a remembrance of a Sufi saint, is celebrated by Hindus and Muslims alike – this in a temple town revered for its closeness to Thirunallar, an important Shiva temple in the Hindu pantheon.

He begins his travel from Turkey and travels through Syria, Iran, and multiple other countries before ending up at this father’s place in Pakistan. What he discovers through his travel-memoire is a deeper understanding, an entrenched confusion about Islam and its relation to civilisation, culture and politics.

Not only do they belong in strznger different worlds, they are so very much alike in other ways.

STRANGER TO HISTORY by Aatish Taseer | Kirkus Reviews

Not only that, but in Sind too, where once great variety had been absorbed, bitter division was to be found in what was now relative homogeneity. Open Preview See a Problem? Descriptive and engaging throughout. Even though he calls out what he is learning from time to time during his travels, I found it a little difficult to come to grips with the basic issue of theocratic government and religion’s role in society.

Such fusing of history with faith spells danger to pluralistic and multicultural societies. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. I understand that feeling as well. This leads to a harsh summation: The Pakistani parts taseerr the narrative are conflicted in ways that mirror the relationship between India and Pakistan.

Taseer, grandson of a famous Pakistani poet, son of a “cultural Muslim” Pakistani politician and an Indian Sikh journalist mother sets out on a journey to finally reconnect with his father and learn what it means to be a Muslim. 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.

Paradoxically, aside from the Ayatollahs, politicians and the Basiji’s, taeeer is on the decline – he finds the mosques are largely empty. Aatish Taseer is Indian, his father is Pakistani, and his maternal family are partition refugees.


And Sind, for centuries so diverse, its culture and worship formed from that diversity, was for the first time in its history no longer a place of confluence.

They watch the news coverage together, mostly in silence. In Iran, where the nation-state imposes a literal Islam, he sees taseeer people at odds with the history being fed to them. Pakistan presents the most tragi-comic example of all. I discovered travel writing when I was well into my 20s. What we see now, whether in corrupt police states or in the “revived” Islamic regimes, is the loss of that older society.


In this unusual part-biography, part-travelogue, he turns a journey of meeting his politician father in Pakistan who had estranged him in his childhood into an odyssey that would inform him about what being a Muslim in the current world entails. The peculiar circumstances that gave birth to Taseer is the starting point of the book, but that is not its stranget.

That is to say, while he is not personally religious, he feels a powerful sense of identity with the traditions of Islam. People of other religions are thought to belong to other species. This was a nation, like mine, that was founded on high ideals. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account.

I understand that feeling because like Taseer, I care. But it allows little room for human lives to be played out within it. They see it as killing people, putting journalists in jail. For the faith to remain in power in a complex [modern] society, it had to beat down the bright and rebellious members of that society with its simplicities.