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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Books Section Page

Same Story, Different time
Hindustan Times
New Delhi, July 14, 2013
First Published: 15:02 IST(14/7/2013)
Last Updated: 23:16 IST(18/8/2013)

What once was the part of oral story telling can now be read by the likes of those who can't understand either Persian, Arabic or Urdu. Thanks to author Sulaiman Ahmad, who translated and retold the popular story of Amar and Hamza in his latest book, Amar Aiyaar King of Tricksters.

The story revolves around Amar Aiyaar, the court trickster for the Persian king, Shahenshah Naushervan and warrior Ameer Hamza. Ahmad says that he wrote the story so that the characters can be related to by the kids of this generation. "Well it is a bit Tom Sawyerish in nature, both characters do pranks when they are young. But at the same time, I had to retell the story in such a way that the modern generation children who are fans of Harry Potter like fiction can relate to it. I, personally recited the story to my granddaughter and she loved it", says Ahmad. And true to the authors words, one can identify the Tom Sawyerish aspects in the book, especially in the early parts where both the characters (Hamza and Amar) were in school and due to a clear bias towards one student, the other one set out to trouble his teacher which included putting needles under his seat or eating up the entire meal that he is supposed to take to the teacher's house.

The book then follows a series of events, each one a short story in itself with Amar and Hamza exploring the world around them. From getting thrown out of the village to getting boons in the middle of desert, every event has a message on its own - what is right and what is wrong and at the same time not losing the innocence that for sure will keep the kids glued to the book.

About the book
Name: Amar Aiyaar King of Tricksters
Author: Sulaiman Ahmad
Publishers: Hachette India
Price: R375


Director Speaks
Renowned Bollywood director, Imtiaz Ali has written the foreward for the book. Ali who also happens to be Ahmad's nephew says, "Well I read it aloud to my daughter as a part of the oral tradition and we both loved it. Especially for this generation who are not much familiar with the Urdu language, this book will keep the story alive", says Imtiaz who calls Ahmad Maani ammu, lovingly


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