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An evening with a 'terrorist'

books Updated: May 14, 2007 12:22 IST

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Internationally acclaimed Actress Ayesha Dharker and her mother, poet Imtiaz Dharker were present at the release of Imtiaz Dharker's latest book, The Terrorist at My Table, in New Delhi, on Friday, an explosion of book reading, poetry recitation and overdose of literature.

"The Terrorist at My Table asks crucial questions about how we live, work, travel, eat and listen to the while preparing for attack. What do any of us know about the person who shares this street, this house, this table, this body? When life is in the hands of a fellow-traveller, a neighbour, a lover, son or daughter, how does the world shift and reform itself around our doubt, our belief?," said the poet.

Imtiaz Dharker's poems and pictures in this book hurtle through a world that changes even as we pass. The book grows, layer by layer, through three sequences -'The Terrorist at My Table', 'The Habit of Departure' and 'Worldwide Rickshaw Ride'- each cutting a different slice through the terrain of what we think of as normal. But through all the uncertainties and concealments, Dharker's poems unveil the delicate skin of love, trust and sudden recognition.

"The book explores various beliefs, doubts and fears we all live with in this terror-slaved world. It's not about terror, but what defines the complexity of our reactions to the terror," says Imtiaz.

The duo flew down from Mumbai where they had released the book earlier this week. The book has already got critical review internationally.

"Strong, concerned, economical poetry, in which political activity homesickness, urban violence, religious anomalies, are raised in an unobtrusive domestic setting, all the more effectively for their coolness of treatment", says Alan Ross in London magazine

Arundhati Subramaniam of Poetry International writes "here is no glib internationalism or modish multiculturalism . . . Displacement here no longer spells exile; it means an exhilarating sense of life at the interstices. There is an exultant celebration of a self that strips off layers of superfluous identity with grace and abandon, only to discover that it has not diminished, but grown larger, generous, more inclusive."

Imtiaz Dharker was born in Lahore and grew up in Glasgrow, Scotland. A documentary film-maker and accomplished artist, she conceives her books as sequences of poems and drawings. She is the author of Postcards from God (1997) and I Speak for the Devil (Penguin, 2003).