Book Review: A Hundred Journeys is a Pakistani father’s manual for his son | books$reviews | Hindustan Times
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Book Review: A Hundred Journeys is a Pakistani father’s manual for his son

Author Omar Zafarullah’s book A Hundred Journeys - Stories of My Fatherland is a Pakistani father’s memoir and manual to his son.

books Updated: Jul 18, 2017 08:43 IST
Henna Rakheja
Cover of the book A Hundred Journeys by Omar Zafarullah.
Cover of the book A Hundred Journeys by Omar Zafarullah.

What should a Pakistani father write to his son as advice for the future? This is what forms the crux of the book, A Hundred Journeys — Stories of my Fatherland, by Omar Zafarullah. This book in first person narrative, is described on the back cover as part memoir and part manual for living; but is more gripping when read from the first perspective. There is an entire chapter in this book where the father tells the son on how to go about the ordeal, in case he gets abducted ever; based on the father’s personal experience of getting back his father-in-law from the kidnappers.

The life experiences of the father are meaningful as his young self endeavours to make a living in a foreign land – a typical story of an aspirational youth. But what’s unbeknownst is the long-lost significance of Maaji (narrator’s great grandmother), whose struggles to make the family educated and respectable are remembered with loving words. With this as the backdrop, the changed status of women in the Pakistani society and thereafter many a social issues ranging from the security of people to forced norms in the garb of religion, are spoken with believable reasoning. Slight references to India such as a poster of Juhi Chawla in hot pants and her popularity in Pak, attack on Indian Parliament and even the police system of India being better than that of Pak do make an Indian reader smile, albeit faintly. But these nuggets are few and far from each other so the reader has to make oneself dedicated to the book, as the narrative progresses and the advisory on living gets stretched.

The book’s attempt to entwine personal tales with Pak’s political background continues and the history of Pak is revealed – from being a land of farming to a place that is now infamous for breeding rebels.

Facts
  • Title: A Hundred Journeys – Stories of My Fatherland
  • Author: Omar Zafarullah
  • Publisher: Rupa Publications India
  • Price: Rs 295

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