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MJ Akbar's book bestseller in Pak

Blood Brothers's success is prompting politicos to think that it may help bring the two countries closer.

india Updated: May 23, 2006 13:42 IST

By Shafqat Ali

Well known Indian journalist M.J. Akbar's book Blood Brothers: A Family Saga is already a bestseller in Pakistan within a week of its launch in Lahore with many saying it will promote better understanding between the two countries.

The book of memoirs - a non-fictional account of three generations of a Muslim family - is selling like hot cakes among politicians, academicians and media personalities.

"I have personally purchased a copy of Akbar's book and found it very, very interesting. It is a mixture of reality and fiction," Pakistan's Education Minister Javed Ashraf Qazi said.

"The book is bound to let the younger generation know about our history. The story is so interesting that one gets captivated. I will make sure every cabinet member gets it.

"I will even try (to ensure) that President (Pervez Musharraf) and Prime Minister (Shaukat Aziz) read it," Qazi told IANS here.

Makhdoom Amin Fahim, a Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leader and deputy to former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, has got a copy of the book, which also delineates the fluctuating contours of Hindu-Muslim ties.

"The book is indeed a good addition to my collection. I have gone through it and would like to read it at least 10 times," said Fahim, who is also a poet.

 
Journalist M J Akbar's memoirs Blood Brothers spans three generations of his family

The PPP leader said the launching of the book and Bollywood movies would bring the people and governments of the two countries closer. "I will send a copy to (PPP chief Benazir) Bhutto in Dubai," he said.

Former federal minister Aitzaz Ahsan said the book's main theme, which he described as the "golden thread" of the book, was a message of hope, coexistence, brotherhood and tolerance between Pakistan and India.

Najma Najam, vice chancellor of the Fatima Jinnah Women University, wants at least 100 copies for the varsity library. "I have found it to be interesting and worth reading in one go," she said.

Jamil Mirza, a professor of the Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad, said: "Akbar's book is set to bring people closer."

Salim Bokhari, editor of The News daily, said in Lahore: "I have always liked the way Akbar writes. This book is very unique. I have got 10 copies, one for me, one for my wife and some for my friends."

The book is also doing brisk business in all major bookstores of the country.

"I think it will lead the top-10 listing soon. It is already a bestseller," said Mohammad Taj, a bookseller in Lahore.

Abdullah Janoon, another bookstore owner in Islamabad, said: "The marketing has been good and the book is selling well."

In Blood Brothers, Akbar narrates the story of a poor child, Prayaag (in the persona of the writer's grandfather), who is adopted by a Muslim family, converts to Islam and takes on the name of Rahmatullah.

As Rahmatullah knits Telinipara into a community, friendship, love, trust and faith are continually tested. Incidents - conversion, circumcision, the arrival of plague or of electricity - and a fascinating array of characters interlink into a narrative of social history.