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This memoir shows another side of Pakistan, the struggles of the common people

Omar Zafarullah’s memoir A Hundred Journeys, in which the author attempts to explain Pakistan to his son Hyder, is intensely personal but also deeply political.

books Updated: Jul 10, 2017 16:34 IST
Indo Asian News Service
Book review,Omar Zafarullah’s memoir,A Hundred Journeys

The focus more than often is on issues such as political turbulence or struggle for women’s rights. However, Omar Zafarullah’s book A Hundred Journeys brings out another side to Pakistan: the everyday struggles of ordinary people.

A Hundred Journeys is a memoir where the author attempts to explain Pakistan to his son Hyder through a narrative which is intensely personal but deeply political too. “I write because I need you to know what I cannot say,” the author writes to his son.

The journey begins in the early 1900s when the family migrates from Ropar, India, to Gojra, Pakistan, in search of a better future. The author portrayed inspiring characters from his family in the book who challenged patriarchy and social norms.

At a point the author reminds his son of his great-grandmother, whom Omar would address as Maaji, who challenged patriarchy in her efforts to take the family out of poverty.

He also talks about his grandfather whose perseverance turned around the fortunes of his family; his friend Khawaja Imran who helped him bounce back from a failed business, and many others.

The 9/11 attacks that shook the world also had an impact on Pakistan’s global image. “The few Pakistanis who still believed that the war on terror was in fact a war against terrorists now had to accept the theory that it was indeed a war against Islam,” he writes.

With instructions on how to jump a busy intersection to the travails of setting up a business, this book portrays everyday life in Pakistan with an immediacy that is poignant and striking.

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First Published: Jul 10, 2017 16:34 IST