No Good Men Among The Living-3

Author -Anand Gopal

In my last two blogs , we waded through the muddy terrains of Afghanistan with Author Anand Gopal trying to make sense of the two decades long war and finally an abrupt ,shocking anticlimax with American Troop withdrawl

Author invested four years of his life and lived in Afghanistan as local and interviewed thousands of Afghans .Hence the book is an authentic collection of first hand accounts of those people whose every day life became nightmare , as their destiny changed with change of power at the “Power Nodes “

After Taliban was decimated and Al -Qaeda flew out of Afghanistan in late 2001 and early 2002 ,Author often wondered in hindsight ,that may be that was the right time for Troop withdrawl for the USA but then again , Who should have been the power transferred to ?

“The Talibans “- who were Afghan centric and did not mind , minding their own business and had a strong hold in Southern Afghanistan but at an insurmountable cost of pushing the country to the back gear .

OR

The forward centric , prowestern ,representing a tiny slice of the population , totally dependant on foreign powers ,easy to topple governments

The ” MIDDLE MEN “, another wrought in the system ,who had amassed wealth and power at the USA’s expense , the only liason between the Afghan people and the USA also played a strategic role in catalyzing the war to go wrong .Anybody from any faction could be branded as Taliban or Terrorist by these middle men, even to settle their own personnel rivalry and that person could be targeted ,tortured ,imprisoned or sent to Guantanamo prison

In the process ,as early as 2005 ,people of the country were weary and hopeless and Taliban resurgency started .They regrouped themselves by tacit support of ISI , Pakistan and Al-Qaeda and by 2007 they had regained control of half of rural Pashtun territory and interestingly author found out that people lived in peace in those areas .Crime had vanished but islamic justices were met with no jobs or development .

Author reported that as a nation ,Afghanistan always had to piggy back on foreign powers for its development and which further divided the nation into an unsolvable jigsaw puzzle .

US’s intent was always well meaning and Afghanistan toking its baby steps towards development , women empowerment and hence Nation Building

BUT

Intelligence failure ,language barriers , rampant corruption , betrayals led the USA towards one misstep to another and some where lost the holding power of the Nation

Author revisited his protagonists in Afghanistan in 2010 and found out the “Ex- Taliban commander , had landed in Bagram prison ; The Pro Karzai commander was shot dead and Heela , the urban turned rural housewife ,became a senator

Author gave us an authentic account of the state of Afgahnistan and it felt after reading the book that not only the country but the US had also exhausted all its options and troop withdrawl was a foregone conclusion

In Today’s Afghanistan ,there is a humanitarian crisis going on and calls for help are intense and we only hope that we as “Humans Of The World “could figure out some solution and do not discard the Country as “Basket Case”

Wishing you all a very safe week ahead

Hoping to be with you all soon

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NO GOOD MEN AMONG THE LIVING -2

Author – Anand Gopal

In our last blog ,in the book review of “NO GOOD MEN AMONG THE LIVING” ,BY AUTHOR ANAND GOPAL , we talked about how interestingly ,Taliban, a group of fanatical students came together to bring law and order to the Afghan society and they were a success to a certain extent except for pushing the country back to medevial times

AL -QAEDA

As per protagonist , Mullah Cable ,the Taliban commander , a bad stroke of luck , brought the Arabs of Al-Qaeda to Afghanistan . They had a distinctly different culture , spoke a different language and their goals were entirely different .Al -Qaeda wanted to displace US supremacy but Talibans were Afghan centric .They wanted diplomatic recognition as long as they wer left to their own ways .But at the time of World Trade Center attack in 2001 ,unfortunately ,Al-Qaeda was operating from the soils of Afghanistan.

The U-TURN

After the October , 7 2001 American attack on Afghanistan ,author reported ,Talibans were decimated and Al-qaeda retreated unconditionally .Talibans even agreed to support the US backed Afghan government and Hamid Karzai.This REBRANDING , was nothing new in Afghan politics .This was survival .The losing party either fled ,retired or submitted to the victorious .

But for Americans ,this was all alien

Allegiance is supposed to be for life .Changing colors like a chameleon was unacceptable and the” Foe ” even if packaged differently ,continues to be an enemy

So America continued its war against it’s “Invisible Enemy” and they were never offered a seat on the table in any of the reconciliatory efforts in the initial years .

HAMID KARZAI

Why Hamid Karzai?Author pondered !

Karzai was no different than any other Afghan leader, who survived on foreign power .He was a former humanitarian worker ,Scion of an elite Kandhar Family and with Tribal elders and former antisoviet commanders formed SOUTHERN ALLIANCE with headquarters in a Pakistan CIty

But he was smart enough to be at the right time and at the right place and Americans’plans aligned with his .

Karzai hated Taliban and Americans wanted a man who was from Pashtun ,Background[Tribal background] to head the government .

The Ghost Enemy

At the end of 2001 and early 2002 ,Talibans were dismanteled and Al-Qaeda had fled to the safe Havens . So author wondered who were the Americans fighting the war against?

Entered the Middle men and the frst missteps were taken , when the war started going wrong These” Middle men “understood the meaning of “American power and Money ” and enemies were recreated .

Author named Sherzai as one of them ,who ran the intelligence network for the Americans and reaped enormous rewards .Villas ,Business empires and power in Southern Afghanisatn ,to name a few

Unless you were a part of these PRO MIDDLE MEN OR PRO KARZAI groups .you were targeted by e ither taken into custody ,tortured or sent to Guantanamo prison

No amount of assurances from the rest of Afghans ,who at different times of their lives had belonged to different groups ,either Mujahideens ,Talibans or regular Afghans could convince Americans that like Americans they wanted to build their nation and aimed for peace

So the war , took a new turn and it was called “Counter -terrorism” and the peace efforts were called “Nation building “ but all within the precints of these “Middle Men” and the Victors ,The Americans ,themselves became victims of Afghan Strongmen

We will take forward this review in the concluding blog .

Till then ,

Wishing you all a safe and a Happy New Year , 2022 , in advance

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No Good Men Among The Living

America , The Taliban, And the war through American Eyes

Author – Anand Gopal

Historical perspective

The World was in disbelief and shock when US army left the reins of the country to the same foes ,who they had fought for 20 years .The promise of Women empowerment ,Development ,universal education , Peace ,justice seemed ephemeral and the country was sliding back to the Dark ages

To those of us , whose investment in Afghanistan is merely through News Channels and Print media ,its chaotic socio- political history has always left us wondering , that when would an organized society , emerge out of this upheaval ?

Why Economic stability and self empowerment still eludes this part of the world?

Author Anand Gopal’s book gave us quite a few of those answers ,

In 2008 ,he not only moved to Afghanistan for four years but also learnt their languages and lived as one of them and in the process , interviewed thousands of Afghans and got a close view of actual happenings there

Anand Gopal, as a journalist covers , dangerous and disturbed terrians ,the likes of Afghanistan ,Egypt , Syria and contributes regularly to the renowned magazines ,Wall Street Journal,The New Yorker , to name a few

His new book’s title – NO GOOD MEN AMONG THE LIVING – comes from Pashto proverb [,a language spoken in Afghanistan] .

The title seemed very appropriate to him , reflecting present state of mind of Afghan people ,when they realized that none of the sides of the conflicting parties can help them anymore.

Excerpt

His three protagonists one an insurgent Taliban ,another a member of US backed Afghan government and the third a urban turned rural housewife , a civilian ,one from each echelon of society ,belonging to the different warring sides bounce us around through the turbulent years of the country

In order to get a better perspective , we need to delve deeper into the history

GROUND ZERO

To unravel the grand puzzle of Afghanistan , author moves us back almost four decades to 1979 when Soviet Union invaded the country ,that’s the year protagonists felt , was the beginning of it all .

Afghanistan ,those days ,was a largely peaceful country .Though monarchy was overthrown by the then President , Daud Khan ,in 1973 for a one party AUTOCRATIC RULE ,urban part of the country was progressive .Women wore western attires and were allowed education , veils were optional and movie theatres were there

As compared , the countryside was the paradox , ruled by tribal leaders and tribal laws prevailed .

Over the course of time ,urban population was inspired by communism and embraced it and Daud Khan was overthrown and killed

Country saw urban development and women empowerment but to suppress rebellion ,communists also killed tribal leaders ,land lords and religious fighters . A million afghan were killed and 5 million became refugees

These were the times of COLD WAR and Communist influence had to be counteracted .

With the help of CIA money and ISI [Inter service Intelligence] , Pakistan Spy Agency ,Rural Afghanistan saw the making of Mujahideen commanders or War Lords .They were young men from the tribal areas who were trained and armed against the urban elites .Not only violence ,but also a violent version of islam was propagated in their religious seminaries

With the impending collapse of Soviet Union in 1991 , peace deal was signed with Afghan Government in 1989 and the proxy war gave way to CIVIL WAR ,1992-1996 . Horrendous atrocities were committed by the various factions of Mujahideens on each others as well as on the civil society

TALIBAN

A fanatical band of religious students , in 1994 ,came together under the leadership of Mullah Omar to bring a certain law and order to the country .Most of them were from country side ,with minimal formal education but believed in practicing a pure version of Islam .

As per author ,almost 90% of the country was brought under control but it came with a price tag .Music ,films ,photography was banned as it was considered roadways to sin .Women empowerment and education was stalled , and women were incarcerated to their households.

We will continue this interesting conversation in our next blog

Wishing you all a happy weekend

Stay Safe

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Ten Lessons For a Post Pandemic World -3

Conclusions

As we come to the last part of this brilliantly written book ,author draws a profound conclusion that ” Nothing is Written

He opined that though we live in an “Open . Fast and Unstable “ World , we have the “Human Agency “at our disposal and we have the ability to choose the right lanes

The book has numerous historical anecdotes where right decisions have reaped enormous benefits ,beginning with examples from World Wars through Cold Wars to Pandemic managements

The Three Great Crises of the present century [9/11,political ],Financial Crash and Covid -19 , [natural] had temporarily upended us but they were great water shed moments

For staving off any crisis , the power of international collaboration and cooperation should never be underestimated . Truly, we cannot change the existing order completely but can steer ourselves towards an informed decision .Globalization and Diversity is a reality of the present world and there has been structural transformation of our societies secondary to that .Accepting and utilizing those changes ,such as younger and more diverse popu;ation as strength ,would always work to our benefit

As human beings , we are renowned for our flexibility and resilience only if we set our minds to it

Agreed, Economic development may be at its peak now but rampant inequality needs to be addressed with an empathic approach and there should be better redistribution of wealth amongst the underperformers.

Science is not “VOODOO” and experts need to be relied upon as besides economic security we need safe practices for a better tomorrow

Wet Markets “ may be a necessity for poorer nations but they need to be better regulated as three quarters of the present century human diseases such as “AIDS , EBOLA,SARS ,MERS,Bird Flu,Swine Flu and most likely Corona virus , all have animal origins

Preventative Health Care needs to be stressed enough as morbidity and mortality definitely worsens with premorbid conditions

Climate change is for” Real ” and all regualtory steps need to be taken world wide “ASAP” .”Carbon tax ” will soon have to take place for a “Greener Earth”

Rise Of Rest Of the World may be a threat to America’s “Sole SuperPower “ role but there are certain” Pros “ in it too .Responsibility for” World Peace “ and Development needs to be shared by other “Equal Partners

Nothing is Written

On a lighter note , he ends by citing an example from the movie “Lawrence of Arabia “ .Lawrence , the leader of a band of Bedouin Warriers ,risks his own life and saves an Arab Soldier “Gasim” under hopeless situations but when Gasim is found to be a murderer of another tribe member ,he imparts justice and kills Gasim

As Fareed Zakaria’s columns ,podcasts , books ,and his hugely popular CNN show , Global Public Square , currently running 14 th season ,this book is seeped in sensibility , rational arguments and relevance .

Today on his show , he added the “Eleventh Lesson “ , the lesson of “Eastern Wisdom ” , that one needs to spend time , energy and money towards” Inner Engineering “ and if you cannot change the world around you “Change yourself ”

Author concludes that no” Expert “ can give us the guide map of our future .Its always the informed choices that we make along the way

Its a must read and I hope you all enjoy, as I did

Hope you all have a peaceful rest of the week

Will connect soon

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Ten Lessons For a Post Pandemic World -2

Author – Fareed Zakaria

In my last blog , we did an overview of the five lessons for a post pandemic world .I am happy to be back again , on time , to continue our conversation about rest of the lessons

Lesson – 6

Aristotle was Right – We are social Animals

1. Pandemics can isolate us temporarily but cannot change our basic nature . as human beings ;Social seclusion is not human

2. As humans ,we have deep urge towards social interaction , participation and

collaboration

3 .Cities fulfill those needs in the best possible manner ;Real life interpersonnel relations are source of happiness and meaning

4. Cities play a major role in modelling human beings and hence its citizens

5. Cities and human interactions are here to stay .

6. To succeed in this world , we will have to manage diversity and gain strength from it .

LESSON – 7

Inequality will get worse

  1. Our World is economically efficient but every commodity and service is on sale
  2. The top 10% of America which owns 70%of total wealth of the country will get richer and the other America poorer
  3. Covid -19 has emphasized the divide even more
  4. In the most fundamental sense , we fail as human beings ,if we do not strive to uphold the basic needs and human dignity ,of the mankind as whole

Lesson -8

Globalization is not Dead

  1. Covid does not have the power to kill Globalization
  2. Many structural Forces are pushing globalization further and full scale reversal is not possible
  3. The world is interdependant and would not redo the economic , scientific and technical progress of the past

LESSON -9

World is Becoming Bipolar

  1. We have to accept that though United state continues to perform well on the most basic measure of Global power -” Economically” , but China has arrived
  2. China for all its repressive politics is still a part of Global order . very different from the Cold War Era – with Soviet Union playing a very dissimilar part
  3. China and United States is deeply intertwined economically as trade partners , with billions at stake on every day trade
  4. “The Soft power ” of United States has dimmed but every nation is sensible enough to not to go into a large scale conflict and ruin its economic prospects for the future

Lesson – 10

Sometimes the Greatest Realists are the Idealists

1. We should accept that our present world has multiple power centers and to prosper and sustain , we are interdependent .

2 . America’s significant contribution to international life – Forgive , rebuild and rehabilitate the vanquished . It can be a guiding light for the world

3. History has taught us time and again that give “Peace ” a chance first

4.Idealism underlying realism is simple -When nations cooperate ,people live a longer , richer and more secure life

We would conclude this conversation in our next post

I really enjoyed putting out these lessons in a very simple format for your easy read .hope you enjoyed it too .

Have a great weekend

Shruti Aggarwal

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Ten Lessons For a Post pandemic World

                        Ten Lessons For a  Post Pandemic World

                                 Author – Fareed  Zakaria

,         I have been away from this platform for a while yet every day of this last year, this is where I wanted to be .Life situations do not always let you prioritise .    Family engagements   took me to India in the early part of 2020. When I returned in August of 2020 to the US , I had stepped into an entirely different world of masking , universal precautions , social distancing ,lockdowns , travel restrictions , an alien place

Vaccines came and we heaved a sigh!

But  even after a year ,we still are not in a position to write an obituary of the Pandmic and I feel this conversation is still very relevant

Author Fareed Zakaria , my all-time favorite ,is a journalist ,political commentator and author .He is the brilliant host of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS .Besides other honors bestowed on him ,  he has been named one of the top global thinkers of the world .

His best seller , Ten Lessons for a Post Pandemic world ,help us introspect our social , political and economic milieu globally to tackle any pandemic like threats , under the heads of ” Ten Lessons “

It is an extensively researched book with an impressive bibliography and many interesting historical anecdotes . I have simplified the lessons , sometimes over simplified but it would help us to gather the salient points as a quick read

EXCERPT

LESSON -1

                                        BUCKLE UP

Center for disease control estimated that three quarters of new human disease originate in animals .That was the case in AIDS, Ebola ,SARS ,MERS, Bird Flu , Swine flu

Our open fast , on steroid world is encroaching their habitat at a reckless pace

Animals like bats can endure viruses which can debilitate human beings

Wet markets need to be regulated with healthy eating habits with less meat

Our society needs more “Air bags “, “Dousing of the vehicle” and “Buckling up

LESSON -2

What matters is Quality of Government and not Quantity

We should try to have

1.Optimal belief in science

2. Enable Technocratic leaders

3. Trimming down layers of Bureaucracy and Red tapism would definitely bring better results .

LESSON -3

MARKETS ARE NOT ENOUGH

1. Societies should not be “pay to play “

2. Government will have to accept a more active role in Economy

3 .Essential workers are not liabilities

4.Taking Denmark as an example ,Government should try to redistribute tax money amongst its citizens for a more economically equal and an abundant society .

Lesson -4

People should listen to the Experts and Experts to people

1.Science is really about process of learning and discovering with many failures and disappointments

2.Scientists should” lift the Hood ” and show how it works

3.Elites should not have a dominating attitude and should not deaden their empathy and sensitivity towards others as the others” are the people they would be wielding their power on

LESSON -5

LIFE IS DIGITAL

  1. Digital world is proving to be a necessity
  2. Every time a task moves to a” digital realm , it becomes easier to use with softwares automating it and optimise it
  3. Artificial intelligence will be a big part of medicine , at par with human intelligence
  4. AI can do “complicated analytic tasks better than humans but it needs a lot of data to process the resullts “
  5. So we would learn to cherish the” human touch ,creativity ,unpredictability warmth and intimacy “

I hope you enjoyed reading this

I will be back soon with the review of remaining five lessons

wishing you all a very happy Labor Day

Shruti Aggarwal

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Welcome to LAGOS-Book Review

     Welcome   to Lagos, Author- Chibundu Onuzo

My  brief sabbatical was over in India as all good things must come to an end  and I am back to the grind, my work, no pun intended, in the US

Travel during COVID times, well that needs a separate blog and I need to do it soon but I am sure it will be etched in my memory for a while even when” COVID “ itself would be a memory.

I had read this book a while ago and it was again one of those books which you wanted to reminiscence about it long after. We  have come a long way from “Its time for Africa” but the journeys of developing nations are always arduous and trajectories have more” speed breakers” and  “Road bumps” than  “High ways”.

Authors from the African Continent are no more rising stars. They have contributed immensely to the world of English literature and have made their presence felt in a big way but interestingly, I had never read any relevant book till now.

Author, Chibundo Onuzo, gives  us a vivid picture of, city of Lagos, which is  an entertaining  but equally poignant account of  a nation which is still  taking its faltering baby steps

She is a young Nigerian novelist who was published at the age of 21 years. Her first novel “The Spider King’s daughter” won a Betty Trask Award and was short and long-listed for other coveted awards. In June of 2018, Onuzo was elected fellow of the Royal Society Of Literature in the “40 under 40” initiative. When I read this book, she was doing her doctorate at King’s College London. I did not read her first novel but it surely is in my bucket list

Excerpt

In the book “Welcome to Lagos “ five very diverse characters representing very different strata of societies are thrown together on their journey to their dream city the “ city of Lagos. They are in denial with their present and try to dream of a better alternative by risking everything for an” unknown better “

Like the “Colonel’s hair spiraling out of the collar cuff “the army is brimming with misconduct, unfair practices, and power misuse. Chike Amoebi who is a soldier in the army with a “wasted biology degree ”witnesses the excesses of his Boss on civilians as  “Colonel had broken every one of the codes to deal with civilians” and “Colonel’s wildness seemed barely constrained by his starched uniform”. Amoebi with his subalterns” Yemi “, decides to break loose. The next to join them is” Fineboy”, who is a  member of a random rebel group and who has possibly raped the next member to join the group. Fineboy has a hidden talent and nurtures a dream of being a Radio Jockey. Isoken “who is barely a woman” is a vulnerable young girl who has lost her family in the ongoing strife of the country and is seen as easy prey by the society, is taken in the protective fold of this” good meaning group “. Ona, the beautiful homemaker”, “whose husband loved her in the way you loved expensive shoes to be polished and glossed but at the of the end to be trodden “  who meets them on her way to Lagos as she decides to leave her well-ensconced life.

Since the group has no money and no connection they fall in dire straights and have to be homeless for a short while but somewhere cohesive forces develop amongst them and they do not leave each other’s side.

Fineboy, who is resourceful in his own way , comes across an abandoned property which is owned by Chief Sandayo, who is a typical minister of a corrupt nation on the wanted list for economic crimes.

In this property, they come across a sack full of money and here the author’s imagination takes a magical flight where instead of plundering the loot, they concur, that it is ill-gotten money and decide to spend it on up upliftment of education and society, which is the need of the hour, for the country. So one night, when Chief Sandayo walks in to claim what’s presumably his, he is held hostage by the group and is forced into philanthropy with them.

Ahmad, only a journalist child of corrupt and rich parents, another product of the rot, in the society was educated in London but decided to return to Lagos to start his own newspaper and cleanse the system.

                                 Conclusion

As we read the book and characters, situations and plots unfold, I experience that painful “Déjà vu” of being a part of the story of the developing nation. Though the author dares to experiment with a utopian world where the stolen money is used for building schools and buying computers the author” course corrects” into reality and makes us realize that no such miracles are happening yet in the society. An immense volume of evil, immortality, and corruption eventually engulfs the righteousness, and the shameless march over the downtrodden continues.

The first few chapters let you take note of the author’s brilliant skills as her metaphors are clever, dialogues are relevant and humor is prominent but somewhere in the middle of the book, the climactic pull is loosened a bit. In the last few chapters, the plot thickens and realism takes over and readers can end the book with a good aftertaste.

The challenges of developing nations always seem insurmountable but like a “ rising star”  the hopes and aspirations of  even a small part of the population can always be the” Guiding light “ for a better tomorrow

The” purpose of lives “of these nations are clear and as long as” visions are alive”, it is the best “silver lining” for them

“ Welcome to Lagos “ is a” must-read” and I am excited to have found  this brilliant author, who I am sure, would contribute immensely to the world of  English literature

Talk to you all soon

Have a good weekend

                                                     Shruti Aggarwal

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In Xanadu – A Quest – Book review –Author William Dalrymple

 In  Xanadu – A Quest – Book review –Author William Dalrymple

 It was the year 1986 when   Karakorum highway opened between Pakistan and China and   William Dalrymple, conceived an ambitious project of following in the footsteps of Marco Polo in his summer break in Cambridge. Still wet behind the ears, all of 22 years, this daunting journey from Jerusalem to Xanadu in China had to be done on a paltry sum of 700 pounds, but possibly enough in those days.

It paved way for one of his best literary endeavors, his first book, In Xanadu – A Quest. No wonder, his book has caught more attention than any travelogues or documentaries made on this famous journey of Marco Polo.

Incidentally, this expedition was planned once before when the author was in the fifth standard with his friend, after reading a” Ladybird “ book on Marco Polo. He had no clue about “England “ or “China “, so they came back home for supper once the evening set in.

A Venetian, young Marco Polo,  came to Jerusalem when he was seventeen years old with his Uncle and Dad in 1271. Christendom was undergoing a low phase in those times and Gregory X[the then Pope] had a whiff that Kubla Khan, grandson of Ghengis Khan was showing interest in conversion to Christianity. Chengis Khan was the then ruler of a vast empire from the Euphrates to Pacific and if he could be made a believer of Christianity, then this could have been the best possible move.

Chengis Khan wanted a sample of oil from the famous lamp which burned in Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and Marco Polo and his team was given this responsibility

Polo was a hard-headed merchant’s son, so his account of travel was neither a diplomatic expedition to save Christianity nor a general account of the lands he passed. At the end of the journey, his goal was simple –“Profit “

This 12,000 miles journey spanning through multiple countries was not a cakewalk in any era. It takes us through Jerusalem, Syria, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, and finally ends in Xanadu in China.

Dalrymple was stood up by his friend and companion at the last minute. Though heartbroken, Laura , the substitute companion proved an asset. She not only braved the misogynist behavior and male gazes throughout the journey but proved to be a strict taskmaster for the author in keeping him on this whirlwind tour on schedule.

 The author’s brilliant and personalized kaleidoscope of interaction with the different people en route to his destination made me fall in love with this book, a decade back. I still feel this is the best book of the author, in the genre that the author excels in and so I

William Dalrymple needs no introduction as far as his literary accomplishments are concerned. His books have won many awards and accolades and been made into television series. Currently, he divides his time between New Delhi and London.

He is an authentic, diligent, and honest historian and we are carried in too deep historical recesses of these places, which could have been missed otherwise. It is not about rewriting history but we can form a contemporary image of our own, of these places. His in-depth knowledge of art and architecture shines through the book as he travels through these ancient cities brimming with historical monuments.

Readers’ interest in historical travelogues is quite often porous but the book has been packed with a huge dose of humor and which stands out more so often in the form of anecdotes, incidents, and local dialects which makes it a page-turner.

West Asia has always confounded the world with its paradoxical and intricate neighborly relations. One wonders, how tolerance and intolerance, brotherhood and betrayals, fanaticism, and acceptance can reside side by side for so many centuries in a status quo fashion.

Our world is not fair and Jerusalem, the city of peace, the cradle of many religions including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the holiest place in the world has seen the most bloodshed to date.

History attracts as your mind can play an “action replay “ but the knots of history are not easy to untangle. We as humans will continue to rush towards such “Mission Impossible” as long as challenges would be present to us.

Hope you all had a safe and good weekend

Would talk to you soon

                                                                                 Shruti Aggarwal

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