The Sensational Life and Death of Qandeel Baloch

Sanam Maher’s book, “The Sensational Life and Death of Qandeel Baloch” is a very well researched and informative book. I bought this book in impulse, from Lahore. Though I had little interest in Qandeel Baloch as an individual, but still I wanted to know the facts surrounding her life and death. Baloch, who shot to fame with her sultry videos was a poor village girl, who had a difficult life, moved out after a divorce and wanted to make a life for herself, doing what she knew best, singing, acting etc. In that, she wen’t a little overboard and challenged the otherwise conservative values of our society. In doing this she got instant fame and hate. As is wont to happen in such cases, she made a lot of enemies, some within her own family, which ultimately resulted in her own death at her younger brother’s hands, who actually drugged the whole family and strangulated his sister while she slept. While all this is common knowledge thanks to our pathetic media which somehow is more concerned about people’s personal lives than the actual issues affecting our society, IMHO the book covers a lot of other issues which somehow have largely remained unquestioned and unanswered.

Continue reading The Sensational Life and Death of Qandeel Baloch

Baburnama, Journal of Emperor Babur

Baburnama: Journal of Emperor Babur

Translated by Annette Susannah Beveridge, (from Chaghtai Turkish)

Abrdiged/Edited by Dilip Hero

Penguin Books

Review: You actually cannot review a treatise written by a King of the likes of Zaheer ud din Baber 🙂 You can just scribble a little about it. The original document translated by Annette Susannah is over 1000 pages with various foot notes in almost microscopic form. So Dilip Hero has done a fine job of condensing it into 350 plus pages.

The book itself is neatly organized in three parts covering his life in Farghana (Babur’s birthplace), Kabul (his conquered territory, and Hindustan (the final dominion). Written in first person (we, in order convey the meaning “hum” in Urdu) it makes an interesting read from the beginning till end. It was surprising to note that the king mantained his journal from an early age 10 years!!! till his final years. Records of a few years are destroyed and that is where the editor has made use of historical narratives and other documents to reconstruct history.

It is interesting to note that Babur makes mention of all territories of Hindustan that he attacked and conquered at various times (total five time, fifth being his final foray into Hindustan), starting from Kabul, the infamous Khyber Pass, Ali Masjid, Bajaur, Bannu, Kohat (my native town 🙂 ) , Peshawar, Hasht nagri, Jhelum, Sialkot, Depalpur, Lahore etc etc. The description of countryside is detailed and he makes mention of the flora and fauna at various places. It was surprising to note that there exsited Rhinos and tigers near Peshawar (Hasht nagri to be exact) in those times.

The King spent most of his life on horseback, a few times coming close to death, almost captured but always surviving, it could make a block buster movie anyday.

His royal higness married 7 times (once to a Yousafzai woman!!) , and had two Circasian girls gifted to him. The Padshah started drinking much later in life, but was fond of Majun. His lineage is traced to Changis Khan on his mother’s side and subsequently to Timur Beg.

A most interesting account being the mention of time and its division in Hindustan.

The various cmapaigns are covered in vivid details , the most interseting ones being his final showdown with Ibrahim Lodhi, and with Marathas. Don’t be shocked to read the making of “tower of heads” by his forces.

The book makes a fine read any day, specially for history buffs. I got it through Liberty Books , in fact I had ot preoder it, and it was delivered in about 6 weeks time.

Highly addictive stuff!

Book review. Flight of the Falcon

Book Review: Flight of the Falcon.

When a friend suggested this book to me, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it. That’s because I have stopped reading Military history and stuff, but then one day I ordered it from Vanguard and after reading a few pages I found it was one of those “hard to put down books.”

This is the story of an ace fighter pilot of Pakistan Air Force, Sajjad Haider, and in that he has covered the history of PAF, the training years , the 1965/71 wars, the role of PAF, that of the Army and its operations. It is in fact much more than that. The book dispels myths about our leaders (both military and civilians), it takes a rather good look at our history, where we went wrong, the machinations of the powers that be from 1950’s till the 1980’s and beyond.

I found it to be well researched with relevant references all along. This is one of those books that clears a lot of mist, surronding our history, mostly related ot the wars and the roles of PAF and Army. Since the officer remained at important positions in the PAF and was well respected being a decorated war hero so it carries weight. It is a fisrt hand account of a pilot. The man who lead PAF attack on Pathankot and destroyed 11 enemy aircraft (19th Squadron) and again attacked enemy columns at Lahore, stalling their advance to Lahore in 1965. The narration of various air missions is presented in a detailed and graphic manner, the reader feels being a part of the operation.

It makes a good read for history buffs and anyone interested in knowing more about the Pakistan India wars, operation Gibraltar and Grans Slam. (I would call it the alternative view” that forces you to view a different dimension of our history.)

Book Review: Memories of a Lacerated Heart 1971

Book Review: Memories of a lacerated Heart 1971. Author: Maj (Retd) Iftikhar ud Din Ahmad. Translation by: Moeen A Bhatti, M.D. (USA). Editor” Rida K Bhutta (B.A. Hons)
Hello, hope you all are good. This book has inspired me to take the pen and write my heart out on a subject which has bugged me for a long time. The result was my research in to it, (over the years) it forced me to read books on the subject by our Pakistani authors, mostly (high ranking) Military officers. And before I start it let me please say that the purpose is not critique or to start a tirade of words, neither is it to hurt anyone’s feelings. I came across this book on Facebook and got it shipped from UK, thanks to a dear friend (AJ thanks again 🙂 ). Some of the books that I have read on the subject are (in no particular order) Witness to Surrender, The betrayal of East Pakistan, Dead reckoning, Escape from Oblivion, The story of my struggle, A stranger in my own country , and a few more (over many years time). All the above mentioned books are from Pakistani authors save one from Sharmila Bose.

Continue reading Book Review: Memories of a Lacerated Heart 1971

Book Review: Undeclared Water War on Pakistan

water war on Pakistan

I saw a small review of the book titled, “Undeclared Water War on Pakistan: Tactical and Strategic Defense Mesaures” in a local paper, just a week ago. Something told me this book carries a message, and so the next natural thing was to google it. That done, an order was deftly placed at Fabingo.com, who delivered it in 48 hours. And naturally it was finished in two sittings, filling me up with loads of info about the water situation threatening to plague planet Earth and off course Pakistan. Authored by Professor Dr Iqbal Ali, who happens to be an expert on the subject, the book adopts a no nonsense approach on the subject using lucid language, yet driving the point across to the reader.

Continue reading Book Review: Undeclared Water War on Pakistan

Book Review: Truth Always Prevails by Sadruddin Hashwani

Hashwani

The long list of books to be read by me is always growing long, not to mention the ones on my bookshelf which I haven’t read as I keep adding more to the already sizeable collection. So, when I got this email from Liberty Books promoting Sadruddin Hashwani’s book titled, “Truth Always Prevails” there was nothing else to do than order it. And that’s exactly what I did, deftly the book was shipped to me the very next day and I sat down reading it. And hence the review…

Continue reading Book Review: Truth Always Prevails by Sadruddin Hashwani

Book Review: Don’t Lose out, work out by Rujuta Diwekar

Rujuta Diwekar

Warning: Sitting is the new smoking!

Don’t lose out, work out! is all about staying fit. It is a very informative book on fitness, which tells a lot about the human body, heart and dispels quite a few myths associated with exercise and fitness. Rujuta Diwekar has written a book that has educated an ignorant jogger like me on how to stay fit the smart way. Off course staying fit is all about sweating, but Rujuta tells us the smart way of doing it.

Continue reading Book Review: Don’t Lose out, work out by Rujuta Diwekar

Book Review: 2 States by Chetan Anand

two states chetan bhagat

I bought 2 States by Chetan Bhagat on instinct. It looked good sitting in the shelves of Liberty Books and I just picked it up. It is a fiction which describes the story of love marriage. Love marriages are not very common in India and Pakistan as we still believe in arranged marriages. Its actually a very complicated affair; boy meets girl, they fall in love, boy has to love her parents, girl has to love boy’s parents, girl’s parents and boy’s parents have to love each other, if the girl and the boy want to get married. If anyone out of the above is not in love with the other, the whole equation becomes imbalanced to the point of falling apart and love takes a back seat. So Chetan Bhagat tells this story in a very amusing and fun filled way.

Continue reading Book Review: 2 States by Chetan Anand

Book Review: Khushwant Singh: The Legend Lives On…

20140823_154110

“The Patiala Peg of Publishing is No More” ~ Shobhaa De

That might be so, but his writing are here to stay! This is perhaps the only book (as of now) containing one of the best and choicest of obits on Khushwant Singh. Khushwant Singh: The Legend Lives On has been edited by his son Rahul Singh. I so badly wanted to read it in one go, but the vagaries of time prevented that. So it was two or three obits, in between tea, telephone calls, lunch breaks, wife’s lectures, kids remonstrations, the boss’s calling and what not. But what a treat it was reading this book. The WOW factor is a straight 10/10.

Continue reading Book Review: Khushwant Singh: The Legend Lives On…

Book Review: Confessions of a New York Taxi Driver

Confessionsof a New York Taxi driver

May your best days be yet unseen,

And may all your lights be green.

Eugene Salomon is New Taxi driver commonly called as a cabbie, with over thirty years of driving experience on the streets of NY, or Big Apple as they call it. What sets him apart form most cabbies is that he is a native, contrary to present practice where most cabbies are immigrants from all over the world (with people from India and Pakistan making it to the list). I found this book at an  outlet of Liberty Books, Karachi and  bought it on instinct (after having read the title, didn’t even leaf through the pages). Well most books I buy are on instinct! And I haven’t for a page regretted buying it. This cabbie has a lot of stories to tell, and some are interesting ones, indeed.

Continue reading Book Review: Confessions of a New York Taxi Driver