I am going to give a short review of this book, because well its nearly 1300 pages and no way i can justify this masterpiece(bear with me, he is one of those people i wish i can get 20mins with) so here it goes.
The reasons this one of the best written book:
<b>1.</b>If you read this book you know what kind of man the writer is, his writing really reflects him no hold backs no cover ups you really know who you reading, that is; a person who is intelligent, a little proud, is honest, and really sees for the world it is, and is not afraid to talk his mind. And does not feel the need to justify himself. And of the time he is right.
<b>2.</b>there are many excellent urdu writers way better then the Shahab. Shahab, who in sense of saying has not written much but he has something that makes him really unique it is his excellent sense of sarcasm. He has the sense of sarcasm, that well, to be honest not a lot of Urdu writers have. Best Urdu sarcasm ever.
<b>3.</b> then comes the details of historical events and opinions. There are a lot of unbiasedness and accuracy in those. He does not care that he might be hurting what are Pakistan studies books love to shove at us as “nationality”. he tells things for what they are which for most part in our History are really screwed up.
<b>4.</b>its the account of Ayub khan tenure with whom he spend a lot of time he gives real picture of how royally army screwed us over and who innocently they were convinced they were doing us a favor. Ayub Khan was not a bad man he was just not cut to be leader. then there is the matter of war of 1964. i think there are very few other people other then Shahab who don’t treat that war as a strategic success. People fought that war our Jawaans and pilots and civilians, they were the braves who saved face, they bled valiantly. Our generals lost it.
<b>5.</b> Then comes the part of painful and highly controversial topic of separation of East Pakistan aka Bangladesh. Always have been told that it was Bhutto’s fault or Mujib ur Rehman or India’s or totally west Pakistan’s. It was all those things but it was lot more then that. It was fault of the Pakistani politicians (east and west alike) and the our prejudiced British-complex bureaucrats faults and it took 24 years and a lot of dirt money make it happen and propaganda. It wont be wrong to put that also in Ayub Khan’s list of incompetency’s as a leader.(my opinion)
<b>6.</b> Also there in these chapters which give quiet good review of Pakistan foreign polices but more so all the other world leaders of the period of 60s who were kind of game changers in their own sense.
<b>7.</b> The first 200 pages of this book are fun and happy because they were the youthful days of his life. His life in Kashmir, first crush, first achievement, days in Lahore, first love and its loss. The most painful part of this book was the chapter about famine in pre-partition Bengal. that made me squirm in repulsion and disgust at humanity. Shahab’s ability to get graphic is quiet commendable. He uses his this talent in another book (Ya Khauda) whose review i will give under that book .
<b>8.</b> Its obvious that he comes from practicing Muslmaan household or at least trying to be well practicing household. His religious opinions get a lot more visible as he matures and there is that issue of spiritualism which many people like to dub as fairytale which is odd. But quiet understandable. i am one of those people who can accept that reason has limits and believing simultaneously in science and spiritual world is quiet easy for me.
All and all this is one long book, its a journey of a life of a good man. A man who had his faults but he tried to be better. Who could not make much difference but he ended up making a lot of it by writing this book. I will read it again because i don’t think i have done justice to it yet.