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Stranger To HistoryStranger To History by Aatish Taseer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An autobiographical book by Aatish Taseer, the son of Tavleen Singh (an Indian Journalist) and Salmaan Taseer (a Pakistani politician who worked closely with the Bhuttos). Aatish Taseer himself is a journalist by profession.

Aatish had a Sikh upbringing as he was brought up by his mother. His mother did keep him aware of his father and the fact that he was Muslim and made it a point to take him to all the Muslim celebrations at the houses of the that she knew.

At an early age he writes a letter to his father and his father does not bother to reply back. Salmaan also tries to hide the fact that Aatish is his son as his political journey in Pakistan would be jeopardized by this revelation. Aatish tries to talk to his from his school, but ends up having a cold conversation with this father.

He finally ends up meeting his father and finds that his father is only a Muslim in name and does not really believe in the religion as such, although is an advocate of everything Islam.

Aatish plans to figure out about Islam by traveling through diverse countries in Europe and the middle east to discover the religion for himself. He begins his travel from Turkey and travels through Syria, Iran, and multiple other countries before ending up at this father’s place in Pakistan.

In the book, Aatish, relates his experience in these countries. He relates the meetings he has with the different set of people in the different countries. Having been brought up in what could be called an elite society (he studied in London and has a British passport) he tends to be biased towards the more liberal lifestyle than the rigourous lifestyle. These are reflected in the observations that he ends up making the book.

It should have been an rewarding experience for him, but he does not manage to convey the full import of what the journey meant for him to the reader. Nevertheless a good read for a lazy afternoon.

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