Monday, July 30, 2012

Clearing the fog!

Book Review: Non-fiction/In search of a new Afghanistan by Sujeet Sarkar, Niyogi Books, 273 pp; Rs395 (Paperback)
Though not for the good reasons, but Afghanistan can be counted today as the most special non-NATO ally for U.S.A-even more important than both India and Pakistan weighing together on this. This closeness is not romantic; rather it’s based out of USA’s ‘usual diversion’ from a balanced global strategic vision. After spending more than a decade with the expense in trillions of dollar and thousands of lost lives, USA has made Afghanistan a changed place though not less ravaged than what this unfortunate nation had been in status since the USSR’s intervention in 1980’s.

Sujeet Sarkar’s “In search of new Afghanistan” delves deep inside the existing scenario that new Afghanistan presents. This book has the details, which media often overlook from the core issues and scholars mostly ignore them on their own rigid parameters. Sujeet Sarkar, as a consultant with an international developmental organisation has articulately used his years of staying and working in war torn Afghanistan for the source of rich insights in present work. This book covers well the existing and historical socio-cultural trends that determine the perspective on Afghanistan for the outside world.

Afghanistan and neighbouring north-west frontier have been influencing the strategic scenario of south and central Asia since the time immemorial, also a chunk of Europe consist the regions of erstwhile USSR were in its catchment. From the time of Derius and Alexander to the occupation of this unusual country by the USSR, Talibani forces and now USA for last ten years, a kind of negative limelight has always surrounded the Afghanistan and its affiliates-good or bad. But against the negative notions, Sujeet Sarkar’s personal overtures with the country of dear “Kabuliwala” inspire his positive narrative and exude a sort of ‘countercurrent’ against the popular rhetoric.

His concentration is centered on the events and lives following the long course of brutal war that made this once peaceful country an easy hub of terror with no emancipation in sight to curb those flaws. Unfortunately, war is incessant and perennial reality in Afghanistan, whose time has not yet come to rest with any rational end. Author’s angle is humane and pragmatic to look after on the conditions generated by the USA’s long staying in Aghanistan. His personal account provides a good chance for readers to come in term with the reality that’s prosaic, plain but believable.

Here, the subject is a country in remaking with frequent odds on its way but life has many dimensions that give sometime escape, sometime solace by moving ahead. Despite the havocs of USA’s presence in Afghanistan, it has generated some hope among a section of middle class Afghanis who are now redreaming for modernity. Afghanistan was cut off with normalcy for last three decades, though things are still not very balanced but atleast in urban areas, changes have settled somehow better, which this book emphatically confirms.

Falsifying these positive turnouts would be a misnomer. Afghani peoples are now standing for an acceptable collective life with greater tolerance for modern ideas; even those are coming outside of the Afghanistan’s periphery. Very few work have done so far that can notices the change taking place in Afghanistan through an unbiased point of view, Sujeet Sarkar’s work certainly has an edge in this regard by accommodating the truths and spirits, which the new Afghanistan is reckoning now. With finest convictions and factual accuracy, this book is worth of exploration by both the readers of expert and enthusiast categories. This book gives hope for a new Afghanistan in making-nothing could be better for those who care for this land, which is full with potential.
Atul Kumar Thakur
July30, 2012, Monday, New Delhi

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