Besides issues like political turbulence or struggle for women’s rights, there is a beautiful Pakistan that resides in the global map and Omar Zafarullah’s book “A Hundred Journeys” brings out the beauty through a bunch of memories penned down.
The book published by Rupa publications (Rs 295, pp 211) is a memoir where the author attempts to explain Pakistan to his son Hyder through a narrative which is intensely personal but deeply political too.
“I write because I need you to know what I cannot say,” the author pens, addressing his son.
The journey begins in the early 1900s when the family migrates from Ropar, India to Gojra, Pakistan in search of a better future. The author has portrayed the inspiring characters from his family in the book who challenged the patriarchal rules and social norms in every step.
At a point the author reminds his son of his great-grandmother, whom Omar would address as ‘Maaji’ — an inspiring character for him who challenged patriarchy in her efforts to take the family out of the throes of poverty.
He also talks about his grandfather whose perseverance turned around the fortunes of his family; his friend Khawaja Imran who helped him bounce back from a failed business and many others.
The September 11, 2001, attack which shook the world also had an impact on Pakistan and its global image. The advent of the war on terror had shaken the core of the country.
“The few Pakistanis who still believed that the war on terror was in fact a war against terrorists now had to accept the theory that it was indeed a war against Islam,” he writes.
With instructions on how to jump a busy intersection to the travails of setting up a business, this book portrays everyday life in Pakistan with an immediacy that is poignant and striking.