Books

Between choices and conflicts, Mirza Waheed's novel seeks love

Not every individual in Kashmir in the early 1990s turned against the army driven by political vendetta. There were many who rebelled because it was hard for them to accept the killings and disappearance of people they knew.
 
Nov 27, 2014
Not every individual in Kashmir in the early 1990s turned against the army driven by political vendetta. There were many who rebelled because it was hard for them to accept the killings and disappearance of people they knew.
 
This is one of the points author Mirza Waheed wants to make through his second novel "The Book of Gold Leaves" (Penguin Viking; Rs. 499) that weaves Kashmir's conflict around a Shia-Sunni love story whose characters struggle with internal conflicts that are driven by external situations.
 
"The political choice my protagonist (Faiz) makes is not from the politics he has read from books or known from a teacher or from a political leader... his political choice comes from within," Waheed told IANS in an interview.
 
"It doesn't come out of learning but out of experience and out of impulse. He can't accept the killing of his godmother and is extremely saddened by the idea that no one really cares. So he decides to abandon his pen for a gun," he added.
 
Faiz, in the novel, is a papier-mache artist who falls in love with Roohi, a beautiful Sunni girl. At the onset, it seems the Shia-Sunni divide would be driving the storyline, considering their secret meetings and fear for their togetherness, but the setting - early 1990s in Kashmir - reshapes these perceptions and allows the reader to understand the conflicted personalities of pivotal characters.
 
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