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Red Jihad in Fiction

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Title: Red Jihad: Battle for South Asia Author: Sami Ahmad Khan Rupa Publications India Pvt Ltd. Delhi (2012) Pages: 280 Price: Rs. 295

Variously described as informative, entertainer and intelligent fiction, the book is the first novel of a short story writer, who studied his masters in English literature at the left leaning Jawaharlal Nehru University, (JNU) in New Delhi. The plot revolves round forces working against fragile peace between Pakistan which is still to make a meaningful transition to democracy, and India which is a democratic anarchy in perpetual motion.   

The story unfolds when a Pakistani jihadi leader, Yaseer Basheer, travels to the Red Corridor that connects the foothills of Himalayas in Nepal with Madurai through Jharkhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu;. He enlists the support of an Indian Naxalite commander, Agyaat. The two plan to launch a ballistic missile.  The missile changes course on flight and hits Pakistan

What happened next makes an engrossing read even as it forces the reader to put on his/her thinking cap to crystal gaze the future of India-Pak relations after the US forces withdraw from Kabul in end-2014

A plus for this novel is the writer’s ability to treat the complex geo-political relations and ideologies impartially and with sensitivity.  He did a thorough research before venturing into writing and it comes out clearly as he transports the reader to the make believe world of collaboration between a die-hard Maoist and a Mujahideen who is lured into the world of guns by the possibility  of  angles dancing with him on martyrdom in the cause of Islam.


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