Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Agony of Afghanistan

Khaled Hosseini's novel, A thousand splendid suns, richly deserves the accolades it has received. Hosseini is an Afghan, now settled in the US. He gives us a glimpse of the grim struggle for existence that is the stuff of daily life in Afghanistan - or was at the time when the mujahideen were trying to drive out the Russians, when the mujahideen fought amonst themselves for control and, later, when the country came under the control of the Taliban.

The novel' s special contribution is its focus on the plight of women. It deals with the lives of two women, Miriam and Laila, thrown together by reason of having got married to an ageing (in Miriam's case) and aged (in Laila's case) tailor, Rasheed. Miriam is the illegitimate child of a wealthy businessman in the city of Herat. Her father keeps her mother, a cook, and Miriam at a distance. When Miriam's mother dies, her stepmothers get her married off to Rasheed who is from Kabul. Miriam is in her teens and Rasheed in his forties.

Laila's misfortune is even worse. Her family is killed in the shelling of Kabul and she's badly wounded herself. She's nursed back to health by Rasheed and Miriam until Miriam understands the motivation behind Rasheed's concern- he wants to acquire Laila as a second wife. Rasheed is in his sixties then and Laila in her teens.

The novel deals with the humdrum existence of the trio and the two children they have (one is Laila's through her teenaged lover before her life fell apart). It's a grim struggle for existence, unrelieved by anything joyful (except the two children). There is nothing the two women can expect by way of caring from Rasheed. The only reason they have to stay with him- and endure his taunts and his endless beatings- is that there is no way they can survive otherwise. What awaits them outside Rasheed's humble house is even worse. It is a tribute to Hosseini's craftsmanship that he's able to sustain the reader's interest in this colourless existence.

As you read through the novel, you begin to wonder whether there is anything left but despair and wretchedness, whether there is any salvation at all for these two helpless, yet cheerful women, whether such a life is worth living at all. Finally, salvation arrives in the only way it possibly could......the reader is left at once happy and saddened at the outcomes.

Hosseini gives us an idea of what life under the Taliban is like- no music, no TV, no education or jobs for women, women can't even go out unescorted, nothing to life other than what purports to be the pure Islamic way of life. Taliban rule is a return to some barbaric past, except that even in that past, one would like to believe, things were not as bad.

You may have your reservations about America's posture towards Islam in general, its attitude towards Palestinians and Iran, about the so-called clash of civilisations. But, when it comes to the Taliban, there is no room for doubt as to the rationale for the US and its allies waging war against them. A Taliban take over of Pakistan is the ultimate nightmare for that unfortunate country, for India and for the rest of the world.

54 comments:

BRS said...

oh! perhaps you should not have revealed the plot. I was planning to read the book :-(

T T Ram Mohan said...

BRS, You are right, I shouldn't have mentioned the ending. I've made a change but too late for you, I guess!

-TTR

Vijay said...

Sir, I completely agree with your views on Khaled Hosseini and the Taliban. I'd also like to add though that, perverse as it may sound, it was the US that helped in creating the Taliban....they wanted radical Muslim groups to take root in order to throw out the Russians from Afghanistan and threw their support behind such groups. Well, guess what.....you reap what you sow, all the blowback is coming home to roost. Secondly, I doubt if the Taliban can truly run over the administration in Pakistan. Zardari and co may be using the Taliban threat as leverage to extract more money from the US. With nearly a million strong army and police forces, it's hard to believe that the administration and the masters that control it can't do more than what's been done so far.

K.R.Srivarahan said...

The observation in the last paragraph regarding America's posture towards Islam has now become anachronistic after President Obama's speech at Cairo university. Welcome though the theme of the speech, his statement that America and Islam share common principles of justice, progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings borders on the absurd. Perhaps, falsehood is acceptable if it would help in reducing friction.

Anonymous said...

Even the book "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini, is worth a read.

web design bangalore said...

Taliban group is famous for terrorism TTR sir I respect your views on the taliban and khaled hosseini group.

Anonymous said...

buy xanax how much xanax and alcohol - 2mg xanax round pill

Anonymous said...

buy zolpidem online where to buy ambien cr online - is buying ambien online safe

Anonymous said...

ativan mg ativan withdrawal insomnia - generic ativan no prescription

Anonymous said...

online diazepam buy diazepam in england - diazepam 5mg ndc

Anonymous said...

buy xanax xanax without doctors prescription - quit xanax withdrawal

Anonymous said...

alprazolam online xanax order no prescription - what is xanax classification

Anonymous said...

ativan anxiety ativan side effects when stopping - ativan 1mg dosage

Anonymous said...

buy diazepam online diazepam 10 mg watson - diazepam tablets 2mg 5mg 10mg

Anonymous said...

ativan for sale ativan 1 mg vs xanax - ativan online no prescription

Anonymous said...

buy soma carisoprodol usos - carisoprodol mixed with vicodin

Anonymous said...

carisoprodol drug there drug test soma - safe place buy soma online

Anonymous said...

carisoprodol drug carisoprodol overdose how much - buy somatropin pills

Anonymous said...

cheap zolpidem ambien cr low price - ambien side effects fatigue

Anonymous said...

buy generic valium no prescription standard dose valium anxiety - valium many get high

Anonymous said...

ambien order best price ambien online - ambien cr for sale

Anonymous said...

buy valium online diazepam (valium) drug class - valium dosage insomnia

Anonymous said...

valium diazepam valium controlled drug - can you buy valium online legally

Anonymous said...

Blogger: The Big Picture - Post a Comment buy rimonabant - buy rimonabant online http://www.a6soft.com/#buy-rimonabant-online

Anonymous said...

Blogger: The Big Picture - Post a Comment cheap ventolin online - generic ventolin online http://www.ventolinforsaleonline.com/#generic-ventolin-online

Anonymous said...

Blogger: The Big Picture - Post a Comment soma online pharmacy - soma pills http://www.emprendiendoideas.com/#soma-pills

Anonymous said...

Blogger: The Big Picture - Post a Comment buy lorazepam online - ativan for sale http://www.ativanonlineoffer.com/#ativan-for-sale

Anonymous said...

Blogger: The Big Picture - Post a Comment order acomplia - buy acomplia no prescription http://www.a6soft.com/#buy-acomplia-no-prescription

Anonymous said...

Hi, MoxoredapeTox buy generic imitrex - imitrex online pharmacy http://www.oparticular.net/#imitrex-online-pharmacy

Anonymous said...

Hi, MoxoredapeTox zolpidem online - buy cheap generic ambien online http://topandhra.com/#buy-cheap-generic-ambien-online

Anonymous said...

Hello, order imitrex online - cheap imitrex online http://www.oparticular.net/#cheap-imitrex-online

Anonymous said...

Hello, propecia cost - propecia price http://www.bigdocpoker.com/#buy-cheap-finasteride

Anonymous said...

Information On Drug Soma cheap acomplia - purchase acomplia http://www.buydiscountedisotretinoin.net/#purchase-acomplia

Anonymous said...

Hello, cheap lasix online no prescription - lasix no prescription needed http://www.jacksbackyarddallas.com/#lasix-no-prescription-needed

Anonymous said...

Hello, lasix drug - buy furosemide online no prescription http://www.jacksbackyarddallas.com/#buy-furosemide-online-no-prescription

Anonymous said...

Hello, generic atorvastatin - purchase lipitor http://www.costoflipitoronline.net/#purchase-lipitor

Anonymous said...

Hello, cost of cytotec - order cytotec http://www.cytotecforlessonline.net/#order-cytotec

Anonymous said...

Hello, cheap cytotec online - cytotec sale http://www.cytotecforlessonline.net/#cytotec-sale

Anonymous said...

Hello, cytotec pill - discount cytotec http://www.cytotecforlessonline.net/#discount-cytotec

Anonymous said...

Hello, buy cytotec without prescription - cytotec pill http://www.cytotecforlessonline.net/#cytotec-pill

Anonymous said...

dalsCleax order fluconazole no prescription - cheap diflucan http://www.diflucanonlineprice.com/#cheap-diflucan

Anonymous said...

dalsCleax soma sale - soma for sale no prescription http://www.recipesandfamily.com/#soma-for-sale-no-prescription

Anonymous said...

dalsCleax fluconazole diflucan - diflucan pills http://www.diflucanonlineprice.com/#diflucan-pills

Anonymous said...

Glaucoma Medicine Effectiveness buy cheap sibutramine - cheap reductil http://www.meridiaonlineorder.net/#cheap-reductil , reductil for sale

Anonymous said...

Information About The Drug Harawin buy generic meridia - buy sibutramine meridia http://www.meridiaonlineorder.net/#buy-sibutramine-meridia , generic reductil

Anonymous said...

Human Growth Hormone Drug reductil for sale - buy reductil online no prescription http://www.meridiaonlineorder.net/#buy-reductil-online-no-prescription , meridia diet pills

Anonymous said...

1, purchase celebrex no prescription - celebrex cost http://www.celebrexgenericsale.net/celebrex_information.html, [url=http://www.celebrexgenericsale.net/celebrex_information.html]celebrex 200mg [/url]

Anonymous said...

1, cost of celebrex - celebrex without prescription http://www.celebrexgenericsale.net/celebrex_information.html, [url=http://www.celebrexgenericsale.net/celebrex_information.html]celebrex online no prescription [/url]

Anonymous said...

tni prozac without prescription - buy prozac no prescription - cheap fluoxetine no prescription http://www.prozacbuynow.net/#fluoxetine-20-mg ,

Anonymous said...

6, order provigil online - buy provigil online no prescription http://www.provigilonlinediscount.com/#provigil-online-order, provigil without prescription

Anonymous said...

ooo!!! Buy Topiramate - topiramate without prescription http://www.cheaptopamaxorder.net/#topamax-no-prescription, Buy Topiramate

Anonymous said...

ooo!!! Buy Topamax - buy topamax weight loss http://www.topamaxbestonline.net/#topamax-cost, [url=http://www.topamaxbestonline.net/#topamax-cost]Topamax Online[/url]

Anonymous said...

Hi, generic soma no prescription - soma price http://knowwizard.com/, soma cost

Anonymous said...

2, Prozac Sale - Cheap Fluoxetine - prozac online http://www.doesprozacwork.net/.