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M J Akbar: BIOGRAPHY

 
M.J.Akbar Blood Brothers
 

BLOOD BROTHERS: A FAMILY SAGA
BY M J AKBAR

Blood Brothers is M.J. Akbar’s amazing story of three generations of a Muslim family – based on his own – in Telinipara and how they deal with the fluctuating contours of Hindu-Muslim relations. 

Telinipara, a small jute mill town some 30 miles north of Kolkata along the Hooghly, is a complex Rubik's Cube of migrant Bihari workers, Hindus and Muslims; Bengalis, poor and 'bhadralok'; and Sahibs who live in the safe, 'foreign' world of Victoria Jute Mill. Into this scattered inhabitation enters a child on the verge of starvation, Prayaag, who is saved and adopted by a Muslim family, converts to Islam and takes on the name of Rahmatullah. As Rahmatullah knits Telinipara into a community, friendship, love, trust and faith are continually tested by the cancer of riots. Incidents - conversion, circumcision, the arrival of plague or electricity - and a fascinating array of characters - the ultimate Brahmin, Rahmatullah's friend Girija Maharaj, the workers' leader Bauna Sardar, the storyteller Talat Mian, the poet-teacher Syed Ashfaque, the smiling mendicant, Burha Deewana, the sincere Sahib, Simon Hogg, and then the questioning, demanding third generation of the author and his friend Kamala - interlink into a narrative of social history as well as a powerful memoir. 

Blood Brothers is a chronicle of its age, its canvas as enchanting as its narrative, a personal journey through change as tensions build, stretching the bonds of a lifetime to breaking point and demanding, in the end, the greatest sacrifice. Its last chapters, written in a bare-bones, unemotional style are the most moving, as the author searches for hope amid raw wounds with a surgeon's scalpel

- The Asian Age

 

“A skilfully crafted family saga down three generations packed with information of events in the country and the world, particularly changing Hindu-Muslim relations. It could be a textbook on how to write, mix fact, fiction and history. It is beautifully written; it deserves to be in
Category A1.”
Khushwant Singh
Author & Historian
 
“I enjoyed M.J.Akbar’s Blood Brothers [as though it were] my own biography... It is an exquisitely written narrative of truth disguised in fiction and ends on a note that is deeply moving and unforgettable.”
Sunil Gangopadhyay
Pre-eminent Bengali novelist
 
“M.J. Akbar’s Blood Brothers is a marvellous work of history in the form of a deeply engaging story of a Muslim family in Bengal. The exploration of the complex interface between Muslims and Hindus over the last 150 years has the freshness of a first-person experience which it actually is. A work of considerable charm, grace and insight. A worthy companion to his earlier book shade of swords on the Islam/West encounter.”
Shyam Benegal
Renowned film-maker

E-mail the Author : mjakbar@mjakbar.org
E-mail your Reviews :
ilaxi@mjakbar.org


Today
New Delhi, 17 April 2006
Weighty AFFAIR


Sanjay Khan with Zarine (pic 1)
Khushwant Singh with MJ Akbar (pic 2)


DNA



ALSO SPOTTED: 
Suhail Seth & Vikram Mehta


Head of Shell in India Vikram Patel with a friend, Ad man Suhel Seth and filmmaker Govind Nihalani
Deccan Chronicle
Hyderabad, 19 April 2006


SOCIETY, MUMBAI (MAY 2006)

 
 

Book Launch : Blood Brothers 
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BLOOD BROTHERS BY M J AKBAR: REVIEWS
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Blood Brothers: Khushwant gets 'Guru Dakshina'
 

The first edition of Asian Age/Deccan Chronicle editor-in-chief and writer M.J. Akbar’s latest book, Blood Brothers: A Family Saga, was sold out before the launch and the second edition was underway even as the book was being released on Friday.

Mr Akbar walked up to Khushwant Singh at the book release function to present him with the first copy of the book as guru dakshina. Mr Akbar said, “I hand over the book to somebody whom I revere beyond words. He is verily the Dronacharya of our times.” Accepting the book, Mr Singh said, “I believe in the principle that you must not praise your children in front of other people.” A powerful narrative of social history as well as a memoir, Blood Brothers, which is the author’s first attempt at writing an autobiography, is the story of three generations of a Muslim family.

The book comes after the huge success of the author’s last book, The Shade of Swords, which ran into several editions and has been successfully published in the UK and US. 

His biography of Jawaharlal Nehru is a classic that remains in print more than a decade after it was first published. 

The book release was followed by a lively panel discussion on “Can brothers live without shedding blood?” The discussion got a headstart with Suhel Seth, who read out excerpts from Chapter 1 and 11, followed by an evocative Bengali recitation of an excerpt that set the tone for the panel discussion. 

The participants included former external affairs minister Natwar Singh, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah, former Bhartiya Jan Sangh leader Balraj Madhok and former Union minister Arif Mohammed Khan. 

Mr Natwar Singh disclosed that he is writing a book, Against Volcker. Expressing his admiration for the author, Mr Natwar Singh said: “It is the work of a truly civilised mind.” He went on to say, “The book is an exclusive piece of literature which covers a vast canvas of history, geography, sociology, religion etc.” Mr Jaswant Singh said, “While the book was extremely funny at times, deep pathos underlined the humour. I was taken in by the phrases of stunning luminosity.” He stressed on the title of the book and said that “India and Pakistan were born of the same womb.” “Born two, became three,” he added in an oblique reference to Bangladesh. Dr Abdullah hoped that like the European Community and its common market and common currency, some day the nations of the Saarc will unite. Referring to Indira Gandhi’s vision of Saarc, he expressed the hope that Saarc would show the way.

 
Author traces roots of Hindu-Muslim ties 
(Rajesh Ahuja, The Asian Age, New Delhi)
“I and Akbar share a common view of history, and that's where his USP lies. He also writes in an engaging manner, which makes his work a delightful read”.
SHYAM BENEGAL
It was an evening that saw the confluence of introspective thoughts over Moet & Chandon and white French wine. At the launch of the book titled Blood Brothers by writer M.J. Akbar, whom Ad man Suhel Seth terms as "India's most cerebral editor", bigwigs from the media industry raised a toast to not just the book, but to the celebrated journalist's powerful writing style. Renowned author Khushwant Singh graced the occasion and launched the book amidst the A-list crowd at ITC Maurya Sheraton hotel on Friday. The acclaimed author said that Mr Akbar is like his child. The book is an autobiographical journey of the author and aims at strengthening Hindu-Muslim ties.

The guests were equally charged up. On being asked what intrigues them most about Mr Akbar's signature style, we got an array of interesting answers. Teaming a white shirt and a pair of black trousers with stylish Bvlgari glasses, actor Sanjay Khan said, "Like Akbar, I too strongly believe in the unity of both the religions. His writing fertilises introspection and I'm planning to take some of the copies of this book to Pakistan, when my brother Akbar Khan's movie Taj Mahal will be screened there." 

Pakistan high commissioner Aziz Ahmed Khan confessed that he often SMSes Akbar after reading his articles. "He is focused, articulate, analytical and says more in few words," said Khan. Suhel Seth joined in and said, "He is one of the few writers who epitomises a rare sense of craft and a strong sense of history." 

On being asked how it feels to have everyone praising his work, Mr Akbar said, "One should enjoy applause and appreciate criticism, but should not fall in love with the applause."


PRAMOD KAPOOR OF ROLI BOOKS


Shyam Benegal with his wife share a lighter moment with Roli's Renuka Chatterjee (pic1) Farooq Abdullah (pic 2) at the Launch of 'Blood Brothers' 

INDIAN TOP 10 BESTSELLERS:NON-FICTION
3. Delhi: A Thousand Years of Building By Lucy Peck Lotus Roli, Rs 500
6. Blood Brothers: A Family Saga By M.J. Akbar Lotus Roli, 
Rs 395
First Week of its launch
1. Blood Brothers: A Family Saga by M J Akbar 
First & second week of May 2006
(Source: Bahri Sons, New Delhi)

M J AKBAR'S
POWERFUL AND COMPELLING HISTORY
AS FAMILY NARRATIVE

More Reviews from Pak Newspapers Here...

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