M.J. AKBAR

 

 

 

 

 

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  THE AUTHOR: M J AKBAR

Acclaim for Books

Praise for Blood Brothers  

In April 2006 M.J. Akbar’s book Blood Brothers was published. It is an amazing story of three generations of a Muslim family- based on his own- and how they deal with the fluctuating contours of Hindu-Muslim relations

“A skillfully 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 to 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 marvelous 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

Praise for India: The Siege Within, Challenges to a Nation's Unity 

This book won excellent notices internationally, and became a staple of university courses on South Asia. It was also unique in that it accurately predicted where the next round of secessionist violence would come, in Punjab and Kashmir, and put these movements both in a historical as well as immediate context. No book by an Indian author on politics has had quite the impact that the author’s first book had. A sample of the reviews with tell their own story.

Zareer Masani commented in the New Statesman: "An excellent account of the movements which have threatened the country's unity since 1947 to make by far the best and the most accessible explanation of the new Indian crisis to have been there".

lan Jack wrote in The Sunday Times: "A thoughtful and well researched history of the conflict, 2500 years old, between centralising and separatist forces in the subcontinent. And remarkably, for a work of this kind, it’s concise, elegantly written and entertaining"

Michael Foot said of the book:  “How graphically and skilfully the real problems are described…the book is likely to have a considerable influence both in India and Britain.”

The quotations could go on. Remarkably, there was not a single poor review!


Praise for Riot After Riot

Riot After Riot
appeared in 1987. It was a collection of studies in violence, whether Hindu-Muslim or inter-caste. It mirrored the harsh realities of the subcontinent and included a prescient piece on the major social explosion over the mosque in Ayodhya built at the time of the Mughal emperor Babar. This book is still in print and continues to sell steadily. 

Mulk Raj Anand said of the book in the Times of India: "They are poignant accounts of the tragedies of our time, lit up by flashes of brilliance to humanise us".


Praise for Nehru: The Making of India

In 1989, Viking and Penguin published the author's major, substantive biography of Jawaharlal Nehru, called Nehru: The Making of India. Once again, the reception was splendid. Time magazine, to name just one instance, gave it a two  page review in its international edition.

Ainslee Embree wrote in The New York Times: “M. J. Akbar one of India's ablest journalists, has provided a brilliant portrait of this mercurial, sensitive, powerful figure while giving a skilful analysis of the historical forces that led to the transformation of Britain's Indian empire into the modern states of India and Pakistan."                       

Geoffrey Moorhouse commented in the Independent: "It is deftly done and Akbar is uncommonly balanced on the historic tensions between Hindus and his own Muslim community. "

Prof. Ravinder Kumar wrote in The Times of India: "A truly magnificent book.... should be read by every Indian who is concerned about the unity of his country".

Marguerite Johnson wrote in Time: "In the hands of a less skilled narrator the sheer volume and complexity of the material might have been overwhelming. As it is Akbar is a graceful and sensitive writer who manages to combine scholarship, insight and analysis with a journalist’s instinct for the vivid and revealing detail".


The Shade of Swords: Jihad and the conflict between Islam and Christianity.

 

In 2002 Routledge, in UK and USA, and Roli Books in India published  M.J. Akbar’s book The Shade of Swords: Jihad and the conflict between Islam and Christianity. Once again, the reception was extraordinarily positive, worldwide, whether  in the Indian media or international newspapers like the Financial Times. A selection of reviews is enclosed to indicate the worldwide applause that this seminal examination of a mojor contemporary crisis received. 

In 2003, an updated version with a long chapter on Iraq was published internationally.  

Praise for The Shade of Swords

  "...I have rarely come across a book that con­tains so much of everything that Islam has given to the world, told so artistically with the creative ability for which Akbar is famous. No wonder the book has created a storm both among the in­tellectuals and in the marketplace here and abroad.”

Dr Rafiq Zakaria in The Hindustan Times

 

"The pressing need for the West to look at itself in the wake of September 11 is the challenge elaborated elegantly and with great force by M.J. Akbar... [he] deftly shifts the centre of gravity of the current crisis from the Middle East to South Asia. He makes clear from the start that an understanding of Islam today requires a sound understanding of its roots, particularly with reference to his chosen subject of jihad, holy war."

Mark Huband in The Financial Times

 

"Provocative, idiosyncratic, polemical and wide-ranging. M.J. Akbar's writing reflects his depth of experience and his passion for his subject... Perhaps his most timely book yet."

William Dalrymple, author of City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi

 

"To understand the complex forces - religious, political, and historical - that have fuelled the fervor for Jihad, read this book”

Fareed Zakaria, Editor, Newsweek International

 

"An unbelievably sophisticated work that is terribly daring... An innovative and lucid religious history of ideology, idolatry, betrayal and violence."

Seymour Hersh, Pulitzer Prize winner and staff writer for the New Yorker

 

"Akbar tells a story like it should be told, penning a sensitive and sometimes anguished portrait of the conflict between two religions that have clashed constantly because conflict was directly proportionate to territorial and ideological growth... Will undeniably accrue praise from those who wish to unravel the composition of the fuels that stoke the Islamic mind."

Tony Jesudasan in The Indian Express

"An excellent new book by the distinguished Indian journalist M.J. Akbar traces the centuries-long history of the conflict between Islam and Christianity, inflamed today by the world dominance of the US."
Alexander Chancellor, The Guardian

 

"As a wordsmith, he has no equals. He is simply the best journalist/writer in India... With his latest work he is all set to stun academics the world over with his incisive, well-researched arguments, impeccably presented in faultless prose."

Shobha De in Bombay Times, The Times of India

 

"...efficient, rapid, dramatically engaging history of the embattlements of Islam."

Farrukh Dhondy in India Today
             

"Akbar's literary skills and mordant wit are at their best in recounting the myriad manifestations of jihad, its mythology, in history, literature and cultures since the fall of Jerusalem in AD 637 to the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2002."

Pratap Bhanu Mehta in Outlook

 

"By the end of the book, Akbar managed to convince me that there is little to choose between Islam and Christianity in terms of fanaticism, be it in literal and radical interpretations of the scriptures or in their urge to violence."

Sreeram Chaulia, Asia Times

 
"...M. J. Akbar is knowledgeable, writes extremely well and has an eye for the arresting anecdote... Akbar, more comfortable as a journalist than a historian, clearly admires President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, but accepts that neither he nor Osama bin Laden is the new Saladin who will deliver the Islamic umah from the power of the infidel."

Piers Paul Read in The Spectator


"A must read for any right-minded Indian who wishes to understand the dynamics of the continent and must therefore understand the intricacies of Islam."

Suhel Seth in The Indian Express


"The Shade of Swords is a book of learning and a book of revelations"

Goolam E. Vahanvati in The Asian Age


"...wide-ranging and very readable account of the varied interpretations of the concept through history."
The Statesman

"They used to say that except Pannickar, India has no historians only chronologists. Reviews apart, I must say even at the risk of appearing exuberant, your book is the best historical analysis I have read about Islamic rule in India that places the dates of Indian history in analytical perspective".

Subramaniam Swamy


Kashmir: Behind the Veil

In 1991 Penguin India published the author's fourth book as their special hundredth title. Kashmir: Behind the Veil told the story of India's most troublesome and indeed deeply saddening crisis, one which has been responsible for more wars and bloodshed than any other. 


Byline

In May 2003 Appeared M.J. Akbar’s book Byline.  It is a compendium of Akbar’s best weekly columns, bringing together essays that reflect the author’s versatility and range.  The book is divided into seamless sections spanning travel, history, cricket and politics.

- Blood Brothers Reviews

The AUTHOR: MJ Akbar Pics



M J Akbar at a Speech in US 
 


 
Prayaag, Mukulika, M J Akbar with children


Blood Brothers Launch in Lahore, Pakistan



Reading of Byline at Crosswords, Ahmedabad
(M J Akbar with Gaurav)



At Crosswords Launch of Byline in Ahmedabad 

Early days of Journalism as an Editor

MJ - Late Dr. Rafiq Zakaria

MJ with C.K. Prahlad

M J Akbar at Consulate General of India
"India and the Strenth of it's Diversity"
Click to Read & Listen MJ's speech

MJ signing off the Books

MJ answering Questions

Photo Gallery : Launch of Fratelli di Sangue



- Books  
-
Recent Release:  Launch of Fratelli di Sangue

Hum Dono (Dev Anand Starrer, sung by Mohd. Rafi and music by Jaidev

Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya
Har Fikar Ko Dhuen Mein Udata Chala Gaya

Barbadiyon Ka Shok Manana Fizul Tha
Barbadiyon Ka Jashna Manata Chala Gaya
Har Fikar Ko Dhuen Mein Uda…

Jo Mil Gaya Usi Ko Muqaddar Samajh Liya
Jo Kho Gaya Maein Usko Bhulata Chala Gaya
Har Fikar Ko Dhuen Mein Uda…

Gham Aur Khushi Mein Farq Na Mehsoos Ho Jahan
Main Dil Ko Us Muqaam Pe Laata Chala Gaya
Har Fikar Ko Dhuen Mein Uda…

- M J Akbar's Fav song Pick

Date of Birth: 11 January 1951 (Cancer)
Education:
Calcutta Boys’ School | Presidency College, Calcutta
Bachelor of Arts: English (Honours): 1967-1970.

BYLINE
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Read Chapters

KASHMIR:
   BEHIND THE VALE

Buy here
Read Chapters

SHADE OF SWORDS
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Read Chapters

INDIA:
   THE SIEGE WITHIN

Buy here
Read Chapters

NEHRU:
   THE MAKING OF INDIA
Buy here
Read Chapters

RIOT AFTER RIOT
Buy here
Read Chapters

REVIEWS & EXCERPTS ... MJ BOOKS BLOG
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Recent Release (April 2006) : Blood Brothers: A Family Saga
Rs.395/- (Roli Books) Click for Reviews....

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