Book Reviews

Stranger to History by Aatish Taseer

Tital of Book written by Salman Taseer's son

As a child, all Aatish Taseer son of Governor Punjab Salman Taseer ever had of his father was his photograph in a browning silver frame. Raised by his Sikh mother in Delhi, his Pakistani father remained a distant figure, almost a figment of his imagination, until Aatish crossed the border when he was twenty-one to finally meet him. Sulman Taseer married twice. He had affair with famous Indian journalist Tavleen Singh. Both lived togather in London during mid 80s. Sulman has a love child from Tavleen Singh.

According to Indian Magazine Outlook, “the book is a fictional version of Aatish’s dramatic life story. Briefly, the story is this: “A short, intense relationship between a Pakistani politician, Salmaan Taseer, and an Indian journalist, Tavleen Singh, produces a child. As the relationship founders, the father (according to his son’s account) abandons the mother and the infant in London”.

“The accusations set off a storm of reactions in Aatish, from hurt and defensiveness to confusion and curiosity. How was his father, who (as he was to recount in his book) drank Scotch every evening, never fasted and prayed, even ate pork and once said: ‘It was only when I was in jail and all they gave me to read was the Quran”, the Outlook reported.

Following is an extract of the book:

“I had begun my journey asking why my father was Muslim, and this was why: none of Islam’s once powerful moral imperatives existed within him, but he was Muslim because he doubted the Holocaust, hated America and Israel, thought Hindus were weak and cowardly, and because the glories of the Islamic past excited him.

In the years that followed, the relationship between father and son revived, then fell apart. For Aatish, their tension had not just to do with the tensions of a son rediscovering his absent father — they were intensified by the fact that Aatish was Indian, his father Pakistani and Muslim. It had complicated his parents’ relationship; now it complicated his.
taseer-456
The relationship forced Aatish to ask larger questions: Why did being Muslim mean that your allegiances went out to other Muslims before the citizens of your own country? Why did his father, despite claiming to be irreligious, describe himself as a ‘cultural Muslim’? Why did Muslims see modernity as a threat? What made Islam a trump identity?

According to a website Stranger to History is the story of the journey Aatish made to answer these questions — starting from Istanbul, Islam’s once greatest city, to Mecca, its most holy, and then home, through Iran and Pakistan. Ending in Lahore, at his estranged father’s home, on the night Benazir Bhutto was killed, it is also the story of Aatish’s own divided family over the past fifty years. Part memoir, part travelogue, probing, stylish and troubling, Stranger to History is an outstanding debut.

About the author

Omer Azam

Omer Azam is Social Media Marketer, very active on propeller; he is very much interested in International Politics.

11 Comments

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  • Aatish Taseer Has raised some very fundamental questions,Which can be very difficult to answer and may shatter many myths prevailing in our society.

  • Amazing that one man can be held up to represent Islam. That too a boozing, adulterer.

    Did Tavleen Singh wonder about Taseer’s backward and repugnant views on the Holocaust when she started the affair with a married man?

    So now little squirt gets to whine about Islam and Muslims coz of his mom’s mistake. Fantastic.

    I can’t believe he grew up in Bombay, with a vibrant Muslim community which is anything but a loyal and productive part of Indian society, despite all the adversities it faces.

    I am looking forward to his next book on North America’s Sikhs who financed the Khalsa insurgency and the American Hindus who aid and abet the VHP… these repugnant extraterritorial loyalties and horrific talk of Hindu Samaj.

  • Well,

    This is all what you can expect from a person raised in a Sikh/ Hindu family , where muslim bashing is part of every day teaching .

    Aatish Taseer has turned his family’s bitterness not toward only Pakistanis but toward all Muslims and Islam….

    However he is a celever person….the timing of publishing the books are really wicked…..West wants to read books which primarily aim at crticising every thing muslim.

  • hi ,
    well, if we talk about aatish as an abandoned child , then he may b right to what he said and felt about his father and leveled in the forms of words ,,,,,,,jiss te guzre uss nu pata hunda hai,,,
    but yeah still, i think saying straight from ur heart is no bad thing,,,,,his father must b sad to read all this ,but u cant force truth to get out of real life……its a nice book atish ,,,,,,,i wish i could meet u in chandigarh,i was there only….c u sometime..take care

  • interesting point to be noted is that if he is not a muslim, how the hell could he travel to mecca?
    its banned for non muslims you know!

  • His father was just killed in Lahore, Pakistan, by a his own
    “mullah” body-guard, basically for supporting folks who “blaspheme”
    islam…..sad.

  • Well its just a little brat trying to make his fame and Career in British/US society.

    Revenge of a “kam-zaraf” human

  • whatever atish has written in his book according to this page is absolutely right. Salaman taseer was a …………….
    You Pakistanis who are siding with taseer only because he was murdered must open your eyes to the reality and atish taseer has not turned his family bitterness towards Pakistan but towards “salman taseer” i am sure that even pakistani land is ashamed of people like salman taseer and those who side with salman taseer. on doubt he was a womanizer, he drank and ate pork and his children also follow him. you can easily find the evidence on net unless you are actually blind.

  • whatever atish has written in his book according to this page is absolutely right. Salaman taseer was a …………….
    You Pakistanis who are siding with taseer only because he was murdered must open your eyes to the reality and atish taseer has not turned his family bitterness towards Pakistan but towards “salman taseer” i am sure that even pakistani land is ashamed of people like salman taseer and those who side with salman taseer. no doubt he was a womanizer, he drank and ate pork and his children also follow him. you can easily find the evidence on net unless you are actually blind.