Sunday, March 7, 2010

Reading terror

War has rarely received such a nuanced uncovering in Indian writing

In two recent magazine essays — one in Open and the other in The Caravan — Hartosh Singh Bal remarked that contemporary Indian literature in English lacked ambition; that our writers wrote mostly of what they knew and seldom went beyond the personal. Finishing Amitava Kumar's new non- fiction book, Evidence of Suspicion, I thought: here is that rare work of ambition. It's ambitious not just in its difficult subject — the mangled victims of the brutal war on terror being waged right here — but ambitiously complex and nuanced (stylistically and philosophically) in its approach and design.

After you read Evidence of Suspicion, you will never look at the global war on terror in the same way again. You will, also, finally know how to look at the war on terror, especially as it is fought here. I've read many fine books on the subject but they are all from the West and they didn't furnish me with enough information or perspective on how I could look at what was happening in India.

Books and films exposing/documenting the travesties of the American war on terror -Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Iraq, rendition, black sites, and the lies of the Bush administration - informed, equipped and incensed the conscience of an American public to protest their outrage. Along with Basharat Peer's Curfewed Night, Evidence of Suspicion accomplishes just that here: reading Kumar's intrepidly researched, unflinching accounts of Muslims brutally tortured in our jails and sentenced without trials in the name of fighting terrorism, we are outraged, aghast, sickened.

Full report here Hindu

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