Time testifies to the fact that arbitrarily drawn lines, can wreak havoc with long lasting effects. Writer, commentator, artist and former foreign service officer Rajiv Dogra beautifully and perfectly encapsulates this reality in his book Durand’s Curse. My knowledge of Afghan History was limited to the Anglo-Afghan wars, but this book was a real eye–opener. Afghanistan has suffered immense damage, first at the hands of the British and then Pakistan. The line that Mortimer Durand drew on paper, caused enormous desolation when it was reproduced in reality.
From the surrendering of southern Afghanistan to modern happenings, the author retraces Afghanstan’s history to recount it’s losses and just how far it has been wronged. An important segment of history that has remained untold for a very long time. Written in a lucid style, Durand’s Curse reads like a vivid History documentary( à la Michael Woods), engaging the reader at every step. The author does not just recount facts but also examines them from every angle. He questions the obvious and reveals some interesting finds in the process.
His thorough and meticulous research is reflected in his reading and choice of sources. In the beginning he writes, “It is the privilege of conquerors to tell stories that flatter their past.” It is no surprise then, that he manages to strike the perfect balance and draws from sources, both native and foreign where necessary, thus offering more clarity to the narrative.
I strongly recommend this book for anyone and everyone who is interested in knowing the truth. If like me, Afghan history is a big mystery to you, then pick up this book. It won’t disappoint. Dogra starts from the very beginning, including even the geographical details. The progression is even and the descriptions are as realistic as can get. This book is an engrossing read, one that is bound to leave you richer and reflective. Rajiv Dogra is a major writer of our generation and this is one of the major books of our time.
About the author:
Rajiv Dogra is a writer, television commentator and artist. A career foreign service officer of the 1974 batch, he was India’s Ambassador to Italy and Romania, the Permanent Representative to the United Nations Agencies in Rome and the last Consul General in Karachi.
An active public speaker, Dogra is one of India’s foremost commentators on foreign policy and strategic affairs and is noted for his considered and assertive views. He is the bestselling author of Where Borders Bleed, regarded as one of the most authoritative books on India–Pakistan relations.
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Reviewed by : Anusha D’Souza
Author(s): Rajiv Dogra
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Release: September 2017
Genre: Non Fiction/Politics
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