Monday, 14 August 2017

Fault Lines: Stories of 1971 [Pakistan - India war]: a book review

For those of us are old enough to know there once existed an East Pakistan but young enough to know little other than the nightly air raid blackouts there is a paucity of literature about the 1971 war, at least in the 'remaining' wing of Pakistan aka West Pakistan. 

Fault Lines is a collection of short stories from several authors: Bangladeshi, Indian and Pakistani. The stories help provide some color to the war experience from several perspectives. Most importantly, these are stories about the 'human' experience of what must have been a brutalizing period in South Asian history. 

To be sure, the authors paint good guys and bad guys but mostly through the eyes of the characters themselves. I imagine for many Pakistanis some of the stories make painful reading - perhaps why this critically important event in the country's history is papered over as if it didn't exist? 

Undoubtedly, the 1971 war and the creation of Bangladesh are two subjects screaming out for more literary examination. It's been almost five decades since the war ended - suitable time for at least the most painful wartime wounds to have healed; and the birth of a new generation searching for meaning in the country's historical evolution. 

Fault Lines is a valiant effort by the editors to collect short stories about the 1971 war. History and literature are not the only beneficiaries. The book adds one piece to the puzzle for those trying to unravel the mysteries of the 1971 war.

Imran is an adventurer, blogger, consultant, guide, photographer, speaker, traveler and a banker in his previous life. He is available on twitter (@grandmoofti); instagram (@imranahmedsg) and can be contacted at

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