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In a Land Far From Home (Deshe Bideshe)


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AuthorSyed Mujtaba Ali (translated by Nazes Afroz)
Published LanguageEnglish
Publication Year2015
PublisherSpeaking Tiger
Ships By2-3 days
SKU: ST-279 Categories: ,


An intrepid traveller and a true cosmopolitan, the legendary Bengali writer
Syed Mujtaba Ali from Sylhet (in erstwhile East Bengal, now Bangladesh)
spent a year and a half teaching in Kabul from 1927 to 1929. Drawing on this
experience, he later wrote Deshe Bideshe which was published in 1948.
Ali’s young mind was curious to explore the Afghan society of the time and,
with his impressive language skills, he had access to a cross-section of Kabul’s
population, whose ideas and experiences he chronicles with a keen eye and a
wicked sense of humour.
His account provides a fascinating first-hand insight into events at a critical point
in Afghanistan’s history, when the reformist King Amanullah tried to steer his
country towards modernity by encouraging education for girls and giving them
the choice of removing the burqa. Branded a ‘kafir’, Amanullah was overthrown
by the bandit leader Bacha-e-Saqao. Deshe Bideshe is the only published
eyewitness account of that tumultuous period by a non-Afghan, brought to life
by the contact that Ali enjoyed with a colourful cast of characters at all levels of
society?from the garrulous Pathan Dost Muhammed and the gentle Russian
giant Bolshov, to his servant, Abdur Rahman and his partner in tennis, the
Crown Prince Enayatullah.

About the author
Born in 1904, Syed Mujtaba Ali was a prominent literary figure in Bengali literature. A polyglot, a scholar of Islamic studies and a traveller, Mujtaba Ali taught in Baroda and at Visva-Bharati University in Shantiniketan. Deshe Bideshe was his first published book (1948). By the time he died in 1974, he had more than two dozen books?fiction and non-fiction to his credit.

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