Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sami Ahmed Khan's "Red Jihad"

Sami Ahmed Khan's escapist novel "Red Jihad" imagines a scenario when anti-state armed forces, Naxalites and Islamic terrorists, forge an unholy alliance to bring disturbances in South Asia. These malcontents try to pit India against Pakistan by infiltrating a nuclear missile base in India and fire the dreaded weapon at a Pakistani city. They achieve their purpose when the two countries engage in war but all this proves to be a pretext to catch someone big. The writer has researched well into the dynamics of weapon-making. The action is fast-paced. But there are many characters and settings that appear at a blink of the eyes that proves to be confusing. There is not a single protagonist to root for. In fact, the characters are not well-developed for the readers to nurture sympathy for them. The language has lucidity, I admit. I feel that the novel serves the agenda of the Indian establishment and represents its desire to make peace with Pakistan, neutralize China and put America at its arm's length.

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