Tag Archive for 'Noon'

Aatish Taseer: The TNB self-interview


Ida: Noon. Why Noon, Aatish?

Aatish: To my mind that hour–especially on the subcontinent–has a kind of menace about it. It is an hour of glare and stillness, of short shadows. And that apparent placidity that contains, in fact, an underlying violence is the mood of Noon; it is there right in the beginning when we encounter the false tranquility of the lake, formed over a terrible scene of devastation.

On a lighter note, noon—a meridian hour, remember!—is both literally and otherwise as far away from Nehru’s “freedom at midnight’” as it’s possible to be. And that for a book about the legacy of Partition is no bad thing.

Ida: It has a very jagged rhythm, Noon; ‘jolting,’ one reviewer described it. Why did you do that?

Aatish: I wanted the book to be as much in its form about what it is about as it is in its content.

Ida: You lost me there. Please Explain.

Aatish: I wanted there to be absences in the actual structure of the book. I wanted that feeling of rupture and dissonance that one has at the end to be part of the fabric of the book, like the static the follows the end of a movie. I wanted the book to express its main themes as much in form as in content, for loss and separation to be part of the architecture of the book. Someone in London said to me that they felt the book’s shape resembled the shape of modern lives. I hope that’s true; because that is what I wanted. more

Aatish Taseer: Why my father hated India

Aatish Taseer, the son of an assassinated Pakistani leader, explains the history and hysteria behind a deadly relationship. In The Wall Street Journal. [Aatish Taseer is the author of "Stranger to History: A Son's Journey Through Islamic Lands." His second novel, "Noon," will be published in the U.S. in September.]

Aatish Taseer

Ten days before he was assassinated in January, my father, Salman Taseer, sent out a tweet about an Indian rocket that had come down over the Bay of Bengal: “Why does India make fools of themselves messing in space technology? Stick 2 bollywood my advice.”

My father was the governor of Punjab, Pakistan’s largest province, and his tweet, with its taunt at India’s misfortune, would have delighted his many thousands of followers. It fed straight into Pakistan’s unhealthy obsession with India, the country from which it was carved in 1947.

Though my father’s attitude went down well in Pakistan, it had caused considerable tension between us. I am half-Indian, raised in Delhi by my Indian mother: India is a country that I consider my own. When my father was killed by one of his own bodyguards for defending a Christian woman accused of blasphemy, we had not spoken for three years.

To understand the Pakistani obsession with India, to get a sense of its special edge—its hysteria—it is necessary to understand the rejection of India, its culture and past, that lies at the heart of the idea of Pakistan. This is not merely an academic question. Pakistan’s animus toward India is the cause of both its unwillingness to fight Islamic extremism and its active complicity in undermining the aims of its ostensible ally, the United States.

The idea of Pakistan was first seriously formulated by neither a cleric nor a politician but by a poet. In 1930, Muhammad Iqbal, addressing the All-India Muslim league, made the case for a state in which India’s Muslims would realize their “political and ethical essence.” Though he was always vague about what the new state would be, he was quite clear about what it would not be: the old pluralistic society of India, with its composite culture. More: