NEWS & INTERVIEWS
Book Launch event for Reflections on the Changing World (2019) received warmly
4th August, 2019: Despite prevailing political tensions in the valley, the book launch event for Reflections on the Changing World (2019), was received warmly, by the audience, who had come from diverse parts of Srinagar. Surprisingly, a lot of workingwomen, in the city, turned up for the event.
The honourable public speakers, for the event, were Mrs Nayeema Mahjoor, a journalist, who worked for the BBC, for many number of years, who was also a former chief for State Commission for Women, and author of non-fiction book, Lost in Terror. The other guest speaker, was avid columnist Zahid G Muhammad, author of four non fiction books, on Kashmir, and editor of Peace Watch Kashmir.
Mrs Nayeema Mahjoor commented that Naveed Qazi’s newest book is a ‘world atlas in prose’. Regarding specialism mandatory for any aspiring writer, Zahid G Muhammad called Qazi a ‘voracious reader’, with a ‘unique compilation style’, in non-fiction books.
The event was moderated by Syed Mujtaba Rizvi, a painting artist, entrepreneur, and innovation management consultant, at Zerobridge Fine Dine Restaurant & Cafe, Srinagar.
Book launch event for The Trader of War Stories/ Musings on Global Politics (2018) happened with praise
Photo by Syed Shahriyar
March 18, 2018
PRESS RELEASE: Blogger turned author, Naveed Qazi's two books 'The Trader of War Stories,' a novel and anthology titled 'Musings on Global Politics' were released on Sunday by eminent journalists, columnists and civil society members at ZeroBridge fine dine in Srinagar.
The books are available on Amazon, Wordery and Barnes and Noble. During the conversation between the author and Fahad Shah, editor of The Kashmir Walla, various aspects of book and writing process and situation of Kashmir was discussed.
"It took me more than three years to write this novel and my advise to aspiring writers is that they should read and read, that is the only way to learn the process of writing," said Qazi.
Shah added that writing is not about balancing art but it is about presenting facts in a certain form to readers. "We should know that each writer picks a story to write without making it a piece of any propaganda," he said.
The event was hosted by Syed Mujtaba Rizvi of ZeroBridge Fine Dine and moderated by Fahad Shah, editor of magazine, The Kashmir Walla. Many eminent members of civil society including ZG Muhammad, RJ Nasir, Ahmer Khan, Jehangir Ali, Peerzada Ashiq, Dr. Abdul Wahid, Fida Iqbal, Prof. Ajaz Hussain were present at the launch.
Young Writer releases two books
19th March 2018
Two books ‘The Trader of War Stories,’ a novel and ‘Musings on Global Politics,’ an anthology of political essays written by a young Kashmiri writer Naveed Qazi were released here on Sunday.
Speaking on the occasion Qazi said cultural aspect in the city has taken a slug and Kashmiris need to understand that there is a certain societal importance of cultural events. He said there is a great platform for cultural extension in Srinagar city. More cultural events will lead to dialogue and people will get a chance to rediscover their culture. Naveed said he believed his book ‘Musings on Global Politics’ will benefit students of Peace and Conflict Studies, Journalism, Liberal arts as the book is an anthology of his columns.
The event was moderated by journalist and writer, Fahad Shah who said Naveed’s anthology is not restricted to Kashmir only as he has written about the conflicts around the world and has the global understanding of politics. Launching his two books, Naveed said, “It is a unique event for me as people usually launch one book and last year was wonderful after I wrote 40 Op-eds, so today I have launched two of my books and I am ready for the criticism.”
Naveed had started writing his book since September 2014 and conflicts, dictatorships, power dominance and struggles around the world motivated him. “Starting from 2014 it took me around three and a half years to write this book. Initially, I thought it will take five years to complete but thanks to the Almighty I gripped my novel before.” Naveed also said that if time allows he is thinking of writing a book on Kashmir as well since he has already written blogs on Kashmir.
“When you talk of Kashmir you need to research a lot. You have to be a responsible person to write about Kashmir as you need to study different aspects,” Naveed said.
Senior journalists, writers from the valley were present on the occasion who applauded efforts of Naveed. Z. G. Muhammad, a senior journalist and writer said, “I feel very happy when younger generation takes the profession of publishing books. Youngsters are not wasting their time and I am thrilled that a young man has come up with a novel,” Muhammad said.Dr. Aijaz Hussain, Former Academician said, “I am proud to be a Kashmiri. For non-fiction, you have to choose a path, you convey your feelings through writing and I am glad that Naveed has chosen a path of writing to express.” Nazir Ganaie, a journalist and singer also congratulated Naveed, his parents over his book and enthralled the audience with his melodious voice.
Radio interview at Big 92.7 FM studio in Srinagar
March 24, 2018
On invitation of host RJ Nasir on Big 92.7 FM, I had a chance to talk about my two new book releases at the 'Big Mehmaan Show' in their Karan Nagar studio.
On a cup of coffee, my writing process, my daily schedules and some tips for budding writers in the valley were discussed in an interesting and memorable conversation.
Book release featured on Zee Salaam
Syed Tajamul Islam, doing 'Salaam Kashmir', a programme highlighting local cultural aspects, did a cover story of my book release held at Zerobridge fine dine and broadcasted it on Sunday, March 25, 2018.
The cover story included a brief interview of me and my mother with interactive moments of the audience.
Kashmiri writer's global vision: 29 old Naveed Qazi starts a digital magazine with international focus
Free Press Kashmir
May 18, 2018
With the advancement of technology, the trend of online publications is growing. Keeping up with the virtual world, a 29-year old Kashmiri writer Naveed Qazi has been investing his time creating content for a digital magazine ‘Globe Up Front’.
Set up in Kashmir with an aim to reflect the political realities of the world, as he believes that “in a place such as Kashmir, many things have been left out, when it comes to perceptions outside the subcontinent.”
Globe Up Front, Qazi says was a blog started around seven years ago. This month, he converted it into a ‘full-fledged’ website which will exclusively focus on the political changes taking place globally.
“It will take an in-depth narrative aimed for the readers. Currently, it will be ad-free and at no subscription charge,” says Qazi adding that various journalists in Kashmir, too, have started to show faith in this platform.
“I am not against regional news making, but in the end, my platform is an attempt to bridge this divide,” he says.
Targeting tech-savvy readers, he believes, “Kashmiris, as individuals, should have a know-how of things happening around the world, and not just about the subcontinent and the vale.”
Globe Up Front will focus exclusively on political changes taking place around the world.
Qazi has grown up in the Bagh-e-Mehtab suburb of Srinagar, 7 km away from city centre Lal Chowk. After his B.Com from Kashmir, he went to the United Kingdom to pursue a Master’s Degree in International Business. He graduated in 2012 from the University of Hertfordshire.
Qazi has also self-published a novel ‘The Trader of War Stories’ and ‘Musings on Global Politics’ an anthology of his newspaper columns and unpublished essays, through Amazon’s CreateSpace back in January 2018.
“The book launch was successful, which happened in March. I have got an appreciation for the plot of my novel and the content of my anthology,” he says further detailing that the novel is about Matteo Costello, the protagonist who is an immigrated Italian living in Britain and is tasked by his editor based in London to cover stories from war zones around the world.
“The plot is a ‘fictitious memoir’ and reflects the protagonist’s cultural experiences and also his family and work relationships at the same time. The plot also suddenly revolves around Kashmir during the ending of the story,” says Qazi.
“I want my readers to become articulate conversationalists, avid readers and even writers by seeking help from my platform,” he says.
Interview With Kashmir Pen
Naveed Qazi, a noted regional columnist and ambitious Kashmiri writer whose books Musings on Global Politics and The Trader of War Stories have been recently released.
An excerpt of his interaction with Kashmir Pen
24th May, 2018
Q: At the outset give us a brief about your book releases?
My novel ‘The Trader of War Stories’ is a geopolitical thriller.
To put it in simple words, Caren Irr, a US based English professor has written a book on the emergence of this genre. The book is called ‘Toward The Geopolitical Novel’. She has defined it as a ‘new literary form’ that meets the need of the new century. When themes of nationalism, revolution, war conflicts, experience of immigrants are imagined in one plot, the book can be classified as a geopolitical novel. As a writer, I believe my novel ‘The Trader of War Stories’ fits into this category.
English is a universal language and it has a global readership. This intellectual belief has always engrained in me. That’s why the narrative in my novel is not west centric, despite my protagonist, an Italian British war correspondent, who is hailing from a place called Springfield, Essex in England.
He is basically tasked by his editor to cover stories for his agency from Beirut, from where he could write about neighbouring conflict zones.
The novel starts from the Bosnian War and ends in Kashmir, where a political uprising has happened. It is a reflection of his family and work relationships, that includes the globetrotting experience. My characters in the novel yearn for knowledge, power, freedom, peace, and family life with deep cultural longings.
My other book, ‘Musings on Global Politics’, is an anthology of my newspaper columns and unpublished essays. I have selected a wide range of my political write-ups with an aim to engage the reader. In non-fiction writing, informative and candid narratives are getting commericalised and are continuously making new standards. With this anthology, I have tried to follow this principle. I believe, it can benefit avid readers of politics, including relevant academia and university students, but I am ready for any criticism pointed towards me as well.
As a writer, having an impact on the reader is essential, because only then, I believe, the narrative serves its purpose.
Q: Where did you get the idea of writing and how long did you take to write the novel?
Since my college days, I followed the trend of blogging. It helped me become a freelance researcher, a columnist, an avid reader and even a long form writer. Years later, I released two of my books. Now, a sort of satisfaction has prevailed in me. Sometimes, I feel it was destined for me to become a novelist.
It took me around three and a half years to complete my novel.
Q: Did you have any goals before ventured into writing, getting published, or just to finish, etc.?
Yes, I did have goals. But the goals were not aimed at achieving monetary benefits. I was pursuing my passion and investing my time into something constructive. Observing, intensive reading and reminiscing is part of my writing. Infact, I read somewhere that 99 percent of writers don’t make money on their books. It is ironical, but it’s a fact.
Writing without a mentor and writing with the help of a mentor has been an argument for making a good narrative, but I think, without goals, you cannot write a novel.
When I was writing my draft, my aim was a meaningful plot that would engross the readers, by mixing facts with fiction. Also, I tried my best to make characters that were inspired by real life events.
Q: How did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author, or do you have a specific reason or reasons for writing each book?
If I talk about my novel, I thought that if I could weave stories around a traveling war correspondent, I could achieve my aims for becoming a novelist.
The reason to write the novel was to emotionally unburden myself and to become a learner as well.
In that sense, I intended to become a novelist. During the writing process, we, as writers, encounter innumerable stories. So we become more aware and try to weave a plot at the same time.
Q: What authors do you like to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?
I follow a long list of authors. I might have around ten to twelve favourite authors.
During my schooling, I remember borrowing novels from the school library. The characters of Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew intrigued me, as a schoolboy. Then, I started reading novels of Dan Brown and Jeffrey Archer. I was fascinated.
‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini, Basharat Peer’s ‘Curfewed Night’ and ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ by Mohsin Hamid have had an emotional impact on me.
I have appreciated the lyrical prose in ‘Maps for Lost Lovers’ and ‘The Wasted Vigil’ written by Nadeem Aslam. ‘The Collaborator’ by Mirza Waheed, ‘My Name Is Red’ and ‘Black Book’ by Orhan Pamuk also has had an influence.
Q: Aren’t writers supposed to be solitary?
Yes. Writers like their own space. For me, solitude is part of the writing process. Time management is also important for writers.
Q: Any last thoughts for our readers?
I will tell them to read what interests them.
Book Review: The Trader of War Stories
June 3, 2018
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Genre: Political Thriller
A new band of writers have emerged from the valley, in recent times. Young Kashmiris have been writing evocative poetry and fiction. It proves that there is ample talent in the youth who don’t fear to experiment with their time by pursuing their passions.
The political turmoil, reflection of cultural history, its realisation and the changing landscape of common Kashmiri life has made many individuals to dwell into the pertaining realities around.
The prose of his 23-chapter novel ‘The Trader of War Stories’ is lyrical to its core, devastatingly life like, filled with nostalgia, pain of cultural longings and fractured family and work relationships.
Presumably, ‘The Trader of War Stories’ fits the genre of ‘Fictitious Memoirs’ – a Nabokov’s term, where authors use it as a literary device to drift away into more novelistic forms.
It’s interesting that young and ambitious Kashmiri writers such as Naveed continue to hold faith in this tradition. It seems an impressive debut, even if the plot appears throwback. Perhaps, it is tailored for the readers of this generation.
In literature, historically, we have seen this emerging trend in Ernest Hemingway’s novels, in the critically acclaimed ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ by Arthur Golden and in ‘Orlando’ by Virginia Wolf.
The author has mixed travelogue elements, questions of human morality, war life, cultural disparities of nations, un-freedom in certain unique ways.
The plot of the novel is linear, in terms of a tough life endured by a war correspondent, until the main protagonist, Matteo Costello, is transferred back to London on an official transfer order.
The novel claims to have a strong geopolitical theme, including around nine conflict zones and is ostensibly centred around a character called Matteo Costello, an immigrated Italian in Britain who is tasked to perform his assignments by an editor of a London based media agency.
In the novel itself, the author has used the term ‘The Trader of War Stories’ for the main protagonist, perhaps because his community members and his family members think that he had sacrificed social concerns for the kind of job he did all along his life.
As a reader, one can find a great deal about common observations in city life, culture, politics and blighted human relationships in the Asian world.
In a chapter of his novel ‘Learning Years’, he wrote about common Afghan life:
“Veiled women were often found begging on the streets. Street hustlers made a living by pickpocketing. There was poverty around where some people could kill each other for bread, there were orphanages that were abundant, where young boys and girls were sold off to their novice masters for imposed drudgery that would continue for a major part of their lives.”
One of the most interesting plots in the novel is when the main protagonist encounters a Kashmiri saffron grower in La Mancha, Castille in Spain and the fast-paced plot, which then suddenly revolves around Kashmir. It is one of those fascinating stories of the plot.
In one of the striking passages in the plot, Naveed wrote: “People still were emotionally connected to the vale by seeing a value in their local cultural life. They were still seriously political and tried to find their identity by inheriting memories from the experiences of each other. For Kashmiris, the struggle to remember never ended.”
Infact, the novel covers almost all important events of history starting from the Bosnian War, followed by Chechen War, Tamil war in Sri Lanka, Libyan and Syrian conflicts, post 9/11 years including the war life in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Perhaps, one side of a critical interpretation is that some readers might argue, that it would have been better to read a non fiction autobiography of some acclaimed journalists, but at the same time, the plot features numerous conflict zones.
The novel serves as a quick rundown of these events, in a compelling way. Maybe, that is the strength of the plot.
The novel also raises some serious questions. In the world, certain people seek morality, but when the world largely reflects a deteriorating condition, contradictions, problems and paradoxes come. And human beings have to keep on striving by living in this apparent reality.
Saaeid Ibn Mukhtar is a Marketing Communications Professional with a Master’s Degree in International Business & Management from the University of Bedfordshire. He is the Co-Founder of the first of its kind Creative & Digital Marketing Agency of Kashmir Cut & Paste.
Kashmiri writer pens two books on world conflicts
June 20th, 2018
Srinagar June 18, 2018: Naveed Qazi, a Kashmiri writer, recently released a novel ‘The Trader of War Stories’ and an anthology of political essays titled ‘Musings on Global Politics’.
Naveed lives in Baghi Mehtab, a suburb, seven kilometres away from city centre Lal Chowk. He did his schooling in Burn Hall and Tyndale Biscoe after which he completed B.Com from Islamic College Srinagar and further went to pursue his Masters in International Business in England from the University of Hertfordshire.
Talking to Kashmir Images Naveed says that during his school days he would listen to debates, discussions, besides lending books from the library for his overall development.
“It was during the school days that I got inclined towards English literature,” says Naveed.
“Since the book launch, my friends are very excited about seeing the review of my book on a magazine or a newspaper,” says Naveed. “They want me to write more books, especially on Kashmir.”
“In March this year, during the book launch, around forty people including several luminaries were present among the audience,” he says. “The debate proved to be constructive and worthwhile. Pertinent questions were asked during the event.”
Naveed’s debut novel ’The Trader of War Stories’ is a fictional memoir of a war correspondent. There are around ten to eleven conflict zones mentioned in the plot.
“The reader will almost feel as if he/she is reading an autobiography,” Naveed told Kashmir Images. “Family aloofness and daily life struggles also form the crux of my book, besides the assignments in the war fields.”
For a year or so, Naveed devoted his time in complete solitude in order to enhance an impactful narrative.
“I read around seventeen to eighteen books and researched religiously on the internet. My laptop became my best friend,” says Naveed.
Naveed believes that crafting lyrical sentences has become very important in today’s time. “We the writers call it prose poetry and I am comfortable with this scheme.”
Naveed claims that there is a strong sense of nostalgia and tragedies ruminated in his characters.
“Kashmiri literature has been in some sort of renaissance, but at the same time, there are many underrated writers who don’t get the deserved appreciation for their work. Sometimes, these writers encounter harsh and unwarranted criticisms. But still, many young Kashmiri writers have been brave enough in writing their stories,” says Naveed.
“I feel happy when my fellow Kashmiris devote time in writing,” Says Naveed. “Kashmir is in need of more storytellers. Our literature is in its infancy stage.”
The anthology ‘Musings on Global Politics’ (2018) contains pieces about recent changes in South Asia such as Balochistan conflict and Kashmir conflict followed by changes in Latin America such as the recent post-Honduran election protests, Venezuelan public revolts and peace deal with FARC rebels.
“The political essays of my anthology are important political developments,” says Naveed. “I don’t see a reason why a Kashmiri should not read or write about global scenarios of politics. Becoming too much Kashmir centric will not benefit us, as long as we come to understand the external factors associated with our region.”
Naveed further states that topics on European politics are also covered in his book such as Italy’s refugee problem, Greek debt crises, recently concluded elections in France and Germany and political aspirations of Catalans.
The anthology is also filled with research-intensive pieces on the Syrian, Libyan and Yemeni conflicts followed by its reactions coming from Saudi Arabia and Iran.
“The pieces on the Middle East are ruminative of current times and form the crux of the anthology,” says Naveed. “My anthology is a collection of my selected op-eds and unpublished essays that I wrote since a span of six to eight years.”
An Interview With Naveed Qazi
July 14th, 2018
- Please provide a quick introduction of yourself and the book? Mention other titles, which you’ve written.
My Name is Naveed Qazi. I am a Kashmiri, currently living in Srinagar. I have been writing columns and blogging for around nine years.
I graduated with MSc International Business from UK based University of Hertfordshire in 2012, and after that, worked briefly in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Besides self-publishing my debut novel, ‘The Trader of War Stories’, I have also compiled an anthology of my newspaper columns and unpublished essays titled ‘Musings on Global Politics.’
- What is the genre of the book? Fiction or Reality? Synopsis.
The Trader of War Stories is a political thriller. The narrative takes places in different conflict zones around the world. It is centered on a life of a war correspondent, usually protagonist's span of twenty-five years.
It is fiction, inspired by real life events. It is a geopolitical thriller and has 23 chapters, including a prologue and an epilogue. It is written mainly in the first person.
The plot summary on the cover goes as:
"Chasing his careerist dreams, Italian British correspondent Matteo Costello comes to terms about living in an amoral world where wars and disorder exhibit power and control.
Being transferred to Beirut from London to cover stories for his agency, he witnesses each year passing by in violent revolutions inciting bloodshed and a sense of humanity perceives in him.
As he manifests himself as a traveller, he finds dividing lines between people of different beliefs, ideas and cultural backgrounds in his assignments.
In this process by living away for several years, his family witnesses desolation of an identity struggle as Italian immigrants in Britain and Matteo tries to fix loose ends with his supportive wife, Roberta and his talented son, Stefano."
- What was your objective of writing the book?
My objective was to go into long-form writing. I was following my passion and it took me around three and a half years to achieve my aims.
- How did you get the idea of writing this book?
I was intrigued by the life of war correspondents, who are globe trotters, because they mainly pursue assignments in the conflict zones.
In this process, life teaches them lessons – lessons of endurance and suffering. Life inflicts various kinds of problems and anxiety upon them. By living in different world cities, they also get a know how of cultural life experiences and the inherent family problems through distant relationships.
All these real life issues inspired me.
- Who should read the book or who is the audience (target readers) of the book? Age, Interests, or other demographics.
I think the content has a potential of a global readership. Anyone from a school going teenager to an old adult can read it. People who like fiction inspired by reality can buy my novel.
- What value does this book creates for the readers or what are the takeaways readers can get by reading the book.
I think my novel can bring value in terms of knowledge about war zones, in terms of world history and local culture. My novel revolves around conversations and it also speaks against stereotyping and unwarranted criticisms.
- What do you like most about the book or what are the notable aspects of the book? Which part is the best part according to you.
As an author, I think it gives me a sense of satisfaction that I could weave an original story. I cannot be accused of copying a story from a Hollywood movie and any other novel.
I think the best part for me is that I could write a story that takes place in different parts of the world.
- What do you like least about the book? (Strike it out if you want).
Nothing. I will leave the criticism to my readers.
- Suppose you are making a movie based on this book, who will you cast and why?
My character is tall, usually keeps stubble and likes to drink and smoke. I find this question a little funny but the first name that comes to my mind is Ryan Reynolds, the Deadpool star! Maybe, he can resemble these characteristics.
As my book is inspired from an Italian descent character, Stefano Accorsi is another name that pops up in my mind. He is a popular regional actor in Italy.
I answered this question out of the fascination for my protagonist’s character. If someone agrees to make a movie, and arranges a budget and ensembles a cast, he has to show the character ageing, because that’s the crucial part of the story.
- Is there any other title, which has inspired you to write this book?
No. I named the novel myself. But yes, the kind of content I saw in the movies, read in books usually memoirs of correspondents, travelogue books, or the articles which correspondents write for their agencies have been a kind of inspiration.
For me, making a sense of the story was more important. But I will leave the final criticism to my readers.
- Please list down your learning’s after writing the book.
I learned a lot in these three years. I think it will be hard for me to jot them down here.
- Do you possess any similarity with any of the characters of the book?
Yes. There is a character in my novel called Yaqub, who is a Kashmir based Saffron seller. He has a son called Yawuz, who represents the happy go lucky generation of ours. He is ambitious to pursue his dreams of studying and working abroad and has lot of friends, who narrate to him the highs and lows of their life. Maybe, I can resemble him because I also went through the same kind of experience in my academic and work years.
- Are there any other people who’ve contributed or helped you creating this title?
No, I wrote all this on my own. Nobody helped me. But yes, after choosing the artwork for both of my releases, I contacted my cousins, who luckily run a local graphic design company called Layouts to make a book cover. They agreed that they could make a book cover for me, according to the given specifications. So I just tasked them to create a book cover for me.
- So you have got this title published through Amazon Createspace, what was your experience and how would you like to recommend Createspace to people who are looking forward to publishing their titles.
Yes. My experience with Amazon’s CreateSpace exceeded expectations. Amazon is a leading global brand. I had an option to select the required trim size.
I like 5x8 inches British paperback style. CreateSpace gave me that option.
I can recommend CreateSpace to prospective self-publishing writers out there who want complete freedom in publishing, including making book covers. They manage an excellent distribution network. The paper quality is very good. You can get royalties after you cross a certain target.
My only advice to writers out there is that you should have the patience to proofread your manuscript well to ensure professionalism.
Book Review: Musings on Global Politics (2018)
February 7, 2019
Title: Musings on Global Politics
Author: Naveed Qazi
Publisher: Createspace Independent Pub
Publication date: 25th January 2018
Price: ₹ 950.00 (Amazon.in)
I’m not an avid reader but I do read from time-to-time, enough to pretend to be an “intellectual”. My reading list is filled with frivolous fictional literature, it is only in recent times that I explored the non-fiction genre and I am glad that Musings on Global Politics was one of my first reads.
Before I begin my review, I’d like to give a brief about the book and the author, to give some context to those of you who are yet to read the book.
Keeping with its title, the book was just that - musings on global politics. It was a collection of essays (news articles) that covered not just the well-known aspects of Global Politics, but also dealt with the issues faced by lesser popular countries. It is very relevant and gives us an honest bird’s eye view into the Global scenario of recent times.
About the Author
Naveed Qazi was born and raised in Srinagar, India. He got nearly all his education in India, but did go abroad for his Masters in International Business which he got from the University of Hertfordshire, UK in the year 2012. He regularly contributes news articles and essays to local journals and newspapers. Other than “Musings on Global Politics” he is also the author of “The Trader of War Stories” a political thriller, and “Corporate Social Responsibility in UK Supermarket Industry”.
The primary reason I don’t pick non-fiction is because I feel a lot of it is created for a very niche audience. I was pleasantly surprised when I began reading Musings on Global Politics because I’m someone who is blatantly unaware of politics of my own country, let alone that of other parts of the world.
Keeping in mind this embarrassing confession, I didn’t find the book difficult for someone like me to understand. It was not pompous and always provided a brief context. It was the right balance of formal and friendly and didn’t make use of superfluous fancy words, which I find characteristic of any writing related to politics. Each essay was also the right length and well-suited to the attention spans of the present generation of readers. The chapters are standalone, so you can progress through it at random and still get the author’s intended message.
The title of each article was accompanied by a quote (which you encounter as you progress through the article), which gives you a vague idea as to what to expect in the chapter. It also gives the whole book a poetic feel.
It starts with minor issues (in terms of the number of people affected). Only in the last few chapter does it deal with major issues like the unending Syrian War and the Arab Spring. This progression I felt is apt for a work like this, as none of these matters arose out of nowhere in the spur of the moment. They had a complicated history to them and were the result of numerous mishappenings occurring simultaneously, which I feel the author did a good job of highlighting without stating the same explicitly. It is left to the reader to connect the dots.
Having said the above, I do wish the book had a world map in it. I found myself dragging my cursor through Google Maps many times just to get a better idea of where a country was located and how its geography had a bearing on its public affairs.
In the beginning of the book, you will also find a list of abbreviations and their full forms which you can refer to later as you read. Basically, the writer has done his best to truly make the book comprehensible to all kinds of readers.
What I learnt
China silent battle to establish itself as a superpower is very much on. Sometimes they do so by expanding their border and illegally occupying land (and even waters, as in the case of the South China Sea). Other times, they surreptitiously lend a helping hand to North Korea in its Nuclear Weaponry whilst maintaining cordial relations with the US.
I’d always think of the US as the Roman Empire of the present era, but calling it that is giving it too much credit. Naveed Qazi boldly quotes instances where it was the US that unashamedly instigated wars for its personal benefit. Not just this, the US somehow always manages to find a mention in the narrative of any country as it has sort of established itself as a dictator to the rest of the world, through the immense power it holds in UN and other organisations of global significance.
In the articles, I also realised how much of a negative connotation there was behind the mere mention of the word - “Islam”. It’s also not completely unfair considering how Islamic states are known for their autocratic rule and violence (many times against their own people).
The refugee crisis is not just that of Syria, there are Palestinian refugees, Somalian refugees, Rohingyas, African migrants, and many more. These refugees have taken desperate measures to flee their homeland only to receive hostile treatment even upon finding asylum. Fortunately, some European countries (France, Austria to name a few) have agreed to host refugees, unlike Saudi Arabia which deported 20,000 Somalis back to their warring homelands.
The author spoke about the politics in Bosnia and Darfur, both places where extreme violence and “ethnic cleansing” has taken place, both countries that were probably too insignificant for media to sensationalise.
Other countries, such as Greece, Cambodia, Spain and so on, may not have problems that are matters of life and death, nonetheless, they are plagued by political unrest all caused by, inequality, national debt, unemployment, dearth of resources and infrastructure, and pressure from other countries to either host refugees or to pledge allegiance and subservience in return of aid. These concerns if not dealt with at the earliest could result in something drastic.
There is a lot more learning imparted in those 284 pages. The author ends on a hopeful note saying - “We should increase the zeal for justice, no matter who does it, no matter who says it. If justice prevails that’s the biggest triumph.”
My Reading Experience
I love reading dystopias as I find them true to reality. Dystopias don’t sugar-coat to appease the readers. Reading Musings on Global Politics, at times, felt like reading a dystopia. It was honest and harsh.
“Who has been defeated? Who has attained glory in this clash of civilisation - is it modern or is it the conservatives?”
Naveed Qazi did a good job of remaining fairly unbiased in his narration and brought out sentiments of each side in every article. Even the reader was left wondering who was the good guy and who are we’re fighting against.
There is also a whole essay highlighting the importance of graffiti (basically any kind of art) at trying times like these. Art can stir a revolution and give a loud message without shouting. He talks of how Kashmiri graffiti pales in comparison to Egyptian, Yemen, and Libyan graffiti. Integrating other aspects of culture and Humanities with politics was both smart and necessary.
I also felt immensely privileged while reading as I came to realise that only a few 1000 km away are war-ridden countries.
Even though it made me feel sad, I wanted to read on to better understand the kind of world we live in. To be a spectator of the equations and relations between countries and empires all run by megalomaniacs. I’ve always seen politics as men’s gossip, but now I got the relevance of it. They may not be matters that have any direct impact on us, but they teach us a lesson on peace, power, and pride. How the ego and sense of ownership of a few can lead to massacres of thousands, if not millions.
We talk about war as if it is a mere thing of memory, but we don’t realise, that war is very relevant and rampant, we’re just too busy to look up from our smartphones to realise.
How to read the book
To someone who is trying to build the habit of reading, it is not a very easy read. It would help if you brush up on your social studies and learn meaning of words like Leftists, Communism, Marxist, Kleptocracy and so on beforehand. While the author has simplified the content, some background knowledge is always helpful for quicker comprehension.
Although I liked the book, it did take me a while to complete it because it is like a collection of short stories. You don’t feel the pressure to continue reading as there isn’t a single plot tying the book together. You’re free to make your conclusions but they are all independent news articles.
Sticking to the book and finally completing it was well worth the effort as it gave me a lot more knowledge and insight than my entire school’s Social Studies syllabus did. I also feel I could appreciate it more at this age and phase of my life, where such things seem relevant. The book was so good I’m actually following international news on a daily basis as that is the closest to a sequel I can get.
I give the book a 7.5/10.