Book Review: Gojal – Between the Pamirs and the KaraKorum with Contrast of Tribes

Nisar Karim’s second book,” Gojal-Between the Pamirs and the KaraKorum with Contrast of Tribes” with more insights is out again on the book shelf. The book delves in the anthropological evolution of tribes that inhabited the areas presently called Gojal, their trial and tribulation and current condition. The book takes into account the many factors that shaped and contributed their progress and outlook. The author has stitched positive notes together from his earlier experience and came up with an extended version making up the short-comings of the previous edition, which needs appreciation.

Abdul Aly

Books represent our heritage and civilization what we are and leaves an enriched legacy, peeps into ones past and beacons bright light to future, for posterity to be proud of their pedigrees. Books are mandatory food for developing a thoughtful mind, engendering informed opinions and generating healthy debates in societies. As good sayings go, “reading is to mind what exercise is to body” or “a room without books is like a body without soul.” Nations destroy, societies collapse tribes annihilate, countries stagnate in absence of learned men and women.

The easiest way to put to death any nation or community is to devoid it of its scholars, burning down it treasure trove of books, literature and libraries. The world history is replete with examples of such endings. The destruction of books and manuscripts by rulers and kings is not new. By 1200 the House of Wisdom was a huge library, had the largest selection of books and manuscripts about science, art and Greek literature in Baghdad and was a major intellectual center for dialogue, discussions and discourses.  But everything was destroyed during the Mongol invasion led by Hulagu Khan. This incredible ancient library was founded by Caliph Harun al-Rashid and culminated under his son al-Ma’mun where Muslims, Christian and Jewish scholars met and studied. Thousands of books were thrown into the Tigris River that the river ran black with the ink from the books. Nasir al-Din al-Tusi managed to rescue about 400,000 manuscripts but the great majority of all precious ancient books and manuscripts were gone forever. The Library of Alexandria was one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world. The library was accidentally burned by Julius Caesar during his civil war . The Coptic Christian pope ophilus of Alexandria got burned a larger part of research institution called the Mouseion through a decree.

Anti-intellectualism is hostility to and mistrust of intellectintellectuals, and intellectualism commonly expressed as deprecation of education and philosophy, and the dismissal of artliterature, and science. During civil wars and in ordinary situation the reactionary repression takes brutal forms leading to killings and disappearances of intelligentsia. The politically active teachers and academics, artists, writers and philosopher are labeled rebel, politically unreliable and imprisoned, extradited or ostracized. Einstein felt the same effect and emigrated from Germany to the US as a result of the Nazis rising to power.

In present tense in some countries educated middle-class and the intelligentsia; such as the urban professionals of society (physicians, attorneys, engineers, et al.) are assassinated as anti-intellectual purging. As is commonly said, poor is the person who is mentally poor. Nations thrive materially and morally when it values the teachers, scholars for real development. It is more integrally relevant in today’s knowledge based economy and society, best exemplified by western developed countries.

Presently, especially youth from rural areas need an in depth soul searching. We seem to seeking comfort and pride in modernity but altogether forget factors involved in its making. Given the overflow of information, there is dearth of genuine thinkers and intellectuals. For development of any society quest for scholarship and philosophical pursuits is vital than just going after vocational or formal pursuits. Muslim civilization expanded from east to west due to overly indulged thinkers, scientists, travelogues and poets.

The author being unsound financially-common with most people having literary pursuits, literally ran from pillar to post for publication. Fortunately still there are fewer people or organizations; those believe in literary work and its positive outcome. Taking actionable and rectifying steps; whatever little it may be, is worthier than nothing altogether. Basking in negative criticism seems favorable passion and time killing job among youth in the prevailing depressing time. The worst failure is inaction in such disturbing and distressing time. Bringing out such a book is commendable in our rural set up; such enterprising youth can set our societal attitude on right and bright trajectory.

I wouldn’t dilate much about the contents and contours of the book here. The readers are suggested to have their hand on it and come up with positive suggestions.

The book being an extended version, my first review of it can be accessed at https://pamirtimes.net/2014/08/31/legends-development-changes-book-review/.

The writer is an ACMA, engaged as an accountant-cum-business teacher at Pakistan International School, Doha, Qatar.

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