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BOOK REVIEW: Secret Daughter: A Novel

Thanks to Liberty Books for the review copy

Author: Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Reviewed By: Afrah Jamal
Published inDaily Times / Saturday, January 29, 2011

Published under the title: Family Matters
Reprinted inThe News Today
Posted in SouthAsianMediaNet
Quoted inShilpi Somaya Gowdas Website
Reposted onShilpi Somaya Gowda's Facebook

“East is East & West is West” and strange things happen when the twain set out to meet.

Secret Daughter mixes compelling drama with daring social commentary to create a powerful narrative that speaks a universal language. First time author Shilpi Gowda’s summer job volunteering at an Indian orphanage provided the inspiration for this fictional tale. This is a story of origins — alternating between themes of abandonment, alienation, female infanticide and cultural identity.

This ambitious venture juggles multiple storylines with dexterity in a well-choreographed performance with a plot that takes 21 years to develop. It goes back and forth between a poor Indian co…

BOOK REVIEW: The Scorpion’s Tail — The Relentless Rise of Islamic Militants in Pakistan and How it Threatens the World

Thanks to Liberty Books for the review copy

Published inDaily Times /January 15, 2011
Reviewed By Afrah Jamal
Author: Zahid Hussain

The realisation that something had gone terribly wrong dawned on Zahid Hussain in the summer of 2007. To him, the siege of the Red Mosque in the heart of Islamabad demonstrated how much Pakistan had been knocked out of alignment since pledging allegiance to the US’s new war. The ensuing showdown, which he terms as the “deadliest battle with militants since President Musharraf joined the US led fight”, raised a giant red flag impossible to miss. Extremism had come knocking on the capital’s door. He ended up making the noxious fumes sweeping across the land (and its carriers) the subject of his next book.



The Scorpion’s Tail — The Relentless Rise of Islamic Militants in Pakistan and How it Threatens the World confines itself to the insurgency part of the equation. It sifts through mounds of data in an attempt to pinpoint the core weaknesses of counter-terrorism …

VIEW: The Man Who Made A Desert Bloom

Published inDaily Times / Saturday, January 01, 2011

By Afrah Jamal

“O Lord! We have crash-landed!” was Hafeez Khan’s first reaction when his aircraft touched down in what appeared to him the middle of nowhere. The plane was one that could land on unprepared surfaces, which is just as well since there was nothing remotely resembling a proper airstrip at that time in Abu Dhabi. Awaiting him was a king with a dream, a desert starved for greenery, and a dusty blueprint of a future that appeared far-fetched.

Today, three things strike first time visitors to the beautiful city of Al Ain — tree lined avenues, roundabouts and the absence of tall buildings. Al Ain, which is the other city in the state of Abu Dhabi, in the past bore an unfortunate resemblance to a gigantic sandbox.

It was not that long ago and Abu Dhabi state had just struck it rich with black gold. But no one could mistake any part of the Trucial state of the 1960s for the ‘garden city of the Gulf’. Khan may have felt that he …