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Though it came out in nothing much has changed. If anything, things are more horrendous than ever before as in the late summer of the entire populace of the Kashmir valley finds itself facing a curfew and disconnected from the rest of the world, after having their Constitutional protec Mirza Waheed's deeply anguished, bold and lyrical debut novel remains a most enduring lament for the tragic plight of Kashmiris caught up in a conflict that has consumed multiple unfortunate generations.

If anything, things are more horrendous than ever before as in the late summer of the entire populace of the Kashmir valley finds itself facing a curfew and disconnected from the rest of the world, after having their Constitutional protections summarily stripped away. The Collaborator is told through the eyes of a sensitive seventeen year old living in a small, remote and increasingly tormented village on the Indian side near the LOC at a time of heightened attrition and violence. We learn that it is an area frequently used by 'infiltrators' - a term used for young Kashmiri men but also non-Kashmiris who may similarly cross the LOC in such manner who leave home invariably as a reaction to their continued persecution, cross the border to get armed and trained, and then 'infiltrate' back to their home terrain.

As a result, the area has a large Indian army presence and those trying to get back are routinely shot and killed. Many of them lie dead, decimated and unclaimed across a stretch of land that is in full view of distant army check posts on either side. The narrator finds himself in a situation - after almost all his friends have left he believes they have crossed over to Pakistan and is deeply aggrieved that he had no prior intimation and also that he was left behind - where he is under compulsion to periodically visit the accursed stretch of land.

His macabre task is to retrieve identification cards, weapons and other such items from the often badly damaged and decomposing bodies of the dead. His task master is a smartly turned out, heavy drinking, foul-mouthed young Captain Kadian whose pet peeve and stock justification for all the unsavory tasks he and his military men are performing, is Pakistan. In this bleak and morbid context the narrator gradually introduces the readers to the beautiful coniferous forest covered mountains and streams steeped in mist, abiding friendships and playful days of adolescence, and a simple, reclusive, unhurried life in one of the most beautiful parts of the world.

But peace has been a reluctant and infrequent visitor given how that part of the world has been the arena for the entrenched contestation and conflict between India and Pakistan. Pakistan's involvement in luring young men to become cannon fodder receives critical attention as does the influx of a more radical brand of Islam and also, at times, its inability to fight and fulfill its professed intent to liberate the persecuted.

However, the mainstay of the book is a showcasing, meticulous description, and indictment of the brutalization of a place where its own government legitimate or otherwise adopts a policy of systematic and harsh suppression to maintain political control. At the same time, the author also reflects and elaborates on how Kashmiri resistance to such brutalization has indigenous and organic roots and motivations. The novel graphically documents and narrates episodes of extreme violence - killings, torture, abductions, persecution and humiliation of Kashmiris by the Indian state that have also been so boldly captured in recent years by Basharat Peer's 'Curfewed Night,' Arundhati Roy's 'The Ministry of Utmost Happiness' and Vishal Bhardwaj's 'Haider.

He is particularly poetic as he describes the gradual erosion of an idyllic part of the world - both physically and in spirit. When he juxtaposes the gentle, natural surroundings and innocent way of life with the harshness of a military subjugation, he displays remarkable eye for detail and talent for capturing the callously ridiculous. One particularly poignant chapter 'The Governor's Gift' describes the visit of a new, ugly and particularly despotic Governor to the village along with his fawning military and journalistic entourage.

On a cold and dismal morning the entire population of the village including infants, the aged, and the unwell is forced to assemble and sit or squat for hours in an open, unsheltered space and listen to a long and vacuous speech under the menacing gaze of heavily armed military men. He went on and on about the rightful place of Kashmir in the sacred vision of India. From a less parochial and more human perspective, however, one can't escape empathizing with the deep pathos of the story and the plight of the simple folk living close to the LOC as well as elsewhere in Kashmir. On almost a daily basis they are the ones who face the brunt of the conflict.

The Collaborator

At the same time, regardless of one's nationality, Mirza Waheed's narrative ought to force you to examine the quantum of duress and cruelty that is practiced in the name of unity, oneness, nationality and religion - in several parts of the world. On the other hand, the beauty of Mirza Waheed's prose and the deep sensitivity with which his narrator describes his home, his lost friends, the loss of his parents' dignity and that of his people, and the steady destruction of all that is beautiful in life, is truly heart-breaking.

One of the finest novels to have come out in recent years it remains deeply relevant today. It deserves much more attention than what some of the pretentious and largely soulless pieces of recent writing routinely get. The novel moves you, fully holds your attention, and forces you to question narrow, parochial, statist views of life - that are particularly dangerous in these toxic days.


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We are persuaded to reflect that at times there are very clear choices to be made by anyone with any conscience - between empathy and humanism on one side and blind nationalism and patriotism on the other. Jun 20, Amber rated it it was amazing. We as a world as a people r sorry, one day, some day, not now, not yet, Love and Peace will rule supreme! This novel is narrated by an unnamed young man, the son of a headman in a small predominantly Muslim village in Indian controlled Kashmir in the early s, whose four closest childhood friends have crossed the border into Pakistan to become freedom fighters after brutal government reprisals against the separatist movement.

After a particularly violent crackdown by the Indian Army, the young man is "encouraged" by the local army captain and his humiliated and defeated father to work as a specia This novel is narrated by an unnamed young man, the son of a headman in a small predominantly Muslim village in Indian controlled Kashmir in the early s, whose four closest childhood friends have crossed the border into Pakistan to become freedom fighters after brutal government reprisals against the separatist movement.

After a particularly violent crackdown by the Indian Army, the young man is "encouraged" by the local army captain and his humiliated and defeated father to work as a special assistant to the captain, in opposition to the militants and his own desire to join them. The narrator then travels back to his idyllic and carefree childhood with his friends and family, before the appointment of the virulently anti-Muslim head of Kashmir and the electoral fraud that served as triggers to the uprisings that led to the bloody conflict throughout the region.

The villagers suffer great hardship, as the Indian Army brutally punishes the families whose sons have joined the separatist movement, aided by local collaborators not including the narrator. As the conflict becomes more intense and more villagers are tortured or killed, each family and each person must decide to stay in the village, or flee to an unknown destination, and an uncertain destiny. The narrator is also torn between loyalty to his father, who begs with his son to stay in the village and work for the Indian Army captain who regularly insults and tortures his people, and his desire for revenge and justice for his friends and neighbors.

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The Collaborator is a superb and gripping debut novel, which is also an insightful and instructive book about the recent crisis in Kashmir, which I found difficult to put down after the first 20 pages. Sep 07, Arvind rated it liked it. Good but way short of the class of Khaled Hosseini. The start of terrorism early 90s in Kashmir is told from the POV of a 17 year old boy living in a border village.

Having read Rahul Pandita, Basharat Peer, Kamleshwar etc on Kashmir, A few questions that came up in my mind :- A The valley was largely peaceful till the end of s.


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Why did 'freedom fighters' kill civilians mostly 3. Why did 'freedom fighters' kill civilians mostly from minority community? B The brutal forced exodus of all 3. Even Governor Jagmohan's past is dealt with a lot more detail. Hopefully, it is a feeling of shame that led to this topic being avoided in the book. C There is burning contempt for the Indian army because of human rights violations and that they 'catch-and-kill' 'youngsters'. How else is an army supposed to deal with insurgents if not 'catch-and-kill'.

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Infact the Indian army as per the author himself became involved once this movement picked up and not the other way round. D Kashmir acceded to India in to save itself from the brutal invasion from Pak. After 40 years, how can India allow 2-nation theory be repeated? And do Kashmiris realise where does it place their co-religionists in India living peacefully. And Kashmiri legislature as of this date rejects 'secularism'. E In the book 'ghairat' self-respect was mentioned with anger. And allow investments to come in state for lasting prosperity.

View 2 comments. Jun 14, Ian rated it it was ok Shelves: a-kindle , war. This was a real disappointment. I was hoping for a balanced novel about the separatist struggle for Kashmir, that could provide an explanation of the history of the continuing conflict between India and Pakistan. However although it shed some light and was often heart-rending and brutal in detail in relation to the oppression of Kashmiri Muslims by India, it's portrayal of the central teenage character too often read as a simplistic YA novel that was naive and just far too one sided politically.

Effectively India all bad with no shade of grey in amongst the darkness. Even if the central political points remained the same, that India has always been in the wrong since partition and that its troops have committed gross war crimes which have never been brought to account, the novel would have been much more effective if it had had at least one Indian character that was not a caricature-esque complete and utter bastard.

Dec 09, Salman rated it really liked it. Unlike most opinion pieces, books and stories about Kashmir, this novel doesn't come from a Pakistani or an Indian author. It comes from a Kashmiri who has witnessed the plight of his people firsthand and weaves a poignant tale to depict the pain and the suffering. I have finished the novel just as India has upped its rhetoric on Kashmir and Pakistan is gearing up for another bout of proxy Jihad in the region.

Sadly, once again, Kashmir and Kashmiris figures nowhere in attempts for a viable solut Unlike most opinion pieces, books and stories about Kashmir, this novel doesn't come from a Pakistani or an Indian author. Sadly, once again, Kashmir and Kashmiris figures nowhere in attempts for a viable solution. Nov 15, Kathy Hiester rated it it was amazing.

In The Collaborator by Mirza Waheed the unnamed narrator flashbacks to his tranquil and lighthearted childhood with his friends and family, before the selection of the anti-Muslim leader of Kashmir and the electoral deception that served as a trigger to the rebellion that led to conflict throughout the region. The villagers suffer great hardship and the narrator is torn between loyalty to his father, who wants his son to stay in the village, and his desire for revenge and justice for his friends In The Collaborator by Mirza Waheed the unnamed narrator flashbacks to his tranquil and lighthearted childhood with his friends and family, before the selection of the anti-Muslim leader of Kashmir and the electoral deception that served as a trigger to the rebellion that led to conflict throughout the region.

The villagers suffer great hardship and the narrator is torn between loyalty to his father, who wants his son to stay in the village, and his desire for revenge and justice for his friends and neighbors. Excellent Read!! Feb 16, Sunny rated it did not like it. A disappointment indeed. Poor story with lengthy, over written unnecessary descriptions which just so fail to grap reader's imagination. Real bad sketches of the characters, i hardly felt bad for anyone It fails in engaging the reader from beginning till the end, what worse could be the scenario?

Mar 24, Marcy rated it really liked it. A beautifully rendered novel about Kashmir, Waheed's narrative humanizes a story that is often silenced. More importantly, the novel presents wonderfully flawed characters, especially the protagonist, that forces the reader to reflect. A great novel to read for pleasure and for the classroom. Jan 24, Shruti rated it liked it. Feb 25, Sarika Patkotwar rated it really liked it. Actual rating- 3. For more reviews, go here. Like most books I have been reading since the past few months, The Collaborator had been sitting on my shelf for years.

I don't remember reading reviews of the book as the sole reason I bought it was because it is set in Kashmir and as a topic that interests me, I feel disappointed to say that I haven't read m Actual rating- 3. I don't remember reading reviews of the book as the sole reason I bought it was because it is set in Kashmir and as a topic that interests me, I feel disappointed to say that I haven't read many such books.

When I finally started reading The Collaborator , I was slightly let down by its slow pace.

The Collaborator by Mirza Waheed – review

While author Mirza Waheed's writing is beautiful and he portrays melancholy in a way that's admirable and inspiring, I felt the story itself lacked not only pace, but interest as well, somewhere. It seemed to me like it was not moving. Don't get me wrong, I love all the knowledge I gained from this book, because- and again, this is something I am ashamed of- I never really followed what happened in Kashmir.

My sole explanation for this is the fact that I was too young, which isn't always a good excuse. Anyway, so while I did learn a lot; some things which I will never forget, some pictures that'll never erase from my mind, I felt like things were moving too slowly because I never though I'd take almost a month to finish this book. The Collaborator is told from the point of view of young seventeen year old boy whose name we never get to know, which for me, is true art.

Employed by Captian Kadian to look after the dead bodies literally tossed across the border, left behind by all his friends who go away to become militants, this young boy is a hero. I found him to be so relatable, because when I put myself in his place, I would've probably done what he did. Overall, The Collaborator is a poignant read that gives a brilliant insight into life in Kashmir, and author Mirza Waheed's melancholic writing is beautifully depressing.

Oct 12, Hariharan rated it really liked it. A haunting novel, ofcourse in the genre of kite runner. But unlike kiterunner, which aims in a happy setting followed by sad setting to reveal the stark difference, the present book starts with a melancholy thread and weaves the story from a sad depressed narrator, whose recollection of happy times also brings sadness.

I didnt cry, but the last chapter when the last rites were performed, i did smell kerosene. This book aptly describes the sentiments of a typical kashmiri and the sentiment includ A haunting novel, ofcourse in the genre of kite runner. This book aptly describes the sentiments of a typical kashmiri and the sentiment includes harshness towards indian army and sympathy towards pakistan. One often mistakes that kashmiris are sympathizers with pakistan.

No, its just that the azaad pakistan is filled with their own clan who have crossed borders and they sympathize with all the hussains and Guls and Mohammeds they had known. If some Kashmiri Pandit can write a similar novel with the experience of yester years, i guess one may not sympathize with the jihadis as much one may sympathize when reading the novel. Dec 24, Padma Baliga rated it really liked it.

Sameer Rahim reviews The Collaborator by Mirza Waheed, a novel about growing up in Kashmir.

A hard-hitting novel that leaves you with a lot to reflect on. Pretty visceral in its descriptions. I couldn't read it at a stretch and was forced to take breaks to recover from the bleakness and the horror. Oct 29, Uma Bhatia rated it liked it. On one side are the militants and on the other side is the Indian Army.

But, what the Kashmir people want is a peaceful life with no intervention from either side. The book is a commendable story on how the people are radicalized and are left with no independent existence at all. Mar 12, Faheem Ahmad rated it really liked it. The Collaborator is a magnum opus work by Mirza Waheed. It is a tale of fear, underestimation and suppression. It is a good read although its wording is a bit tough. Jun 16, MNLO rated it did not like it. Aug 06, Bookmuseuk added it. A dark, passionately angry account of the human cost of the war for Kashmir.

Mirza Waheed is a Kashmiri now living and working in London. His first novel, The Collaborator, is written with a barely veiled rage and hatred toward the Indian army and its political masters who set military policy in Kash A dark, passionately angry account of the human cost of the war for Kashmir.

His first novel, The Collaborator, is written with a barely veiled rage and hatred toward the Indian army and its political masters who set military policy in Kashmir. Their families build homes, shops, including an essential tobacco shop, and a mosque, before war forces the whole village, except for the narrator and his family, to flee for safety. Based on a true story set in Hungary during World War II, it explores the moral complexities and tragic consequences of a daring act by a Jewish journalist who dares to confront Adolf Eichmann to rescue over Hungarian Jews from the camps.

From the moment I heard it, my imagination went into overdrive. I just had to write a novel based on this incident. Was he a hero or a traitor? Or is it possible to be both? An act of heroism, the taint of collaboration, a doomed love affair, and an Australian woman who travels across the world to discover the truth It is in Budapest and the Germans have invaded. Jewish journalist Miklos Nagy risks his life and confronts the dreaded Adolf Eichmann in an attempt save thousands of Hungarian Jews from the death camps. But no one could have foreseen the consequences It is in Sydney, and Annika Barnett sets out on a journey that takes her to Budapest and Tel Aviv to discover the truth about the mysterious man who rescued her grandmother in By the time her odyssey is over, history has been turned on its head, past and present collide, and the secret that has poisoned the lives of three generations is finally revealed in a shocking climax that holds the key to their redemption.

Diane Armstrong is a child Holocaust survivor who was born in Poland in and arrived in Australia in An award-winning journalist and bestselling author, she has written six books. Empire Day, a novel set in post-war Sydney, was published in Armstrong's skill in weaving an elaborate fabric out of her characters and subject matter stand her in good stead History: European History. You may purchase this title at these fine bookstores.

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