Jihad, Pakistan and India

Jihad, Pakistan and India

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Jihad, Pakistan and India


Every person is entitled to his or her own opinion. Whether it is complimenting a new outfit or distrusting a society, people may think whatever they like. In the article “Jihadis” by Pankaj Mishra, different views on society are taken. From the opinions of Pakistani relationships with Indians, or the different outlooks on the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, this article provides a detailed description of a person born in India but decided to change his life.

The narrator, Mishra, is first introduced shortly after a brief setting of the Middle East before the tragic events of September 11, 2002. Described as being from India, he is now a London reporter writing various articles for English and American magazines. Through his encounters the reader receives an inside view on Middle Eastern life and history.

Beginning with Pakistan’s governmental history, a foundation is set describing various ruling powers such as General Zia-ul-haq’s military takeover from Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1977 and the final Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in the 1990’s. The cruelty inflicted by these harsh takeovers is apparent by descriptions of “shutting down schools, smashing TVs, and VCRs, and tearing up photographs” (Mishra 103).

Different reasons for supporting and joining the Taliban and other organizations are also explored. For example, a young man named Rahmat, felt he had no other choice but to join the Taliban in taking over Afghanistan after his father’s business was in ruins and his brother was in jail. After all the warnings, the Taliban offered him what he could not offer himself at that time: food and shelter.

Trying to get an insider’s view on Taliban life, Mishra is escorted by Jamal, a befriended assassin.

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Through meeting various figureheads such as Ishrat and Faiz, both Taliban leaders, Mishra himself goes through a self exploration eventually realizing that after being in the Western civilization for such a lengthy period of time, he no longer fits in with the Middle Eastern way of life. He feels that he has more to achieve than that of Jamal. Whereas Jamal may choose to join the Taliban, Mishra is content with his own life.
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