Tag Archives: Azad Essa

An Interview with Azad Essa

From: Bookslive.co.za

So after reading, “The Moslems are Coming”, I was so intrigued by what must have gone on in the author’s head while writing this book, that I had to interview Azad Essa, the writer. Here is a short interview with him. Hope you enjoy it.

1. How did, “The Moslems are Coming” happen?

After being published in South Africa as ‘Zuma’s Bastard’ – I was keen to get the book into the South Asian market, especially the Indian market. So much of the book had India written all over it and crucially, it wasn’t a fluffy look at India so I thought it would be of interest to at least a couple of folks on the subcontinent – so to speak. Fortunately, the editors at HarperCollins India loved the idea and decided to bring it over.

2.Why such a title? It definitely results in some stares and discussions. Was it intended?

We were definitely looking for a punchy title. After all, it is not as though the book is about cookies and cream. We wanted the cover, the title to represent, and to be as much a part of the discussion as the material inside it. We wanted people to look, and look again, because it is also the nature of the content.

3.South Africa and India. The similarities? Differences?

It is difficult to compare countries but let’s give it a shot.

Both South Africa and India have iconic histories that have inspired far beyond their backyard. Both share diverse populations, a number of languages and divisive histories.

Today India and South Africa are important powerhouses in their respective regions. Both are bullies in their regions as they lobby to become big bullies on the global scene – You bully Bangladeshis, we bully Zimbabweans. It is easy because the world likes your call centers and our gold mines.

There are also the security issues. You have jihadists planting bombs every now and then, and smug Delhi boys have begun molesting unsuspecting girls with disturbing regularity. On our side of the globe, we carjackings, murders and one of the highest incidences of rape in the world.

Also, both governments seem to have low expectations of their electorate – and so corruption and mismanagement is par for the course – and this is unlikely to rescind.

Hah, now we seem like long-lost cousins!

But to be fair, South Africa is home to 50 million people and we can’t seem to get it right. Meeting the expectations of 1.2 billion must pose some serious logistical issues for your management…

4. Your literary influences…

Hesse, Fanon, Foucault, Sontag, (Tom) Eaton, Herge’s Tintin and my father’s letters to newspaper editors.

5. Azad as a writer…

Anarchic, moody, disorganised and violent.

6. Azad the person…

Rather pleasant, most of the time.

7. What do you think of the so-called modern India?

Fascinating, really. There is an Indian type of modernity that is pacy, prosperous, bafflingly in its intensity but extremely exclusive and isolating. Surely modernity is more than another excuse to amass personal wealth, shop in decadent malls and fuel an insatiable thirst to consume the same products dressed up with an Indian flavour?

Modernity is also about designing the future with an emphasis on raising the standards of living, including health, housing and education for as many people as possible in improving human dignity. It just feels that India, like South Africa, would do well to take a step back and decide what type of modernity it desired before it plunged right in and pretended that the Maharaja Mac burger was anything different to a Big Mac…

You can read my review of the book here

Book Review: The Moslems are Coming: Encounters with a Desktop Terrorist by Azad Essa

Title: The Moslems are Coming: Encounters with a Desktop Terrorist
Author: Azad Essa
Publisher: Harper Collins India
ISBN: 9789350294390
Genre: Non-Fiction, Essays
Pages: 256
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5

I picked up, “The Moslems are Coming: Encounters with a Desktop Terrorist” when I was in a different state of mind, actually the right state of mind to read a book of this sort. I was questioning religion and how much of a part does it play in our lives.

Let me tell you something about the book. “The Moslems are Coming: Encounters with a Desktop Terrorist” is a collection of pieces written by a young Muslim South African blogger of Indian origin, Azad Essa. It started off individually as articles for various publications which have now been compiled into a book by Harper Collins India.
What I liked about the book? A lot of things. The book deals more so with a mix of religion and identity in modern times. About what it is to be a Muslim in today’s times and how are you viewed or looked at, more specifically as a modern Muslim Youth. That is the core of the essays in the book. While on the surface, the pieces seem tinged with humour and sarcasm, there is a lot more to them than what meets the eye.

For instance, the way Azad has spoken about the so-called Kashmir Issue and its impact on both sides – the Kashmiri Pandits and the Muslims, who have continued to stay on in the valley and the impact of violence on them. I liked his point of view, the fact that some Hindus are living in the valley, safe, sheltered by the Muslims and yet there is an unseen divide, always hovering above them.

The book also looks at another country, whose citizens face the issue of identity on a daily basis that is South Africa. Azad’s experiences are raw, vivid, and contain a lot of cultural references, which attempt to almost appeal to a larger audience.

You will be surprised with the book as you read along, that it isn’t all about Muslims. It is about humanity at the end of it all. Azad Essa writes bluntly and does not refrain from using swear words when necessary. He covers almost every terrain of topics that we normally shrug aside. His views on world politics and cultural issues are stark and often laced with wit and black humour.

The questions that were raised in my head, while reading the book were of an intense nature. I could not tear myself from the book once I started reading it. This book is real, honest, without any inhibitions, and stays true to what the author observes and wishes to document. The Moslems are Coming is a strong reflection of the times we live in and how maybe we can change some parts of it.

You can buy the book from Home Shop 18 here

Here is a book trailer: