Book Launch: "Bahar Jungle Andar Aag"

Book Launch: "Bahar Jungle Andar Aag"

Wednesday, 4 March 2015 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm
Venue: 
Pavilion Room, Gateway Building, St Antony's College
Speaker(s): 
Ali Jafar Zaidi
Convenor: 
Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad
Series: 
Asian Studies Seminar

Ali Jafar Zaidi’s recently published political autobiography in Urdu presents a people’s perspective on the history of Pakistan. It is a fascinating tale of how his personal life and political activism have evolved along with the turbulent state of politics in the country, especially in the 60s, 70s and 80s.  The book offers an insider’s account of the origin and outcome of the 1968-69 protest movement against the military rule of General Ayub, the rise and fall of Z.A. Bhutto and the scale of brutality under General Zia’s regime. Full of insightful anecdotes, it explains how state-sponsored religious fanaticism grew in Pakistan under the American tutelage. The book is a rare critique of political authoritarianism, religious radicalism, capitalist exploitation and Western imperialism in relation to Pakistan and the world. The author uses a broad canvas to explain the historical and ideological roots of Pakistan’s persisting political and moral crisis, while simultaneously underscoring the need for progressive, secular, equitable and democratic order in the country.

 

Ali Jafar Zaidi is the founding member of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). A progressive, anti-war political activist, journalist and writer, he served as the Editor of Weekly Nusrat, the party’s ideological paper, from 1968 to 1973. During his subsequent decade-long academic stint at the Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, he led the planning and development of the university as a progressive institution of higher learning. He had to leave Pakistan in 1983 during the military dictatorship of General Zia, after being framed in the ‘Libya Conspiracy Case’ – and seek asylum in the UK, where he has lived since then. He contested for the UK parliament in 2005 from London as an anti-war, socialist candidate. He remains politically active by regularly contributing to print and electronic media as well as speaking at public forums in the UK and Pakistan.