‘Hamid Ansari – Incarcerated in Pak Jail’
‘Love can move mountains’, if Hamid Ansari’s true to life story couldn’t prove this adage, surely, it must be false and concocted. Consider India, Pakistan and Afghanistan as egoistic mountains that actually moved to relent to a story of an Indian man possessed.
In this 376-page fast paced book- “Hamid – The story of my captivity, survival and freedom”, a stark reality stands out- ‘How Hamid a 27-year, MBA & Indian techie from Mumbai, could feel so madly for a girl that he dupes his family into believing he took a call from Afghanistan for a job, and then disappear. And as if, Afghanistan was not treacherous enough, he proceeded to crossover to Pakistan albeit without documents to fulfill his heart call!
Nurturing thoughts to deliver his self-felt beau, from an ancient tribal custom of ‘Wani’ prevalent in clannish belts of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan, the story of Hamid is an insider’s account of how he fearlessly embarked on a chivalrous or foolish journey of Op Freedom for an unseen sweetheart that landed him in illegal confinement and finally jails in Pakistan. Betrayed by Pakistani friends, he found himself conveniently delivered to the gleeful arms of corrupt government agencies in hostile Pakistan, condemned to be incarcerated and caged in one of the most inhuman conditions matching the gory torture.
Authored by Hamid Ansari with Geeta Mohan a Senior Journalist covering international relations, the story at first gives a filmy taste. However, reality dawns as the pages unravel a tale that could best be imaginative or a decision taken by the author, under some pleasurable drug. Written in simple language, the story oscillates between Hamid’s first-hand account and the persistent struggle of his mother Fauzia Ansari knocking on near deaf doors of India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. It churns one’s insides and leaves one gawking in disbelief, with its naivety, yet the calm and grace of Fauzia while fighting for her son is, towering.
The guts and grit of Hamid seem extraordinary, to hold on to his own truth, of crossing borders as blatant savior of a Pakistani girl, despite extreme torture, the tactics, and taunts to embroil him to confess himself as a spy, primarily to score brownie points, as also make him a negotiating toolat international forumswith India. Some indiscretions somehow feel hidden, as sexual abuse in prisons world-over is known to be rampant, but has no mention even hidden amongst the blood and gore details or even in a hallucinating dream.
However what stares one in the face key role play of women over men! As many as six women stand out starkly,four from Pakistan.
>The online Pak woman enticer -Fiza.
>The Pak woman collaborator- Dr Shazia who along with other online friends from Pakistan, coaxes Hamid and makes him believe that she is with him in the gallantry he is supposed to commit in Pakistan.
>The courageous Pak woman -ZeenatShehzadi, a cub journalist, who goes more than miles and stones, to expose the illegal confinement of Hamid in Pakistan.
>The Pak lawyer RakshandaNaz,who despite the jarring enmity between nations believed and did everything a mother would do to set free a son for his mother.
>The Indian women being Hamid’s resilient mother Fauzia Ansari who stood like a rock and rolled like one too when and where needed to push for her son’s release.
>Another Indian woman is late SushmaSwaraj the formidable Union Minister of External Affairs who tried and pushed for Hamid’s homecoming in every possible manner.
However, the book leaves a gaping hole about the core object of love, for whom, mountains were moved- Hamid’s quintessential love interest- that remains mysterious, unseen, unrequited, and seeming under the proverbial veil.
Overall, a compelling read, that swings from a trajectory of tragedy to hope and beyond.
Book Title: “Hamid – The story of my captivity, survival and freedom”
Authors: Hamid Ansari with Geeta Mohan
Publisher: Penguin eBury Press (Nov 2020)