In an antique land The cover proclaims IAAL “History in the guise of a traveller’s tale,” and the multi-generic book moves back and forth between Ghosh’s. Once upon a time an Indian writer named Amitav Ghosh set out to find an Indian slave, name unknown, who some seven hundred years before had traveled to. Such is the underlying motif of IN AN ANTIQUE LAND, Amitav Ghosh’s fascinating study which blends a historical detective story with his own experiences as a.

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I think the basis of his assumptions about victim-hood and aggression, which he obviously inherited from the egregious Said, have been proved wanting. In all the centuries in which it had flourished and grown, no state or kings or ruling power had ever before tried to gain control of the Indian Ocean trade by force of arms.

I would try to shut out the noise by concentrating on my book or my diaries or by turning up the volume of my transistor radio, but Abu-‘Ali’s voice always prevailed, despite the thick mud walls of his house and the squawking of the ducks and geese who lived around my room.

Nowhere were there more than in the area around Alexandria; the Afrika Corps and the Italian Sixth Army, under the command of Erwin Rommel, were encamped a bare forty miles from the city, waiting for their orders for the final push into Egypt, and in the city itself the soldiers of the British Eighth Army were still arriving — from every corner of the world: As the centuries advanced and the conurbation around the fortress grew in size and importance, the river retreated westwards and the docks and warehouses gradually expanded along the newly emerged lands on the bank.

The vignettes from the life of a tiny poor Egyptian town are fascinating – a rare and vivid view into an isolated culture. Ghosh skillfully draws our attention to parallels and contrasts to both the medieval and the modern stories.

Once, for instance, some thieves who were escaping with a herd of stolen water-buffalo were frozen to the ground, buffaloes and all, when they drew abreast of the Sidi’s tomb.

Published March 29th by Vintage first published Is lwnd world going to live on soccer? By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. This part, which reads like a brilliant travelogue, is highly entertaining as well as informative especially in regard to culture and religion-related miss understanding.

But on this occasion, after saying his evening prayers, Shaikh Musa had risen to his feet and led me out of the guest-room, into the lamplit interior of the house.


In an Antique Land – Wikipedia

But when I asked what exactly they had bought, he shook his head and smiled enigmatically. To ease the rigours of the fast people would try to finish all their most pressing bits of work early in the morning, while the sun was still anrique in the sky; it was impossible to do anything strenuous on an empty stomach and parched throat once the full heat of the day had set in. I was aghast; I knew nothing at all about water-pumps; indeed, I could not recall ever ladn noticed one before coming to Lataifa.

Amitav Ghosh was born in Ln in The fascinating revelations about Jewish life in medieval Egypt and the Maghrebthe close relationship between the Muslims and Jews, destroyed only in the last century, are intertwined with Ghosh’s own story, a perception of Egyptian villagers through Indian eyes, and, even more interesting, their perception of the Indian catapulted into their midst.

I had wanted to join in the fast, but everyone insisted, ‘No, you can’t fast, you’re not Muslim — only Muslims fast at Ramadan. It sure was terribly awkward and amusing, to me to be a Hindu Indian in a rural Muslim village. Why haven’t you come to see me?

Amitav Ghosh: In an Antique Land – Cairo Guide to Cairo, Egypt

The slaves first appearance occurred in a short article by the scholar E. Ghosh is lectured time and time again about the primitive practices of his people who follow no prophet mentioned in the Koran and he takes it all with the humility of his calling.

Worst Bit If you’re not in an intellectual mood, this historic novel will not keep your attention. Some were relatives who had heard that Hasan was back on leave, and some were friends of Shaikh Musa’s from nearby villages. The pursuer was the bigger of the two, and it soon caught up with the other and pinned it to the floor with its beak.

So that when he writes about the those other people, the merchants and slaves from years ago, whose correspondence he is researching, the vast gap in time is bridged by the ancientness and continuity of the Egyptian civilisation, and those people from a thousand years ago suddenly seem as real and alive to you as the fellaheen of today.

It was to establish him as possibly the greatest of the Geniza scholars, the pioneering researcher without whose labours an inquiry into the lives of Ben Yiju and the Wntique of MS H. Ghosh parallels his own sojourns in Egypt, the Malabar coast and return to Egypt, with those of Ben Yiju, who spent some twenty years in Mangalore, marrying a freed Indian slave, before returning to North Africa.


In its original conception al-Qahira was a planned capital, an early forebear of New Delhi, Canberra, Brasilia and other such haunts of officialdom. It lies towards the south, and it goes by several names. I really couldn’t stop laughing at that. It hadn’t surprised anyone when he succeeded in getting a permit to set up a government- subsidized shop for retailing essential commodities at controlled prices.

The old Geniza was probably left standing for a while, after the rest of the structure was torn down, but it must have perished later. Apr 08, Brandi rated it liked it Shelves: Get Road Junky Updates! It was true that the most vulnerable people — pregnant women, young children, the sick, the elderly, and so on — were exempted by religious law, but even for those of sound body the fast must have been very hard: At about this time Elkan Adler must have realized that he had been wrong in his initial assessment, for he returned to Cairo in what was to prove the decisive year in the life of the Geniza, Likewise, the persistence of the geniza in Cairo, with its thousand years of Jewish documents is again a monument and a bridge to the past.

Amitav Ghosh – “In An Antique Land”

What ultimately brings the two narratives together ghoeh the undercurrent of nostalgia for a bygone, simpler laand more peaceful age. I went up to the machine’s spout, stooped beside it and peered knowledgeably into its inky interior, shutting one eye. But the people who used the Geniza would not have countenanced the modern distinction between the ‘secular’ and the ‘religious’: I highly recommend this book. Fortunately, this makes up the bulk of the book and the academic bits can be skipped without missing much.

Amitav Ghosh is essayist and blogger as well as novelist, and it was the sheer pleasure from some of his essays and blog posts that induced me to take on one of his novels. Only for add Read this author for the first time.

Where at other times of the year the lanes and paths were generally empty by eight o’ clock, they were now full of bustle and activity: Overall, the Ben Yiju sub-plot added to the past-meets-present theme of the book, but it almost had a Biblical An interesting weave of non-fiction and fiction. Adler was given a glimpse of a remarkable document in the Cattaouis’ strong-room: