• Sunday 26th May 2019

‘i’m Not An Anthropologist’ Stumbled Upon A Chilling Paragraph That Could Have Been Written Today:

“There was complete and total silence about the Baluch, their cause, their lives, and their deaths. No newspaper editor risked punishment on their behalf.


‘I’m not an anthropologist’


Faiza S. Khan


Published at 79, Jamil Ahmad began the book that became ‘The Wandering Falcon’ some 40 years ago after receiving some sage advice from his wife, to whom the book is dedicated.

“Your poetry is rubbish,” she said, “why don’t you write about something you know about?”

It’s advice every reader has longed to dish out at some point in their life and blessed is the man with the good sense and the humility to listen. Mr Ahmad started to write about a subject close to his heart, Balochistan, and the life of the Baloch tribes with whom he had interacted at close quarters as a civil servant posted in Balochistan.

The book took him two years to complete and he submitted the manuscript to a few American publishers on completion. It was rejected, and sat in a drawer for the next 40 years till his brother heard of a short story prize for Pakistani short story writers on the radio and sent it in.

It was my great fortune as one of the administrators of this prize that this modern classic landed at my desk. I confess, I didn’t have the highest hopes for a book from a retired bureaucrat. I was wrong.

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