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TINDERBOX: The Past and Future of Pakistan - Book review
It's often said 'don't judge a book by its cover' but this notion is challenged by M.J. Akbar's latest book, 'TINDERBOX: The Past and Future of Pakistan' wherein the cover itself talks about Islam, a concept and an idea which led to division of the Muslims of British India into three different nations by 1971.

The cover of the book carries a photo of a mosque which gives us an idea of Islamic ideology’s influence and its importance in shaping the past and future of Pakistan. While the title talks about the past of Pakistan it ultimately speaks about the history of India and the pain felt by both India and Pakistan by stretching the umbilical cord of Pakistan which was attached to India.

M.J. Akbar has packed the history of the Indian sub-continent in such a fashion that it is crisp as well as elaborative. Tinderbox gives a picture of the events which were equally crucial to both India and Pakistan in shaping their future, and how the handling of these events and the political issues gave two completely different identities to them.

According to Akbar, “Indians and Pakistanis are same people, why then have their nations moved on such different trajectories since freedom in 1947? The idea of India is stronger than the Indian and the idea of Pakistan has proved weaker than the Pakistani.”

The lines which kind of carry the essence of the whole book are, “Pakistan was not born across a breakfast table. It was the culmination of a search for what might be called ‘Muslim Space’ that began during the decline of the Mughal Empire, by the north Indian elite driven by the fear of the future and pride in the past.”

The book presents the history of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh in extremely different light by unveiling some of the figures like Shah Waliullah, who created the ‘theory of distance’ and Maulana  Maududi whom Akbar describes as the ‘God father of Pakistan.’

The book has come as a banquet to all; it can be enjoyed by variety of people depending upon their taste because it deals with India-Pakistan issue, one of the most controversial topics in the world. For those who are not concerned about India, it’s again a good menu to choose from because it deals with Pakistan - one of the most violent nations on the Earth. It’s also a good starter for those who are new to the history of the sub-continent and want to peep into it. So it’s a kind suggestion to all the history lovers out there, pick it up and read it, it’s never going to be too late to read this book. So get ready to indulge into history and clarify the mystery. 

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