An Ordinary Man’s Guide to Radicalism by Neyaz Farooquee- REVIEW

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Name               – An Ordinary Man’s Guide to Radicalism
 Author                 – Neyaz Farooquee
 Publisher              – Westland Books
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From a rural village in Bihar to Jamia Nagar, New Delhi- Neyaz Farooque’s journey could not be described in a one line. On the background of an encounter in Jamia Nagar, which killed two students and a police officer, author has knitted a tale that will make any cliffhanger look inappropriate. What deserves special mention is that the book is not a mere tale but the autobiography of the author.

The childhood and the school life of the author which dominates the first part of the book is ordinary but author has depicted it in such a way that the reader would be amused to read how a boy who studied in Hindi medium struggled to study in English medium and further how he revived as the studious one after switch to Urdu medium. With the support of a few verses in Quran, author has mocked himself as to how he was framed as a liar and how he lied shamelessly and got away with it, only to be caught later. Further the medical- engineering cliche proves that life is all the same no matter where it sprouts. Unable to get admission to any medical colleges, author ended up joining Biosciences,which is the second best option. The life in Jamia Nagar is portrayed so realistically that we would cringe at the sight of the laptop floating over yellow water containing human excreta, that is overflown from the toilet during the rains. 

The crux of the book is invariably the encounter that killed two students who were allegedly terrorists and how the author and his friends lived in never-ending fear of being framed a terrorist since they had common friends and more so since they were Muslims. Author criticises the injustices and discrimination towards Muslims with unveiled dismay. It is intriguing to see authors unique take on not only the encounter but on Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussain and America.

The second half of the book is laden with hatred towards America. Eventhough the double standard and the dominating stand of US is known to all, the observation that Laden was used by them sounds like a burlesque. Nonetheless the fact that the author is a journalist and he knows better is not lost on us. Author on the other hand has seamlessly diverted the chances of controversy by portraying the findings as merely the talks he had during the debate with friends.


The book is a well written account a common man’s take on terrorists, discrimination as well geopolitical scenario but with a lot of prejudice.

Subject        :  4.5  /5
Narration    :  5 /5
Research     :  5 /5
Relevance   :  4 /5

This review is in return of a free book from the publisher  

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