Sanjay Khan had a moderate career as a film actor that included some well-loved films. And, yes, some of the songs filmed on him are timeless jewels. Eventually, he started producing and directing TeleVision serials for DoorDarshan.
Here is a list of some remarkable TV serials he is associated with:
His love for the country and its traditions, history and culture is visible in all these TV Serials.
|Book Title||:||Assalamualaikum Watan
|Publisher||:||Fingerprint! Publishers (29 November 2018)|
|# of Pages||:||9854 KB; 240 (Paperback)|
|# of Chapters||:||8|
Sanjay decided to write books on the matters he thought are essential to be talked about and recently he came up with his latest book – Assalamualaikum Watan. Published by Fingerprint! Publishing, this book is written mainly for Muslim readers. It urges them to join the mainstream of the country, leave the orthodox attitudes and get educated for the better future of the community and country.
Being an entry point to the virtual world of words explored within, a cover page plays quite an important role in making the first impression of the book. And, thus, it influences a remarkable number of purchase and/or reading decisions.
As you can see the cover page of “Assalamualaikum Watan” is really attractive.
The national flag of India as the background looks really eye-catcher. The way the rays of the rising Sun represents the better future is a very thoughtful decision of cover designer. In front of this amazing background is the author’s photograph where you can see him looking towards the bright future.
The cheerful colors and use of the right type of fonts for the title and author name, makes it even more appealing.
Overall, a really impressive cover page.
Usually, we talk about the plot of the book and our views for the same in two distinguished segments. The nature of this book is quite different, so we are merging both these segments here.
As said earlier, the book is primarily written for Muslim readers, mainly those who belong to India (that is Bharat). However, some of the real-life incidents, the author has shared can prove to be inspirational and motivational to almost anyone. And yes, in the interwoven tapestry of a country like India, it is not possible for a community to sustain and blossom if the majority doesn’t support it. So, the non-Muslim readers can read it to know the real things Muslims need, and support them. No matter what the dividers, short-sighted fellows and outsiders say, India is the longest sustained civilization in which people from various parts of the globe came to and settled at by finding it “the desirable place”. No one can deny it.
Also, Sanjay’s work proves that he is not in a bubbled perception of communal thoughts. He and his family really love the nation and all its aspects from the bottom of their heart. In fact, his elder brother, Feroz Khan, a popular Bollywood actor, once went to Pakistan and there he bluntly said that the Muslims are happier in India and they love the motherland. His future movies were banned there, but he didn’t care.
At the beginning of the book, the author says:
As an artist, to remain outside the abstract world of meticulous creation and be ensconced in the spirit from the lives touched by my art was one of the greatest satisfactions and humbling moments of my life.
While officially the colors of the national flag of India represent various qualities and attributes, some people consider them to be the colors representing various religions. Of course, it is a wrong perception that harmed the unity of the country a lot. It is disheartening to read that the author needs to refer green color is representing Muslim community, in order to connect with them (during a gathering) and cheering them up. Of course, if this way, if a community is brought into the mainstream and motivated to do positive things, it is to be appreciated. However, in a country having thousands of years of history shouting “वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम is not just a saying, but it is practiced here”, such things are self-evident.
And as per the author, the reason for communal disharmony is the manipulation of the community and mostly using it as a vote bank by political parties and governments. The promises are made to the youth and other segments of the community and then they were broken. The author reiterates these things at multiple places in the book. He thus applauds the efforts of the current government to bring all the communities in the mainstream.
Actually, you can find the author saying:
I want to ignite the desire and passion in the Indian Muslim youth to come forward and be the emblematic faces of tomorrow’s industry titans by joining the mainstream India.
Here clearly feels that the single national identity will make the people feel themselves linked with each other. In the foreword, author’s vision is reflected as:
He recommends that the Government of India embark on an initiative to address all its citizens as Indians, and in special circumstances, if need be, as Indian-Hindus, Indian-Muslims, Indian Christians, and so forth.
And the author rightly says that, with a positive attitude and accepting the good things, one also needs to be get educated. Education and knowledge makes one to see the truth and gives the courage to follow the correct path.
My personal view is that for today’s Muslim India to unconditionally embrace the fruits of education, we must eradicate the penumbra of fear that has continued to intoxicatingly overwhelm us for a long time. This fear has gathered momentum due to a government system that has neglected our youth and failed our citizens, without the proper sustenance for success. …
He also says:
It is just not the issue of providing education, the quality of education is just as important.
History is seen differently by different people. There was a time when the history was not documented as is, and thus various historians(!) wrote their own versions and perceptions of the same. So yes, you can see conflicts of references even in historical stuff also. And, not everyone will accept one’s vision. And, no sugar-coated words can change the facts or even heal the wounds. So, one has to use his/her own intelligence to find the truth and learn from the right and wrong things done in the fast. That is the only way to move forward.
The author himself says:
History is concerned with handling of traditions and lessons of the past into the future, so no age, no country can do away with history.
Sanjay shares the tragic incident of “fire on the sets of – The Sword Of Tipu Sultan” in very detail. Actually, during those days, the media has covered a lot of aspects of this incident. However, the personal sufferings (of the people associated) have still remained uncovered. It was a massive financial loss for the production team. But, the injuries and deaths that happened in this tragic incident lead to an intangible loss. The author himself was injured so badly that a large number of people had already thought that he will succumb to death due to these injuries. In this fire tragedy, 52 of 56 injured people met with their deaths. The author talks in detail about the incident, his days in various hospitals, how the government, authorities, politician friends, doctors, hospitals and others, supported him and his team. And, he also shares the strong bond among the people of the country where they don’t check religions when it comes to their duty.
These three gentlemen, all Hindus, were instrumental in saving my life, a Muslim. this goes to show that in our inner heart we see no difference amongst us fellow humans. My gratitude will always remain for both these noble souls.
He also shares some emotional notes in the book that utters the truth:
To see a loved one suffer is a far more piercing pain; the pain of a loving spectator is so much more consuming than the pain of a sufferer.
Same way, the author talks about his experiences when filming “Jai Hanuman” (Hindi TV Serial).
The author admires the work by various politicians and also shares about his relations with some of the most loved leaders amongst them. Rather than revealing their names, I will let you read about them.
As the book is focused on Muslim community there are detailed chapters about history of Mughals, how Muslims found their way to India, how they settled down, how they became part of it,… and more. You can find references to works by Harbans Mukhia, Sir Jadunath Sirkar, Roman Rolland,… and others. He also talks about internal problems of the community, crimes against Muslims, works of various Muslim organizations including IMSET trust. At the same time, he talks about the “Shahbano case” too.
He also talks about “Vedic-based religions” (the same phrase is used in the book). You will find him getting the wrong concept of Varna, when he says “Sudra remains Sudra” (he wants to convey that a person born as Shudra will remain Shudra throughout his life, he will not become Brahmin/Kshatriya/Vaishya). The varnas are mainly based on Karmas and not based on births. However, when you see that medieval times have changed the entire concept, and it became more of a “birth based” practice. In those aspects, you will find the interpretation correct.
He also talks about Dara Shikoh’s Persian translation of the Upanishads named as Siree-e-Akbar, and how it reached Europe and spread over.
He also talks about the political and social alliances of Mughal rulers.
Most Mughals contracted marriage alliances with Indian rulers, especially Rajputs. …
The book has some lines about history and wisdom, which should not be missed:
It is dangerous to generalize history, especially on communal lines.
It is not religion that binds women, but the selective diktats of those who wish them cloistered.
Another thing I liked in the book is the quotes by various respected intellectuals including Swami Vivekananda. The author has also tried to take note of some of the remarkable Muslim activists of the current time. The list includes Afroz Shah (his work in clean-India movement is remarkable), and others. He also applauds the use of modern technologies in various administrative areas. He shares his thoughts about “Digital India” movement. These references affirm that the author is very much aware with what is actually happening and without any bias he recognises the things and talks about them bluntly. He says:
The initiative taken by the Modi government to re-introduce all subjects in the madrasa is a commendable move. I am so confident they will escalate and reinforce this move with greater number of teachers and include more educational institutions to cater to this huge India-Muslim population. … a good education is the only way forward to reclaim yesterday for tomorrow …
You may agree or disagree with many things he has mentioned in his book. But, the author has shared a vision for his community to have a better future. As he said rightly:
It’s at the edge of our existence that we find who we truly are, and I found out that tenacity and vision were intrinsically stitched to the fabric of my soul.
The language of the book is quite simple and the photographs included will interest the readers for sure.
A book, that is written with a vision to have a better future for his own community, the actionable steps to achieve it. The book is quite pricey and its target readers are limited. Go for it if you can read with an open mind and want to get something from it, remembering the motto: “agree to disagree and follow the right things”.
Around 7 out of 10.
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