Pariah is a story of love, mountains, flowers, pigeons, clouds, culture, history, society and politics. I am sure that you would be wondering how all this could be summarised in just one novel.

The novel starts with a love story of a father Zikarya and son Aon who had gone up north to work on some housing development scheme as the father was a small contractor having a labour of his own. Here in this part of the novel you will get a desire to see the northern areas of Pakistan as they have been beautifully sketched by the author. The hardships of the cold weather and how the locals there manage to get over with them is something interesting to learn.

Then comes the interesting point in the novel where the son Aon starts reading the eyes and mind of his father after the death of his mother and author shows how madly Zikarya was in love with his wife that despite a young age he never married and spent his life working for the prosperity of his only son. After the completion of the work in north the father and son both move to Lahore to their native house where Zikarya’s jittery mother resided with her other son and daughter. In this part the author has romantically sketched the picture of the then Walled City. He tells how closely the people lived, how the rooftops and houses were connected and how with the passage of time land started dividing among the families to accommodate more people. We read all the historic facts of the city in this book starting for the curvy narrow winding streets leading to huge bazaars and then to different shrines at every nook and corner of the city. The author explains the colourful vista of the city life and how Zikarya gave hope to his son for building up a market for him, which he would rent out and that would be an asset for them in their old age.

That is the point where the author subtly brings in the 1971 War and its aftermaths and how that separation affected the businesses of the people. The author mentions that the military men would go door to door and announce that all the lights in the night to be turned off and trenches in the houses to be dug. Zikarya himself dug a trench where his neighbours rescued themselves. Then the author shows the charisma and zeal of the people on the first elected Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and how happy the people were after the hopeful addresses of Bhutto in which he claimed to bring prosperity for the masses and country. The author writes that it was the time when the businesses of the people started flourishing and thus people developed an affiliation with this politician. Later the author brings into light the hanging of Bhutto and sketches the scene of how he was treated and hanged. The stories which people heard from the jail and on TV have been penned down. That was the time when people thought that their leader betrayed them and left them again at the mercy of the dictators. Later, Zia ul Haq took over the country. Then towards the end of the novel the happenings during Zia’s regime are written which are very important to be read by the new generation.

The social and emotional feelings of these political upheavals have been reflected through the dialogues and actions of Zikarya and Aon, which gives a reader an interesting read. When both the leaders died there was an anomaly and it was hard to understand by the people. People thought their leader betrayed them, and so did Aon thought when his father passed away.

This is a story of an era affecting the life time of a nation, revolving around a small family unit, yet telling the socio-political affairs of a whole society in many ways. It reveals how a society lost its old basic values and how the old values were debauched, it is also about how love holds the ordinaries in the darkest of the hours and how hope keeps on glowing in the tedium of chaos. In short, it’s a must read novel to know about culture, history, society and politics of the gone eras.

The author is serving member of District Judiciary of Punjab, Pakistan having experience of six years practice as an advocate. This book is first ever published work of the author printed in Pennsylvania U.S.A by Dorrance Publishing.