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Truth, lies, memories


LIVING AWAY from the media glare, Aabid Surti has been at his creative best. Author of over 80 books, including "The Black Book", "The Golf Widow", "The Cages", "The Sufi" and now this latest, "In the Name of Rama" (Anhad).

As a screenplay writer he has been associated with directors like Raj Kapoor and Raj Khosla. And as a playwright he has penned seven plays. As an artist he has held 16 exhibitions and even pioneered the technique called `mirror collage'. As a cartoonist he has been the creator of Dabbuji and that of Bahadur and Inspector Vikram and Inspector Azad.


Real life story

Getting back to his latest book, "In the Name of Rama", revolves around a true incident during the demolition of the Babri Masjid. As Surti states, "This book was inspired by the real story of a police constable who stood alone at the foot of the Babri Masjid against a swirling ocean of karsevaks. The thought of writing this book was triggered when I read the eyewitness account of the Babri Masjid demolition in a periodical. What caught my eye was the story of one policeman. When countless karsevaks attacked the Babri Masjid and all security personnel had abandoned their posts, one constable stood alone against the marching waves of kar sevaks. He was trampled over by an army of saffron crusaders and it is not known where he is today - whether he is alive or dead."

The story is told through a young doctor treating the protagonist Ramasray, lying in coma and attended on by his beloved-cum-caretaker, Sumatiya. Of course, in the background and also in the foreground is the Babri Masjid and the way it was attacked and destroyed.

To quote Surti, "Is it justified to build another temple over thousands of dead bodies? Hitler once said, `By means of shrewd lies, repeated often enough, it is possible to make people believe that heaven is hell and hell heaven. The greater the lie, the more readily it will be believed.' I want this book to remain as a question mark in the face of a collective lie."

HUMRA QURAISHI

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