A literary work of writing becomes strongly relatable when it is born from experiences that touch the heart and lives of the many who live through it or even those who know about. Life and fate play games that can be understood by less, but the effects can be felt by all. “The Khan of Khel Khudai” by Harshaa Bharatula is one such book where life and its unpredictability find an accurate mention and also explore the reasons and happenings in the lives of the characters, simultaneously keeping the political flavor in the backdrop.
Set in the lands of Afghanistan and the action swinging between the United Kingdom and Afghan homes as the book progresses, “The Khan of Khel Khudai” has the air of Afghan environment and a close portrayal of life, as it happens there. In light of this, the book becomes both exciting and has the necessary touches of reality which a reader of the foreign or native land would find gripping and fascinating. As the author begins unraveling the plot of the novel, there a sequential development of the lives of the two characters where fate pulls the strings of their lives, and both take an individual course of action. At the same time, the Afghan lands and the political instability and the ripple effects of it find a direct or indirect mention at different stages. While the book remains open to a psychological study of the central characters, it also opens up for examination from a political and sociological standpoint. At the same time, as the action shifts to London time and again, the book shows how events operate on a foreign land far away from home.
Although “The Khan of Khel Khudai” is written in a fictional framework, the fact that it is based on events happening, in reality, gives the book the necessary artistic strokes to make it appear true to life. Bharatula creates this in the fiction format, which excites the readers’ imagination and also helps them connect it all with the characters. Alongside, the author gives glimpses into Afghan culture, their lifestyles, social customs and explores the themes of brotherhood, family life, relationships, and the fragments of a life on foreign land. This makes the reading experience diverse, and the readers are able to have their imaginative journey to the land of Afghanistan and feel the life that exists there.
Bharatula, in his “The Khan oof Khel Khudai” constructs characters who are a product of both their circumstances and the choices they make in their lives. The book shows the development of their lives in a chronological manner where their lives unfold effortlessly and yet, in an unpredictable manner. He also shows how the political forces hold the fate of all, whether it is the vulnerability of the bureaucracy or the question of the state of common man, the impact and hold of religion; all find mention in the book. Alongside, the book also shows the impacts on the youth who are guided into different directions where they hold their own version of the truth and constructive work. He creates characters who speak for themselves, make their own decisions, and choose their destiny by freeing themselves from the pen of the author. Due to both the subject content and the characters., the book would catch the interest of the readers in no time. At the same time, it would also ensure that they would have a reading experience that may be born from fiction, but the resultant effect is their updated knowledge and awareness about the prevailing situation in Afghanistan. In light of this, recommending this book to all readers may not be wrong. While younger readers would find this book interesting from the fantasy point of view, the grown-up readers would be able to interpret “The Khan of Khel Khudai” from the viewpoint of mature and aware readers. At the same time, some may also find their knowledge being updated or refreshed with new facts about life and how it happens.
Written at a time when there is a political change in the land of Afghanistan, “The Khan of Khel Khudai” becomes more important and no less than a record of the present time. Readers of the future would find this book useful in studying the life and fate of the common man of Afghanistan and the situations he faced when there was political turmoil and a situation which was no less than unrest. It would not only give them an idea about the present-day circumstances but would also help them in reaching the roots and understand as to how it would all have conspired. Therefore, recommending this book to not just Indian readers but also the readers of foreign lands would help in opening the eyes of many towards the unspoken truth and hearing the other side of the story.
Reviewed By: Akhila Saroha