In one of the writing communities, in a thread that was addressed only to the Afghans, I found it amusing when the thread owner, seemed to attack the characters in the book, as if they lived next to his house. He goes one step ahead to attack the writer by demanding one who claims to be a real Afghan should quite easily be able to distinguish the differences between the fake Afghan character the writer has shown in the novel and the Afghan, found in real life.

Though the thread was addressed to Afghans only and I was probably not supposed to respond, however the temptation was hard to resist. At times it is not fun but mandatory to let a person know how short sighted he is to stop the third world war. My response was around the following lines.

As a reader, most of us have learnt to be generous enough to hold a book’s esteem over and above its depiction of religion or community. What has stirred most is the human aspect of the book to which all of us could relate to – a young boy’s injustice over another, a futile attempt for redemption, a Hazara boy’s unadulterated loyalty.

A fundamentalist, for that matter, can take the contents of this book as being evoked by some religious streak and people with half baked knowledge would jump to believe it is torture on Shia by the Sunni Muslims. A little research would reveal, both Sunni and Shia Muslims share the most fundamental Islamic beliefs and articles of faith and their differences is not spiritual but political ones which dates back to the death of the Prophet Muhammad and the question of who was to take over the leadership of the Muslim nation. What we find in the book is a manifestation of social classification, impacting the boys rather than any religious belief.

The owner of the thread was extremely annoyed regarding the portrayal of an Afghan character, Amir, the protagonist having beer with his father, while he lived in America. I had my explanation for him.

The way Baba (Amir’s father) lived, fought for a stranger woman’s honor in the bus are all Pashtun lifestyle popularly called Pashtho which includes practices like imamdari (righteousness), ghayrat (defense of property and honor), and mamus (defense of one’s female relatives) etc. – the intelligent masses know to identify a true Afghan not by popular opinion or a thread with disintegrated thoughts and get triggered negatively by protagonist’s shaking bottles of beer for a jovial drink with parents. Those who are not intelligent enough are mindless either ways, so why even remotely bother about Afghan manifestation to such a crowd?