Sharing colourful stuff of life

December 05, 2021

The book titled ‘Mushkay Jaan’ is a motivational memoir about a lifetime of childhood, adulthood, and soldier-ship. Though it is light on reflection, the book is entertaining throughout....

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The book titled ‘Mushkay Jaan’ is a motivational memoir about a lifetime of childhood, adulthood, and soldier-ship. Though it is light on reflection, the book is entertaining throughout. It offers a new way of thinking about military men and their career journey.

The soldier though perceived emotionally buttoned up and stiff upper lipped, Col Syed Maqbool Hussain explores the enthusiasm of military men of feeling. A breezy yet melancholic account of the time spent in the army, the book is a practical, emotional portrait of a very young man on the war front.

This strange, natural, haunting memoir finds Col. Syed Maqbool Hussain looking back on his years spent serving the army. The writer gives voice and character to his own memory, and together, in dialogue, he interrogates, teases, and provokes endeavours to describe, in precise, vivid prose, both the wonders and mystery of his childhood, adulthood, and the indefinable nature of memory itself.

Col. Syed Maqbool Hussain’s voice is sweet without being sappy, and despite its unconventional format, is a very honest, relatable account of the Indo-Pak war for the first time. He untangles the complexities of the war with clarity, wit, and grace, bringing a redemptive adult voice to his story. This book is unusual among memoirs.

His sketches of camp life, the effort to communicate his war experience, and the importance of sharing war material is a strategy for emotional survival. The focus of this book, therefore, is on soldiers as systems of war and the internal battle many of them wage as they live a reality that slowly emerges as inconsistent with familiar beliefs and value commitments.

This work offers a reflective study of identity struggle from the perspective of emotional psychology and delves into the story of socio-politics. Going beyond the political narratives, the author analyses a unique study on the evolving beliefs and value-commitments of veterans of the war, exploring their faith in its just cause and their personal sense of self and national identity.

This is a book about getting the job done and having fun in the process. Along with a focus on life at remote posts; the military as a socialising institution; attitudes toward field training exercises, heroism, and initiative; legitimacy of the command, it celebrates the writer’s post-retirement activities, literary life, adventure, romance, social, political scenarios, corruption, socialising, and lifelong friends as well.

The book’s subjective narration is dutiful, responsible, and sometimes playful in tone. Its descriptions are full and particular. When it covers Col. Syed Maqbool Hussain’s life outside of war zones, the book has personalized storytelling, records everyday events.

Col. Syed Maqbool is consistent in detailing his own motivations and perspectives. He displays an interest in problem-solving and approaches every challenge with optimism. However, he also shows that he knows his place in the chain of command.



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