Exploring the world

September 25, 2022

A pictorial log of Hussain’s visits to various cities around the world

Exploring the world


r Fatima Hussain’s latest book, Knocking at the Foreign Lands: A Cultural Odyssey, is a pictorial travelogue. It is about Hussain’s visits to various cities around the world, on which she was accompanied by her husband, Fakhar Zaman. All of her travels seem to be closely linked to exploring cultural and historical aspects of the host countries. The company of Zaman, the architect of Pakistan’s first official cultural policy, was an added advantage. Hussain is an eminent writer and a teacher of history at Delhi University in India. She has authored The war that wasn’t: The Sufi and the Saint and Sufism Revisited and co-authored The Palestinian Question: A Historical Perspective. She has also edited Sufism & Bhakti Movement: Contemporary Relevance. More recently, her book, Lahore: the City of Love, has been an instant hit with those wanting to explore Lahore’s many historic monuments. Being a history teacher, the writer has a keen interest in the cultures of historically significant cities, armed as she arrives with in-depth knowledge of various societies contributing to these cities.

In Knocking at the Foreign Lands, she recollects her memories from travels to more than 19 countries, including Russia and China. She captures the cultural monuments of the countries while travelling and meeting new people.

In Knocking at the Foreign Lands she recollects her memories from travels to more than 19 countries, including Russia and China. 

The book is divided into 20 chapters, each dedicated to a country she has visited. A unique aspect of the book is that a lot of photos in the book were taken by the author herself. The book is a must-read for those looking to explore Europe not just for the sake of travel but also to get to know more about the historical significance of the places, local cultures and peoples.

Apart from major cities like Paris, Frankfurt, Rome, Venice, Budapest, Oslo, Rhodes Island, Amsterdam, Vienna, Stockholm, and Copenhagen she has written about her experiences in less known cities like Helsinki in Finland, Bratislava in Slovakia, Tallin in Estonia, Riga in Latvia and Horndal, Avesta, Leksand and Visby in Sweden. Hussain also mentions her experience of the unique local foods she came across on her travels. This makes the book more interesting and useful for potential visitors.

Each account of her visits includes a brief about the historical importance of the place. Apart from Western cities, she has included descriptions of her visits to Saint Petersburg in Russia, Istanbul in Turkey and several cities in China.

The book contains a number of photos of her meetings with contemporary writers, intellectuals and scholars from various countries during her visits. These include Peter Curman, Uwe Friesel and Karin Perers of Sweden whom she met at a conference in Avesta held at the famous Eric Karlfeldt House.

Knocking at the Foreign Lands: A Cultural Odyssey

Author: Dr Fatima Hussain

Publisher: Sang-e-Meel, 2022


Rs: 7500

Dr Fatima Hussain has dedicated the book to her husband, Fakhar Zaman.

Exploring the world