Book Review: Durand’s Curse by Rajiv Dogra

Afghanistan, a country in the clutches of foreigners since decades. The homeland of brave Pashtuns is divided by the powerful destiny shaping Durand line, from borders of the Punjab to parts of Balochistan and South-Eastern Afghanistan.

Sir Mortimer Durand, a foreign secretary of imperial India drew a line over the Hindu Kush and the western Himalayas, thanks to the consent from Abdur Rahman, the Amir of Afghanistan. The year 1893 brought doom over once paradise kind land, and since then it has either been a victim of foreign interference and internal clashes of Taliban.

Durand’s Curse by Rajiv Dogra, a former diplomat, an expert on details related to Pakistan and Afghanistan decipher the past, present, and future of this land. In one single book, Rajiv Dogra has covered the history from the negotiations of Durand Line to former U.S President Barack Obama’s policies and the continued war on terror that Pakistan considers legitimate and Afghanistan would love to get rid of.

This one single Line has caused so much friction between Pakistan and Afghanistan that it seems like that there’s no end to this ages-old conflict in near future, and Rajiv Dogra has beautifully presented these facts in this book. A line that may act like an eyesore to others, is a savior to India as it gives our country reason to raise a red flag every time “cross-border” attacks are carried out by Pakistan-based elements against Afghanistan.

Till now, I have only read fictional books related to Afghanistan, thanks to brilliant writers like Khaled Hosseini. But Durand’s Curse is one-stop for all information related to Afghanistan. Whether it is the past related to Shah to present mellow times where people of Afghanistan silently weep for their destroyed Homeland.

Reading fiction related to Afghanistan is easy, but deciphering Afghanistan through real facts is tough. And Rajiv Dogra has done a brilliant job in collating and presenting such facts to the readers through extensive research. The book may prove to be a challenge for some, given that it only has a constant flow of events that led to the present situation of Afghanistan.

But, even if Durand’s Curse may not be everybody’s cup of tea but it is a book that we need to read. So make sure you grab your copy soon.

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