Book Review: The Infidels of Mecca by Abbas Zaidi

Do you believe in God?

I am an atheist so for me God doesn’t exist and I accept everyone as they are. But then, our world is being engulfed by religious fanatics slowly and gradually, and we witness this in our country almost every day. The Infidels of Mecca is one such book that I finished a few weeks back.

The story of The Infidels of Mecca revolves around Benazir Bhutto’s assassination and events that happened few hours before her murder.
An old-school Sufi-activist, Professor Umer is up against Colonel Burq, a hard line radical who wants to prevent Benazir from coming to power. Caught in this charged atmosphere is Dara Shikoh, son of Colonel Burq and student of Professor Umer. A troubled man who cannot get over the death of his mother, he only wants to live with the love of his life, Laleen.
But in times of radicalism, can love blossom? As soon as Benazir is shot, Dara’s world comes crashing down. One bullet that changed the political scenario of Pakistan for years to come, and Dara’s life along with it.

Now, for the review, I had very high expectations from the book, especially when I read the blurb. I thought The Infidels of Mecca would be a political thriller, that will keep me glued to it. But somehow it dragged on too much with Dara’s love for Laleen and missed the whole point.

The language of the The Infidels of Mecca was a bit childish, it will make you yawn like anything at least for the first 100 pages or so. In addition to this, the author swayed away from the thrilling point of the book and converted into a love lost story. The climax was a huge disappointment, given that I was able to guess the plot way before the story ended. At that’s one type of books that I don’t like to read, books in which I can guess the story in between. I also felt that Dara’s character was not strong. He felt like the kind of person who couldn’t take a stand, and always needed a push to be confident about his actions and thoughts.

The only thing that I liked about The Infidels of Mecca was the ideology of radicals that the author has shared. My father took a trip to Pakistan and the stories that he shared was somewhat reflecting in this book. The radicalism, the hypocrisy of the politicians (even ours are same as well), the bad economy. But yes, overall The Infidels of Mecca was not a great read.

All in all, you may read it at your own risk.

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