Flipkart Official Review
There are travelogues and then there are books describing the history of the place. To write a book combining the two and obtaining the right pace and tone for it, is not an easy task. Omair Ahmad does it effortlessly in his new book, “The Kingdom at the Centre of the World: Journeys into Bhutan”.
Omair speaks of Bhutan from the time it started to emerge as a Buddhist nation in the seventeenth century to what it stands for today. The danger of writing a book which begins with the history of a place is of course that the reading experience could get tedious, but Omair manages it to not get that way. He takes the reader on a journey to Bhutan, making the reader want to know more, to turn the pages and search for the places he beautifully describes.
The book doesn’t only speak of Bhutan in the times gone by, but also focuses on its current reality. How the country wants to adopt alternate governance models and testing the progress of the country, in a world that is constantly changing and wants more out of itself. Bhutan (as a country nestled in the Himalayan range) is trying the balancing act – to maintain its heritage, to want to choose happiness for its people over the Gross National Product, and at the same time wants to open its economy to the world. Omair serves Bhutan on a platter to its readers. It might be a slow read for some, but it sure is worth your time and imagination.
In The Kingdom At The Centre Of The World, Omair Ahmed reveals the beautiful story of the country of Bhutan.
Summary of the Book
Bhutan. The landlocked kingdom which has been on the crossroads of nearly every communication between the Asian countries because of its location is a mystical land of a colourful history. In this book, Omair Ahmad begins the story of Bhutan with the story of Padmasambhava's epic odyssey to spread the message of Buddhism to the Himalayas. With this event, Buddhism spread northwards and throughout China, Tibet and Bhutan. Emerging as an independent nation in the 1600s under the Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, Bhutan has been both friend and enemy to Tibet, its sister-nation in more than one way. The country has driven back the might of the British under Jigme Namgyal the Black Regent who united Bhutan to push the armies of British India back. This book reveals the story of the nation seated at the centre of the world, and teaches readers that in Bhutan, an increasingly homogenized world is being developed where innovative and new methods of governance are being tested in ways no one ever imagined. Spanning centuries in its reach, this masterful work shows how present day Bhutan is struggling with its refugee crisis and tries to retain what is inherently Bhutanese as it welcomes the new age and new people into its fold every day.
About Omar Ahmad
Omair Ahmad is an Indian writer, reporter and political analyst. He is best known for his book Jimmy The Terrorist which was shortlisted for the 2009 Man Asian Literary Prize and won the 2010 Vodafone Crossword Book Award. He has also written: The Storyteller's Tale and Encounters.
Mr. Ahmad graduated from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi and Syracuse University in New York.
THE KINGDOM AT THE CENTRE OF THE WORLD : JORNEYS INTO BHUTAN
Certified Buyer, Bhopal
8 May, 2014