The Monk, the Moor and Moses Ben Jalloun is a novel about a deliberately forgotten history; a history that remains hidden in the hallowed inner sanctums of Western academic institutions. Four young people – students in an American university in 2008 – set out to discover those truths on their own: not just because they need to know, but because they see how the past affects their own lives in very real ways. Parallel to their lives is the tale of Rehana – an Iranian from the eleventh century – and her many passions: her husband, her teacher, her culture and, always, her quest to learn.
Using intersecting narratives, soliloquies, legends and a host of colourful characters, real and imagined, Mirza dismantles the carefully manufactured European myth about the making of the modern world. He brings to life an Islamic civilization that was the flourishing, crackling centre of the sciences and liberal arts.
As much a literary installation as a fictionalized history, Mirza’s novel will help us take a fresh look at the past and, hopefully, understand the great game that is being played in the present.
About the Author
Saeed Akhtar Mirza is a pioneer of the New Wave progressive cinema in India, directing such milestones of Indian cinema as Arvind Desai Ki Ajeeb Dastaan (1978), Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai? (1980), Mohan Joshi Haazir Ho (1984), Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro (1989) and Naseem (1995). All his films have won major awards, including the National Film Awards. He is the director of the popular TV serials Nukkad (1986) and Intezaar (1988), as well as various documentary films on social welfare and cultural activism. He lives in Bombay and Goa. The Monk, the Moor and Moses Ben Jalloun is his second novel.