WRITING STYLE: 3/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 4/5
Throughout modern Indian history, there have been some events which have forever left a cavity so deep, that even the mighty Arabian Sea cannot attempt to fill it in its lifetime. One such atrocious disfigurement of the beautiful face of our Mother India was the attacks of 26/11. Though India has been the nucleus of many terrorist attacks from a long while, the sheer audacity of the one on 26th November, 2008 was revolting. Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, the only terrorist to be captured alive was ultimately sentenced to death and hanged on 21st November 2012. Kasab: The Face of 26/11 is about Kasab’s journey from a small town in Okara District of Pakistan Punjab to the streets of terror-struck Mumbai; from a commonplace poor boy to India’s or perhaps World’s most hated man.
The book describes each aspect of Kasab’s life in the most detailed manner, right from his birth to his re-location to Lahore, and then back to Faridkot, and from his joining Lashkar-e-Taiba to the finality of all events which took place in Mumbai. It is written in an interesting yet factual style; Rommel has kept the narration realistic by underplaying the emotions as much as possible and has managed to keep the book interesting by narrating events in a story-like manner. Thus, the book, though realistic, is anything but far from boring.
When I first came across the Kasab: The Face of 26/11, I wondered what has become of the world today. Why is it that we are immortalizing terrorists like Kasab who had supposedly come to lay his life after having killed hundreds others and not people like Tukaram Omble, Gajender Singh, Hemant Karkare and Ashok Kamte who laid their lives for the sake of saving hundreds of others? But once I read the book, I was shocked by what I read. I was aghast to know about the widespread and unchecked terror mechanisms and institutions which are allowed to cultivate and prosper on Pakistani soil with the sole object of breeding systemic hatred against India and Indians. Reading the book opened my eyes and made me less ignorant of the present state of affairs in Pakistan and POK.
But, though the author has done a very good job of bringing out Kasab’s story to the public, there are a certain things which I am not completely aware of or rather confused about. I also referred to Rommel’s interview at a few places but still couldn’t come to a decisive conclusion. The source of my only perplexity about the book is the lack of footnotes, references and remarks for the data taken. While reading the book, I just wanted to know what was fact and what was imagination and for this purpose some footnotes or references which could have established the truthfulness of the said facts would have been really helpful. That being said, I still suggest Kasab: The Face of 26/11 as a good read and recommend it to every Indian.