Thursday, 30 April 2015

A case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif

I  had gone  to Cross Word , Lucknow  to buy a good book by an Indian author but ended up in buying this book by Mohammad Hanif about the  plane crash which killed   President Zia ul-Haq  of Pakistan.I wondered how it could be a book of fiction when it dealt with a historic fact .I came across this excerpt from  one of  Hanif's interviews where , when asked  why he chose to fictionalise Zia Ul-Haq 's death, he replied as follows:"Like all young  reporters,I was like ,this is going to be my big story,and I started working on it.After a few months,I realised that there was no way I was going to get to the bottom of of it.There were layers  and layers and layers of deception and cover-ups to cover the other cover-ups.Then it occurred to me that I would just make up my own facts.If no one was willing to tell me who did it,then as a fictional character,I'll raise my hand and say,"Well,I did it". and I'll write a book about it.And so, basically,it was  a failed journalist's revenge".
                                The book derives its name 'A case for exploding mangoes' from the episodes described in chapters 29 to 37, which involve a  mango party thrown  on Pak One,the plane which carries President Zia ul-Haq , American Ambassador Arnold Raphel ,General Akhtar and many other Generals.,and which finally crashes ,resulting in the death of President Zia and all others on board. .Mangoes are a gift from All Pakistan  Mango Farmers Cooperative."And for today's lunch , our host is the most respected Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, General Akhtar"