Among the Believe: ˜anœ Islamic Journey

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Vintage Books, 1982 - Travel - 430 pages
3 Reviews
Naipaul's controversial account of his travels through the Islamic world was hailed by The New Republic as "the most notable work on contemporary Islam to have appeared in a very long time."
 

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User Review  - clfisha - LibraryThing

Travelling through Iran just after the revolution as well as Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia where he meets up with those caught up in the push for Islamist nations: Shias and Shi'ites, communists ... Read full review

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Among the believers is a detailed account of Islamic journey as the title suggests but this detailed and minutely analyzed description does not refer to Naipaul’s adoration for Muslim world but his deep abhorrence. If we analyze the subtext beneath this apparently innocent piece of travel writing then it will placidly stands for sheer mockery and ridicule to the Muslim world. He has been explicitly biased in his writing because society is made up of both positive and negative elements but he was only able to see the negative ones with his pre conceived notions in mind about muslin society. His continuous caricaturing of the people politics places history and the land fabricate the impressions in the mind of reader that are against Muslims thus constructs negative image of the people of these countries.
Among the believers is a biased account of travel writing as Naipaul vulcanize his writing by merging fictional element into his travelogue. According to critics he examines and then reorganize information collected according to his own point. This results as cultural product. This is the evidence of his biased account.
Naipaul has authenticated his work by terming himself as a seeker while talking to sheraz an Iranian locale “I am a seeker”. Seeker is an objective term and he claims to have no religion. He also employing the technique of intellectual-analytic travelogues to authenticate his work. As these are the most controversial kind of travel writing. Naipaul employs intellectual commentary, incorporate in depth analysis. He further authenticated his work by incorporating the insight of observation in his writing. To create more logic he has given an eye witness experience, demonstrates an acuity of observation, employ analytic tech, and offers a very readable and pleasing narrative.
Naipaul has incorporated detailed ethnographic reporting and give description of landscapes. Throughout the narrative when he enters any city or place he depicts them as dull drab dusty full of mud and place that stinks. This notion of Naipaul confirms that Muslims are the people that have stagnant believes and now this belief had made them stink. Throughout Iran the words like ‘dusty’, ‘dug up’, ‘filthy’ “dead” have been used for the places. Tehran is shown uncivilized through imageries of dust and unfinished walls "low brick buildings were the colour of dust;walls looked unfinished."While in Pakistan he terms Karachi as “wasteland” directly terming it as barren and indirectly stating it as intellectually and spiritually bankrupt land. When the author visits Malacca in Malaysia he forms disgusting image of the land. He referred the soil as black mud having filthy creatures in it and the land not having any worth of any vegetation or cultivation contrary to what Shafi had told him about the richness as: “You can throw a seed and it will grow.”As he enters the city of Jakarta in Indonesia a very gloomy picture is presented as everything is red whether the mud or the tiles. A Pesantren, the traditional Islamic schools Adi Sasona in Indonesia is also presented in the same way as he writes that there were narrow dirt lanes and muddy gutters between the houses. There was mud and rubbish outside the school shop.
Naipaul constructs a very barbaric picture of Muslims and authenticates it by eye witness. He incorporates autobiographical features that are pleasing and gripping and also assure the objectivity of his account which indeed is not the fact. He depicts Muslims in all the four countries as unpunctual, unreliable, violent, brutal, unpatriotic, ignorant, materialistic devoid of intellect , lethargic, not morally sound people and above all unthankful to the west as they resent the west. He assures their brutality by the character of Ayatollah Khalkhali the 'hanging judge'. He writes about him that"He was khomeini's hanging judge.It was Khalkhali who had conducted many of those swift Islamic trials that had ended in executions”. Naipaul has portrayed Khalkhali as
 

Contents

IIRAN
††1Death Pact
††2The Rule of Ali
††3The Holy City
††4The Night Train from Mashhad
IIPAKISTAN
††1Displacements
††2Karachi Phantasmagoria
The Journey Out of Paradise
††2Brave Girls
††3Between Malaccaand the Genting Highlands
††4Araby
††5The Spoilt Playground
IVINDONESIA
††1Assaults
Reconstructing the Past

††3The Little Arab
††4Killing History
††5Hyderabad BoogieWoogie
††6The Disorder of the Law
††7Basics
††8In the Kaghan Valley
††9Agha Babur
††10The Salt Hills of a Dream
IIICONVERSATIONSINMALAYSIA
††3Deschooling
††4The Rice Goddess
††5The Loss of Personality
††6Mental Training in Bandung
††7The Interchangeable Revolutions
REPRISETHESOCIETYOFBELIEVERS
††1Submission
††2Islamic Winter
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About the author (1982)

V. S. Naipaul was born in Trinidad in 1932. He went to England on a scholarship in 1950. After four years at Oxford he began to write, and since then he has followed no other profession. He is the author of more than twenty books of fiction and nonfiction and the recipient of numerous honors, including the Nobel Prize in 2001, the Booker Prize in 1971, and a knighthood for services to literature in 1990. He lives in Wiltshire, England.

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