Values with a Dash of Adventure!
Reviewed by Nigar Ataullah
Over The Mountain
By Mirza Adeeb
Translated into English by : Maqbool Ahmed Siraj
Published by : ISLAMIC VOICE,
# 3, Palmgrove Road, Victorial Layout,
Bangalore- 560 047. INDIA
Price Rs. 35 Postal charges Rs. 15
Foreign US $ 2 (Including postal charges)
Mirza Adeeb has used the traditional setting of Muslim villages in India and Pakistan and builds up a gripping narrative for children based on adventure.
It is a story with a simple setting, but with a message that goes deep into the hearts and minds of not just the kids, but grownups too. Books that leave the readers to think deeply about their existence and the world around them are too rare these days. Libraries have too many of the pulp fiction, thrillers, mysteries and make-believe comics and novels which only leave one in a temporary state of trance and the feeling withers away after some time. Over The Mountain by Mirza Adeeb is a refreshing break from the moral story books that have flooded the shelves today. Over The Mountain is a translation of the Urdu novel titled Pahar Ki Choti Par which was first published in 1984 by the Maktaba Payam-e-Taleem, New Delhi.
Translated into English by Maqbool Ahmed Siraj, the book has the traditional setting of Muslim villages in India and Pakistan and builds up a gripping narrative for children based on adventure, appreciation for nature, concern for environment, kindness to animals and camaraderie. The story begins with the village landlord Jamal Shah, a rich and pious man who wants to set up a more prosperous village somewhere near his own village. His desire turns into reality and there emerge two villages-Chhota Jamalpur and Bada Jamalpur. As decades pass swiftly by, the offspring of Jamal Shah and his brother Naseer Shah grow into a large family. One of Jamal’s grandsons known as Mahmood Shah becomes a respected elder in the village. And here begins the ‘action’ as it were. The story inspires children and instills in them the urge to accept challenges. More than anything, Over The Mountain brings in the importance of the Islamic way of life in the most appealing manner. The way the children in the story greet each other and the style in which kids address elders presents good lessons to kids these days who are moulded into the convent culture of ‘hi’ and ‘bye’. The book is a must-read for all modern educated families and children in the Indian subcontinent as the book is packed with excellent examples of traditions and values handed down from the past.