This is the first of two posts about Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad’s recent book Travelling Home. This post is a summary and reading guide of the book, and the second one is a review, analysis and critique.
The book is a collection of essays, most of which are derived from lectures the shaykh has given over the years. In fact the introduction lists the lectures that the chapters are derived from. The writing style is reflective of being derived from lectures. The arguments presented aren’t structured the way one is used to in an academic essay, as the narrative often moves freely from topic to topic. There are also lots of fancy words used where simpler ones would have sufficed. Because of that, the average reader might be confused by the book, have difficulty getting through it, or not know what to make of it. I’ve put this reading guide together to help.
Pakistan’s future is with China. We should be clear about this… Our country’s progress and development is linked with China… We’re lucky that it’s currently the world’s fastest growing economy, I don’t see any country challenging it in the future.
This line of thinking represents not just Imran Khan and his party, but rather the entire political and military leadership of Pakistan. However, it should not be believed uncritically. These leaders often prioritize their short term political gains over the long-term well-being of the country, so it’s possible that being so closely linked with China will end up being bad for Pakistan.
In this post, I’ll take a closer look at the China-Pakistan relationship. I’ll start by laying out Pakistan’s priorities, and I’ll show how China hasn’t helped much except a little. I’ll then discuss CPEC, and demonstrate that it’s a one-sided project that doesn’t significantly benefit the Pakistani people. After that, I will discuss the US-Pakistan relationship and point out why it’s important for this relationship to expand in the future. I’ll end by pointing out historical parallels with the Pakistan-China relationship and the warnings they might provide.
The book starts its narrative when the British East India Company was founded around 1600 CE. It also talks about what India was like in this time, describing the later parts of Mughal rule. It then focuses on Bengal, talking about how the British established themselves there and slowly spread their influence. The battles of Plassey and Buxar are discussed in detail, as well as the social and political changes that followed them, such as the great famine.