Book Review: ‘The Peacemakers’ by Ghazala Wahab

Inspiring Accounts of Courage Amidst Conflict!

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Book Title: The Peacemakers
Edited By: Ghazala Wahab
Publisher: Aleph Book Company
Number of Pages: 280
ISBN: 978-9395853262
Date Published: Jul. 05, 2023
Price: INR 612

The Peacemakers by Ghazala Wahab Book Cover

Book Review

The Peacemakers,” compiled by Ghazala Wahab and published by Aleph Book Company, is a compelling and moving collection of stories about those who have shown great bravery and devotion to peace in the face of bloodshed and war. This book, compiled by diverse authors, gives optimism in a country riven by communal violence and upheaval.

The book contains multiple narratives, each focusing on a different period or place in India’s history. Rajmohan Gandhi focuses on Mahatma Gandhi’s post-independence attempts to reduce violence in Bihar and Bengal. Nandita Haksar, a human rights lawyer, investigates the difficulties of establishing peace in Nagaland, a conflict-torn region. Rahul Bedi looks at the 1984 Delhi Sikh massacre, revealing testimonies of the criminals and the brave individuals who rescued lives.

The book digs into the aftermath of major events as well. Uttam Sengupta investigates how Bihar stayed relatively quiet following the destruction of the Babri Masjid in 1992, while Jyoti Punwani interviews heroic members of civil society who risked their lives during the ensuing communal craziness. Teesta Setalvad, a journalist-activist, shares personal stories of the 2002 Gujarat inferno and peacekeeping operations.

The stories continue to shed light on different areas of strife and resilience. Sunil Kumar delves into Maoist violence in Chhattisgarh and highlights individuals working for peace and justice in this volatile region. Teresa Rehman’s inspiring story follows the work of a non-governmental organization that empowers women in Assam’s once-conflict-ridden areas. Ghazala Wahab reflects on the optimistic years of 2005-2008 in Kashmir, documenting the sacrifices and efforts made by individuals seeking a peaceful future.

The book also delves into more contemporary episodes of violence and the people who stood up to it. Shivam Mogha caught Muzaffarnagar’s rising polarisation and instability, eventually leading to terrible bloodshed in 2013. Natasha Badhwar and Oishika Neogi focus light on Dr. Mohammad Anwar’s actions during the Delhi riots in 2020, illustrating that even in the darkest times, individuals can make a difference. The article by Ramani Atkuri introduces us to people engaged in Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, a journey for inclusion and justice.

Ghazala Wahab, one of my favorite authors, analysts, journalists, and the editor of this book, wrote one of the most significant articles, Jammu and Kashmir, 2004-19: No Peace without Justice. Not just because Ghazala edited the book but also because her exhausting reporting on Jammu and Kashmir topics over many days has always piqued my interest.

The Peacemakers” provides a ray of hope amid despair by highlighting the strenuous efforts of peacemakers across India. These tales highlight the extraordinary bravery, compassion, and perseverance of activists, journalists, legislators, leaders, and everyday residents. By sharing their stories, the writers encourage hope and motivate readers to rise beyond prejudice and violence.

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The book demonstrates the power of human action and serves as a reminder that peace is possible, even in the face of apparently insurmountable obstacles. “The Peacemakers” is a topical and essential anthology that provides invaluable insights into achieving peace in a country dealing with its turbulent history. It is a must-read for everyone looking for motivation and reassurance in the transformational power of compassion and resilience.

Finally, this book taught me the importance of reading and analyzing current affairs. Generally, current affairs encompass a broad range of global political events, social issues, and administrative controversies with significant national and international importance. Comprehensive reports on current affairs cover diverse topics such as politics, social movements, scientific breakthroughs, technological advancements, and international events, serving as reliable sources of information for newspapers, magazines, and media outlets. This book proved it true!

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