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Landscapes of Writing

Collected Essays of Bapsi Sidhwa


Bapsi Sidhwa

Edited By Teresa Russo

This book is a collection of essays by international writer Bapsi Sidhwa gathered for the first time in one edition by Teresa Russo, with a foreword written by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Deepa Mehta. Landscapes of Writing: Collected Essays of Bapsi Sidhwa provides a writer’s perspective on issues of South Asian literature, linguistics, poetry, and views of political events and globalization. In the first part of the book, Bapsi Sidhwa discusses her childhood, family life, and how she became a writer. There is also a revised essay detailing how her book Cracking India became a film by Deepa Mehta. The second part of the book focuses on her thoughts concerning war, terrorism, and how to achieve peace. This collection includes two letters, demonstrating her local and nationalistic perspectives to a larger view of an interconnected world.

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Chapter 14. A Selective Memory for History


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· 14 ·


I am Zoroastrian. A descendent of the three Magi, eternally perched on camels on Christmas cards and in Nativity tableaus. A large part of our scriptures was destroyed, first by Alexander the Greek at Persepolis, and later by the Arabs. Zoroastrianism is probably the oldest monotheistic religion. It started around 1400 BC and some accuse us of inventing God. I have been, at various times, a citizen of Pakistan and India, and now I am an American. As one for whom national borders are becoming blurred and matters of citizenship disconcertingly fluid, I feel I belong to these countries simultaneously rather than sequentially: and whatever happens in them resonates for me as a writer.

I Want to Kill Me a Commie

My husband and I migrated from Pakistan in 1984, and settled in Marietta, Atlanta. The American media at the time was full of stirring accounts of the Afghan mujahideen resistance to the Soviet invasion, and stories about Pakistan, America’s ally throughout the Afghan war. Bill, one of the few friends we made in Atlanta, was obsessed with Afghanistan and Pakistan. To his regret, he had not been able to enlist in the Vietnam War because of color-blindness, but he belonged to a private militia and claimed he had fought ← 99 | 100 → as a mercenary in South America. One evening, at a barbeque at his home, he marshaled me into his bedroom...

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