I am not Island

imnotislandI am not Island

Khwaja Ahmad Abbas (1914-1987) wrote both fiction and non-fiction in three languages simultaneously: English, Urdu and Hindi, and liked to describe himself as a communicator. Starting his journalistic career as sub-editor-cum-reporter in Bombay Chronicle in 1935 where he began contributing his ‘Last Page’ before moving it to the weekly Blitz in 1947 and continuing it till his last days. He has also been hailed as one of the pioneers of Indian parallel or neo-realist cinema. In I Am Not An Island he chronicled his adventurous life, reflecting on personalities and situations, events, travels, encounters, confrontations, moments of bliss and disappointments, ailments and accidents, and his association with cinema first as a critic and publicist, and then as a script-and-dialogue writer, producer and director. He was involved in the making of 60 Hindi films, including Dharti ke Lal, Awara, Anhonee, Dr Kotnis ki Amar Kahani, Shri 420, Jagtey Raho, Shehar aur Sapna, Aasman Mahal, Saat Hindustani, Mera Naam Joker, Bobby and Henna. Abbas also directed a number of documentaries, the most controversial being Char Shehar Ek Kahani for which he waged a legal battle on censorship, and eventually won it through a Supreme Court verdict. A prolific political commentator, short story writer, novelist Abbas is credited with 73 books in English, Urdu and Hindi (one each for every lived year), including the semi-autobiographical Inquilab and The World is My Village (and was engaged in writing the third in the series at the time of his death), many of which were translated in various other Indian and foreign languages – including Russian, German, Arabic, Italian, French. Recipient of several state and national honours, the President of India conferred on him the Padma Shri award in 1969. A gripping, honest story of an extraordinary man who never compromised on his principles.