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INTERVIEW/QUIZ: talkingbooks

July 01, 2012

I. A. Rehman is a human-rights activist. He is the secretary-general of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan

What are you reading these days? These days I only want to read Tilism-i-Hoshruba.

Which books are on your bedside table? There are many books on my bedside rack — from Einstein and Ghalib and Faiz to the Urdu translation of Brecht’s Galileo to Khaled Ahmed’s Sectarian War. Also, a tattered copy of the constitution of Pakistan.

Which titles are on your bucket list of books? A bucket list of books: Mushirul Hasan’s study of Delhi’s 19th century intellectuals, Riaz Mohammad Khan’s book on Afghanistan, Judicial Activism in India, and many more.

What is the one book/author you feel everyone must read? Why? Two books: Neruda’s Memoirs and Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom.

What are you planning to reread? Harold Laski’s Authority in the Modern State.

What is the one book you read because you thought it would make you appear smarter? Never had the urge to appear smarter; hence, question not applicable.

What is the one book you started reading but could not finish? Lost count. Most of the books picked up could not be read till the end (or the beginning).

What is your favourite childhood book or story? Ratan Nath Sarshar’s Fasana-i-Azad and Abul Kalam Azad’s brief essay on the incomparable sufi-poet, Sarmad.