The Postmaster

Saad Ashraf
Penguin Books
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From Amazon: "Ghulam Rasool is barely eight years old when his father, a superintendent in the Indian Posts and Telegraphs Department, passes away in 1901, ostensibly unable to cope with the demise of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. Brought up by his spirited and pragmatic mother, Noorani Begum, Ghulam Rasool imbibes two of his father's maxims unfailingly: The British are the most intelligent race in the world, and as such they deserve unswerving loyalty. Battling tremendous odds, financial and social, Ghulam Rasool gets himself a proper English education thanks to the sure guiding hand of his mother and a series of fortuitous breaks. Over the next thirty years, his single-minded devotion to his career in the postal department, to the exclusion of the momentous changes sweeping the socio-political scene in the country, sees him scale the heights of success as his job takes him through a kaleidoscope of experiences in the cities of Lahore, Rawalpindi, Amritsar and Simla. Saad Ashraf's quaint and charming prose traces a man's journey from the alleyways of Old Delhi of the early 1900s to post-Partition Pakistan, seamlessly weaving into the text a series of memorable vignettes and characters: Ghulam Rasool's first infatuation; his lifelong friendship with Ahmad, the son of the Imam, who falls in love with a courtesan and distinguishes himself in the First World War; his marriage to Sara which leaves him intellectually unfulfilled; and, finally, his one magnificent obsession, Kiran, the Hindu wife of his subordinate which threatens to undo everything that he has achieved in his lifetime"