An intrepid traveller and true cosmopolitan, legendary Bengali writer Syed Mujtaba Ali spent a year and a half teaching in Kabul from 1927 to 1929.
Curious to explore Afghan society, Mujtaba Ali had access to a cross-section of Kabul’s population, and in In a Land Far from Home he chronicles his experiences with a keen eye and a wicked sense of humour. Mujtaba Ali’s travels coincided with a critical point in Afghanistan’s history: when the reformist King Amanullah tried to steer his country towards modernity by encouraging education for girls and giving them the choice of removing the burqa.
Branded a ‘kafir’, Amanullah was overthrown by the bandit leader Bacha-e-Saqao. With striking parallels to twenty-first century events in the region, In a Land Far From Home is the only first-hand account of this tumultuous period by a non-Afghan. Providing a unique perspective, Mujtaba Ali’s fascinating account is brought to life by contact with a colourful cast of characters at all levels of society – from the garrulous Pathan Dost Muhammed and the gentle Russian giant Bolshov, to his servant, Abdur Rahman and his partner in tennis, the Crown Prince Enayatullah.