Novelist and film-maker.
Atiq, after completing his studies in Rouen and then Sorbonne, Paris, authored two novels, which deals with the devastation of his native Afghanistan and they also contain soulfulness and sweetness, which make them beautiful. Earth and Ashes, now in English, was a bestseller in France and Germany, is the tale of Dastaguir, an old peasant, as he leads his five-year-old grandson, Yassin, to the Russian-run coalmine where the latter's father works. The boy, the only survivor of a Soviet bombing raid which killed his mother and grandmother, has been deafened by blast, but, as yet does not understand why 'stones have stopped sound.' His father groomed by the Soviet as a model worker, thinks the Mujahedin the culprits.
The book is a parable of familial dysfunction, in which an ageing peasantry, confounded by a newly industrialised world, faces a future in which children cannot hear. 'It must be remembered that many Taliban were war orphans, raised in madrassas in Pakistan, having never had a mother, having never had relationships with women, knowing only the Qura'an and the fear of hell, they were psychically crippled.' He is now working on a film of the book.
Atiq Rahimi was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. He spent a brief period of exile with his father, in Bombay, India, following the fall of the monarchy of Zahir Shah in 1973. Shortly after the Soviet invasion of 1979, he returned to Kabul. In 1984 he fled Kabul for Pakistan, seeking asylum at the French embassy and since 1985 he has been a resident in France, considering himself more a cultural refugee than a political one.
Compiled by:M. Nauman Khan