QAS BRF / Winter to Spring
Empires of the Indus The Story of a River By Alice Albinia
The Indus Valley region has held an allure to poets, artists, and politicians for centuries. Alexander the Great would not recognize this area of land today! Ms. Albinia’s route along the Indus River became a daunting and formidable journey that ancient (and present day) traders and cartographers would relish. Although historical markers and village names changed, she completed this quest of immeasurable worth.
There have been many conquerors, and colonizers along the Indus River. The Indus Valley has witnessed cultural blending, political upheavals, social suppressions and the hardships of those disenfranchised. Multilingual and religious pilgrims have walked along her shores. Prejudiced ethnographers and explorers viewed as ‘experts” inspired ethnocentric treaties that caused irreparable damage. Every shore of the mighty Indus River is politically convoluted. The present day damming of the Indus River without regard for the lives it will disrupt is an unfortunate reality.
For now the valley consists of ever-changing lush topography and desert roads. I felt at times completely enraptured by the scenic roads and barren desert; by the personalities of her fellow travelers, by her fatigued moments, by her zeal to continue on in spite of the trepidations the country men and politicians exerted.
We shared Ms. Albinia’s excitement upon seeing Stonehenge reminiscent ruins. Meeting people who have retained their fore-bearer’s language, food, and livelihood in an almost pristine state were wonderful! These moments provided us with “time-warps” into their past. The potential destruction of (unrecognized) archeological treasures is heartbreaking. Perhaps she has served to highlight the urgency needed in order to recover these treasures.
Acknowledging the sacrifices of so many who fought for their land through political and religious differences is neither comfortable nor forgettable. This book has provided a way for us to remember. The Indus River, with her quiet streams, pools and tributaries reach out and ask us to be still and recognize her with reverence.
To her family and friends, our gratitude for praying for Ms. Albinia’s safe return (I would have too if I knew her!) and for bolstering her dream. Her bravery alone was formidable and the humble humanity of those who shared their homes and lives with her was simply beautiful.
DID YOU ENJOY READING “The Warmth of Other Suns” by Isabelle Wilkerson?
Did “The Last Secret of Fatima” surprise you? Share your thoughts!
In addition to our April, May, June and July selections already listed, the August selection is “Thea’s Song: The Life of (Sister) Thea Bowman” by Charlene Smith. Our September selection is “What is the What” by Dave Eggers and October’s selection is “Unorthodox” by Deborah Feldman. Enjoy!