Author Neyaz Farooquee launches his book ‘An Ordinary Man’s Guide to Radicalism’



New Delhi, 

Journalist and author Neyaz Farooquee released his debut book – ‘An Ordinary Man’s Guide to Radicalism,’ at an event yesterday at India International Centre, in Delhi. The book launch witnessed an engaging discussion between the author – Neyaz Farooquee and Siddharth Varadarajan, Founding Editor, The Wire; Zoya Hasan, Professor Emerita, JNU;and Dushyant Dave, Senior Advocate, the Supreme Court of India. The discussion was moderated by Neha Dixit, independent journalist. The luminaries discussed the various facets of the book, right from the impact of infamous Batla house encounter to religious stereotyping.

‘An ordinary man’s guide to radicalism’ is a gripping tale of a growing up as a Muslim and the corresponding identity and stereotypes one is subjected to. The story takes the readers through the life of a young Neyaz in Bihar’s Gopalganj district and how his life goes upside down after the Batla House Encounter on September 19, 2008. His entire life comes crashing down to just one thing– the tiny slice of identity of being a Muslim.

In an interesting exchange of words and ideas between the author and the panelists, author Neyaz Farooquee said, “This book is basically about being a Muslim in India. The mundane things we used to do stopped after the Batla House Encounter. I have tried to capture that fear. I urge that people be looked at as humans beyond the niche identity of their community.”

Commenting on the book, Siddharth Varadarajan, Founding Editor, The Wire said, “As a society we are becoming more and more ghettoized. This book fills an important gap in that sense through its layered  accounts. Reading the book one may have to grapple with the reality which one might not be familiar with being a non-Muslim.”

Sharing her views, Zoya Hasan, Professor Emerita, JNU, said, “The book raises wider issues of class,identity, urbanism, citizenship and vexed relationship of Muslims with the state, especially with the criminal justice system. It’s a very candid account that dispels the notion of Muslim appeasement propagated by the Hindu right since the past few decades.”

About Author: Neyaz Farooquee is a journalist based in Delhi. He was a fellow at the New India Foundation and Sarai-CSDS. He was previously a staff writer at Hindustan Times, and has contributed to the New York Times, Al Jazeera and Tehelka

About Book
:  “I heard many people saying that one of the terrorists had studied in Jamia School, in my batch. If ‘they’ were to say I was friends with him, how would I deny it? I had very few friends in school, but who would believe that?

You can alter your future, but how do you change your past?”

19 September 2008, the Batla House encounter. That one day changed the life of a young man from Inderwan Bairam in Bihar’s Gopalganj district. An over-protected childhood in the village, an ambitious migration to Delhi as a young boy for better education, an undisciplined and shiftless adolescence – all of this history is flattened out into one tiny slice of Neyaz Farooquee’s identity: Muslim. From Jamia Nagar. Who lived practically next door to the Terrorists who had been killed in the encounter. A Potential Terrorist himself? How, after all, does a man prove that he is (and not merely pretending to be) a Normal Human Being?  Sardonic and wise, Farooquee scrapes out the unvarnished truth about identity and stereotypes, about life in a ghetto, and the small and big disappointments that make up an ordinary life.

A necessary book for our troubled times.

‘An ordinary man’s guide to radicalism’ is available for sale here on amazon.


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