Arts & Life

Conflicts with holy war in paperback

“The Book of Walla,” written by M. Ram Krishn, takes place in the fictional city of Tazbul, where religious conflict is rampant. The book seeks to bring a deeper understanding to the strife between religions.

In a time when religious tension and holy wars are part of our daily news reports, “The Book of Walla” is extremely relevant.

The book’s protagonist is Dr. Shoorab. He saw tragedy his entire life. Bombings, riots and bloodshed were normal occurrences. Dr. Shoorab neither got involved nor attempted to make sense of the pain and chaos around him. He merely wanted someone to be held accountable for the lives lost and ruined. Dr. Shoorab decided to sue the culprit of his agony. He decided to sue God.

Dr. Shoorab is an educated family man. He means no harm to anyone, despite his apparent anger with religion. Dr. Shoorab starts the “No Faith, No Hate” movement to get religion outlawed in his country.

Despite the movement’s popularity and growth, overly zealous theists tragically disturb Dr. Shoorab’s personal life. The pain is too unbearable to go unpunished. Dr. Shoorab with the help of his attorney friend, Nathan Obbison, demands religious leaders defend God in the courtroom.

Three holy men are called to the stand to fight against the accusation that God has caused human suffering. According to Dr. Shoorab, the conflicting messages passed down by God are to blame. Krishn is critical in his portrayal of the Catholic bishop, Muslim priest and Hindu leader. Hypocrisy and narrow-mindedness are attributed to the devout leaders, but Krishn shows no favoritism in his captious characterization.

Krishn’s book was banned in his home country of Malaysia because of its controversial subject. “The Book of Walla” does not preach a doctrine of atheism or even a message of sterile rationale, it merely examines acts of ideological extremism. The book tactfully points out the similarities and often misunderstood differences of the major religions. If anything, “The Book of Walla” is meant to break the divide between religious followers and bring awareness to the pain caused by extremism.

“The Book of Walla” is not a great literary work and maintains a fairly predictable story structure. The book feels a bit cliché at times despite its noble ideals. It is doubtful any court would hear a motion to sue God for the hardships of mankind, making seem “The Book of Walla” a little farfetched.

Muslims, Jews, Christians and Hindus have all at some point been the proprietors and victims of religious violence. The pertinence of “The Book of Walla” gives the book the intrigue and clout needed to support its sometimes dubious storyline.

“The Book of Walla” is a quick and insightful read. From cover to cover, it manages to keep the reader interested. Krishn compares and explores small yet detailed glances at the lives of Hindus, Muslims and Christians are compared and explored. Those looking for a quick and easy understanding of religious differences are sure to enjoy “The Book of Walla.”

The final twist of Kirshn’s book is not a total shock but still is compelling and thought-provoking. “The Book of Walla” encourages the reader to think critically about the effects of the religious violence and our often-complacent acceptance of pious warfare.

 

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