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Piece of War: Narratives of Resilience and Hope

Nominated | Book Awards 2021 | English Non-fiction

Piece of War: Narratives of Resilience and Hope

Is there an ‘ordinary’ life beyond violence in conict-ridden areas such as Afghanistan, the Kashmir Valley, and parts of Middle East and Africa? Through soul stirring stories and real-life narratives of people in war-torn zones, this book attempts to uncover the human aspect of war, exhibiting the extraordinary resilience humankind possesses and its ability to cope amidst despair and destruction. Documenting the author’s first-hand experience of conflict and ‘post-conflict’ regions of the Middle East, South Asia and West Africa, the book is a raw and bleeding portrayal of hope and strength.

Full Title: Piece of War: Narratives of Resilience and Hope

Author: Meha Dixit
Publisher: Sage Publications

Award Category: English Non-fiction
About the Book: 

Throughout history war has affected civilizations in many ways. In contemporary times, Afghanistan, the Kashmir Valley, parts of Middle East and Africa continue to be embroiled in conflict. It makes you ask the question: Is there an ‘ordinary’ life beyond violence in these conflict zones? Through the real-life stories of people, the book attempts to uncover the human aspect of war, and how individuals and communities make sense of and cope with the pain and uncertainty. In this book, narratives of people who have either lived or are living in conflict zones are presented in an anecdotal manner, highlighting the extraordinary resilience humankind possesses and its ability to survive amidst despair and destruction. Documenting the author’s first-hand experience of confronting the realities of conflict-affected and ‘post-conflict’ regions of the Middle East, South Asia and West Africa (Afghanistan, Afghanistan–Pakistan border, Lebanon, Lebanon–Syria border, Sierra Leone, Indo-Pakistan border, Kashmir, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Rohingya refugees along Bangladesh–Myanmar border), the book is a raw and bleeding portrayal of hope and strength.

Piece of War will be a heartfelt and introspective read for all readers, and an analytical read especially for psychologists, anthropologists and journalists.


About the Author: 

Meha Dixit has a PhD in international politics from Jawaharlal Nehru University. Her thesis is titled Human Security and Post-conflict Reintegration of Child Soldiers: Disarmament Demobilisation Reintegration (DDR) Programmes in Mozambique and Sierra Leone.

She has conducted field research in various conflict and ‘postconflict’ zones such as Afghanistan including Afghanistan–Pakistan border, Lebanon, Lebanon–Syria border, Sierra Leone, India–Pakistan border, Kashmir, Maoist insurgency regions in India (Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh–Odisha border) and northeastern states in India (Manipur and Assam) and on the Rohingya issue in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, and Bangladesh–Myanmar border.

She has worked with Amnesty International and Save the Children. She has also taught at Kashmir University.


Excerpt: 

It was a freezing winter morning when I left for the dry fruits bazaar in Kabul with Ahmad Fareed, a local who originally belongs to Logar province in Afghanistan. The narrow lanes of the crowded bazaar snaked through the vibrant shops exuding an old-world charm. The cheerful smiles of the shopkeepers and pulsating energy of the bazaar reflected a semblance of peace and ‘normalcy’. It was hard to tell that in the last week the city had been jolted with a series of suicide bombings. After spending a couple of hours in the bazaar, Ahmad and I took a shared taxi to go to another market, closer to his home, to buy traditional Afghan kurtas. We got caught in a traffic jam and Ahmad suggested, ‘We should postpone our visit to the market for the next day.’ I agreed reluctantly. When we reached home, Ahmad’s family members greeted us with warm smiles. His mother then offered us saffron tea and some biscuits. Kainath, Ahmad’s four-year-old niece, came running towards me and quickly gave me a hug. As I sipped the tea, there was a loud explosion. Kainath began to imitate the sound and said something in Dari (Afghan variant of Persian). Unable to clearly decipher what she said, I asked Ahmad to translate it for me. ‘She is saying that she is no more scared of these sounds and explosions,’ Ahmad explained.


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