Renowned Pakistani novelist Mohsin Hamid is definitely one of the most talented and ingenious writers of his generation.
His books Moth Smoke and The Reluctant Fundamentalist have both been adapted into big Hollywood films which explore the changes overtaking over the world. His latest and fourth novel Exit West made it to Barack Obama’s best books for 2017.
As Hamid’s fourth book, Exit West tells the story of a refugee couple fleeing a country undergoing civil war. The book has garnered praise the world over and was even shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
Keeping the book in mind, the writer opened up about Donald Trump’s travel ban and migration policies in a recent interview with France 24.
Talking about how the idea of Exit West came about, Hamid said, “I think I have been taking the anti-migration backlash a bit personally.”
The author revealed that he was only three when he left Pakistan and moved to California. He later moved back when he was nine and since then, has been living in London and the US. “I wanted to explore the idea of migration not being strange but being the basic condition of humanity,” said Hamid.
In the past few decades, a lot has changed in Pakistan, the US and Britain. What does he have to say about it?
“I think the changes that we are seeing, a lot of them appear to be quite negative. However, when I travel around and talk to young people, I tend to be quite optimistic,” Hamid responded. “I was no fan of Brexit, but young Britain didn’t vote for it. I’m not fan on Donald Trump, but young Americans didn’t vote particularly for Donald Trump. In Pakistan as well, if you go to university campuses, young people have much more enlightened cosmopolitan views than the older generation.”
Speaking on Trump’s revised travel ban policy, and how his family and friends in Pakistan conceive it, Hamid asserted, “Something very strange is happening in Pakistan, and not just in Pakistan but many places in Asia and Africa that I travel to. The US had been pretty central to most country’s conception of the world but that’s shifted. The views and thoughts of China in Pakistan are becoming incredibly important rather than the US.”
He continued, “While there are many negatives to Trump’s policies, maybe they aren’t even that important anymore and that is a much more profound shift.”
Hamid believes the world is in for a big change. “The notion that men and women are equal, gay and straight people are equal, and religious and non-religious minded people are equal is accepted in much of the world today. In a few years, people will believe that where you are born doesn’t define you,” continued Hamid.
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