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Reviewed by Carine Engelbrecht for Readers' Favorite
Brigadier Mokhtar Karim: An Autobiography by Ayesha Majid and Brigadier Mokhtar Karim begins with a childhood characterized by several relocations - a consequence of his father's career as a medical officer. He enrolls at the Royal Indian Military College, but as graduation nears, his future is disrupted by the partition of India. As a result, he relocates to Pakistan where he joins Pakistan's newly created military force. Here he distinguishes himself for his initiative and rises to become Aide-de-camp to the Chief Commanding Officer. He serves in all three branches of the military, but flying remains one of his big passions. He later serves as a flight instructor. After retirement, Brigadier Mokhtar Karim turns this love of the airways into a new hobby - hot air ballooning. He also has the opportunity to revisit his Indian roots and reconnect with several of his alma mater who served in the opposing army of India.
The book covers the lived history of one man through the latter years of colonial India and the post-colonial transformation of the subcontinent, with a particular interest in the birth of Pakistan and the early challenges faced by its military. This was a defining period in South Asia and should make an illuminating read to anyone with an interest in the region, Asia in general, or the aftermath of colonialism. Brigadier Mokhtar Karim: An Autobiography could also prove educational to anyone who enjoys reading about military aviation or 20th-century military history in general as Ayesha Majid and Brigadier Mokhtar Karim provide insightful details about rank, medals, different types of airplanes, and incidents of enemy engagement in this narrative. There are brief glimpses into civilian life in Pakistan through commentary on a fascinating cast of family members and acquaintances. It is clear that Brigadier Mokhtar Karim has lived a worthy life of service and meeting this well-loved man through the medium of his autobiography has been a great pleasure.