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Tohon K
The Jihadi
Tohon, author
Life’s journey is complex and diverse. War is being continually waged on various fronts in different shapes and forms. First, there is a war against oneself - call it an inner drive or a journey hidden in the depths of one’s own heart. And then there is the outer war in the visible world. The Jihadi unfolds as a chance meeting with an American professor in Jakarta lands a Bangladeshi youth in his dreamland: America. By the time the youth finishes his studies, he has formed a bond with the professor, his American host family and several others. But it is now time to leave the US and return to the East, where his perceptive mind begins to think deeply about human experience and the world around him. The Jihadi is a portrayal of a man’s inner and outer worlds that takes the reader into powerfully real situations of the author’s devising. The events that unfold along the young man’s journey are something one has imagined, met or, at least, seen in passing; but this story brings the reality home. The author gives himself the space to develop the theme and finally confronts his own deep-seated, dark shadow. He traces life’s passage from its root through the gruesome ordeals contributing to its violent nature and at the same time making him realise that all along he has been living in a world dominated by his long past. He concludes that an embryo in its mother’s womb is not the beginning of a new life—it is the new beginning of an ancient life.
Amazon Book Review

ByJohn Frisch on October 22, 2010Format: Paperback

Jihad means struggle and this is a story of some of the struggles of a native of Bangladesh who fortuitously finds himself living a dream as a graduate student in the United States, with a professor who becomes both mentor and friend. Alas, a stroke strikes the professor and the student struggles with the decline and passing of his "old man". The trail soon leads to the rescue of a Texas cockroach, through the anonymous canyons of New York City, and on to Saudi Arabia, where he goes on his pilgrimage to Mecca. His hajj quickly becomes a struggle to maintain his pure spiritual intent with the many frustrations of navigating the crowded rituals with his companions. Spiced with quotations from Muslim mystics his pilgrimage becomes an unforgettable story.Later there are further struggles, grappling with the nature of sin, a spendthrift brother, the evidence for evolution, the pressures of work and family, unintended consequences, the rumor mill, and even whether man truly has a free will. A further and comical life and death struggle ensues when an uninvited guest, a small snake, joins a dinner party at his home in Oman.Years later, the author struggles with the reality of his youthful dreamland of America, his beacon of freedom, human dignity, human rights and the rights of other nations becoming dimmed for him by events after 9/11. He concludes with a final struggle that touches on his heroes, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, and how they free him from his negative perception of an American President.The Jihadi is an eclectic and enjoyable read for anyone who enjoys contemplating the many struggles of life.

Personal Communication

Review – The Jihadi by Tohon

Not only did I read Jihadi and enjoyed it thoroughly, I asked my wife to read it too and needless to say she loved reading every bit of your book as well. Your writing touched me in many levels and opened several new windows to help me see things from such different perspectives. I truly admire the depth of sensitivity when it comes to your sense of perception; which I believe comes from your philosophical side combined with your ability to express in such details; made it all more enjoyable. We loved the short stories and could not help but enjoy walking down your memory lanes with you.

Kazi Shakil