Saturday, February 18, 2012

Growing up Bin Laden

Three weeks of reading it in the loo , in between meals and under the table ( when the teacher was taking attendance ) .
I have finally finished one of the most intriguing books I’ve ever come across , “Growing up Bin Laden” .

The account of the lives of Najwa Bin Laden ( first of Osama’s four wives ) and Omar Bin Laden ( his fourth son ) . Written by Jean Sasson ,the lady with the ‘Princess’ series already under her belt . She has (yet again ) outdone herself ! 

I was curious . What makes a man ‘evil genius’ . What makes a man go down the heinous path of terrorism  ? 
That too , a man who has everything to lose ( including a HUGE family fortune and a huge family ) 

But this , was Omar’s and najwa’s story .Their story of a father , and a husband .
 A man who was demanding to the point of being cruel  ,devout ,rigid in principles and yet kind and considerate and followed the astute prinicples of Islam till the end .

Najwa remmebers him as a quiet child . The one who’d never speak out of turn . Always distant and polite . Since she and Osama were cousins , it was kind of decided that they’ll marry each other ( a common custom in Saudi Arabia )
All through her life , Najwa was in awe of him . And he ( I daresay ) was a perfect husband . He never caused her any pain or threw any cruelty her way .
Infact ,though he took most of the major decisions himself ( and she was more than willing to let him do so ) .
She was always honoured and her advice was always taken into account ( which , is something HUGE if you consider the genral plight of the women in his culture ) .
Yes , he did take four wives .
But here is something we must understand . Islam allows a man to take upto 4 wives ( on the condition that they divide their attention and time EQUALLY among them all ) .
Compared to how 90% of the men cheat outside their marriages . I failed to see any difference between ‘them’ and ‘us’ .

Unrelenting . He spoke softly ,and carried a huge stick .
Disobidience was not tolerated . Yet ,any dilemmas or doubts asked never went unanswered .
He prohibited the use of modern appliances , even toys . His sons would play with animals , go trekking or learn the joys of gardening and outdoor sports .
He would make them ride in the desert for hours ( with minimum intake of water ) , teach them how to build a place under the sand to hide themselves , and sometimes play ‘hide and seek’ with them too .
Remember , this was not a father who went on business trips and came home at 6 in the evening .
He was an industralist , a farmer and an ex-soldier ( even when his sons were growing up , he had already fought in the Russia-Afghanistan war).
To the end , he loved his sons .
But , like all great men , he loved his purpose in life more .

A mathematical genius , a devout man ( one who could recite the Koran without a single pause ) , a farmer , lover of animals and a scholar .
Osama was a great friend . A man who won the unquestioning loyalty and respect of people around him .
A man who cared for his family , and his comorades , and the welfare of his own country ( he was a key figure in the development of Saudi at one time ) .
Infact , one of the greatest griefs in his life came when he was exiled to Sudan .
An ideal son who valued his mother above all . A man who had lost his real father at an early age , and still missed him somewhere .
A man who demanded and exuded perfection . And yet , was painfully sensitive and shy at times .

The “why” In my mind went unanswered .
To his son , he was the man whose love and approval he craved for (as a child ). And later on , he detested and blamed the same father for ruining his childhood .
To his wife , he was a perfect husband .
But then ,maybe he wss too rigid . He applied the principles of Koran to a world which has progressed much beyond the boudaries of ‘dharma’ .
Or , he had seen too much cruelty at the hands of Russia and America , and his belief in the supremacy of Islam pushed him over the edge .
Whatever , the reason . It was such a shame .
A man who had been bestowed with such qualities could’ve changed the world in a much different way .
But then , we all have our reasons ……


  1. Have to read the book now..
    Great way to categorize the book.. and cool review..

    Really you never know how the man is going to use his powers na..!

  2. started looking for the book on flipkart... :)

  3. i have never ever read an account in favour of bin laden before.seriously. m impressed n it has made me think!!

    Hey dear! am from Pakistan n was just browsing through good blogs to find smart writers like you to befriend. Nice blog outlook and interesting write-ups. I write on relationships mostly as well as some funny stuff.
    I hope u can be a follower if u like my blog? Don’t forget to comment please !!
    The Emotional Lava
    Best of Luck for ur blogging.