MJ Akbar and the Search for Common Understanding
M.J. Akbar is a leading journalists in India and a regular commentator on Islam in both contemporary and historical contexts. He is a founder and editor of Asian Age magazine and is also a leader of the magazine Convert, which he launched in 2008. Akbar has written widely on Islam and the Muslim world.
His non-fiction books a biography of Jawaharlal Nehru Nehru entitled The Making of India, a book on Kashmir entitled Kashmir: Behind the Vale. Akbar is also the author of Riot After Riot, India: The Siege Within and The Shade of Swords, a cohesive history of jihad. Akbar's most recently published book is Blood Brothers, a skillfully crafted family saga that covers three generations set against a backdrop of India's evolving political climate and particularly the changing Hindu-Muslim relations.
In his 2008 address to the Asia Society Board of Trustees meeting, Akbar emphasized the importance of dialogue and communication to reach mutual understanding. "Peace doesn't come with out understanding," he said. "Understanding doesn't come without dialogue. Dialogue doesn't come without having a common appreciation of the same terms that we use."
In the clip to the right, Akbar further considers this process, and the broader goal of the festival Muslim Voices: Arts & Ideas-- the role of the arts to foster deeper understanding, tolerance and peace.