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The International Writers Magazine
: Reviews

The Hindustan Way
Nathan Rabe

Black Taj Press,
Chicago, Melbourne

GBP 45.00
Available direct from the author

© all photos Nathan Rabe 2003
Nathan Rabe is a writer and senior operative for the Red Cross in Australia. Born a white man in what is now Pakistan, he has a unique view of growing up there. His affection for the Hindustan way of life is clear and his writing is without prejudice. He clearly loves the eccentricity of Pakistan, past and present and indeed prefaces many of his pithy essays on the country with extracts of texts from the past. His luxuriously printed photographic journal is full of nuggets and gems that will delight it's readers. From being advised by a numerologist as to where he could find a house to rent, or having his ears dewaxed on the streets by men whose profession it is to do just that, Nathan Rabe paints a portrait of Pakistan that is incredibly vivid and totally alien to the western eye. Equally it makes it seem wonderfully attractive.

Rabe is interested in colour, pattern and people. This is a shot taken in Kolkata in 1989 The Bengali beauty is on a bus delayed in traffic and seemed like a 'princess passing in a palaquin'.

Rabe's images are snatched moments in everyday life and he has a quick eye. This is a personal portrait of Hindustan (a place divided into three countries, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.) The images are inspired by the older idea of one country - a politically flawed continent of extraordinary beauty.


Images such as a 'Windy Day in Taxila' or 'Plastic Shoes Rawalkot ' are things of beauty and his writing and images of the 'Dancing Girls' of Liaqat Bagh, Rawalpindi who, it turns out are, men, is at once hilarious and sad. There are 85 plates all told and this is a powerful and romantic compliation of the Hindu way of life.

Nurpur Shaheen. Islamabad

The shrine of Barri Imam and the mela (fair) sounds wonderful. His images of simple folk just having fun at the fair are almost surreal but testimony always to a extraordinany way of life.

Nathan has a sharp eye for the colour and texture of Pakistan. He shows with a canny eye the natural exhuberance of the country and its inhabitants and tells us a very human story on the way. In one shot children insist on being pictured in front a man holding a gun, as boys will anywhere, but in the corner of the eye, even in the shot of men on swings, there are posters of men with guns. Happy faces in Hindustan, but perhaps there are more sinister signals in the back-drop.

I highly recommend this limited editon photobraphic journal - you will fine it is something you will treasure and come back to time and time again.
Order direct from the author- details at top of page.

© Sam North Jan 2004


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