Collier Row writer inspired by his ancestors publishes historical novel
PUBLISHED: 07:00 07 November 2013
The struggles of Indian migrants who sought work in the British Empire’s sugar plantations in the 19th century are highlighted in a Collier Row writer’s historical novel.
Khalil Rahman Ali, 63, who has lived in Collier Row Lane for over 30 years, wrote Sugar’s Sweet Allure after discovering he is a descendant of migrants who came from Indian state Uttar Pradesh.
He was also inspired by visiting Demerara, the place he was born in Guyana, South America.
Khalil said: “I am absolutely delighted to have researched and written this book. I felt I needed to relate this story which is based on the experiences of many of the migrants and their descendants.
“I was always intrigued by the fact that there were people of many races, religions, origins and so on in my village of Anna Catherina, where I set the story.”
Khalil’s book tells the tale of protagonist Mustafa and his friends, through the years 1845 to 1872.
Mustafa runs away from his village in Uttar Pradesh to seek work, with the hopes of returning in the future to marry his childhood sweetheart.
He then journeys to the colony Guyana (then known as British Guiana) and encounters a number of difficulties.
Khalil, who retired three years ago from his 34-year NHS career, began the book in May 2010.
A sequel is in the works, which will cover the years 1872 to 1985, and Khalil hopes to turn the series into a trilogy.
He said: “I have been humbled by the expressions of interest and feedback I have received.
“It is very important for people of our diverse localities and countries to give due respect and recognition to our ancestors whose sacrifices have helped to shape us and our world.”
Sugar’s Sweet Allure, published by Hansib Publications, is available online at Amazon, WHSmith, Waterstones and Blackwell’s.
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