Excerpts from Adrian Levy’s conversation about The Siege, a book he has co-authored with Cathy Scott Clark at the Jaipur Literature Festival. The book revisits the horrors of the 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

The ghost of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks appeared at the ZEE JLF today, as heart-wrenching stories from the harrowing episode were retold.

the siege 193x300 The Siege  Jaipur Literature Festival
Adrian Levy, Guardian journalist and co-author of controversial book ‘The Siege,’ described his experience of researching for the book, and stressed the importance of removing fear from his interviewees in order to gain an accurate recall of the facts, since fear distorted memory. Levy explained that the story mostly revolved around the mastermind of the attacks, Headly, whom he described as a man who always served himself and never worked for anyone else’s profit as ‘a hybrid and perplexing figure’.

Levy speculated that Headly’s motive for choosing Mumbai as the epicenter of the attacks was because the city was a symbol of India rising, and so a disturbance there would catch the attention of the whole nation.


Describing his method of telling stories, Levy said that ‘marrying a powerful story with the technical evidence makes it a compelling story.’ He emphasized that to be able to write such a book, full immersion into the story, and the writer’s love of the material and its characters was important, mixing the facts with the stories of the people to give it narrative. Levy described the process as akin to being ‘an outsider as well as an insider.’

The session ended with a heated discussion about the need to learn the lessons of history, and to improve the intelligence department in India.

By M.S. Suman @ The Jaipur Literature Festival

Also See:
This day, five years ago: Mumbai on 27/11/2008
Behind the Veil – Women Writers of the Islamic World
1914 : Remembering the 1st World War

Image Source:Cathy Scott Clark@facebook

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