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The Boy Refugee

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Loved it! 😍

A family caught in the middle of a violent war flees their home and spends two years in a refugee prison camp.

The Boy Refugee is Khawaja Azimuddin’s emotional first-hand account of the 1971 Pakistani war. In it, he describes the conflict between West Pakistan and East Pakistan's Bengali population that eventually led to a political uprising, war, and even a genocide. 


Azimuddin's family was driven from their home in East Pakistan when the Indian Armed Forces and a paramilitary group called the Mukti Bahini moved into the region to aid the newly formed Bangladesh government in gaining independence. Many non-Bengali people were driven out of the country and interned in refugee camps across northern India. It was in one of these camps that young Azimuddin, and his family spent two years.


The Indo-Pakistani War is a conflict that is typically not taught in the United States and so there was a lot for me to take in here. It took lots of careful reading for me to understand the different sides to the war and their motivations. Azimuddin takes great care in impartially explaining all sides of the dispute in which he admits that his people were not always in the right.


The majority of the book takes place in a refugee prison camp with a detailed description of the conditions in the camp. Azimuddin does a great job of immersing the reader in this world with minute details of day to day life. It is a valuable historical account of a place and time that would be all but forgotten if not for first-hand memoirs like this one. The Boy Refugee provides much of the important background for understanding modern conflicts in the region.


Outside of its historical context, its a story of humanity that provides insight into the plight of refugees. The reader shares in the helplessness, the terror, and the pain of a group of people that were uprooted from their home and whose lives were turned upside down with very little warning.


Written from the perspective of an innocent and naive child, The Boy Refugee is easy to relate to and an enjoyable read. I would recommend it to anybody who enjoys memoirs and are interested in modern world history.

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I spend my free time outside, exploring nature any way I can. My bookshelf is filled with nonfiction adventure travel, historical exploration, local history, and the environment.

About the author

Dr. Khawaja Azimuddin is a gastro-intestinal surgeon in Houston, TX. As a child he spent two years in a refugee/ civilian prisoner of war camp. After almost fifty years he is finally telling his story and hopes to bring attention to the current refugee crisis. view profile

Published on June 20, 2020

Published by Austin Macauley

50000 words

Genre: Biographies & Memoirs

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