Welcome to the readalong and book club discussion of The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar. Today we are discussing religion, as presented in chapters 1 through 18 (pp. 1-192) of the novel. If you have insights to share, but they are based on events that occur later in the book, please note that as the beginning of your comment by typing SPOILER so those who haven’t read on will know to skip your comment.
Religion is a very important theme that runs through The World We Found. Laleh and Adish are Parsi, while Kavita and Armaiti are Hindu by heritage, though they don’t necessarily practice the religion. Iqbal is Muslim and Nishta, now Zola, converted to Islam for Iqbal.
- Armaiti sees religion as a beast to be tamed, rather than something to take comfort in. Why does she think this? Have her views become more entrenched now that she is dying?
- Adish tells Iqbal he sounds like a fanatic during their discussion. Iqbal comments that Adish wears the sadra, “the thin muslin-cloth undergarment that Adish wore as a sign of his Parsi faith,” and asks why only Muslims are considered fanatics for being devout. Is Iqbal correct in his accusations?
- Iqbal was willing to convert to Hinduism when he wanted to marry Nishta, yet she is the one that converted to Islam. Why?
- There is no question that Iqbal suffered during the Hindu-Muslim riots in 1993. Has he become as prejudiced against Hindus as he thinks they are against him? Does he blame Nishta for what some of her people have done, including what happened to Mumtaz?
- Iqbal seems crippled by the weight of his burdens, but are some of them of his own making? At one point, he admits that he is developing a persecution complex. Is this understandable, knowing some of what he’s been through?
Please feel free to answer any or all of these questions in your comments, as well as expound on your thoughts on the way religion is presented in the book. If you’re new to this readalong and would like more information or to see the rest of the discussion posts, please visit my landing page for The World We Found discussion. Please be sure to check back on Thursday, when we’ll be discussing the theme of control in the first eighteen chapters of the book.