An Interview with Author Harshaa Bharatula

Two brothers, one throne. The throne demands –blood, love and sometimes your life.
The Pashto’s are demanding of their Khans. As the brothers vie with each other to step into their fathers’ shoes as the new Khan of Khel Khudai, there are other forces that change their destiny. Following a bloodied path, the brothers forge their way ahead one battle to another.

As one works his way to be a Drug Lord, the other becomes a Mujahideen. With just a bullet away from death, their power brings vengeful enemies and a few friends. The saga of rise and fall, life and death plays before you through their eyes.

Will the brothers survive the plots, traps and surprises thrown at them? Who will rise to power and who will fall to vultures?

Swapna Peri: Congratulations on your book The Khan of Khel Khudaai. How are you enjoying the success and appreciation?
Harshaa Bharatula: It is heartening to get positive reception of my book The Khan of Khel Khudaai. It is the number one bestseller in the Religious and Inspirational Fiction category. The feedback so far has been very encouraging and I hope my readers continue to enjoy reading my book.

Swapna Peri: The Khan of Khel Khudaai – is an exciting and enticing title. How did the idea of putting this to the book generate?
Harshaa Bharatula: This was the title I firmed after finishing a good portion of my book. The story revolves around fictional charecters from a fictional Khel of Khudai. Also it is a reference to greater forces at play which have a bearing on the charecters in my story.

Swapna Peri: The book has twenty-one chapters that unleash a man’s mind and behaviour. What kind of approach did you take in presenting the chapters?
Harshaa Bharatula:
The story came organically to me as I wrote the novel. I had to enable each character to behave as per their character as they responded to the circumstances / situations around them.

Swapna Peri: The plot-line is a rare one. Set-up in the lands of Afghanistan is alluring. How and why did you choose this?
Harshaa Bharatula: The geo-politics and nature of Afghan society is a great place to show a human story in the backdrop of chaos and violence. The people are resilient, but every person is different in how he/ she adapts to such circumstances.

Swapna Peri: What kind of research did you do in gathering the intrinsic details mentioned in the book? The language, dialect, food items etc., reflect so much about the country and its culture. Indeed a great attempt, but how did you pull it all?
Harshaa Bharatula: I have a genuine interest in History, Culture and Food. In the book The Khan of Khel Khudaai, I have built upon my accumulated knowledge of Afghan Culture and History gathered by reading non- fiction books.

Swapna Peri: What kind of books do you usually read? Are there any books that inspired you to write your book?
Harshaa Bharatula: I’m an avid reader of non – fiction books on History and Culture. I also have a deep interest in puranic literature. In fiction, I read historical fiction and thrillers.

Swapna Peri: The mention of politics in the story is fascinating. You seemed to be well-versed in the subject of geopolitics. Can you shed some light on it?
Harshaa Bharatula: Afghanistan being on the cross roads of Indian, Iranian and Turkic civilizations has been a historical battle ground for all the three cultures. After the fall of Kabul Shahi dynasty, Indian culture had receded from Afghanistan till resurgence during the sikh empire. My book is set in the time where Soviets viewed Afghanistan as a natural extension of the turkic nations in Soviet Union. For Iran too, Afghanistan is a natural extension as Persian (Dari) is the official language of Afghanistan. Pakistan has a cultural and political stake is Afghanistan as both are a Sunni majority Islamic nations with the theological status of Pakistan being shared heritage from Mughals. The people of Afghanistan consider themselves to be of either Iranian or Turkic heritage depending on the place and person you speak to. All this had to be brought out in the background while depicting my story. My book per se does not support any political ideology.

Swapna Peri: What kind of support did you get from your parents, family and friends when you told your decision to write a book?
Harshaa Bharatula: I have written this book on my own. My family has always encouraged me to write. There was no descision to write it. I simply wrote and am happy with the result. I have dedicated the book to my late father.

Swapna Peri: What books usually attract you? What is the best book you read in 2021?
Harshaa Bharatula: As stated, I’ m avid reader of books on History and Culture. The last book I read was An Era of Darkness by Shashi Tharoor.

Swapna Peri: What are your other pass-time activities apart from reading and writing?
Harshaa Bharatula: I catch up on my reading or watch some documnetaries on youtube.

Swapna Peri: Do you wish to write more? If yes, what could be the genre you want to attempt on?
Harshaa Bharatula: Yes, I have many more stories to tell.

Swapna Peri: Who is your favourite author, and what do you like in their writing?
Harshaa Bharatula: I do not have specific favourites.

Swapna Peri: Do you have any message to the young readers that you always wanted to share?
Harshaa Bharatula: Keep yourself open to ideas and read as much as possible.

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