So far so much like the novel, but it is important to understand that The Jumbie Bird is fiction and that although many of the characters and several of the events of the story can be traced to people and incidents in Ismith Khan's boyhood it would be a mistake to read The Jumbie Bird as simply an autobiographical account. For example, Ismith Khan points out that his own father, unlike Rahim in the novel, was a strong authoritative personality.
What Ismith Khan has done is to use the scenes, characters, life style and language of a community he knows intimately to create an authentic location for his fiction. The Jumbie Bird utilises the perspective of a child growing to an understanding of his world to allow the reader insights into the nature and working of a particular community.
Ismith Khan worked as a reporter for the Trinidad Guardian for a time, before leaving Trinidad to study sociology and creative writing at American Universities.
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He has published another novel, The Obeah Man Hutchinson, London and several short stories as well as academic and critical work. The Jumbie Bird. Ismith Khan. The Longman Caribbean Writers Series comprises of many classic novels, short stories and plays by the best known Caribbean authors, together with works of the highest quality from new writers.
In a letter to the critic Arthur Drayton, Ismith Khan wrote of his grandfather that he was ever involved in all things anti-British As Arthur Drayton comments, It is not inconceivable that like Jamini, the young protagonist in The Jumbie Bird , he experienced there at school , or knew others who did, the uncomfortable sense of not belonging socially and economically.
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About Ismith Khan.
Ismith Khan. Ismith Khan was born in Trinidad in He grew up within a Muslim family, who came from the country to Port of Spain, strongly influenced by his grandfather, a Pathan from Northern India, who was a militant community leader who had been shot and wounded by the colonial authorities in their suppression of the San Fernando Hosay rebellion of Ismith Khan makes use of this background in his f Ismith Khan was born in Trinidad in Ismith Khan makes use of this background in his first novel, The Jumbie Bird, He was a close Trinidad friend of Sam Selvon, who edited the literary page of this paper before he emigrated to the UK.
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Following the publication of the semi-autobiographical The Jumbie Bird, which explores the impact of urbanisation on an Indo-Trinidadian Muslim family, came The Obeah Man , a profound but oblique exploration of the possibility of seeing the contemporary tensions between Afro and Indo-Trinidadians as a dialectic relationship which had the latent potential for the creation of a truly culturally dynamic society.
His novel The Crucifixion, written in the s, but not published until by Peepal Tree, develops ideas from both earlier novels.
It also develops in a more symbolic way the issues of the dialectic between freedom and order in Trinidadian society.