Mubashir Iqbal Kitaba : The writer is a PhD Research Scholar in Srinagar (Kashmir) and can be reached at: mubashirkitaba@gmail.com

This book ‘The Man and the Mountain’ written by Imtiyaz Khan is indeed a good read as this book teaches you a lot about the life, discipline, dedication, passion, respect, hope, struggle, failure and love. It is the story of two different faiths. It is the story of believer and non-believer. It is the story of mountaineering but while reading, it gives you different lessons about life. It is a story of a banker who was caught for someone else’s wrong doing.
It is the story of a mountaineer in whose veins run the passion of mountaineering. Life teaches us new things and adds to our knowledge which if used in the right perspective and in right direction will change ones thinking and behavior whose impact will result in transformation of society to a great extent. A person when lost hope to live a dignified and respectable life he decides to take such an extreme step which cost him his own life. The beauty and pleasing environment around doesn’t even attract him or change his mind. The story is very much interesting as a reader you will enjoy it and becomes curious what happened next.
The story of book starts with the journey of a man who found his own self useless and decided to take an extreme step to end his life by jumping into the fast flowing waters. He travelled a long distance towards the lush green mountains where no one could stop him from jumping into the waters. He has lost all the faith in God and doubts his existence. When he reached the place where he wants to be to end his life he jumped into the waters. The flow of water was so fast and strong that it can even smash a big boulder to pieces.
When he gained consciousness he found his self at some other place and a man sitting near him with book in his hands thought it is heaven and the man is angle. As the story goes on the man looks old and was from other faith. He told this young man that you being alive is the biggest miracle that I have seen in my life.
The young man despite rude to old man started their journey towards Narang which was the place deep in these mountains. While walking the old man said that everything is in the mind, if the mind is strong and determined then there will be no obstacle and everything possible.
The name of the old man was Samsar Chand Koul and was a teacher by profession while the name of the young man was Sabir Ali and was a banker by profession. Samsar Chamd Kuol was very knowledgeable person that he discusses any subject in detail and his love for mountains was immense. So for his love and passion of mountains, the way he walks and his knowledge of plants with its medical value Sabir nicknamed him the mountain man. While walking Sabir suddenly changed his mind and told Samsar that I will not accompany you on which Samsar replied that you are a dead man and dead people don’t have motives and feelings.
Upon reaching a place on a mountain Sabir was shocked to see pistol in the hands of Samsar, the man who talks philosophy and non-violence. To answer this he said “it is in dog’s nature to be friendly with humans while on the other hand it is in the leopard’s nature to pounce on humans when he feels threatened or feels hungry and it is also in our nature to protect ourselves from the attack of leopard. Knowing all this, if I will not protect myself at that time then I am the most stupid man on this earth. It is good to believe in God but at the same time it is not good to blame God by having acted in a ridiculous manner and not applying the mind. Same God has made fire to keep us warm ourselves and keep this fire under control but we cannot blame God if this fire harms us as a result of our negligence”.
While far away from the cities and towns in these beautiful mountains the shepherd children early in the morning get assembled near the tent of Samsar to take lessons from him. Samsar says to Sabir that I teach them to be good and responsible human beings which are more important than anything else.
One day sitting in the lap of these mountains, Sabir told Samsar the reason for jumping in the waters to end up the life. Sabir told him that it was my mother who brought me up despite hardships and poverty as I lost my father after few months of my birth. I get the education and after completing my studies I got a job in bank. Life started to move in prosperity and happiness. One fine evening I was as usual travelling back to my home from office, two elderly persons waved their hands and asked for lift. I stopped my car and gave them lift thinking it as a service to humanity and pleasing God. While covered half of the distance I was stopped by the police and get caught with fake currency notes. The morning headlines in almost all the newspapers read that “a banker caught with fake currency notes”.
Samsar talk’s philosophy and each word of his have deep meanings. He told Sabir that “Mountain climbing is for those who are willing to accept challenges and are brave, confident, patient, strong willed and hardworking people. It requires of a person not only physical strength but most importantly the mental strength. The physical strength as we know wanes with time, whereas it is the mental strength which surpasses everything and makes one to move ahead”.
Samsar Chand Koul when narrating his own story to Sabir makes him understand the ups and downs of life. Samsar said that mountain climbing is in my blood as they taught and teach me how to live a life in most difficult times. He told him how he along with his team of mountaineers gets caught in the snow storm in the middle of the glacier while climbing the world’s highest mountain peak. What they did and how they survived despite got injured, we did not lost hope but continue our effort by using our mental capabilities having full faith on God, we survived and did what we want.