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Shaukat Ajmeri

Shaukat Ajmeri was born and education in India where he worked as a journalist before moving to Canada. He lives in Mississauga, Ontario and is now focusing upon a literary career.


Keepers of the Faith

Toronto: Mawenzi House, 2020.
e-book (Access restricted to TMU community members)

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

Ma misses the sun, warmth and colors of their faraway homeland, but her daughter sees magic in everything — the clouds in the winter sky, the “firework” display when she throws an armful of snow into the air, making snow angels, tasting snowflakes. And in the end, her joy is contagious. Home is where family is, after all.

Keepers of the Faith is set within a small Muslim sect of India, ruled by an avaricious priesthood that demands absolute submission while enforcing archaic social customs. When a section of the community rebels, it is summarily excommunicated, shunned by friends and family and denied religious rites. The peaceful community is split into two.

The novel follows the fates of two blissful young lovers, Akbar and Rukhsana, in the historic city of Udaipur. When the communal split occurs, their families are on opposite sides; the lovers’ dream of a happy life together is shattered, and they are forced into separate destinies. Akbar, from the rebel group, goes on to become a writer and family man in Mumbai, while Rukhsana gets married to an immigrant engineer from the United States fanatically devoted to the priesthood.

Years later, Akbar’s and Rukhsana’s paths cross again. Much has changed and much has not, and they are presented with soul-destroying choices about the rest of their lives.

Fiction (Short stories)

Open Season: Stories

Toronto: Mawenzi House, 2024.

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

In sparkling, clear prose, understated yet unflinching, Open Season probes deep into the fissures of caste, class, religion, and gender in our world. Located mostly in India and Canada, the stories describe a world of global flows where a woman returns to India after her two daughters are killed in a school shooting in the US; in the title story a Muslim young man is lynched in an Indian town on the false charges that his fridge contains beef; “Light as a Butterfly” draws our attention to the ongoing degradation of the environment; in “All Cut Up,” set in a suburb of Toronto, seven-year-old Zoya is heroically protected by her mother Zarina from her community’s demand that she be circumcised. The stories speak of a world familiar and yet all too elusive, of a gentler, mellower, more hopeful time; they explore the charms and constraints of life in a small town and question assumptions and beliefs and dreams.


Publisher Mawenzi House

Shaukat Ajmeri personal website