Some people may state that a book should not be judged by its cover. In the novel Iqbal, by Francesco D’ Adamo, Fatima and Iqbal develop a strong mutual friendship. When the children at Hussain Khan’s carpet factory notice that a new boy is brought to pay off his family’s debts, Fatima knows he is different at first glance. Fatima becomes interested in the boy and starts to socialize with him. She is fascinated, wants to be around him, and greatly worries when he is in danger. They develop trust with each other by secrets and adventures of their past.
While morbid work in the ghastly like factory ruins their lives, they talk with each other at night. Iqbal talks to Fatima about his escape plans and most of his rebellious stories. Risking getting caught, he makes promises to her that may lead to freedom and joy. In some time after Iqbal and Fatima meet they start planning out their future escape out of the morbid carpet factory. Iqbal promises her that when they escape, the first event that they should do, is fly a kite together. The kite symbolizes freedom from labor, flying clearly in the sky.
When Iqbal says “together”, he means sharing happiness and emotions. Later on in the novel Iqbal makes a beautiful “Blue Bukhara” carpet which is supposed to bring a huge fortune to their master, Hussain Khan. All the workers were very surprised when they see Iqbal’s amazing work. Until something unexpected happens, Iqbal takes a blade and started cutting the colorful carpet into bits. Pg. 34, “In the silence that had fallen over the workshop we heard the distinct rrrriipp of the sliced threads. Hussain Khan screamed like a stuck pig.
The mistress screamed. Karim screamed because he always did everything they did. ” The effect on everyone in the factory was jaw-dropping. In a matter of seconds the atmosphere changed. Hussein Khan was in such anger that he sends Iqbal into the tomb for a long time. During the time period of Iqbal’s stay in the frightening tomb, Fatima begins to worry and miss him, and understands that they need to find a way to help him survive. They create a group of friends together that is going to set out to give Iqbal nourishment.
This was very risky for Fatima and the rest of her friends, but she had a strong urge to save Iqbal. After some time Iqbal was let out of the tomb. Fatima was terrified when she sees him. Pg. 47, “When we saw him walk across the courtyard on wobbly legs, blinded by the light, his arms covered with angry insect bites, we pitied him, but we were proud, too. ” He was all thin, dirty, and way out of shape. Hussain Khan gave Iqbal one day and one night to get some rest for work in the factory the next day. Fatima fed him, nourished him, and took great care of him.
This showed the strong bond they have, and especially the feelings Fatima has for Iqbal. Later on in the novel the children had been freed from the carpet factory with the help of the Labor Liberation Front of Pakistan and of course with the help of their friend Iqbal. To free them Iqbal had to escape a second time from the factory. He was prepared for this escape because now he learned how to read. Mia, a minor character in the beginning of the story obtains an important role of teaching Iqbal, Fatima and the other how to read and speak more grammatically.
Over some time the children learned and Iqbal was able to reach the LLFP (Labor Liberation Front of Pakistan) and brought them to the carpet factory to bring Hussain Khan to justice. Everyone was very excited to leave but Fatima told Iqbal that it was a bit emotional to leave the factory which was their home for such a long time. Pg. 85, “I had spent several years of my life there. Had I ever known another home? ” But she was thankful to Iqbal for possibly saving her and the others lives. In the beginning of the story Iqbal promised Fatima that he will fly a kite with her.
Right after they got freed Iqbal and Fatima flew a kite. Fatima felt very free and joyful with all the green grass and the clear blue skies surrounding her. In some time after Iqbal joined the LLFP, he became like a son to Eshan Khan (the leader of the LLFP) and Fatima, a daughter. This brought Fatima and Iqbal even closer together. Fatima became like a sister to him. She cared and worried for him. Iqbal was helping the LLFP close down carpet and brick factories. He would risk his life to sneak inside. Gather information about the place, earn the children’s trust, and arrest the monstrous masters.
This was a dangerous job which Fatima was worried sick about. She kept wondering if he has gone too far with arresting masters of these labor camps. What if something happens to him? What if he gets hurt? etc. All these thoughts were rushing through her mind. Iqbal was on a mission to a brick factory, which goes wrong. The master saw Iqbal and the LLFP members in his factory. Apparently he had a gun, which he started to shoot at Iqbal and the others. They had the chance to escape but when Iqbal came back to the LLFP headquarters he made a confession to Fatima and Fatima only, that he was absolutely petrified of the weapon.
Fatima keeps a promise to him that she will never tell anyone about Iqbal’s fear of guns. She tries to comfort him. At one point she said that pg. 106, “That was one of our last long conversations, because a few weeks later, Iqbal departed, and I went home. I wish I had been brave enough to actually touch him,” which shows her emotions and feelings for him and for-shadows something that may prevent the chance from her seeing him again. She regrets that she did not show him her true feelings. Near the end of the novel Fatima looks outside her window and starts crying at what she sees.
She sees a mailman slowly, dramatically walking to her. She receives a letter from Maria who brings her petrifying news about the death of Iqbal. At first Maria explained that she did not believe that he was dead and almost became mute again. Maria asked Fatima to tell everyone brave, Iqbal’s story and legacy. In Fatima’s tells his story through this novel. It shows the deep and emotional, journey and friendship Fatima and Iqbal developed over the years of working together. Fatima looked back at the time when she first saw him, and understood that she was right, he is different. -Michael Eugene Barshteyn