Praeger’s hard-bound edition of Notes from Prison appeared in 2001. Other Books was not born by then. But, we were there, as individuals, as a scattered unity of book lovers and readers. Alija Izetbegovic, as an honest politician and original philosopher, had cast his magic on us all. We found his influence inescapable. This title was different by all means: intellectually, emotionally and spiritually, it led readers towards new dimensions, particularly in the times it came out.
Izetbegovic ’s epigrammatic ponderings on almost everything captured our imagination. We paid close attention to this work’s immense potentials. As soon as our entry as a distributor of alternative titles and later as a publisher, we thought of publishing Notes from Prison in Malayalam and English (Indian edition). Having contacted Praeger and other western publishers, we had started realizing that the copyrights would always be expensive for a third world publisher, particularly at the toddler stage. But, the passion was irresistible. We looked for all possible options. We were fortunate enough to have our friend and associate Mujeeb MP working in Dortmund, Germany. After long conversations with our managing editor Auswaf Ahsan, Mujeeb decided to make a trip to Sarajevo, with the hope that he would be able to meet Bakir Izetbegovic, an influential political leader and the son of the author. Auswaf’s Bosnian friend, Asim Zubcevic also offered help. In the summer of 2006, Mujeeb landed in Sarajevo airport and spent a couple of weeks there, visiting historically important places including Srebrenica. “It was when The Hague International Tribunal’s hearings on the genocide were going on and I was disappointed to hear that Mr. Bakir was in The Hague. However, I was fortunate that while shopping for my wife, I befriended an old shopkeeper in the city and he used his political influence to connect me to Mr. Bakir. He made a call to Mr. Bakir and got an appointment on the next day,” remembers Mujeeb MP. Bakir was warm and supportive enough to eventually grant us permission to publish all works of his father in Indian languages. Mujeeb returned obtaining a consent letter from Bakir, issuing the copyrights to Other Books. Our first attempt was to publish an Indian edition in English, for which also we were permitted. In 2010, Bakir was elected as a Bosniak candidate to the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Once we were granted the consent to go ahead, the project was accelerated. Our initial plan was to publish the English title in collaboration with Cairo based Tanweer Publishing House of our friend Abdurahiman M Abouzekry. However, for various reasons, it didn’t work out in time, and we made our mind to go with the project on our own. C Hamza, one of the most respected traditional scholars in Kerala, assisted us in preparing a glossary. Our friend Dr. Jafer went through the work repeatedly. People like Abdel Latif Chalikandy, Biju Abdul Qadir and AI Rahmathula helped us at different stages.