The Rat-boys of Karalabad follows the life of one young man as he comes to terms with his life situation. Having been kidnapped as a very young boy, Omar has been groomed for his entire life for a role he never dreamed of fulfilling. When Omar is told the truth about his kidnapping, he wishes to return home and see his parents. This sets off a whole chain of events that makes Omar feel trapped and he struggles with the role he sees himself being groomed for.
The reader briefly steps into a different world, one so corrupt and inhumane you scarcely think it could possibly exist, yet it does. The life of child beggars is brought to light in this book along with the industry they support. Children are kidnapped at a very young age and then have their head and limbs tightly bound, leaving them disfigured and brain-damaged – rat-like in appearance. Even though the story itself is fiction, it is based on the children of Southeast Asia who are intentionally disfigured in order that people will feel sorry for them and give them money.
“Rat-boys are real – it’s a particularly cruel form of child exploitation. They do not live long lives,” says Rashid, who grew up in both Pakistan and France and continues to travel regularly to his native country. “Religion can be used as a tool for manipulation and personal gain, and it happens all over the world. In rural areas of Southeast Asia, the people are illiterate and religion is very important to them. Feudal landlords use that to control them.”
Omar, who is being groomed to be the heir to the ancient shrine of Karalabad, suddenly discovers he no longer wishes to become "Pir Sahib" and all that it entails. The question is, Can Omar change his destiny?
The Rat-boys of Karalabad has more twists and turns then a rollercoaster leaving you hard pressed to put this book down. I definitely recommend you read this book.