Simerg Presents “With Our Own Hands” – a Highly Acclaimed Book from the Pamirs of Afghanistan and Tajikistan

Those of us reading this book several thousand miles away from the Pamir Mountains cannot fail to be moved by the celebration of human diversity and dignity. I hope this book will act as a spur to other such works, and to the preservation and celebration of other such ancient cultures, wherever they are in the world HRH The Prince of Wales in Foreword to “With Our Own Hands”


In size, rigor and thoughtfulness this book has become a touching piece of art — Geerdt Magiels, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

With Our Own Hands Food and Life in Pamir Mountains
Front cover of “WITH OUR OWN HANDS” by Frederik van Oudenhoven and Jamila Haider, 688 pp, illustrated with beautiful photos.

In the Ismaili faith, the relationship between us human beings and the places we inhabit is deeply interwoven. It is important for people who, like the Pamiris, live in places that are isolated, in which each small piece of land must be used in the best way possible. If God created us, it is believed, He also created the things around us that are necessary for us to have a healthy life excerpt from “With Our Own Hands”

Purchasing the Book: At the current time “With Our Own Hands – A Celebration of Food and Life in the Pamir Mountains of Afghanistan and Tajikistan” is available for sale only in Toronto. The price of the book is CDN $100.00 including home delivery or pickup from a convenient location in North York, close to the Aga Khan Museum on Wynford Drive. Our stock of this book is limited; as of November 14, 2021, only five copies are available, all brand-new in plastic-wrapped cover. Please write to Malik Merchant at or drop us a line in the feedback form below with your contact info if you are interested in acquiring this book (we won’t publish your feedback).

Worthy Addition: “With Our Own Hands” will be a worthy edition to your home library or serve as a great coffee table book by virtue of its visual quality, as well as its faithful and superb portrayal of the food, culture and traditions of the beautiful people of the Pamirs.

A 2-page spread from the 688 page book “WITH OUR OWN HANDS

Background: A book that began as a simple 30 page recipe book to fulfill a promise to a grandmother has grown to a magnificent volume of 688 pages telling the cultural and agricultural history of the Afghan and Tajik Pamirs, one of the world’s least known and most isolated civilizations. Through the lens of local recipes, essays and stories, and accompanied by the work of three award-winning photographs, “With Our Own Hands” describes Pamiri food and its origins, people’s daily lives, their struggle and celebrations. Simerg carried a special feature story on the making of the book as well as a review of the book by Shariffa Keshavjee shortly after she received the softcover edition of the volume from Simerg.

As I read and re-read the book, I feel that the earth itself compressed to make a safe haven for these very special people who truly live in harmony with mother earth. Similar to the way the animals live in the Ngorongoro Crater — Shariffa Keshavejee

A 2-page spread from the 688 page book “WITH OUR OWN HANDS

The authors ensured that each of the 1800 communities of the Pamirs received a copy of “With Our Own Hands.” In the featured photo shown at the top of this post, schoolgirls in the Bartang valley are standing with a copy of the book. The authors have noted that they were received time and time again with the warmest hospitality one could ever imagine when they travelled to remote communities with the book.


(See Image of Back Cover, below)

“This…may be one of the most beautiful books I have ever read..!” — Frénk van der Linden.

People touch the book and stroke it, and it is as if there is no distance between them and the pages…it’s very touching to see – Facebook comment

Back cover of “WITH OUR OWN HANDS” by Frederik Van Oudenhoven and Jamila Haider, Hardback Edition, 688 pages, illustrated.

Purchasing the book: Limited copies are available for sale in Toronto, Canada. Please write to Malik Merchant at or drop us a line in the feedback form below with your contact info if you are interested in acquiring this book (we won’t publish your feedback). Price is CDN $100.00, including delivery in Toronto or if you prefer you may pick up the book from a convenient location near the Aga Khan Museum on Wynford Drive.

Date posted: November 13, 2021.
Last updated: November 14, 2021.


Simerg welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or click Leave a comment.

If you are interested in acquiring “With Our Own Hands” please complete the same feedback form (we won’t publish your information) with your contact imformation.

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