PAKISTANI LITERATURE IN ENGLISH
                          BY MUHAMMAD AZAM


                          INTRODUCTION

     ...
PRE-PARTITION FICTION
      The pre-partition fiction in the background of British held Subcontinent
mirrors that barbaria...
of life in sub-continent i.e. the laws of social and religious life in both Muslim and
Hindu Community.

       KHWAJA AHM...
THE NINETEEN FIFTIES
       The   early post-partition literature obviously succeeded in capturing the
sense of disillusio...
In 1952, Elsa Kazi, Vice Chancellor of Sindh University published a
novel called “Old English Garden Symphony” having a mu...
ZAHIR H. FAROOQI

      The second most prominent figure in the literary circles of 1950’s is
ZAHIR H. FAROOQI, who being ...
THE NINETEEN SIXTIES

       The    1960’s in Pakistan History are marked with great political,
sociological and geographi...
THEMES/ISSUES IN FAROOQI’S WORKS /STORIES

              In Farooqi’s novels and short stories, we find the realistic elem...
brothers represent the new order, avaricious, devoid of scruples, shrewd
manipulators of the economic process. On the othe...
Ghose was deeply affected by communal tension and the horrific Partition riots,
and he has described the experience in his...
H.K BURKI
       H.K. BURKI is another well known story writer and has published only
eight short stories under the title ...
training of the rulers of the future. But the language is bureaucratic and the hero
is a stereotyped bright young man, who...
The pre-partition literature mirrors the saga of those loyal lovers, who
struggled and strived for the sacred soul of Paki...
BIBLIOGRAPHY


 A History of Pakistani Literature in English by Tariq Rehman.
 Pakistani Fiction in English (Source Wiki...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

PAKISTANI LITERATURE IN ENGLISH BY MUHAMMAD AZAM, LECTURER, F G SCIENCE DEGREE COLLEGE, WAH CANTT Shaheen Academy

17,969

Published on

4 Comments
8 Likes
Statistics
Notes
No Downloads
Views
Total Views
17,969
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
0
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
28
Comments
4
Likes
8
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Transcript of "PAKISTANI LITERATURE IN ENGLISH BY MUHAMMAD AZAM, LECTURER, F G SCIENCE DEGREE COLLEGE, WAH CANTT Shaheen Academy"

  1. 1. PAKISTANI LITERATURE IN ENGLISH BY MUHAMMAD AZAM INTRODUCTION As with any nation, but particularly a new one, the story of Pakistani literature in English (also in Urdu) cannot be told without the backdrop of history. In 1947, the English language itself was a vexed and contradictory space: on one hand the language of cruel colonists; on the other hand the language in which undivided Sub-continent’s politicians (Jinnah, Nehru, Ghandi and Liaquat Ali Khan) presented their demands for freedom and fair governance to the British. Thus, the pre-partition and early post-partition literature both in English and Urdu has weaved the fabric of tragic tale highlighting untold and unbearable atrocities inflicted by the ruthless rulers of British Raj on the pitiable people of subcontinent. The literature, thus made its appearance during the freedom movement, highlights the saga of Pakistan, the germs of extreme nationalism based on religious norms & social set-up, quest for freedom, protection of cultural & traditional heritage narrated with rigorous reasoning. However, the post-partition literature deals with the socio-political, ideological and ethnic problems of Pakistani society. Muhammad Azam (Lecturer)-Cell #-0333-5418018 azam_numl@hotmail.com
  2. 2. PRE-PARTITION FICTION The pre-partition fiction in the background of British held Subcontinent mirrors that barbarianism and brutal behaviour know no boundaries and barriers. The prominent writers of this period sketched and painted a dark picture of incessant strife, unceasing warfare, themes of extreme nationalism, paramount cause of conflict between Hinduism and Islam, caste system, untouchability, taboos in food, idol worship, incarnation, polytheism and even metempsychosis. PROMINENT WRITERS –TRENDS & THEMES The first and most prominent Muslim writer, who recorded the atrocities of British Raj in subcontinent with a particular sense of despair and dejection, is AHMED ALI, who, in 1940, wrote the gem Twilight in Delhi, which is set in 1911, in a Muslim Neighbourhood in Delhi, where despair over the downfall of the Mughals and the rise of the British is strong. Ali was bilingual but chose to write the novel in English to provide both Anglicized Indians and the English themselves with an alternative to the “Official Narrative” of the Raj. And so alongside tragedy, the Pakistani Novel started with the use of English to illustrate another side of the story i.e. portraying the theme of lost freedom and nationalism. However, within Pakistan there remains much bickering about, who exactly should qualify as a Pakistani Writer, on the other hand the prominent Muslim contemporaries of Ahmed Ali were Feroze Khan Noon, Mumtaz Shahnawaz and Khwaja Ahmed Abbas, who also painted the pathetic picture of Pre-partitioned Sub-continent. FEROZ KHAN is well known for his autobiography, “From Memory” (1966) and the only novel “Scented Dust” highlighting the sociological aspects Muhammad Azam (Lecturer)-Cell #-0333-5418018 azam_numl@hotmail.com
  3. 3. of life in sub-continent i.e. the laws of social and religious life in both Muslim and Hindu Community. KHWAJA AHMAD ABBAS, who was a socialist and nationalist, wrote two novels, a novelette, a drama, two collections of short stories, two travelogues and one account of journalism. His famous literary works are “Tomorrow is ours (novel), Blood and Stones (novelette), The Umbrella, Flowers for Her Feet, Twelve Hours, Saffron Blossom and Reflection in Mirror (Short Stories). The major themes in his works pertain to socialist and secular nationalistic movements, theme of courtesan and prostitution, Hindu-Muslim controversies and atrocities in sub-continent. MUMTAZ Shahnawaz, who was a political activist, got her poem published under the title “The Spectator”. The famous political novel “The Heart Divided” which she wrote between 1943 and 1948 sketches the creation of Pakistan in Indian Muslims’ point of view. The novel deals with the theme of renunciation of the idea of Hindu-Muslim Unity and the acceptance of the idea of creating a separate state for the Muslims called Pakistan. This theme is expressed through the plot which consists of the changing relationship of a Hindu and a Muslim Family. It is also a realistic and honest treatment of the politics of India and the lack of distortion of the truth redeems this novel from the charge of being boring at places. Muhammad Azam (Lecturer)-Cell #-0333-5418018 azam_numl@hotmail.com
  4. 4. THE NINETEEN FIFTIES The early post-partition literature obviously succeeded in capturing the sense of disillusionment, which started to spread during 1950’s. It created quite a stir at the time of its publication and is considered to be one of the important literary works in Pakistan’s early history. At the other end of the spectrum, we come across subtle artistically refined modes of dealing with reality in Pakistan, which usually focus on individual experience, views of liberal democratic elite, who regarded democracy, freedom and egalitarianism as desirable political traditions, which were being threatened by Russian version of totalitarian socialism on the one side and on the other by Maulana Maudoodi’s Jammat-e-Islami. However, the English writers during this period didn’t support the Fundamentalists’ dogma and the above mentioned themes and issues are better represented in the English translations of poetry and prose. PROMINENT WRITERS –TRENDS & THEMES The prominent publication in the year 1950 was “Pakistan P.E.N Miscellany” edited by Ahmed Ali having a prefatory note by Shahid Suhrawardy. It was the time, when most of the Indian Writer’s credo was the democratic ideals and liberalism. Thus on the whole, theory of social realism was stressed. The editor of P.E.N has included a story by Saadat Hassan Manto (1912-1955), a renowned short stories writer of South Asia, who produced great literature out of the events relating to the India-Pakistan Independence. His story “The New Constitution-1935” and Syed Waliullah’s story “The Escape” can be referred to in this context. Muhammad Azam (Lecturer)-Cell #-0333-5418018 azam_numl@hotmail.com
  5. 5. In 1952, Elsa Kazi, Vice Chancellor of Sindh University published a novel called “Old English Garden Symphony” having a musical structure. During this decade, the short stories were getting popular and were used as a tool to express the social problems prevailing in the contemporary society. ZAIB-UN-NISA HAMIDULLAH Among the Short story writers Zaib-un-Nisa Hamidullah, the writer of “The Young Wife and other Stories” was the prominent figure. During this era, some writers had started agreeing with the prescriptive dictum that their work has lofty purpose namely to “Serve the Society”. This propagandist and progressive view of literature became popular in 1950’s with special emphasis on didactic literature. Mrs. Hamidullah collection comprising of 15 short stories, which can be divided according to their theme, two stories “The Peepul Trees” and “Fame” are ironical and are written on the style of Maupassant and O’ Henry; two “The Young Wife” and “The First Born”, show the conflict between the traditional values of the rural areas of Pakistan and individualism; two “Motia Flower” and “Wonder Bloom” are related to preternatural; and the rest are about old age. THEMES IN MRS. HAMIDULLAH’s WORKS /STORIES Zaib-un-Nisa Hamidullah’s claim to literary significance lies in those short stories, which have a social theme especially authoritarian social norms of the male-dominating society, personal desire and religious Puritanism. In some of her works, Mrs. Hamidullah expresses the liberal view of Pakistani Westernized intellectuals in the language of religion rather than that of secular way of thinking. However, the fact is that Mrs. Hamidullah has not transcended the prejudices of her society and this tends to come between her and her perception of the truth about Pakistani Society. Muhammad Azam (Lecturer)-Cell #-0333-5418018 azam_numl@hotmail.com
  6. 6. ZAHIR H. FAROOQI The second most prominent figure in the literary circles of 1950’s is ZAHIR H. FAROOQI, who being a young diplomat stayed in Italy, China and Australia in the 1950’s. His first novel “Love in Ruins” (1960) is based upon his Italian stay, but it lacks inane moralism and sentimentality. One important feature of the novel is the local colour, which also reflects Farooqi’s love with Rome, Florence and Venice and these cities are made to live through his pages. These cities are symbolic representation of sexual freedom in Italy and Victorian homosexual trends. In a nutshell there was no mile stone and masterpiece in the filed of English creative writings during 1950’s, whatever was written during 1950’s was of mediocre nature. Muhammad Azam (Lecturer)-Cell #-0333-5418018 azam_numl@hotmail.com
  7. 7. THE NINETEEN SIXTIES The 1960’s in Pakistan History are marked with great political, sociological and geographical upheavals. The literature produced during this decade summed up the theme pertaining to the socio-political problems of Pakistan, its history, its self image, its religious and cultural policies especially the horrors of war set against an ideology, which glorifies war, the corruption and selfishness of Pakistani Politicians, the neglect of the cultural heritage, ethnic discrimination & discrimination against women and social, political and ideological conflicts rising in East Pakistan and the quest for liberalism. PROMINENT WRITERS –TRENDS & THEMES NASIR AHMED FAROOQI The shining star in literary circle of 1960’s is Nasir Ahmed Farooqi –a typical representative of Pakistani Society, which tolerated and even promoted a certain frivolous type of liberalism; the type which confined itself to pretentious talk about European intellectual ideas, drinking alcohol in the clubs and not segregating men and women in parties. His first novel appeared in 1961 under the title “Faces of Love and Death”, which is based upon the lives of upper middle class people in Pakistan during the late fifties; however, the life during 1960’s is the subject matter of Farooqi’s major works. His other works are Snakes and Ladders (novel), Sadness at Dawn (Novelette) in 1967, his short stories include Younger than Spring Love”, ‘Ah! No My Love’, and “Money in Bank”. Muhammad Azam (Lecturer)-Cell #-0333-5418018 azam_numl@hotmail.com
  8. 8. THEMES/ISSUES IN FAROOQI’S WORKS /STORIES In Farooqi’s novels and short stories, we find the realistic elements but there is also an attempt to create an allegory through symbolism. His novels present a myth of high society rather than the high society itself. One aspect of high society –its snobbery and pretentiousness—does, however, come through. During the fifties and sixties Islam, democracy and socialism were discussed at different levels in Pakistani society. Most of these discussions were ill –informed, pretentious and vague. Farooqi writes about such a discussion about Islam in politics in the novel “Faces of Love and Death”. The civil servants, pretending to be intellectual aristocracy of the country, write articles in a fashionable magazine, however, it also exposes the nature and intentions of power-hungry bureaucrats, their calculated selfishness and ruthless opportunism. ZULFIKAR GHOSE Zulfikar Ghose, the Novelist, Poet, Story Writer, Autobiographer, Journalist, Educationalist, Essayist and Literary Critic was born in 1935 at Sialkot. In 1967, the expatriate Zulfikar Ghose published the riveting The Murder of Aziz Khan. This was the first cohesive, modern English novel written by a writer of Pakistani origin. The plot is about a poor Punjab Farmer destroyed by a group of industrialists, though fiction, was so close to the bone, that the chattering classes were abuzz, speculating “who-was-who.” Ghose’s remaining novels were set in South America, his wife’s country and few reached Pakistan. The story involves the wealthy and powerful Shah brothers who conspire to destroy a land holder named Aziz Khan who has refused to sell his property to them. The novel works on many levels, but certainly it is the story of a culture in transition, a new way eclipsing an old way. Resplendent with striking images of Pakistan, the sociological matter is rich: modernization clashes with tradition, economic progress and industrialism obliterate time-honored values. The Shah Muhammad Azam (Lecturer)-Cell #-0333-5418018 azam_numl@hotmail.com
  9. 9. brothers represent the new order, avaricious, devoid of scruples, shrewd manipulators of the economic process. On the other hand, Aziz Khan symbolizes the tradition, the land, and the stolid character at the heart of the old culture. Ghose writes: "And these seventy acres, this piece of earth, this world of Aziz Khan, did not appear to him as land, as a property with a market value. It was a sufficiency of existence. So that nobody could take the land away from him without first taking away his existence." Interestingly, it is the youngest Shah brother, Afaq, whose seemingly random act of violence against a teenage peasant girl sets the story into motion. Afaq remains one of the most interesting figures in the novel. Like the bedtime story he tells in the opening chapters, he is the monkey who is always running away from disaster. Indeed, this image foreshadows Afaq's actions for the rest of the novel. One of the truly exceptional qualities of this book is the author's style. Ghose maintains a straightforward narrative in this novel, but in some passages, the philosophical questions seem beyond the intellectual range of the characters and this situation gives the author's style some of its unique qualities. Aziz Khan's story is tragic because though he is a master of his land, he is not a master of language. Ghose writes the following: Now a monument himself though no one had come to look; an inscription in a dead language; a hieroglyph the new literacy did not care to interpret. . . . Had his tongue been as competent as his hands. . . . Yet beyond the specific circumstances of a land holder in the Punjab, Ghose grapples with larger issues of language and meaning. Often interweaving subtle and complex insights about the philosophical problems of language into his storytelling, Ghose frequently makes the novel's conventions, that is to say, its form, serve the needs of his style. OTHER MAJOR WORKS BY ZULFIKAR GHOSE Muhammad Azam (Lecturer)-Cell #-0333-5418018 azam_numl@hotmail.com
  10. 10. Ghose was deeply affected by communal tension and the horrific Partition riots, and he has described the experience in his poetry collection The Loss of India (1964) and in his novel The Triple Mirror of The Self . In an interview he said: “To be living in the country you were born in and to be told one morning that it is not your country is a devastating experience [….] The partition coincided with a very serious illness of which I almost died, and so that time remains in my mind as if I had experienced a symbolic death. One way or another, I've always been writing about it. “ Ghose’s consciousness of being in exile is expressed in the light of his autobiography in the light of his autobiography Confessions of a Native- Alien. His other important novels are The Incredible Brazilian, The Native, the Beautiful Empire and A Different World. In 1966, he wrote a novel “Contradictions” and the short story “The Zoo People”, based on existential nihilism and loneliness. THEMES IN ZULFIKAR GHOSE’S FICTION There are two prominent themes, which we come across in Zulfikar Ghose’s fiction namely alienation and deracination. In The Murder of Aziz Khan one of the key themes has to do with the human consciousness and its relationship to the past, the present, and the future. Memory serves to order experience and this order is what we call Time. Yet objects have a way of defying human ordering. In this novel, objects take on a kind of menace. Like massive boulders creating rapids and whirlpools in the river of Time, places and landscapes refuse to be ordered and in fact, distort, divide, and disrupt our perception of the flow of things giving the novel a resonance and depth that is not often found in Fiction. His autobiography expresses the theme of the writer’s consciousness of his having no cultural roots and being an alien in England as well as in Pakistan and India, which he toured as reporter in the 1960’s. Muhammad Azam (Lecturer)-Cell #-0333-5418018 azam_numl@hotmail.com
  11. 11. H.K BURKI H.K. BURKI is another well known story writer and has published only eight short stories under the title “Saqipur Sacred” (1969). His stories have generally a protagonist, who struggles against moral or social forces of some kind while being in a temporarily unstable state of being. The guiding values are humanitarian and the writer transcends the prejudices of his society e. g. in his story “Some Men are Brothers” he refutes the Pakistani myth that all Sikhs are cruel and treacherous. Thus the main themes in his stories pertain to the struggle against moral or social forces under unstable circumstances and condemnation of utilitarian values and the people who hold them. MEHDI ALI SELJOUK Mehdi Ali Seljouk is another writer belonging to the same decade. He published a long poem entitled My Goodness: A Devotional and a collection of short stories called Corpses. His tirade reminds one of D.H Lawrence’s similar tirade as depicted in the novel “Kangaroo”. It is true that Seljouk’s story-telling follows anecdotal pattern, the conflict is not presented with sufficient skill and the total effect is, to use a metaphor, one of thinness. THEMES The major theme in Seljouk’s works is the struggle of one main character against circumstances. The circumstances always defeat the individual who dies but, in some ways, the individual sometimes transcends the pettiness of his life. Such themes are sophistically portrayed in The Jungles, The Father and The Sinner. OTHER MINOR WORKS DURING 1960’S In 1969, Abdual Qayyum Khan Arif published his novel “Bewilderment to Sublimity”. It is about a world state, which opens an academy for the political Muhammad Azam (Lecturer)-Cell #-0333-5418018 azam_numl@hotmail.com
  12. 12. training of the rulers of the future. But the language is bureaucratic and the hero is a stereotyped bright young man, who is too good and colourless to be true, and the plot is rudimentary and uninteresting. Another such book is Saeed P. Yazdani’s collection of short stories called The Seduced. The stories in this collection, unlike most Pakistani fiction, are explicit and even obsessed with sex. The only short story which does distinguish is “My Date”, which was also awarded the Admaji Valiji Award (1965). The 1960’s proved to be the zenith of Pakistani Literature in English. As the society was expanding and getting more and more complex, new social, religious, ethnic and political issues were becoming the subject matter of the fictions, novels, short stories, poems and other literary forms especially in the works of Zulfikar Ghose and Nasir Ahmed Farooqi. CONCLUSION With the declaration of Pakistan and announcement of Urdu as National Language, English Language and Literature secured a little importance because it was being considered the language of ruthless rulers i.e. the English Race in subcontinent. However, with the passage of time English language was acknowledged as a tool for international communication, the early writers endeavoured to discover the true bed-lock of national identity buried under the glaciers of myth and obstruction. Muhammad Azam (Lecturer)-Cell #-0333-5418018 azam_numl@hotmail.com
  13. 13. The pre-partition literature mirrors the saga of those loyal lovers, who struggled and strived for the sacred soul of Pakistan, which is not only a country but an idea which goes back in history to the days, when the first Muslim set foot in the South Asian Sub-continent. While the writers of post-partition Pakistani literature in English have proved that they are endowed with matchless artistic skill as novelist, historians, essayists, storyteller and playwright, thus they are deservedly admired for their stark realism, remarkable insight into human psyche, convincing portraits of human beings made of flesh and blood, vivid observation and attention to details. They are also renowned for his daring truthfulness, candour, and a unique style characterized by surprisingly original images, subtle irony and sarcasm. Muhammad Azam (Lecturer)-Cell #-0333-5418018 azam_numl@hotmail.com
  14. 14. BIBLIOGRAPHY  A History of Pakistani Literature in English by Tariq Rehman.  Pakistani Fiction in English (Source Wikipedia –Internet).  Pakistani Writers in English by Muneeza Shamsie.  Interviews of Bapsi Sidhwa. Muhammad Azam (Lecturer)-Cell #-0333-5418018 azam_numl@hotmail.com

×