V.S.Naipaul’s Vulcanization of Travel and Fiction Paradigms inAmong The BelieversSummary of the articleThere are three types of travel writings such as,1. Information-oriented: more scientific, objective, it focuses on geographic,mineralogical, botanical, agricultural, economic, ecological, and ethnographic details.The authorialvoice is minimized in it.2. Experiential:deals with emotional sentiment and involvement; the writer goes intohighly personal and emotional displays and there is emphasis on adventure and drama.3. Intellectual-analytic:the most subjective of the travel modes and the most controversial.The narrative emerges as a kind of intellectual and social commentator. The acuity ofinformation and depth of analysis are involved from the author‟s side.There are three formal aspects of Naipaul‟s travel writing such as;1. Naipaulian assumptions: or logistics, considerably ordered plan that Naipaul employswhich leads to the eventual text; assumptions, actual travel, note-taking, return to thecenter, pondering, re-assessments, outlining, re-organization, re-thinking, re-invention ofhis travel experiences and actual travel experiences.2. Narrative authority:Naipaul‟s way of convincing his reader/audience of his views andperspectives, a way of giving „authority‟ to his travel narrative as an „objective reality‟.He convinces his readers by;Eye-witness experiences:it is first-hand account of what happened and who wasinvolved.Naipaul’s observations: are keen, detailed, exact, and not easy to be challenged.Analytical skills:Naipaul has sharp analytical skills to comment about people andsituation. The rhetorical skills of convincing and engaging people in his travel writing.Hehas ability to create false images and mixing reality into the fiction.3. Narrative strategies:different techniques and approaches are carefully manipulated byNaipaul in his travel writing. such as,Journalist techniques: he has documented his writings with court-transcripts, newspaperarticles, and historical documents.These techniques of gathering and presenting facts,figures and date reminds one of clear and first-rate journalistic writing.Detailed ethnographic reporting: includes landscapes, geographic and humanobservation. Naipaul is known for accurate ethnographic observations.Historical perspectives:Naipaul‟s narratives include historical research and properdocumentation. Naipaul‟s narratives are based on original copies of historical documents.Naipaul weaves into his travel narratives strands of „historical‟ passages and adds hisown personal dimensions to many „historical‟ passages.
Autobiographical features:different autobiographical elements are used in Naipaul‟stravel writing. Biographies of minor to important figures and sometimes there arefragments of his own biography.Philosophical inquiry: Naipaul‟s philosophic authority is depicted through the use of hisphilosophical narratives and his philosophical analysis by using his philosophicalknowledge such as individualism, existentialism and the concept of self.Naipaul uses fictional elements in his travel writings such as,1. Themes: he has dealt with theme of poverty, desolation, frustration, decay anddecadence.2. Imagery: Naipaul used different images of places, events and people in order to make histravel writing pleasant and readable.3. Tone: Naipaul‟s has used tones like satire, mock, irony and somber in his travel writings.4. Characters:Naipaul has introduced different characters in his travel writings in order togive fictional effect to his travel writing.5. Dialogues: Naipaul‟s narratives include dialogues, and interviews.Naipaul‟s meshing of travel paradigms and fictional elements gave birth to new genres1. Travelon: travel writing which contains elements of fiction.2. Novelogue:novel which contains travel paradigms.
AMONG THE BELIEVERS BY V.S.NAIPAULPart: “IRAN”Chapters: Death Pact and The Rule of AliSUMMARYThe chapter Death Pact startedwith the introduction of an interpreter named Sadiq whowas given to Naipaul for the travel from Tehran to the Holy city Qom.Sadiq was free because ofIranian revolution most of the people were jobless. Naipaul said, that Sadiq was a man of simpleorigins, simply educated, but with a great pride, deferential but resentful, not liking himself forwhat he was doing.Sadiq was a peasant but he was trying to suggest that he was above thegeneral Iranian level. Sadiq was a person to talk only for an hour for Naipaul; it was going hardto bear Sadiq for a long time.Sadiq told Naipaul that his car was out of order so, he could notlead him to the Holy city Qom. The road where car was parked was dug up and dusty; the carwas dusty too. It was hot; the exhausts of passing cars and trucks made it hotter.Naipaul introduced another character after Sadiq and was Behzad.Behzad was younger,taller, and darker than Sadiq. He was more educated. There was nothing of the dandy about him,nothing of Sadiq‟s nervousness and raw pride. Behzad was also recommended to Naipaul as aninterpreter.He was a student footloose in the great city of Tehran.Behzad suggested that theyshould travel to the city Qom by bus as it was a cheaper mean.Qom was city of mullahs andayatollahs and was month of Ramadan when they reached their so it was not possible to eat ordrink something during Ramadan.North Tehran‟s spreading up into the brown hills that was the elegant part of the city;there were parks, gardens, plan-lined boulevards, expensive apartments, hotels and restaurants.South Tehran was still an Eastern city, more populous and cramped, more bazaarlike , full ofpeople who had moved in from the countryside; and the crowd in the dusty, littered yard of thebus station was like a country crowd. The August heat had built up; air was full of dust inTehran.In Tehran the traffic was heavy since the revolution could not said be a city at work; butto give an impression of busyness there were seeming so many people in cars, so many projectsabandoned, so many unmoving cranes on the tops of the buildings. The desperation wassuggested by the Iranian drove. They drove like the people for whom the motorcar was new.They drove as they walked; and a stream of Tehran‟s traffic, jumpy with individual stops andswerves with no clear lines, was like a jolting pavement crowd. This manner of driving did notgo with any special Tehran luck. An item on a local paper had said that traffic accidents were thegreatest single cause of deaths in Tehran; two thousand people were killed or injured everymonth.
Naipaul stressed upon the importance of language by saying that, I lost Behzad in thetraffic when traffic lights had failed and the cars did not stop. He said that without Behzad,without the access to the language that he gave me, I had been like a half-blind man in Tehran.And it had been really frustrating to be without the language in those streets because; there onthe walls of the streets had different slogans, cartoons and revolutionary posters with anemphasis on blood so, without Behzad it was impossible to understand their meanings.Naipaul further commented on Behzad that Behzad was neutral in his comments at firstand it was part of his correctness that he wanted not to go beyond his job as translator. TheReligious revolution that had come to the Iran was not of Behzad‟s interest he was in the favorof Shah‟s revolution because Behzad was a person without Religion. Behzad said that he hadnot been instructed in the faith by his parents; he had not been sent to the mosque. Islam was acomplicated religion. It was not philosophical or speculated. It was a revealed religion, with aProphet and a set of rules. To believe, it was necessary to know a lot about the Arabian origins ofthe religion, and to take this knowledge to heart.Naipaul has given the overall view of Islam in his travelogue as; Islam in Iran was evenmore complicated. It was a divergence from the main belief; and this divergence had its roots inthe political-racial dispute about the succession to the Prophet, who died in 632 A.D. Islamalmost from the start, had been a imperialism as well as religion, with an early historyremarkably like a speeded-up version of the history of Rome, developing from the city-state topeninsular overlord to empire, with corresponding stresses at every stage. The Iranian divergencehad become doctrinal, and there had been divergences within divergence. Iranians recognized aspecial line of succession to the Prophet. But a group loyal to the fourth man in this Iranian line,the fourth Imam, had hived off; another group had their own ideas about the seventh. Only oneImam, the eight (poisoned, like the fourth), was buried in Iran; and his tomb in the city ofMashhad, not far from the Russian border, was an object of pilgrimage.Behzad said,“a lot ofthose people were killed and poisoned” was explaining his lack of belief. Islam in Iran, ShiaIslam, was an intricate business. To keep alive ancient animosities, to hold on the idea ofpersonal revenge even after thousands of years, to have a special list of heroes and martyrs andvillains, it was necessary to be instructed.Naipaul said that, Behzad had not been instructed in faith he had simply stayed awayfrom the religion. He had, if anything, instructed in was disbelief by his father, who was acommunist. It was of the poor rather than of the saints that Behzad‟s father had spoken. Thememory that Behzad preserved with special piety was of the first day his father had spoken tohim about his own poverty, and the poverty of other.In Iran dusty pavement medical as, on the pavement outside the Turkish embassy twoturbaned sunburnt medicine men sat with their display of colored powders, roots, and minerals.Naipaul thought that they were equivalents of the homeopathic medicine of India.
The stock was a reminder for Naipaul of Arab glory of a thousand years before, when theArab faith mingled with Persia, India, and the remnant of the classical world it had overrun, andMuslim civilization was central civilization of the West.Behzad did not care for the Muslim thepast; and he did not believe in pavement medicines. He did not care for the Shah‟s architecture,either: the antique Persian motifs of the Central Iranian Bank, and the Aryan, pre-Islamic pastthat it proclaimed. To Behzad that stress on the antiquity of Persia and the antiquity of monarchywas only part of Shah‟s vainglory.Although Iran had revolution but still normal life was went on in odd ways. The Picturesellers on the pavement also caught Naipaul‟s attention. They were selling pictures of blown upcolored photographs of Swiss lakes and German forests; they were offering dream landscapes ofriver, trees, and paintings of weeping woman and children having tears on their cheeks.Naipaul also took into the account of Persian poetry during conversation with Behzad.Behzad‟s father was a teacher of Persian Literature, Behzad said, that “Persian poetry is full ofsadness”. Naipaul replied to Behzad “But tears for the sake of tears”. Without taking any interestin artistic nonsense Behzad said “those tears are beautiful”Naipaul has mentioned in his travelogue about the posters of revolution in Iran. He said,he had seen in many parts of the city two posters about revolution; they were in the same, sizedone in the same style and clearly made a pair. One showed a small peasant group working in afield; using a barrow or a plough it was not clear which from the drawing. The other showed, insilhouette, a crowd raising rifles and machine guns as if in a salute. They were like the posters ofthe people of the revolution: an awakened victorious people, a new dignity of labour. But whatwas the Persian legend at the top? Behzad translated: “Twelfth Imam we are waiting for you”The Twelfth Imam was the last of the Iranian line of succession to the Prophet. That linehad ended over eleven hundred years ago, but the Twelfth Imam had not died; he survivedsomewhere waiting for return to the earth. Naipaul said that Behzad was without faith but he wassurrounded by belief and he could understand its emotional charge so he simply said that TheTwelfth Imam was the Twelfth Imam.Naipaul continued his narrative by saying that later on his Islamic journey became morefamiliar with history and genealogy, became more than facts,became readily comprehendedarticles of faith. But he was shocked when he came to know about the meaning of therevolutionary posters after translation by Behzad; they had written in English about democracy,about torture by secret police of Shah, about‟ fascism‟ of the Shah.Naipaul said that he got information from Iranians in abroad that before the revolution inIran religion was away from Iranian protest. The Ayatollah Khomeini reappeared very slowlyafter the exile for many years. As the revolution developed his sanctity and authority becamegrow.Fully disclosed Ayatollah Khomeini was nothing less than an interpreter of God‟s will.After his emergence he annulled and made trivial all previous protests about the „fascism‟ of the
Shah. He addressed the “Christians of the world”, three weeks before he returned to Iran from hisexile in France, in an advertisement in The New York Times on 12 January 1979.Half of hismessage consisted of blessings and greetings from God and half was a request for Christianprayers on Holy days, and a warning to the leaders of the some of the Christian countries whowere supporting the tyrant Shah with their Satanic powers. Later on Khomeini said throughRadio that during the previous dictatorial regime strikes and sit-ins pleased God but now, whengovernment is Muslim and a national one, the enemy is busy plotting against us. And thereforestrike and sit-ins are religiously forbidden because they are against the principles of Islam.Naipaul has given his little information at the end of the chapter about his own origin. Hesaid that Muslims were part of Indian community of Trinidad; which was the community intowhich he was born. But he knew little of their religion. Naipaul‟s own background was Hindu,and he grew up with the knowledge that Muslims are totally different.The chapter The Rule of Alistarts with the news that Naipaul heard from the officialIranian News Agency in August (1979) executions of prostitutes and brothel managers: forNaipaul it was wicked turn of Islamic Revolution taken by Khomeini. Ayatollah Khomeinireported to have outlawed music, Islamic rules about women were being enforced again, mixedbathing had been banned. Naipaul met a man at the travel agency in Landon he told him that Iranwas the country people were leaving. Nobody was going in; most of the passengers were Iranianpeople waiting for flights and they did not look like people running from Islamic revolution.There was not a veil or head-cover among the women.Naipaul met a Physician in the plane who was Iranian. He told Naipaul that Revolution inIran was terrible; they have destroyed the country, the army everything, they have killed all theofficers. Tehran was a nice city with restaurants and cafes. Now there is nothing. The physicianfurther continued his talk and said I don‟t know what will happen these Muslims are strangepeople, they have an old mentality, they are very bad to minorities. Physician told Naipaul thathe was Bahai. Naipaul explained then, what Bahais were actually; Behzad told him that they hadtheir own secret frenzy and it derived from Shia‟s frenzy. Shias were waiting for the TwelfthImam and Bahais claimed that the Twelfth Imam had come and gone and only Bahais werepeople who recognized him. The Shia protest was occurring for racial-political protest among thesubject of Arabian people recognizing their own line of succession to the Prophet whereas,TheBahais movement was forsubversive. An early call was for Heads to be cut off, books and leavesburnt, places demolish and laid waste and a general slaughter made; in 1852 there was an attemptto kill the king.Naipaul stated that the airport at Kuwait was built on sand and the air coming throughventilators was very warm. It was 40 degrees Centigrade outside, 104 Fahrenheit. Naipaul feltdisappointment when he saw airport building before that he heard about Shah‟s big ideas ofdevelopments in the country. The arrival hall was like a big shed, blank rectangular patchesedged with reddish dust ghost pictures in ghostly frames were there. Khomeini‟s photographs as,
hard-eyed, sensual, and unreliable and roguish-looking were there seeming as that they wereportrayed by an enemy. The airport branch of Melli Bank was looking like an Indian Bazaarbecause of rough tables, three clerks, a lot of brown paper, a littered floor. The luggage track didnot move for a long time. Iranians like physician‟s family were sitting patiently looking like localpeople coming from the town within the country. The custom man offered Naipaul Whisky.Naipaul has described that colors of the city were dusty and pale. The roads, the trees, thecars were covered with the dust. Some buildings were unfinished and other were looking old.Outside the city people were standing in queues to vote out their leaders. It was second time toelect the leader because the first had been a referendum. The people had voted then for anIslamic republic. This election was for „Assembly of Experts‟ who would work out an IslamicConstitution. Experts were necessary because Islamic Constitution was not simple to be adopted.Naipaul‟s hotel was in Tehran for his stay. The hotel was one of the older hotels of thecity behind high a wall. The hotel had a gateman‟s lodge, an asphalted circular drive, patches oflawn with shrubs and trees. There were glass walls on the two sides of the lobby. On one was thecourtyard, with the dusty shrubs, pines and parked hotel taxis. The room that was taken byNaipaul was of a good size, with sturdy wooden furniture, and with wood paneling three or fourfeet up the side walls but the air conditioning duct was leaking so Naipaul was allotted anotherroom that was of the same size as the previous one.In Tehran the pavements were broken. Many shop signs were broken or had lost some oftheir raised letters. Dust and grime was so general. On the building‟s walls there were posters ofrevolution and on the pavements there were kiosks of magazines about revolution. Most of themhad covers having Shah‟s photographs. Though it was Ramadan there were crowds of peopleoutside the cinema hall and they were buying dryfruits.Naipaul highlighted the facelessness he saw on posters, magazine covers and newspapers.In one poster of revolution he saw faceless crowd, in a newspaper he saw he saw the face of Ali;the Shia hero, the cousin and the son in-law of the Prophet, was shown as transparent against alandscape. In one poster Khomeini himself had been faceless. Naipaul said that facelessness hadbegun to seem like an Islamic motif and it was indeed the subject of protest in Iran Week.Naipaul met the editor of Iran Week he asked him about the Iran Weekcover as, WereIranian families, even middle-class families, as “nuclear” as the cover suggested? I had expectedIranian families more traditional, more extended. MrAbidi said they were as the cover had shownthem. On the Constitution day, to mark Iran‟s first written constitution, achieved only in 1906 onNadir Shah avenue; Nadir Shah who was the Persian King, who raided Delhi in 1739 and brokeup Shah Jahan‟s Peacock Throne, the jewels of which are still part of Iranian State Treasurepavement hawkers and the sun and the dust made India feel close.Naipaul said that he was given ten minutes at Iran Week offered a job Tebran Times. TheTimes was the new English-Language daily its motto was “May Truth Prevail”; the office was
new, well equipped and busy. There were some American or European helpers. Naipaul met Mr.Jaffrey somebody brought Mr Jaffrey a dish of fried eggs, a plate of pappadom, crisp fried Indianbread. He asked Mr Jaffrey what about Ramadan? ; Mr Jaffrey replied he was not fasting.Naipaul asked Mr Jaffrey about Islam and revolution in Iran.Naipaul brought one of the English Language magazines published from the Holy city ofQom. It was The Message of Peace and, as its title warned it was full of rage. It raged about theShah; about the “Devils” of the West and the evils of the Western technology. It also raged thepoor old Mr. Desai, the Indian Prime minister who banned Alcohol (good from the Muslim pointof view) but drank urine ( from the Muslim point of view deplorable) Naipaul said that hebrought that magazine not for Khomeini speeches, or Biographies of Shia‟s Imam rather hebrought that for Islamic Urban Planning.ANALYSIS OF CHAPTERSAmong the Believers was Travel narrative and is an Islamic journey of V.S Naipaul toIran, Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia.Naipaul‟s narrative isan outcome of his intellect, his keenobservation, his assumptions, his journalistic techniques, his philosophical, autobiographical andhistorical knowledge, and his fictional elements.Naipaul begins his journey in Iran with the introduction of two characters Sadiq andBehzad they are interpreters or translators for Naipaul suggested from the embassy as, charactersare the fictional and dramatic elements so his beginning of the narrative looks like a beginning ofa novel. Then Naipaul gives physical appearances and information about personality of hischaracters as;Naipaul says, that Sadiq was a man of simple origins, simply educated, but with agreat pride, deferential but resentful, not liking himself for what he was doing whereas; Behzadwas younger, taller, and darker than Sadiq. This shows Naipaul‟s great insight for people and hiskeen and firsthand observation.Naipaul‟s description of places in Iran is like creating an image. He says as; NorthTehran‟s spreading up into the brown hills that was the elegant part of the city; there were parks,gardens, plan-lined boulevards, expensive apartments, hotels and restaurants. South Tehran wasstill an Eastern city, more populous and cramped, more bazaarlike , full of people who hadmoved in from the countryside; and the crowd in the dusty, littered yard of the bus station waslike a country crowd.Naipaul gives his comments on Iranian traffic as, In Tehran the traffic was heavy sincethe revolution could not said be a city at work; but to give an impression of busyness. Thedesperation was suggested by the Iranian drove. They drove like the people for whom themotorcar was new. They drove as they walked; and a stream of Tehran‟s traffic, jumpy withindividual stops and swerves with no clear lines, was like a jolting pavement crowd. He gives
proves it by saying that, an item on a local paper had said that traffic accidents were the greatestsingle cause of deaths in Tehran; two thousand people were killed or injured every month.Naipaul highlights the importance of language specially the language of the natives tounderstand their culture during his journey in Iran. He says, that without Behzad, without theaccess to the language that he gave me, I had been like a half-blind man in Tehran. And it hadbeen really frustrating to be without the language in those streets because; there on the walls ofthe streets had different slogans, cartoons and revolutionary posters with an emphasis on bloodso, without Behzad it was impossible to understand their meanings.Naipaul gives his Dialogues with different people with Behzad, with Physician‟s family,with the editors of newspapers with the common men to make his travel narrative more authenticand to give it a dramatic touch such as exchange of dialogues between Naipaul and the Physicianas, the physician.He has an accurate ethnographic observations he describes Iranian people, their cultureand way of living as he say in Iran there is culture of pavement medicine stocks such as; In Irandusty pavement medical as, on the pavement outside the Turkish embassy two turbaned sunburntmedicine men sat with their display of colored powders, roots, and minerals. Naipaul thoughtthat they were equivalents of the homeopathic medicine of India.Naipaul investigates Islamic fundamentalism. He observes Iranian people, their faith,hegives historical evidences to prove his notion.Naipaul says Behzad was a person withoutReligion. Behzad said that he had not been instructed in the faith by his parents; he had not beensent to the mosque. Islam was a complicated religion. He says hemet a Physician in the planewho was an Iranian. He told Naipaul that Revolution in Iran was terrible; they have destroyed thecountry, the army everything, they have killed all the officers. Tehran was a nice city withrestaurants and cafes. Now there is nothing. The physician further continued his talk and said Idon‟t know what will happen these Muslims are strange people, they have an old mentality, theyare very bad to minorities. He highlights role of sectarianism Iran; that Iran is surrounded bydifferent sects like Sunni, Shia and Bahai. He says most of the people inside Iran were againstIslamic revolution.Naipaul creates imagery in his travelogue as he creates images rough, broken, dusty andnot properly developedas,The airport branch of Melli Bank was looking like an Indian Bazaarbecause of rough tables, three clerks, a lot of brown paper, a littered floor. The luggage track didnot move for a long time. Iranians like physician‟s family were sitting patiently looking like localpeople coming from the town within the country. And another as, In Tehran, The hotel was oneof the older hotels of the city behind high a wall. The hotel had a gateman‟s lodge, an asphaltedcircular drive, patches of lawn with shrubs and trees. There were glass walls on the two sides ofthe lobby. On one was the courtyard, with the dusty shrubs, pines and parked hotel taxis. In
Tehran the pavements were broken. Many shop signs were broken or had lost some of theirraised letters. Dust and grime was so general.Naipaul closely observes different activities related to the revolution specially posters as;Although Iran had revolution but still normal life was went on in odd ways. The Picture sellerson the pavement also caught Naipaul‟s attention. They were selling pictures of blown up coloredphotographs of Swiss lakes and German forests; they were offering dream landscapes of river,trees, and paintings of weeping woman and children having tears on their cheeks.Naipaul keen observations reflects through his description of Iran its development andposters of Shah and Khomeini he says;I felt disappointment when I saw airport building beforethat he heard about Shah‟s big ideas of developments in the country. The arrival hall was like abig shed, blank rectangular patches edged with reddish dust ghost pictures in ghostly frameswere there. Khomeini‟s photographs as, hard-eyed, sensual, and unreliable and roguish-lookingwere there seeming as that they were portrayed by an enemy.Naipaul uses Ironic and satiric tone while he gives his account of poverty and people‟shabits in Iran. He says;It was of the poor rather than of the saints that Behzad‟s father hadspoken. The memory that Behzad preserved with special piety was of the first day his father hadspoken to him about his own poverty, and the poverty of other. He gives hit eye-witness bysaying that, though it was Ramadan there were crowds of people outside the cinema hall andthey were buying dry fruits.Naipaul‟s narrative depicts theme of frustration, decay, isolation and uncertainty aspeople were frustrated, they were faithless their lives were disturbed because of Islamicrevolution even women were forced to kept in the houses to cover their faces. People wereuncertain about themselves , about their lives and about their religion.Naipaul gives historical and autobiographical references to make his narrative authenticas, Islam in Iran was even more complicated. It was a divergence from the main belief; and thisdivergence had its roots in the political-racial dispute about the succession to the Prophet, whodied in 632 A.D. Islam almost from the start, had been a imperialism as well as religion, with anearly history remarkably like a speeded-up version of the history of Rome, developing from thecity-state to peninsular overlord to empire, with corresponding stresses at every stage, then as,The Ayatollah Khomeini reappeared very slowly after the exile for many years. As therevolution developed his sanctity and authority became grow. Fully disclosed AyatollahKhomeini was nothing less than an interpreter of God‟s will.Naipaul gives pieces of information from the local newspaper and adds news from thelocal radio to make his arguments strong and acceptable as, He addressed the “Christians of theworld”, three weeks before he returned to Iran from his exile in France, in an advertisement inThe New York Times on 12 January 1979.Half of his message consisted of blessings andgreetings from God and half was a request for Christian prayers on Holy days, and a warning to
the leaders of the some of the Christian countries who were supporting the tyrant Shah with theirSatanic powers. Later on Khomeini said through Radio that during the previous dictatorialregime strikes and sit-ins pleased God but now, when government is Muslim and a national one,the enemy is busy plotting against us. And therefore strike and sit-ins are religiously forbiddenbecause they are against the principles of Islam.IRAN3: THE HOLY CITYIn the third part of this chapter, Naipaul describes his travel to Qom, the Holy City. Hisinterpreter was Behzad who was a communist like his father. He was not a religious person. Hewanted a true revelation like his father. He did not have knowledge for ablution. They got a taxito go to that city. Its driver was not considered a Muslim because he was not a Shia.Naipaul tells that Qom was a city of great theology, religion and politics. There was ashrine of a sister of 8thImam. People of Qom were strictly religious. Khomeini had made hisheadquarter here after their fall of Shah. Then, he tells about Khalkhalli‟s tyranny with thereference of “Tabran Times”. He also visits low brick buildings, factory, desert, hills, moundsand salt lake there. These marginalized images of these places present a negative image ascruelty of Shah in Salt Lake.They visit Qom in the Islamic month Ramadan. So the markets and hotels were closedand he was told that no eatables will be available there. For this reason they stopped in the way,bought melon and ate together. The driver joined them without any invitation. Behzad shared hismeal with him like a pure Muslim.Naipaul had certain images about Qom in his mind like a religious centre. But it was likeother cities deserted and polluted. Behzad asks him to hide his identity and shows him as anAmerican. It will be better than to be introduced as Hindu among religious people.They visits shrine first, its walls were high and many Persian political slogans werewritten over there. They visited only the courtyard of shrine. There were many pilgrims fromdifferent areas of the world. Out of the shrine, there were stalls of plates on which Khomini‟sface was engraved. Clay tablets with Arabic lettering and blue and white tiles with Quranicquotations. Hotels and restaurants were closed due to Ramadan. They got permission to sot inempty restaurant where he saw a group of people with a short height of veiled lady. Behzad toldthat they were workers.
Then they decided to take appointment to meet Sherazi on telephone. There, twoPakistani students met them. They were in traditional costume of mullahs. They took him intotheir institution to meet their director. He told them that there were 14000 students of theologyand their education was free. A religious foundation used to pay all their dues. Naipaul wasastonished about their education.He met their scholar Ayyatollah Sherazi at 7:30. His house was situated in a dirty anddusty street. Sherazi pleased to see them. His discussion was good. On knowing that narratorbelonged to Protestants, Sherazi pleased because he considered that protestants were reformerslike Shia in their religion. Narrator was confused due to Pakistani students due to their bias forHindus. There, he decided never to go on Islamic Journey again in his life. Sherazi told themabout their Islamic history. There were many books of oxford in his shelf.Last meeting of Naipaul in Qom was with Khalkhalli. He was a prominent leader of Iran.There were many people to meet him including an African couple. Khalkhalli came in a morecasual dress than Sherazi. He met all other people with greeting smile except the narrator andBehzad. His behavior towards them was unconvincing rough. Through conversation it seemedthat he had a humorous nature. He replied to him good enough.Then, the time to break the fast approached. It was good moment for Lur driver. Behzadrepeated the act of sharing with him. They travelled in moonlight to return. They passed by thesalt lake where Shah‟s secret police dumped several people, the cemetry where martyrs ofrevolution were buried then Tehran Refinery etc. On the gate of hotel, driver charged too muchfor all the day. However, it was a harder day for all of them.ANALYSISAmong the Believers is a travelon by V. S. Naipaul. Here he describes his travel to one ofthe cities of Iran, Qom. He employs intellectual analytic type of travel. He keeps him in thecentral position as a narrator. Here three formal aspects of his travel writing can be seen such ashis assumption, narrative authority and travel strategies. His strategies are very common in histexts such as his use of journals, ethnography, history, philosophy and autobiography. He dealswith negative and marginalized themes with certain images and tone.He visits the city of Qom in Ramadan. He uses a satirical tone about their religion. Hevisits Qom in Ramadan. People keep fast regularly. Their restaurants and hotel are also closed.There is no eatable for others. Driver tries much to find something to eat but does not find
anything. The face of director and a Turkoman was pale and their lips were white due to regularfasting.He describes significant themes in this part of Iran. He highlight the dirty and poor life ofpeople, their primitive thinking, rigid following of religion, cruelty, hatred for non-Muslims etc.These themes create a negative image of Iran and its religion.Naipaul uses imagery to prove his themes. He presents dark and polluted streets, dirtylandscape, deserted land, dried and whitened lips, dusty lane, fleshy face etc. he focuses onnegative and marginalized images to prove his concept that people of orient are primitive.He adds another fictional element of dialogue. Typical narrative use to be in a descriptionform and there use to be no communication of characters. But it is his special strategy to usedialogue in travel writing. He presents his conversation to other people to prove his authenticityand to present a realistic image. For example when he is confused to see Khalkhalli, behzad saysto hem “he would love to see you”.His selection of characters is also very sensitive. Here, he presents two characters behzadand a Lur driver. Both of them are not good religious. So, they are not considered as Muslim. Ina strict religious country, they do not keep fast. Behzad does not know Arabic verses. He is a sonof a communist father who has suffered the sentence in jail. Above all, he does not know how toperform ablution.His historical references are also important in his narratives. He refers to many historicalreferences to prove his arguments. It shows his deep study of those regions and theirpersonalities. In third chapter he refers to Shah, Khalkhalli, Jinah, Khomini and Hitler.Journalistic approach is also very important in his travel strategies. In The Holy City, hedescribes about Khakhalli, an important political figure. He gives authority to his descriptionthrough “Tebran Times”. Khakhalli himself admits his cruelty to that newspaper. For example headmits; “On some nights, he said, bodies of thirty or more people would be sent out in the trucksfrom prison. He claimed he had also signed the death warrants of a large number of people inKhuzistan Province.” (Naipaul. P:37) Naipaul has presented his cruelty in such an authenticmanner that nobody can deny its truth.Naipaul‟s ethnography includes landscape, people and topology. In third part of Iran, hepresents the ethnographic detail of city of Qom. It is a deserted land. However, it is a religiousand theological city but It is like other common cities. People of Qom are strictly religious. Thecity starts from “gas stations, gardens and neater roads”. As Sherazi pronounce words as “Islam
into Esslam”. People have great love for Arabian soil and Quran. They give special importanceto belief in Imams. Their daily life remains hidden to him.Naipaul uses the strategy of autobiography in this part of Iran. When he meets Pakistanistudents he describes about himself that he is a Hindu. He is scared from Pakistanis because oftheir natural enmity towards Indians. So he introduces himself from America.When he visits Iran he has certain philosophies in his mind. Through them he looks onIranians and Presents them. He has image of Iran as primitive country. So, he looks their lifestyle, their religion, their education and politics. His quest of „self‟ is also shown in this part. Heintroduces himself to Sherazi as” I am still a seeker”.Chapter 4 The Night Train from MashhadSummaryNaipaul started this chapter with description of Behzad and talked of his background. He gavephysical description of Behzad and told that he belonged to a provincial town, his father was ateacher of literature, and he studied from American school and now was a student of science inTehran. From describing Behzad he came to himself and told that he was born in Trinidad, andknew very well what poverty was. According to Naipaul Behzad thought of himself as poor andalways tried to prove it as well. Behzad got this idea of poverty from his father and it wasdifferent form the idea of Naipaul. Behzad‟s family was communist; revolution took the place ofreligion in his house. He was rigid in his own faith as any other religious person. He judged thepeople and countries by their revolutionary qualities. He read only revolutionary writers. Heconsidered the Russian communism as the true freedom for men. His dream of the reign of Stalinwas a version of the dream of the rule of Ali---the Prophet‟s true successor.Naipaul and Behzad went to the Tehran University to see the big crowds gathered there fordiscussions. Naipaul gave detail descriptions of the publishers, pavement booksellers, thecassette-sellers and pint-sellers. There were photograph albums of the revolution, emphasized ondeath, blood, and revenge. There were dead, page after page, corpse upon corpse. One corpsewas of Hoveida, the Shah‟s prime minister, shot in the neck, then in the head by Khalkhalli‟sorders. There were other photos as well, photos of dream landscapes of water and trees, paintingof children and beautiful women with tears. Tehran University was a meeting place for people todiscuss Islam, communism and revolution. Violence was in the air. They saw an incident ofslapping of a student by a workman. No one moved to help him.On Friday they went to see the big crowds again who were gathered there for prayers but forBehzad it was a gathering more for political purpose rather than religious purpose. It was themonth of Ramadan. Men and women both came for prayers, before prayers there had to be a
speech by Ayatollah. Everyone was in frenzy. A speech began to come over the loud speakers, ina breaking passionate voice; it added to the frenzy. Then they left for the hotel. There was a partyof stranded Italians in the hotel dining room. They heard the same speech on radio there. Thespeech was by Ayatollah Taleqani, who was considered the most moderate and intelligent of theayatollahs, but at his death it was to come out that all this time he was the head of theRevolutionary Council. In the speech Taleqani was saying that the Prophet might have theIranian revolution in mind when he predicted that the Persians were to be “the pioneers of Islamat a time when the world had deviated from the faith.” Khomeini ruled from Qom, Khalkhali wasclose to Khomeini. Taleqani led the prayers in Tehran and Shariatmadari in Mashhad. InMashhad was the tomb of the Eight Imam who was poisoned by Arabian Nights ruler, Harun alRashid.Naipaul and Behzad left for Mashhad. The plan was they will come back with Behzad‟sgirlfriend. Mashhad received a lot of visitors during Ramadan. They stayed in Hyatt OmarKhayyam Hotel which was well maintained for upper class pilgrims. They went to the shrine ofthe Eighth Imam and saw so many people praying there. Behzad said that they pray for money, ajob, a son.” People tied a strip of cloth to the gate and believe that when the cloth became untied,the prayer was granted. Naipaul had to meet one Islamic scholar whom he called and he refusedsaying that he had a migraine those days but suggested Naipaul to visit Firdowsi‟s tomb. Beforevisiting the tomb Naipaul and Behzad went to see Shariatmadari. They witnessed a big numberof visitors at Shariatmadari‟s place. People came to kiss his hands and some for their petitions.Naipaul and Behzad sat there for some time and then left without any conversation with him.They went to Firdowsi‟s tomb which was built by Shah. But all the inscriptions on the walls ofthe tomb, every reference to the Shah and the royal family or the monarchy had been obliterated.They saw the rage of people there.Behzad had talked to his girlfriend and decided to come back to Tehran. They bought tickets fortrain and started the journey. Naipaul describes the journey ethnographically. Behzad‟s girlfriend belonged to a religious family but was a communist herself. She was in slacks and shirtand was reading a leaflet of communism. They were forbidden from playing cards in the train.Behzad and his girlfriend mind it seriously.