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Comparative Critical Studies 4, 3, pp. 379402 DOI: 10.3366/E1744185408000086

BCLA 2007

Truth, Fiction and Autobiography in the Modern Urdu Narrative Tradition


AMINA YAQIN

HISTORICIZING THE URDU NOVEL

From its various beginnings in the nineteenth century and ever since the rise of print capitalism on the Indian subcontinent, the Urdu novel has become a prime medium of expression for writers seeking to fuse the narrative traditions of both the East and the West. As a hybrid genre which took shape during the nineteenth century, the Urdu novels early beginnings were associated with the theme of historical romance; this eventually gave way to the inuence of realism in the rst half of the twentieth century. By and large, the Urdu novel incorporates inuences encompassing the fantastical oral storytelling tradition of the dastan or the qissa (elaborate lengthy heroic tales of adventure, magic and honour), the masnavi (a form of narrative poem), Urdu grammars, religious pamphlets and journals, and the European novel.1 Proceeding initially from an historical overview of the Urdu novel, focusing on specic instances of its development, the main thrust of this essay will be the link between women and the novel; specically, I wish to highlight the development of the local narrative voice of Urdu ction in womens writing, including autobiography. Due to its greater availability in written form, which was facilitated by the new printing presses in India, Urdu prose writing enjoyed a considerable increase in readership during the period of British colonial rule. This boost in popularity was accelerated in the second half of the nineteenth century in particular by the ourishing of such journals as Avadh Akhbar, Tehzibul Akhlaq and Avadh Panc. According to M. Asaduddin, the intellectual-cultural-literary encounter between the East and the West rst took place in the writings which appeared in these periodicals, reecting a dialogic engagement with the terms of colonial modernity.2 With their mixture of original writings, ction and 379

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non-ction, as well as work in translation these journals came to have a lasting inuence on the shape of the Urdu novel. In her inuential study Realism and Reality of 1985 which examines the rise of the novel in India by comparing the indigenous Indian novelistic traditions of Malayalam, Marathi, Urdu and Bengali, Meenakshi Mukherjee notes that the novels of the nineteenth century reect a certain dilemma of the period felt by writers in relation to prevalent social structures.3 Notably the position of women is a central theme throughout the novels she puts under scrutiny, a topic shared by the social reformers of the period who focused on womens education and the amelioration of the plight of widows.4 Mukherjee argues that while one of the inuences borrowed by the Indian novelists from the European tradition was that of social realism, it was not something that was imported wholesale. In her estimation the borrowing of form and content needs to be looked at through the prism of the specic contexts of the local culture and society. This is akin to what Franco Moretti calls a law of literary evolution.5 According to Morettis law, the modern novel rst arises not as an autonomous development, but as a compromise between a Western formal inuence (usually French or English) and local materials.6 Conscious of the complex yet unequal relationship between the European and non-European novel traditions, Moretti bases his perspective of comparative World Literature on an inclusive principle. He assesses the comparative relationship as a triangular one which is made up of foreign form, local material and local form. Here foreign refers to the Western novel. For him the relationship is at its most unstable in the local form which he reads as the local narrative voice. One of the sources deployed by Moretti in developing his analytical framework is Mukherjees Realism and Reality, mentioned above. Mukherjee acknowledges the European novel as a key source of inuence on the development of a signicant new form in some of the modern Indian-language literatures. She outlines a triangular relationship similar to Morettis model. However, her main focus is on the signicance of a historical understanding of the period in which the novels are written so that they may be read and interpreted in an appropriate context. Therefore, when she compares the reformist subject matter of novelists from the regions of Bengal, Maharashtra and Kerala alongside the depiction of a courtesans life by the Urdu novelist Mirza Rusva, she frames it within the context of the historically variable encounters between the indigenous modernizing reformers and British rulers in different parts of India as being historically representative of

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the variable encounters with British rule in the different provinces of each region. Overall, Mukherjees close reading of the local narrative voices make it possible to see how the modern novel continues to evolve in South Asia. It is these complex relationships, according to Moretti, that develop the multiplicitous shape of a World Literature which needs to be reformulated in the context of composite cultural histories. Thus it becomes important to locate the historicity of the development of the Urdu novel in order to better understand the local narrative voice. This voice is not that of an isolated writer disconnected from his/her social milieu; instead it encapsulates a vocal polyphony of various cultural forms reecting a society constantly in ux. The rise of the Urdu novel is closely associated with the dilemma of the period or the shift in attitudes amongst late-nineteenth-century Indian Muslims. Historically this change can be traced back to the reform movements. While reform took many forms one of the best-documented movements of the period was the Aligarh movement led by Sayyid Ahmad Khan, who focused on education and social reform for the Muslim community.7 The movement came to represent the interests of an Urdu speaking elite as well as the former Mughal service gentry, who were interested in securing a better position for themselves after the shift in power relations with the British after the 1857 Mutiny or Rebellion. Women became the symbolic subjects of an elite reformist discourse representing the plight of their community: its backwardness, its ignorance of the faith, its perilous cultural and historical viability, particularly when faced with the loss of political power.8 Deniz Kandiyoti has suggested that
at the turn of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century, reformers of womens condition in the Muslim world emerged from the ranks of an educated, nationalist male elite. Their concern with womens rights, centering around the issues of education, seclusion, veiling and polygyny, coincided with a broader agenda about progress and the compatibility between Islam and modernity.9

It is also signicant to note that while progressive reform was taking place in Muslim societies, there was alongside it the growth of a more conservative brand of Islam propagated through the North India Deoband reformist movement, which was opposed to ideals of Western modernity. These contrasting schools of thought found expression through prose and poetry and targeted a new reading public. One example of this is Bihishti Zevar (Heavenly Ornaments), a religious conduct book for women outlining correct codes of behaviour in a Muslim society, written in the early 1900s by Maulana Ashraf Ali

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Thanavi (18641943), a leader of the nineteenth-century Deoband movement.10 The book enjoyed a huge popularity amongst a burgeoning female readership and remains in circulation to this day as a textbook on etiquette for Muslim women in Pakistan and India. Meanwhile Urdu prose was pioneered by writers such as Mir Amman, Ghalib, Sarshar, Nazir Ahmad, Sajjad Husain and Sharar. These writers were exposed to European texts in translation and their work embodied a cross-fertilization of genres, most notably the borrowing and subsequent development of the novel form. M. Asaduddin notes that early experimentations in Urdu prose dovetail closely with the dastan tradition and feature notable historical romances such as the Fasana-e Azad (The Tale of Azad) by Ratan Nath Sarshar (18461902). The reformist agenda was mediated through the well-known novelist Nazir Ahmad, a Deputy Collector in the Revenue Service of the British Raj, who rose to fame with a bestselling novel of manners for young women entitled Mirat-ul Arus (The Brides Mirror, 1869) educating his readers in the etiquette of being good wives, mothers and daughters and leading virtuous lives. There are two accounts relating to how the manuscript came to be written; one suggests that it was composed as a dowry for his daughters and the other that it was in response to a cash prize initiative of one thousand rupees introduced by the government of the Northwest Frontier Provinces in 1868. Signicantly it has been pointed out that the Allahabad Government Notication of the cash prize included a preference for books suitable for the women of India.11 Nazir Ahmad won the prize in 1870 and the book reached three editions by 1874; its circulation in twenty years had increased to over a hundred thousand copies and it still remains in print. It was translated into other Indian languages as well as English in 1903.12 After receiving the government prize in 1870 Mirat-ul Arus was recommended for inclusion in school curricula. Ahmad extended the success of Mirat-ul Arus with another two novels on related themes, Banat-un nash (The Daughters of the Bier, 1873) and Taubat-un nasuh (The Repentance of Nasuh, 1874), both of which also won prizes.13 While Nazir Ahmads success and popularity was acknowledged both by the colonial administration and the Aligarh school of reform led by Sayyid Ahmad Khan, his book was seen in a negative light by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanavi, who advised his readers to stay away from both Mirat-ul Arus and Banat-un nash as they contained sections which weaken faith. C. M. Naim offers some speculative reasons for the difference of opinion between Thanavi and Ahmad, citing the following

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phrases from Thanavis critique of Ahmad: the equating of Islam with other religions, his praise of the Christian English, at the cost of Muslim Indians, and his portrayal of highly capable and dynamic women, who tower over the men around them.14 This last comment conrms that the conicting opinions amongst the differing reformist traditions of the Deoband school and the Aligarh group were played out in particular in their attitudes towards the representation of womens roles. Nazir Ahmads success also underlines how the discourse of education was employed by the colonial authorities in British India to disseminate a new political economy for the colonized. While the Aligarh groups literary ventures adopted a conciliatory stance toward the British, Deobandi literature took on a conservative attitude emphasizing the authenticity of the female subject through religious ideology. What is noteworthy here is that both groups gravitated toward writing about a female subject while adopting a realist view, which, as Mukherjee has argued with reference to nineteenth-century Indian novels, reects a key dilemma of the period. The two camps of Aligarh and Deoband came to represent on the one hand a progressive strand which cooperated with colonial power and on the other an anti-colonial Islamic stance which rejected modernity wholesale as a Western construct. Ahmed was impressed by Thomas Days History of Sandford and Merton and Daniel Defoes Family Instructor, taking them as inspiration for his second and third books, while his prose style owes its simplicity to the colonial Fort William College with its emphasis on a clear and lucid textuality, designed to assist with the training of English ofcers in indigenous languages. His development of dialogue to narrate his story and his abstinence from the linguistic style of the dastan are seen as two major factors that allow him today to be identied as the rst Urdu novelist, all the while remaining a moralist at heart. Read in the context of Morettis law, it would seem that the early stages of the Urdu novel as represented by Ahmad offered precisely the predicted combination of foreign form and local material. A novelist who complicates the situation somewhat, however, and introduces to the equation a hint of the triangular relationship that includes local form, is Mirza Muhammad Hadi Rusva (18581931); his Umrao Jan Ada (The Courtesan of Lucknow, 1899) makes him another contender for authoring the rst Urdu novel. As a self-conscious artist Rusva believed his novels to present a history of our times, independent of any social message. Rusvas narration of Umrao Jans story provides a bildungsroman of a courtesans life set against the macrocosm of

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Lucknows socio-cultural background. It details the life and times of Lucknow courtesans, nawabi culture, and the major changes brought about by the 1857 Mutiny.15 Umrao Jan herself is a complex character whose story is narrated mostly through dialogic interaction between the biographer Rusva and herself.16 Various characters enter the story through dialogue and an overview is often given in Umrao Jans voice. Rusvas use of the personal pronoun allows us to read the novel as Umrao Jans autobiography rather than a story mediated through a biographer, which is how it begins. As the story unfolds, the personalizing main I shifts between Rusva and Umrao Jan projecting a slippage of narrative voices, and the last voice we hear is that of the latter closing the story with a couplet and an enigmatic reassurance to her readers that the narration of her tale will have helped them in one way or another. Mukherjee reads Umrao Jan as a realist text and nds that the aging tawaif (courtesan) gives the novel its special human poignancy.17 The mixing of genres such as the love lyric, biography and autobiography, dialogue and introspective narrative, makes Umrao Jan a novel of possibilities. What is appealing and signicantly different about it in contrast to Mirat-ul Arus, is that it gives voice to female desire and sexuality unbound from the fetters of duty and morality. It also signals the presence of a self-conscious persona. This suggests that Umrao Jan marks the next stage in the evolution of the novel form, bringing it closer to the formation of a local narrative voice. What characterizes these early novels written during the period of the British Raj is generally a depiction of the changing times, their propensity to reect domestic life, and the centrality of women. The early Urdu novelists popularized the female subject in their representations of the closely guarded interior secrets of domestic life.
WOMEN, AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND THE NOVEL

One of the normalizing factors to emerge in early Urdu prose was the representation of gender roles particularly for women. For instance, the two novels discussed above stereotyped women as angels in the home or as courtesans. At the same time, however, they simultaneously recorded womens presence in the public sphere. This disjuncture between public and private proved to be a major stepping-stone for later women writers. C. M. Naim suggests in his work on the rst-known woman prose writer Ashrafunnisa Begum, or Bibi Ashraf, that while the education of women was a major factor in nineteenth-century reform initiatives,

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difculties in acquiring literacy were not uncommon. Our knowledge of her contribution is derived from a biography entitled Hayat-e Ashraf (The Life of Ashraf), which is in turn the work of a pioneering woman writer, Muhammadi Begum, who was the rst woman novelist in Urdu and an editor of the weekly Urdu magazine Tehzib-e niswan (The Socialization of Ladies).19 From one of Bibi Ashrafs autobiographical accounts, How I learned to read and write, it is clear that women were not encouraged toward literacy in the mid-nineteenth century, with only elite women having the privilege to write. Naim traces sources back to the ninth century which caution against teaching women literacy because it was considered to be a dangerous activity. In the nineteenth century he nds a similar assertion being made by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanavi, but in a slightly ambivalent manner. While Thanavis Bihishti Zevar (Heavenly Ornaments) encouraged womens education, an essay that he wrote in 1913 on the subject expressed his reservations on the matter:
Writing is needful for domestic life. But if there is any fear of impropriety [on the part of the girl], it is more important to protect yourself from iniquity than to seek a thing that may be useful but is not in fact obligatory. Under such circumstances, do not let the girl be instructed in the art of writing, and do not let her write on her own either.20

Thus womens literacy had to be morally bound and meaningful to their domestic lives; they could not write for mere pleasure. The signicant shift in the mid- to late-nineteenth century toward modernization meant that while women were necessary partners in the new middle-class lifestyle, they did not share the same privileges. Bibi Ashrafs story illustrates this point. She came from a sharif family,21 found herself widowed and orphaned at a young age and learned to support herself, rst as a seamstress and later as a school teacher. Her initial desire for acquiring Urdu literacy was triggered during the forty-day observation period of Muharram in the separate majalis (pl. of majlis) held for men and women every day, where matters of faith were discussed.22 Various female elders dismissed her desire to learn as inconsequential and unnecessary. Feeling sidelined, she decided to teach herself how to write. She tells us,
I got hold of some blacking from the kitchen, the clay lid of one of the water pots, and a stful of twigs from the broom. Thus equipped I went up on the roof, pretending that I was going to rest there, and excitedly began to copy out words. [. . . ] My intense desire made me blind. I did not give up my improper ways, and continued to blacken sheets after sheets of paper. However, I could not understand what I was writing. I didnt have the sense to know that one cannot learn without a teacher.

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I believed that just as other skills could be learned merely by watching and imitating others so would be the case with reading. As a result, I spent a great deal of time and effort for nothing. When no headway was made my crying spells started again. Then God gave me a teacher.23

What is signicant about Bibi Ashrafs account is her expression of an intense desire to write, which was seen as problematic at the time because women of her class were expected to be proper, meaning self-restrained with regards to their inner selves. From the biographical detail provided by C. M. Naim it is apparent that she comes from a respectable family (Shii Sayyids) and her family members form part of the new professional classes serving under the British. Her husband, Sayyid Alamdar Husain, worked as an Assistant Professor of Arabic and Persian at Government College, Lahore, and died of consumption at a relatively young age. After his death, Bibi Ashraf initially remained in purdah, working from home to support her family through needlecraft and embroidery despite the offer of a teaching job from the Director of Public Instruction in Punjab, Colonel Holroyd. Eight years later, when approached again, she decided to take up the offer to teach at Victoria Girls School, where she rose to the position of head teacher. Through her diligence she steered the primary school to the level of a middle school. She continued to observe purdah throughout her life. Her independence and motivational guidance led her to be a role model amongst her students. It was her adoration of Muhammadi Begums dedication to the advancement of education for Muslim women that led her to contribute both poems and essays to her magazine, including the inspirational story of learning how to write.24 She was followed by the novelist Nazar Sajjad Hyder whose best-known contribution on women remains her essay on Purdah (Seclusion).25 Concerns for middle-class women continued to shape the development and popularity of Urdu prose. The literary journal Ismat marked the next phase in sharif womens writing. The editor Rashid-ul Khairi (18681936) promised to publish articles written by respectable and honourable women alongside the leading male writers. In fact middle-class men including himself and Muhammadi Begums husband, Mumtaz Ali, supported the growth in womens magazines which at times afrmed and challenged womens shifting roles in the new dynamic of reformist modernity.26 The historian Ayesha Jalal has noted that after the late 1920s, upperand middle-class urban Muslim women in their hundreds [. . . ] were attending English-medium schools and colleges.27 This development consolidated the rise of a new middle-class Muslim woman, and, in Urdu

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literature, womens voices such as Muhammadi Begum, Nazar Sajjad Hyder and Abbasi Begum began to gather force, from their beginnings in journals which focused on womens issues to novels that narrated a different female experience from that documented by Nazir Ahmad and Rusva. In the development of modern Urdu literature the next turning point came in the 1930s with the founding of the Progressive Writers Association and, subsequently, the Progressive Writers Movement. With its overt agenda of social reform as well as avant-garde sensibilities, this literary movement strongly inuenced Urdu and other North-Indian literatures. One of the founding members of the Writers Association was a woman writer by the name of Rashid Jahan (19051952), whose writing on issues of modernity and changing values regarding gender roles set the standard for new and experimental literature for later progressive writers such as Ismat Chughtai (19151991).28 Another literary subgroup known as the Halqa-e arbab-e zauq (The Society of Aesthetes) emerged in 1939 with the specic purpose of creating a forum for literary appreciation based only on aesthetics.29 The ideological separation of politics and aesthetics divided the two groups, and while there are claims that they were diametrically opposed to one another, there were cases of writers moving from one grouping to the other.30 Broadly speaking, the members of the Progressive Writers Association created a forum for the literature of rebellion, anti-colonialism, and social revolution marked by Freudian and Marxist inuences, while members of the Halqa focused on modernist techniques and questions of form. For women writers, progressive thinking meant that they could step outside the limiting discourse of reform, which often led to their work being understood within the connes of their roles as homemakers and educators of the next generation. Both the Progressives and the Halqa members wrote on themes of sexuality and desire, bringing in inuences from a different kind of foreign form to that used by the reformists. Priyamvada Gopal suggests that the work of Progressives, such as Rashid Jahan, Ismat Chughtai, Razia Sajjad Zaheer and Khadija Mastur, was reective of the question of what it meant to become modern, not only as women, but as professionals, as middle class, as Muslim[s], as Indians and, particularly, as intellectuals with an investment in social change.31 One of the markers of a fundamental change taking place in the representation of female subjectivity was the notoriety gained by Ismat Chughtai, who addressed social change through the narration of a same-sex encounter in a segregated society, writing openly about a

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lesbian relationship in her short story Lihaf .32 This story caused a furore and Chughtai was charged with obscenity by the colonial state. Subsequently, sexuality became an implicit theme in Chughtais writings. The subject of a young girls awakening sexuality marks her semi-autobiographical novel Terhi Lakir (The Crooked Line), rst published in 1944, set in the turbulent pre-independence period of the 1940s.33 Divided into three parts, the novel tells the story of the female protagonist, Shaman, growing up. She comes to understand herself initially through the structures of the family, her experiences as a college student and nally her life as a working professional in the capacity of a school headmistress. Gopal has suggested that Terhi Lakir encapsulates the conicted perspective of women whose lived experience was tied to the unfolding history of modernity in India. She argues that the novel articulates those contradictory experiences which were nowhere more apparent than in the realm of desire and sexuality, which reveal themselves to be profoundly shaped by social imperatives.34 Beset by contradictions, having to leave her family behind, Shamans values shift from those dened by a family tradition to public life, including her involvement in the nationalist movement. Her relationship to the colonial state is made complex by her job and her marriage to an Irishman. Leslie Flemming points to the ambiguous ending of the novel with Chughtais reective last word on the uncertainty surrounding womens roles during the early twentieth-century struggle for Indian independence, an ending which leaves us with the knowledge that Shaman is pregnant and her husband is on his way to a dangerous mission.35 Chughtais novel captures the mood of a national literature in the making which is increasingly conscious of a historical shift and aware of the necessity for autonomy in both form and content in order to distance the Urdu novel from its European inuences. This stage thus marks a shifting power dynamic between the foreign and local forms. Here we begin to see the emergence of the more troubled triangular relationship referred to by Moretti as foreign plot, local characters and local narrative voice, which brings the Urdu novel into closer proximity with World Literature as opposed to being regarded as a mere subsidiary of the European novel.
DISRUPTING THE NATION: WOMEN WRITERS AND URDU AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN PAKISTAN

Politically, gendered identities in the subcontinent were ruptured during the trauma of Partition in 1947, as is evident from the ction writings

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on this period of historical transformation. Urdu intellectuals were also deeply affected by Partition and the mass migrations which took place around it. It has been suggested by Aijaz Ahmad that two nations emerged from this political upheaval whose writers used the same language but articulated two different national experiences, the Indian and the Pakistani.37 One of the main themes to emerge from Partition writing is that of sexuality and how it came into play in relationships of power emphasizing difference between communities.38 There has been much written elsewhere about this. For the present paper the signicance lies in how this sexuality was then mediated in the new national space, specically with regard to Pakistan. To study this phenomenon I wish to focus on two Urdu autobiographies by women poets from Pakistan. Thus far, I have traced some key historical developments in how Muslim women were imagined and came to imagine themselves in Urdu prose.39 Alongside the novel the minor genre of the autobiography gathered pace and has proved to be a popular form of writing amongst both genders. The creation of Pakistan as an ideological Muslim state provides an interesting turning point in the discussion. As I have previously drawn on examples from womens Urdu autobiographies in early twentieth-century India, I wish to contrast these with a reading of the mid- to late-twentieth-century autobiographies by Pakistani women writers. The two subjects under scrutiny in this section are pioneering women poets who have adopted the genre of autobiography. It is worth commenting that as poets they have turned to prose through an older genre autobiography with an established tradition in Arabic and Persian, both languages of training for Urdu poets. Here I use the word autobiography very loosely as a hybrid genre encompassing various models of writing. Theoretically it has been discussed as encompassing different forms ranging from life writing to memoir. Autobiography itself has been understood within the context of the public acknowledgement of an exceptional life such as that of Augustine or Rousseau. Nancy K. Miller has noted that the lives of these men reafrm notions of a grand narrative of history and hence conrm their status as universal subjects worthy of attention.40 While feminists have deconstructed the universalist male stance in readings of womens autobiographies, feminism has also participated in the construction of a universal female subject. Rejecting this notion of female identity as a monolithic transhistorical construct, Joan Wallach Scott interrogates feminism and its frequent deployment of what she refers to as a

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fantasy echo. She argues, [t]hese fantasies are the myths cultures develop to answer questions about the origins of subjects, sexual difference and sexuality. Primal fantasies of sexual difference (which assume the female body has been castrated) may provide a ground of unconscious commonality among women who are otherwise historically and socially different.42 But they do not necessarily explain the formation of women as an identity group. Scott argues that the idea of a commonality of interests between diverse groups of women is reinforced by those narrative fantasies that enable them to transcend history and difference. Thus both individual and collective identities are subject to fantasy: It enables individuals and groups to give themselves histories. Reecting on representations of women in history, she recommends that in writing about the identity of women the historian should trace the specicities of the term in given contexts, and in that process discover that women refers to so many subjects, different and the same.43 Scott compels us to question the difference in cultural contexts and to be aware of the limitations in constructing woman as a universal historical category. My analysis thus far underlines how different social periods have faced a dilemma with the question of womens identity. One of the most self-conscious genres which interrogates the historicization of the female subject in reformist and nationalist ctions is autobiography. The questions that need to be asked of these autobiographies are connected to history and to notions of self. We need to understand, as Miller suggests in her discussion of autobiography, how do ideas of selfhood, singularity and gender, vocation and sexual difference, get articulated in a given historical community Augustines, Rousseaus, Douglasss, Jacobs and how does that modeling of identity in turn shape autobiographical projects and their reception?44 Bibi Ashrafs work, discussed above, seems to be a memoir, a document of its time, reecting society and change. Chughtai brought us to the beginnings of a new national imaginary. As the focus shifts to women poets, the context of change in womens lives becomes the postnational phase. My argument is that women poets project an identity which is different from prose writers in the sense that they have to be seen to recite poetry in a public space as well as to write it within a private sphere. In a country where the emphasis is on a visible Islamic identity through modest dress and strict codes of behaviour for women, their participation in an open public event such as the mushaira (poetry symposium) presents an interesting dilemma particularly when this space is not restricted to middle-class audiences.45 I have found

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this self-awareness to constitute a major source of ambivalence in the autobiographies of women poets. In the subsequent close reading of autobiographies by prominent Pakistani women poets, I wish to underline their self-consciousness as public gures in a volatile political climate and, more generally, explore how two different generations of women negotiated their identities as middle-class Muslim women in a newly formed ideologically dened national context. Ada Jafri (b. 1924), who won a lifetime achievement award for her poetry in 2004, was the rst woman poet in Pakistan to receive this recognition.46 Her literary contributions had already been recognized through other prestigious literature prizes such as the Adamjee Award in 1965 and the Tamgha-e Imtiaz in 1981. In 1995 Ada Jafri published her autobiography entitled Jo rahi so bekhabri rahi (A Lingering Negligence).47 This is a purposeful text which addresses the silences and the gaps of a poets career in her own words. She feels the need to explain why there was a span of seventeen years between her rst and second collections of poetry. The conscious self that she constructs in her narrative is in accordance with the norms of what is considered to be a good life for a middle-class woman. Although she expresses some of her inner dissatisfaction at having to give up writing poetry in order to full her role as a married woman, she identies poetry as an elite pastime for women which could not take precedence over raising a family. Jafris commentary offers a reading of womens lives where poetry is seen as a private leisure experience allowing a limited freedom in a gendered national space for acceptable women, which reiterates the value of self-effacement and the enactment of duty. Jafris quoted poems in her text reconrm the stereotypes of woman as mother, carer and homemaker by nature; her style of writing emphasizes the delicate nature of women and she reconrms the middle-class ideal of womens education being subservient to familial duties. She is the sacricial mother who comes to symbolize Pakistan as the motherland for her children who migrate to other countries. Her autobiography does not project a modern individual self; instead she narrates the pain of separation and loss, marked by nostalgia, which comes with experiences of modernity for her childrens generation. For herself, the text seems to allow her a confessional space to express the intensity of her emotions based on experience. As her poetry is often stylized, the prose form she has chosen allows her a greater freedom of expression. Gender in her prose narrative is mainly communicated through her sensibility as a wife and mother while references to sexuality remain absent.

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A contrast to Jafris linear narration of her self is the candidly written autobiography of Kishwar Naheed (b. 1940), entitled Buri aurat ki katha (A Rotten Womans Tale). Naheed won national recognition for her rst poetry collection in 1968, receiving the Adamjee prize for literature. However, her public persona both as civil servant and feminist poet has caused discomfort in many national quarters. In order to understand the difference in Naheeds perspective it is necessary to underline that she is a pioneering feminist poet who sees herself as a realist.48 The book is a hybrid story which constructs an ambivalent selfconscious persona, drawn from her feminist poetics as well as a social history of Pakistan. Before engaging closely with the text, it is worth considering why she has chosen the genre of autobiography instead of the novel or the epic poem to narrate a ctionalized story of her life. The obvious answer is that autobiography gives her an opportunity to publicly tell her story, but there are also some comparative connections which lend complexity to her choice. For instance, Naheeds use of katha in her title nods in the direction of nineteenth-century autobiographical writings by Bengali women known as smrtikatha (stories from memory).49 A feature of these memoirs which seems to have inuenced Naheed is that they were structured around the social history of the times. In fact, these stories have provided key source material for scholars mapping out the social history of nineteenth-century Bengal. Another interesting factor for our consideration is that anyone could narrate a smrtikatha, and the artlessness of its form was considered appropriate for an authentic feminine literary voice.50 In the post-national context of Pakistan and the heavy hand of censorship laws, writers and intellectuals have often suffered at the hands of the state. Naheed seems to have countered the situation by choosing to write an autobiographical ction which is on the surface a story about the hardships of her life as a woman who endures cruel parents, a cheating husband and insecure colleagues, while at a deeper level it is also the story of the nation. Unlike Ada Jafri, Naheed has been active in the public sector as a civil servant; she held the position of editor of the well-known literary magazine Mah-e nau and is the founding director of the womens NGO Hawwa, dedicated to the improvement of womens working lives by making them nancially independent through their contribution to the cottage industries and handicraft markets. As a self-aware feminist activist who recognizes the dynamics of a First and Third World context, Naheed has written what may be considered a Third World autobiography, which has elements of what Janet Varner Gunn describes

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as both resistance literature and utopian literature with its denostalgizing of the past and an orientation toward a liberated society in the future.51 In Buri aurat, Naheed says,
Poetry has made me very unhappy. If I had abandoned poetry then I might have been accepted as a pure and dutiful wife. I would have been held in esteem as a devoted mother, been closer to my sisters and brothers, understood less of the world, mostly spoken with dishonesty, succeeded in making fewer enemies and felt that living alone curtailed my happiness. But poetry has made me content. The entire country and the entire world seem like my maternal home. I have been given so many friends and well wishers that the warmth from their love inspires me to keep working non-stop.52

Her autobiography constructs an identity rooted in contradictions, touching on different genres and moving between geographical settings, yet devoted to the lifelong cause of womens rights in Pakistan. Her story unfolds with a chronological sequence of growing up mirroring an alternative to the foundational narrative of the nation. Halfway through the book this sequence is replaced by thematic chapter headings referring to recognizable female stereotypes of courtesan, Queen, concubine, unattainable beloved, radical feminist, shameful traditionalist and Eve, interspersed with the changing fortunes of national politics. The last section of the book is composed of pictures which include personal portraits, family photographs and snapshots with writers and academics in national and international locations. This photographic afrmation is followed by reproductions of documents, letters and newspaper clippings, including her marriage certicate, a musical composition dedicated to her by the American trumpeter Donna Jean Hagen, an extracted article about her from an Indian newspaper, a caricature and a letter dated 22 February 1973 appealing against her dismissal from the Resident Directorship of Pakistans National Council of Arts alongside another prominent male poet, Ahmad Faraz. Thus the ending of the book with its pastiche of photographs, letters, newspaper cuttings and personal documents can be read as an effective means of displacing the unreliability of the narrative voice and replacing it with public afrmation. This tension between the need to narrativize her history as the alternative history of the nation and the anxiety of being rejected by her peers for stepping outside the traditional boundaries of discourse underlies Naheeds story. Overall, Naheeds autobiography is subjective and purposeful: it is subjective because she is the author, the editor and the narrator all in one, and purposeful because of the agenda she has in mind to represent a woman who is classied as rotten by the Pakistani

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society she lives in. She represents herself through words, photographs, personal and public communications, self-consciously experimenting with the genre that she has chosen to adopt for her story. In her foreword she mentions a meeting with her Egyptian friend in Ashkabad in 1973 when they were discussing changes in their countries and personal circumstance. She quotes him as saying, My mother used to talk the way you are talking now. My mother used to wear a burqa. But now my daughter wears a bikini.53 Naheed retrieves this conversation from her past and juxtaposes it with her current location in Italy in 1993 where she is writing her story. She returns to the theme of dress confessing that one of her daughters-in-law wears shorts in Spain while the other wears skirts in America. Then she is struck by the knowledge that her nieces are completing their doctorates in America while her mother used to travel in a doli (palanquin). This prologue sets up her perspective on the changing society of the subcontinent since 1940, where she sees these changes to have been both constricting and liberating for the individual. She underlines the fact that her story is neither a linear narrative nor the story of one person. Amongst her international inuences she includes Vincent Van Gogh, Milan Kundera, Margaret Atwood, and Maya Angelou. In ending her prologue with the knowledge that she has peered into all the inner courtyards of peoples homes, where home is an extension of the nation, she appears to be taking on the mantle of a truth-teller determined to challenge the unsaid and the censored in her society. Thus her beginning emphasizes the female narrative through dress and her openness toward a transnational perspective. This viewpoint takes us from the burqa to the bikini, drawing attention to a historicization of the veiled and unveiled female body over time. As it unfolds in the autobiography, Naheeds narrative of dress reects a sense of conict as her group identications change over time. For instance she describes the early years of her life which were spent wearing a burqa. At that time she was living with her parents whose social status required female members of the family to be appropriately veiled. Naheeds initial rebellion against this conformity takes place at college when she starts to participate in poetry symposia and college events without her parents knowledge and reaches crisis point at university where she dispenses with hiding her unveiled self from her parents. She extends her personal narrative of the experience of dress to a broader perspective about the burqa as an item of clothing subject to the demands of fashion. This could be read as a linking of the private to the public and how the individual self is stepping away from a subservient acceptance of traditional codes

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of practice to a search for new identications and meaning as expressed in her prologue. She argues that the imsy threshold of belonging accorded to women by modern Urdu poetry is never more apparent than in a mushaira, where poetry is the subject of attention, but, in the example she cites, is sidestepped in favour of the female body as an object of desire. She notes,
In Pakistan too, for the most part women scriptwriters have impressed with their grasp over resplendent tales of human relationships. The behaviour of male contemporaries does not change though. If you ask someone Did you hear that womans story? One is likely to get a reply that the story was unimportant, we had gone to see the LOW NECK she was exposing. Ask someone Did you hear her poem? and the answer will be cant say about the poem but I do like her bare arms.54

For Naheed, what is most disappointing is the fact that men in the literary circle actively conrm the act of reading a womans body as her only text. This example also helps to offset the underlying history of the suppression of sexuality in Pakistan through the introduction of Shariah laws in the 1980s pertaining to rape and adultery.55 The story, it seems, is layered for a variety of audiences. The question of womens dress continues to preoccupy Naheed and in the quoted passage above becomes a cause for frustration because types of dress are seen to classify women in different categories and reduce them to object status. Here it is interesting to note that Naheed reads women in a passive category, where female selves have to be understood mainly in relation to the reactions of men around them, instead of with regard to how women might also actively use dress to create a response. Another way of reading this would be to suggest that Naheed understands women in Pakistan to be dynamic and men as static and is attempting to reverse the traditional gender stereotyping in Urdu ction. According to Naheed, women writers have rescued female characters from their static and peripheral roles, attaching to them a more active and sustained representation in textual practice. She observes:
From 1960 until now it is a strange and happy occurrence that within and outside the country from Simone to Erica Jong and Toni Morrison all have, in their own manner, made an impact on the literary expanse. Literature has rekindled written work which questions the relationships between women and men. It has challenged the godly stature of men and the oneness of the home unit. The way in which women have written about the state of the female body has been made an object of scorn in this country.56

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What is most interesting in the above paragraph is Naheeds afrmation of the signicant achievements and recognition of womens writing in an international framework which she says has, by comparison, not been accorded to women in Pakistan, in particular to those who write about the female body. Naheeds prose is thus caught between two worlds, her authentic inner voice as a Pakistani woman on the one hand and her broader outlook as an international feminist on the other. It can be argued that Naheed feels constrained by her location, where writing on the female body is perceived with scorn. The three distinctive forces of inuence she mentions here, the Russian women poets, the philosophical tradition of French feminism, and American feminism, question the status quo of gender dynamics in Pakistan. While recognition for any writer is always a struggle, women writers have through feminism shared a gendered experience of being excluded. This knowledge can be seen as a collective awakening of women which has led to formations of sisterhood networks that reach across borders. But as an Urdu writer Naheed feels disadvantaged because her work has to be rst judged by Urdu critics whose sensibilities have been reshaped in the post-national phase by gendered secular and religious discourses which often treat women as markers of national identity. Hence she feels a great sense of loss that her poem Farewell to Uterus is understood mainly by a large number of female college professors in Pakistan in the context of shame.57 As the actual content of the poem is more symbolic than real the alleged protestations of the professors seem to be curious. But they certainly help to sustain Naheeds persona of a rotten woman.58 In Naheeds words, her story has been layered with different voices. The voices belong to seven women only but these are no ordinary women: they are MaLaqa, Layla, Zarin Taj, Mira Bai, Sana, Yashodhra, real and mythical women with histories of prostitution, tragic love, royalty, and so on, including the mother of all, Eve.59 Naheed refers to the force creating these stories as alien to her, belonging to an enchanted spellmaker who has mesmerized the writer into transforming known to unknown and clever to quiet, intent on turning the quill into a dagger.60 The irony she projects as a writer is her inability to overwrite their tragedy with her pen; instead the power of her pen is beyond her control and turns into the proverbial dagger stabbing the very person who has undertaken the role of representation. This seems to suggest that she will focus on reality rather than myth in her story. This disjuncture between the notion of truth and ction is a powerful force in her

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autobiography, blurring the notion of katha as social history and drawing us instead toward a self-conscious narrator.61 Naheed sifts through signicant moments in her life, writing back to her critics, literary and otherwise, taking the opportunity to state her life in her own words rather than relying on others who have seen her as either an extension of her husband, her family or a rotten woman. The agenda of her feminist politics seems to be a redenition of the accepted notions of love and beauty. In that it is not much different from the Progressive mission of a well-known Urdu and Hindi writer such as Premchand who wanted literature to change the ideals of beauty in the early twentieth century when Indian culture and society was at a turning point of transformation from reform into modernity.62 However, it can be argued that Naheed has articulated her desire for change through an experiential reading of her life marked by ideals of female emancipation and a retrospectively embittered gaze at the post-national phase as one of disappointment and disillusionment. Recognizing her positionality as Third World she echoes Adrienne Rich when she says, In my country woman has no name, she is recognized through her relationships as mother, daughter and wife, and the question she poses for this woman is, Does she have a self of her own?63 Her feminism is therefore not one which propagates a generic sisterhood but is instead specic to her context.64 Continuing the theme of representation in the frame of poets and mothers, Naheed links women from different geographical locations by presenting them as manifestations of the universal mother, Eve: Eve! you have changed names many times over. Sometimes you have named yourself Anna [sic] Sexton and announced your correct date of birth at twenty-nine years of age. Sometimes you became Farogh Furrukhzad, sometimes Sara Shagufta and sometimes my mother!.65 In Naheeds words, Eve becomes the American poet Anne Sexton, who changes into the Iranian poet Farogh Furrukhzad, who then transforms into Sara Shagufta, all taking on the persona of her ctional mothers. In making Eve the receptacle of a rotating cycle of feminist identities, Naheed is able to appropriate a cosmopolitan self adopting these women as her mothers. She superimposes the feminist poets on the image of her mother to indicate the complexities in her own personality and to underline her difference from her mother. The replacement of her local mother with a global network of mothers marks a signicant act of reinvention which rejects the idea of home as a place one is born into or contained within territorial borders of the nation.

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The autobiography ends with a translated quotation of Sylvia Plaths poem Metaphors, emphasizing that writing is the last truth of life.66 The message she puts across is that to be alone and single as a woman is not a sign of failure but of arrival at a point in her life that she is content with. For her self-esteem she looks toward the feminist writings of Simone de Beauvoir and Betty Friedan as inspirational thinkers and role models. The last chapter revisits her marriage as a place of mistrust and lack of respect where both individuals were leading separate lives. It comes across as an attempt to put the record straight for her children who she feels measured her against their father and found her wanting in their early years. In choosing Plaths poem to end with she withdraws behind the voice of another female poet with a difcult marriage. In echoing Plaths line, Im a riddle in 9 syllables, Naheed seems to be reaching out for the unknowability of a persona as her nal word to those who would dene her as rotten and unacceptable. Plaths poem with its metaphorical reference to a pregnant body also provides an enigmatic ending to Naheeds narration. The reader is left wondering whether Naheed is comfortable living with her older self as she says, or whether she is nostalgic about losing her fecundity. The ambiguity of Plaths poem lends itself effectively to a narrative of the self which has always remained just beyond the grasp of its reader. This ambivalence is best expressed in the last three lines of Plaths poem,
Im a means, a stage, a cow in calf. Ive eaten a bag of green apples, Boarded the train, theres no getting off.67

CONCLUSION

While it is certainly the case that women are a central theme in most Urdu writings my reading has focused on coming to a better appreciation of the complexity of the interlocking nature of ideology and discourse within a longer historical trajectory that engages with both the colonial past and the postcolonial present. As the Urdu novel moves closer to European models of modernity, we detect a gradual increase in the presence of self and subjectivity and a strengthening emphasis on plot and characterization. The most compelling ctions emerge in the related genre of autobiography. Kishwar Naheeds narrative voice impersonates a rotten woman and in the process invents a new realism which has over time become subdued in the Urdu novel. She destabilizes

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the stylized and introspective gaze of the more conventional Ada Jafri with her borrowings from foreign forms of Western feminism and her exposition of such sensitive national topics as the war between East and West Pakistan, which led to the creation of Bangladesh in 1971. Naheeds autobiography reminds us of an unequal world system with its constant references to the Third World and her own projection as a Third World woman. Her local narrative voice is interspersed with borrowings from a variety of world literatures while distancing itself from the mainstream Urdu novel tradition by writing an autobiographical ction.

NOTES
1 See Romance Tradition in Urdu: Adventures from the Dastan of Amir Hamzah, translated and edited by Frances Pritchett (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991). 2 M. Asaduddin, First Urdu Novel: contesting claims and disclaimers, Annual of Urdu Studies 16 (2001), 7697 (p. 82). 3 Meenakshi Mukherjee, Realism and Reality: The Novel and Society in India (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1985). 4 Ibid., p. 81. 5 Franco Moretti refers to Fredric Jamesons observation with regards to his reading of the modern Japanese novel and its complicated encounter with the formalistic devices of Western novel formation in his introduction to Kojin Karatinis Origins of Modern Japanese Literature. See Franco Moretti, Conjectures on World Literature, in Debating World Literature, edited by Christopher Prendergast (London: Verso, 2004), pp. 148162. 6 Moretti, Conjectures, p. 152. 7 See Sayyid Ahmad Dehlavi and the Delhi Renaissance, in Delhi Through the Ages: Essays in Urban History, Culture and Society, edited by Robert E. Frykenberg (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1986), pp. 287298. 8 Gail Minault, Making Invisible Women Visible: Studying the history of Muslim women in South Asia, Journal of South Asian Studies 9:1 (1986), 114 (p. 1). 9 Women, Islam and the State, edited by Deniz Kandiyoti (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1991), p. 3. 10 See Barbara D. Metcalf, Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanavi and Urdu Literature, in Urdu and Muslim South Asia, edited by Christopher Shackle (London: SOAS, 1989), pp. 9399; Perfecting Women: Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanawis Bihishti Zewar: A Partial Translation with Commentary (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990). 11 Quoted in Asaduddin, First Urdu Novel, p. 87. 12 See Frances W. Pritchett, Afterword [to The Brides Mirror]: The First Urdu Bestseller, reproduced from the essay prepared for the Permanent Black edition of G. E. Wards translation, The Brides Mirror: A Tale of Domestic Life in Delhi Forty Years Ago (London: Henry Frowde, 1903), http://www.columbia.

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13

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14 15

16 17 18 19 20 21

22 23 24

25 26

27 28 29 30

edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00fwp/published/txt_mirat_intro.html. Accessed 10 December 2006. In his A History of Urdu Literature Muhammad Sadiq reads Nazir Ahmad as a didactic novelist with thin plotlines and characters based on caricatures (second edition, Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1995), pp. 410417. Quoted in Pritchett, Afterword, p. 3. The reference to Lucknow points to its Indo-Muslim culture of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when it became known as the capital of Avadh. Historically the title of Nawab referred to the Mughal subadars or viceroys and later it was adopted by the independent rulers of Awadh, Bengal and Deccan. See Abdul Halim Sharar, Lucknow: The Last Phase of an Oriental Culture, translated and edited by E. S. Harcourt and Fakhir Hussain (Elek: London, 1975) and Sugata Bose and Ayesha Jalal, Modern South Asia: History, Culture, Political Economy (Lahore: Sang-e Meel, 1998), p. 51. Mirza M. Rusva, Umrao Jan Ada (Lahore: Majlis-e taraqi-e adab, 1988). Mukherjee, Realism and Reality, p. 96. C. M. Naim, How Bibi Ashraf Learned to Read and Write, Annual of Urdu Studies 6 (1987), 99115. This magazine was published from 18981949 by her husband Sayyid Mumtaz Ali. C. M. Naim dates the publication of Hayat-e Ashraf between 19001910. Quoted in Naim, How Bibi Ashraf Learned to Read and Write, p. 113. According to Gail Minault, the term sharif in the nineteenth century denotes nobility of ones character. This is signicant because it marks a shift from nobility of birth connected to societal position and wealth to a humanist model inuenced by colonial practices. See Gail Minault, Secluded Scholars: Womens Education and Muslim Social Reform in Colonial India (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1998). Religious gatherings held by the Shiah Muslims of South Asia to commemorate the martyrs of Karbala. Naim, How Bibi Ashraf Learned to Read and Write, pp. 107108. For an assessment of Muhammadi Begums stature in the progress of the Urdu novel see Aamer Hussein, Forcing Silence to Speak: Muhammadi Begum, Miratul-Arus, and the Urdu Novel, Annual of Urdu Studies 11 (1996), 7186. She was followed by the novelist Nazar Sajjad Hyder whose best-known contribution on women remains her essay on Purdah (Seclusion). Nazar Sajjad Hyder, Purdah, translated by Vasantha Kannabrian and Rasheed Moosavi, in Women Writing in India, 600 B.C. to the Present, vol. 1: 600 BC to the Early 20th Century, edited by Susie Tharu and K. Lalita (New York: The Feminist Press, 1991), pp. 392393. Ayesha Jalal, The Convenience of Subservience: Women and the state of Pakistan, in Women, Islam and the State, p. 77. See Carlo Coppola and S. Zubair, Rashid Jahan: Urdu literatures rst angry young woman, Journal of South Asian Literature 22:1 (1987), 166183. Yunus Javed, Halqa-e arbab-e zauq (Lahore: majlis-e taraqqi-e adab, 1984). See Geeta Patels reading of the encounter between the two groups in her Lyrical Movements, Historical Hauntings: On Gender, Colonialism, and Desire in Mirajis Urdu Poetry (New Delhi: Manohar, 2005), pp. 83128.

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31 Priyamvada Gopal, Literary Radicalism in India: Gender, Nation and the Transition to Independence (London: Routledge, 2005), p. 68. 32 Ismat Chughtai, Lihaf (The Quilt), translated by Syed Sirajuddin, in Women Writing in India, Vol. 2: The Twentieth Century, edited by Susie Tharu and K. Lalita (New York: Feminist Press, 1993), pp. 127138. 33 Ismat Chughtai, Terhi lakir (The Crooked Line), translated by Tahira Naqvi (Oxford: Heinemann, 1995). 34 Gopal, Literary Radicalism in India, p. 76. 35 Leslie A. Flemming, Out of the Zenana: New translations of Ismat Chughtais work, Annual of Urdu Studies 10 (1995), 200207. 36 See Stories about the Partition of India, edited by Alok Bhalla, 3 vols (New Delhi: Indus, 1994). 37 Aijaz Ahmad, Lineages of the Present: Political Essays (New Delhi: Tulika, 1996), pp. 201202. 38 Urvashi Butalia, The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India (New Delhi: Penguin, 1998). 39 Qurratulain Hyders best-received novel is Aag ka darya (The River of Fire), originally written in 1959. Its broad sweep from Ancient India to the modern present has given it the status of a classic twentieth-century Urdu novel. Hyders own translation of the novel in 1999 has led to prominent reviews in the UK literary circuit inviting comment from critics and writers such as Aamer Hussein and Amitav Ghosh. The former has compared the novel to Gabriel Garca Mrquezs One Hundred Years of Solitude. Excerpts from these reviews are printed on the back cover of Qurratulain Hyders translation of River of Fire (New York: New Directions, 1999). 40 Nancy K. Miller, Representing Others: Gender and the Subjects of Autobiography, Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 6:1 (1994), 127. 41 Joan Wallach Scott, Fantasy Echo: History and the Construction of Identity, Critical Inquiry 27 (Winter 2001), 284304. 42 Ibid, p. 288. 43 Ibid, p. 292. 44 Miller, Representing Others, p. 18. 45 See Munibur Rahman, The Mushairah, Annual of Urdu Studies 3 (1983), 7483. 46 Jonaid Iqbal, Top literary award for Ada Jafri, Dawn, 4 August 2004. http://www.dawn.com/2004/08/04/net29.htm. 47 Ada Jafri, Jo rahi so bekhabri rahi (A Lingering Negligence), (Karachi: Maktaba-e daniyal, 1995). 48 Kishwar Naheed, Buri aurat ki katha (A Rotten Womans Tale), (Lahore: Sang-e meel, c. 1993). Also see her Likhne valiyon ki tanhai (The Loneliness of Women Writers), in Apni nigah: auraton ki likhi takhliqat aur tanqidi jaize (My View: Critical Surveys and Writings by Women), edited by Javeria Khalid and Samina Rahman (Asr: Lahore, 1995), pp. 7275. 49 See Partha Chatterjee, The Nation and its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), pp. 138140. 50 Ibid., p. 139. 51 Janet Varner Gunn, A Politics of Experience: Leila Khaleds My People Shall Live: The Autobiography of a Revolutionary, in De/Colonizing the Subject: The Politics

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52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61

AMINA YAQIN

62 63

64

65 66 67

of Gender in Womens Autobiography, edited by Julia Watson and Sidonie Smith (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1992), pp. 6580 (p. 77). Naheed, Buri aurat, pp. 9899. Ibid., p. 9. Ibid., pp. 9495. See Asma Jahangir and Hina Jilani, The Hudood Ordinances: A Divine Sanction? (Lahore: Rohtas, 1990). Naheed, Buri aurat, p. 32. Ibid., p. 97. See Kishwar Naheed, Farewell to Uterus, in Siyah hashiye men gulabi rang (A Pink Hue in Black Margins), (Lahore: Sang-e Meel, 1986), pp. 3943. See Tharu and Lalita (eds.), Women Writing in India, vol. 1, pp. 9094, 120122. Naheed, Buri aurat, p. 32. On the interplay between autobiography and ction see Gunnthrunn Gudmundsdttir, Borderlines: Autobiography and Fiction in Postmodern Life Writing, Postmodern Studies, Series 33 (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2003), pp. 110. See Amrit Rai, Premchand: His Life and Times, translated by Harish Trivedi (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2002). See Adrienne Rich, Notes toward a politics of location, in Feminist Postcolonial Theory: A Reader, edited by Reina Lewis and Sara Mills (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2003), pp. 2942 (p. 30). See the introduction to Aijaz Ahmad, In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literatures (London: Verso, 1992) for a discussion on cultural nationalism and problems with its appropriation in literature. For further discussion on this and how women have been conned to domestic roles in the post-national phase see Nationalisms and Sexualities, edited by Andrew Parker, Mary Russo, Doris Sommer and Patricia Yaeger (London: Routledge, 1992), p. 7. Naheed, Buri aurat, p. 13. Sylvia Plath, Metaphors, in Sylvia Plath: Collected Poems, edited by Ted Hughes (London: Faber and Faber, 1981), p. 116. Ibid., lines 79.