This too is Pakistani Literature


Fahmida Riaz on the wordless apartheid practiced against progressive literature in Pakistan in The Dawn

In Pakistani literature, an undeclared, wordless apartheid has been practiced against progressive literature, or what is known the world over as engaged literature. Consequently, in most books of literary criticism, references to engaged literature are conspicuous by their absence, unless a work is open to some other interpretation such as lyricism, imagism, surrealism or even structuralism, a comparatively new entrant in the jargon of our Urdu literati.

Literature — both poetry and fiction — that talks of the real life around us, the plight of the people, their aspirations and national traumas, has been avoided like the plague. It has been assumed that it would be either against the ideology of Pakistan or Islam, or both, the two being inseparably intertwined in the minds of our anxiety-riddled literary critics.

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