ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

Orientalism and Refashioning of Muslim Selves

Who Is a Muslim? Orientalism and Literary Populisms by Maryam Wasif Khan, Hyderabad: Orient BlackSwan, 2021; pp x + 257, `995 (hardcover).

The book under review tries to answer a contemporary paradox which many in South Asia are grappling with. Despite the progress of education, the larger society operates on ideas and idioms derived from their respective religious world views. In India, the mythical construction of “Ram Rajya” has moved the Hindu society and polity towards overt majoritarianism, while in Pakistan the call for return to the Prophetic model of the seventh-century Arabia has never left the popular imagination since its inception. Maryam Wasif Khan, in her fascinating book, Who Is a Muslim? Orientalism and Literary Popu­lisms, seeks to answer this paradox by understanding the imaginaries (symbolic resources through which a people imagine themselves) of the Muslims and Islam in the popular Urdu fiction. She states categorically that the secular possibilities within the Muslim society, engendered by the writings of Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Saadat Hasan Manto, are largely confined to academia and the cognoscenti. As compared to this “high-brow” literature, the “popular” Urdu fiction is infused with Islamic and Islamist imagery. Produced by writers such as Naseem Hijazi, Razia Butt, and Umera Ahmad, the popular Urdu fiction resonate with the Muslim masses much more. Despite the secular romance with Faiz, his symbolic invocation of removing the “idols from Kaaba” remains marginal to the “religio-popular” novels which appeal for creating a “real Mecca” in Pakistan.

The Non-native Mahometan

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here


To gain instant access to this article (download).

Pay INR 50.00

(Readers in India)

Pay $ 6.00

(Readers outside India)

Updated On : 19th Jun, 2022
Back to Top