We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

Literature, politics, and resistance: Part - III

36 15 0
12.11.2019

Some of my readers have wondered at my definition of resistance literature, which they find too broad and encroaching upon material that should be included in history or journalism, not literature.

Let me clarify once again that to me asking questions about established traditions, inquiring into the causes of injustices, voicing concerns against the presumed authenticity of dominant narratives, questioning the official versions of history, wondering about the failures of self-righteous political organs and state institutions; challenging discriminations on the basis of caste, colour, community, congenital condition, or creed, is resistance. And then, writing all that in the form of articles, biographies, columns, fiction, interviews, personal histories and observations, poetry – and even travelogues – is resistance literature. Of course, a narrow definition of literature would include only fiction and poetry in its fold.

There may be different definitions and interpretations, depending on your personal inclination. For example, even for fiction there are myriad definitions, some confining fiction to novels and short stories; and some others including various forms of prose too, such as fables, parables, tales, and sagas. Some broad definitions of fiction even subsume poetry into fiction. As mentioned in the first part of this series last week, renowned critics and writers, Rasheed Amjad and Abrar Ahmed, have written about resistance literature in Urdu, but mostly they discuss fiction and poetry. This series of articles has a different take.

I even include Zahid Islam’s marvellous book 'Pakistan Mein Tabqati Jadojihad ki Tareekh' (The history of class struggle in Pakistan) as resistance literature; as he has painstakingly documented people’s movements and struggles in three volumes. Zahid Islam’s third volume, 'Mazduroon ki Trade Union aur Nazrayati Tehreekain' (Trade union of workers and ideological movements) discusses political trends among trade unions and their resistance from the early years of Pakistan to the regimes of General Ayub Khan, Z A Bhutto, and General........

© The News International