Choosing Urdu literature as a major was not an easy choice as I have to face criticism from family and friends because of their concern that a career in language is not a promising one. But as I always use to think that languages such as Urdu having rich literature, not only introduce a person to poetry, prose and other forms of expression but it also introduces us to a wide range of subjects such as, history, culture, traditions, norms, spiritual values of different time periods and also to contemporary behavior of a society and their manners. In literature we also study the current and previous political and intellectual inclinations and their influences on a society and the impacts of wars, economic trends and religion as the dynamics of a social setup.
As a citizen of this world I understand and appreciate diversity, diversity in any form is the beauty of this universe… this is how this planet was designed we can see the diversity in nature too. Even in Pakistan alone there are 36 languages which different people speak in different dialects from different regions of the country. It only enriches the beauty of a land. We need to start learning to live with differences and appreciate and enjoy them. Cross cultural relations across nations is the most important thing to do in today’s perspective to develop better understanding about other nations and bridge gaps. But does it mean that we should merge in and let other dominant cultures take over our own centuries old civilization? And dwell into uniformity… then where does the notion of appreciating and celebrating diversity will exist? The politics of identity is good? or the politics of difference? The best politics is which serves the human best whether it is any political approach… in an era of global economy… where urban – commercialization has a great deal of impact on individual, society and environment… where corporate greed is progressing selfishly eating away the natural and fiscal resources and consequently leaving this world as a not-so-better place to live on for the next generations.
There are questions regarding the Differences… religions… and atheism… Marxism, Socialism and its unsuccessfulness….because many people believe that communism can only work economically only if the entire world was communist. … and sometimes, I wonder if the people with communist beliefs are all misguided romanticist who are day dreaming about a non-practical romanticism of revolution.. and about Capitalism—which seems to appear as a failing system which is and had collapsed in many developed countries as it is doomed to fall down after reaching its boom. But no one is thinking of an alternative practical financial system, because in world, there is continuous making and breaking of concepts, emerging theories and ideas… so, there is left and right wing politics but each one of them have their radical supporters who are extremely resistant to change and a much desired exploration of a middle path
Sometimes, I wonder that dogmas, beliefs and religions are important… but what about the mess that has been created in their name ever since the beginning of this world. What is that then? Then there is a question of importance of relationships, values, manners, humanity, human freedom is pushing man to the loneliness and seclusion because relationships, family values always demand sacrifice and some kind of binding to certain things. So how good the breaking of the ‘family institution’ is helping humanity? And why is it really happening?
There is always a conception of preserving the old heritage among developing and developed countries. In developing countries like Pakistan there is a rising concern over depleting old heritage but then one wonder how much safeguarding heritage is important when people are dying of hunger and terror …?
Is change always good? We will decide it on later, but this is much understood that it is inevitable. There is a dire need to cover the distance between humans; there are social networking sites… I have always wondered that these websites have brought people closer or have created more distances between people? Since all of us communicate to the people who are actually not present near us… and are getting detached more and more from the people around us, actually with us.
After getting an admission in Gender and women studies now I am more conscious of the representation of Gender in our text books, syllabus, teaching practices and Mass communication medium. I want to explore stereotypes and myths in media in the representations of race, class, ethnicity, and gender, because Class, gender, race/ethnicity, age, Sexuality, religion these are many new emerging approaches and then there are historical legacies… My exposures to citizenship theories and practices and gender sensitizing workshops and trainings have enabled me to try to gauge the role they play in a society.
All these concepts and theories emerge or evolve in a group of people; a society, a social setup and every historical and modern civilization have their works in every form of Art. We need to examine cultural, literary, artistic and theoretical perspectives on sexuality, Deprived Gender and for every form of Art there has to be a criticism which is inspired by a certain philosophy such as feminism, classical and contemporary school of thoughts. This can give us a better understanding of a society.
The notion of literature as an ‘industry’ has been resisted by a strong tradition of cultural inspired criticism in Britain. In Pakistan there was a fiery movement which is called ‘Progressive Writers Movement’. The group was anti-imperialistic and left-oriented, and sought to inspire people through their writings advocating equality and attacking social injustice and backwardness. There was a big debate of ‘Literature for Life’ and ‘Literature for Literature’. The progressives were obviously believer of the ‘Literature for Life’ philosophy. However, the Classicalists believed that Literature should not get influenced by any political agenda and it should only voice human soul and sentiments because Art is a food for soul so ‘Literature should be for Literature’. Although the progressives were rebellious to the old classical traditions in Urdu literature still they contributed some of the finest pieces of fiction and poetry to Urdu literature.
This divide in Pakistani society, culture and literature came forward after the religious radicalization of society which was a result of a military rule by a Marshal Law Dictator’s policies “Zia ul Haq”. However, the influence of the War against USSR can not be under estimated. Which at that time was being fought by Afghani Mujahedeen with the help of Pakistan, this war was actually not an ideological battle (though it was projected as one) but it was (like most of the wars) a war of interests and motives and it was a USA funded project. This may have many political reasons, like the ‘super-power race etc. by only this simple example we can see how politics, literature, philosophical trends and interests of people and nations are all interrelated.
These things appear to decide the destiny of Humanity. Or at least, these are the decisive factors. This is how my interest in literature have led me to several areas of research which mainly include the study of history, contemporary Arts, Role of Media and Gender roles etc.
There are these questions then there are many other which always intrigued me as a sensitive and educated person, I have questions and I want to find out answers and explore better ways to address them in order to fulfill the dream of a better Society, a happy Pakistan and a peaceful world.