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Wie viel Lachen verträgt der Glaube? Urdu-Satiren in Pakistan
Universität Heidelberg, Germany.
2012 (German)In: Orientalia Suecana, ISSN 0078-6578, Vol. 60, 33-48 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Before turning towards Pakistan, the Urdu tradition of a playful, humorous, or satirical treatment of attitudes toward religion is demonstrated with examples from ’Nazī̤r’ Akbarābādī(1740‒1830), Mirzā Asadullāh Khān ’Ġālib’ (1797‒1869), Akbar Illāhābādī(1846‒1921), and Muhammad Iqbāl (1877‒1938), after which follows a brief discussion of three satirical authors whose texts were published in Pakistan between 1956 and 2001.

Nasīm Hijāzī(1914‒1996), who is best known for his “Islamic” historical novels, wrote a satirical play on the futile attempts of secular, westernized urban intellectuals to wean simple country people off their religious and moral values. The background of his play S̤aqāfat kī talāś (In search of culture, 1956/1959) was formed by discussions about the cultural identity of Pakistan in which he represented the stance of an exclusive reliance on religious unity, denying cultural, ethnic, and social differentiations. His urban intellectuals are ridiculed throughout. Sayyid Ẕamīr Jacfrī(1916‒1999), on the other hand, in his poems and columns, criticises religious hypocrisy, sectarian strife, and the use of religious rhetoric to mask corruption and misgovernment. Muśtāq Ahmad Yūsufī (born 1923), in his mock-autobiography Zarguzaśt (The fate of money, 1976), deals with aspects of urban life in the early years of Pakistan. The characters in his book display an attitude of “live and let live” in which respect for religious feelings is coupled with a mild disregard for ritualistic aspects of religious practice. Hence much of his writing is ironic rather than satirical. Similar attitudes prevail in later novels by a variety of Pakistani authors, but at the same time one can discern a growing tendency to ascertain and redefine Muslim identity, which seems to be a reaction to the Islamophobia rampant in Western media since 2001 as well as to the conflicts that are undermining the unity and legitimacy of the Pakistani state.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Uppsala universitet, 2012. Vol. 60, 33-48 p.
Keyword [en]
Urdu literature, comic relief, satirical poetry, parody, religious identity
National Category
Languages and Literature
Research subject
Indology with Classical Sanscrit
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-177283OAI: diva2:540010
Available from: 2012-07-06 Created: 2012-07-06 Last updated: 2012-07-06Bibliographically approved

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