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Friday, October 30, 2009

Review: Adhe Adhoore Khawab


Adhe Adhoore Khawab
Review by Fawaz Niaz

Dr Shahid Siddiqui is widely known in the academic circles for his writings on interrelationship of language, education and politics. His recent book is a socio-political novel in Urdu with a contemporary story narrated in a gripping style. The novel has already started creating ripples in the literary world and received rich tribute form eminent critics of Urdu literature. Professor Fateh Muhammad Malik, considers this novel as “a trend setter in Urdu literature”. Asif Farrukhi, a famous short story writer looks at this novel as a blend of “scholarship and literature where a social scientist has derived his narrative from his own experience.” The themes of the novel range from love, politics, inequality, coercion of state and education. The novel uses dramatic technique by making use of dialogue to portray and expose characters. The novel is simply “unputdownable” and this characteristic of the novel is acknowledged by the famous short story writer Dr Rasheed Amjad who writes in his review that the story of the novel is so compelling that it makes us read it. According to him, “there is a fascinating harmony among story, expression, and style.”

The story of the novel is set in two major cities of Pakistan during the turbulent times of lawyers’ movement. The plot revolves around the protagonist Professor Saharan Rae who is a competent, committed, and caring professor. Because of his radical views and his humanistic approach to education Professor Rae is adored by his students. This adoration travels from one generation of students to another. There are a large number of students who haven’t met or seen Prof Rae in person but who have heard about him and have become his fans. Among them is a young, creative, and enthusiastic girl Imtisal Agha who joins the college at the time when Prof Rae has already left the college. She believes in the radical role of education and becomes curious about the personality of Prof Rae who used to teach in this college and was an advocate of critical role of education for the socio-political change.

The story takes a turn when Prof Rae returns to his old city of work after a decade in connection with a seminar at a community centre and stays in the same hostel where Imtisal is residing. Their first meeting is unplanned, dramatic, and significant in terms of identifying shared dreams of using education for socio-political change.

The character of Professor Saharan Rae emerges as a charismatic figure who is an unassuming person but a committed professional who is extremely popular among his students. He takes part in the lawyers’ movement and pays heavy price for indulging in political activism. Imtisa’sl character is that of a girl who is sensitive, creative, and a believer in change. The novel makes use of some interesting structuring and narrative techniques. Some major characters of the novel narrate their part in first person singular and story moves forward exposing the readers to multiple perspectives. This technique makes the story more lifelike, convincing and believable.

The novel comes to a closure with a note of hope for the promised good times. This novel would attract a large number of audiences from different walks of life. I would highly recommend this novel to those who look for creative craftsmanship. The novel relates to the members of civil society, practicing teachers, teacher educators, students of literature and education, as a piece of fiction that focuses on some significant education, political and human relationship issues in an engaging way.

Book: Aadhay Adhooray Khwab

Author: Dr Shahid Siddiqui
Published by Jahangir Books
Enterprise: 2009
Page: 176
Price: 250\
Buy online: http://jbdpress.com