My views on reviews

Maba’ad Jadeedyet

Author: Rauf Niazi

Now-a-days structuralism, post-structuralism, deconstruction, modernism and postmodernism are the very burning literary issues. These are being much discussed among the serious intellectuals, writers and poets. Though a group of some writers and poets is against these new theories, especially the ones coming from Western countries. Obviously they do not want to change themselves to the ideas and demands of the new age. It is a fact that every thing, which is coming in our country from the West is more advanced and superior. But it is also true that all thoughts and theories, which are coming from the Europe and America are good and fully acceptable for our people. Among them there may be some unacceptable, harmful and repugnant. But it is an undeniable fact that we have learnt and adopted a lot from the Western countries and this process is still going on. In literature the movements of dadaism, faminism, surrealism, futurism, romanticism, progressive movement and existentialism have played important role in 20th century. The impact of these literary movements may be seen obviously in Asia generally and in South Asia particularly.

Our modern critics and writers are discussing the trend of Post-modernism (Ma’abad Jadeediat) Dr Gopi Chand Narang, Dr Shamsur Rahman Farooqi, the editor “Shab Khoon” Illahabad, Dr Manazir Ashiq, the editor of “Koh’sar”, Bhagalpur, Iftekhar Imam Siddiqi the editor of monthly “Shair” Bombay, Wahab Ashrafi, Devinder Isser, Ahmed Sohail and Mala Shri Lal are taking part in this literary discourse in India. The postmodernism is being discussed more vehemently and enthusiastically in Pakistan than in India. Those who are participating in the controversy in Pakistan are Dr Fahim Aazmi the editor of monthly “Sareer”, Karachi, Dr Wazir Aagha the editor of quarterly “Auraq” Sargodha, Qamar Jamil, the editor of ‘Baz Yaaft’ Karachi, Dr Zamir Ali Badayouni (very recently passed away), Aslam Hanif, Nayyer Abbas and this scribe.

A book has come out under the title of “Maba’ad Jadeediat-Tareekh-o-Tanqeed” (Postmodernism-history and criticism). The book has two prefaces. The first one is written by the former Vice Chancellor, Hamdard University, Dr Manzoor Ahmed and the second by the author Rauf Niazi himself. The author is fully committed to literature. At the very outset, he has been writing short stories. Some of his short fiction have been published in prominent literary journals. Now he has started writing literary critical articles. The book under review is his first publication. In a cursory look one may feel that the writes-up which have been included in this book are of different subjects. But actually, it is not so, as every article is inter-related. The author of the book Rauf Niazi has gone a long way to comprehend the background, inception and theory of postmodernism movement with reference to its related aspects, issues and circumstances. It may be mentioned here that every pioneer of post-modernism has his own view point about the post-modernism. That is the reason this trend still could not appear with its significance and clear identity. Those who are involved in this discourse said that post-modernism is now in the process of its completion.

The book may be divided into three parts, the first part gives a summery of age by age changes of philosophical, religious and social theories under the title of ‘historical account (background and foreground)’ and ‘postmodernism and its similar terms.” In the second write-up post-modernity, post-fordism, post-colonialism and post-structuralism have been discussed under the sub-headings in a nutshell. It also discusses the process of the development of ideology, progress in socio-economic, socio-cultural and socio-political.

In the second part the author has thrown light on the life and works of the founders and pioneers of structuralism, post-structuralism, deconstruction, modernism and postmodernism such as Jacques Derrida, Jean Baudrillard, Michel Foucault, Edward Saeed, Fredric Janson, Sean Homer, Gilles Deleuze and Jurgen Habermas. It may be mentioned here that to some extent nothing new has been presented in these articles about the personages. Gopi Chand Narang of India and Fahim Aazmi of Pakistan have written a lot about these personalities in their books, which were published more than 10 years ago.

The part third also consists of discourses based on theories, ideas, principles and techniques of various philosophical schools, under the title of ‘viewpoint of church,’ ‘post-modernism and the regaining of traditional philosophy,’ ‘the philosophy of post-physiology (the schools of 20th century)’ , ‘the post-philosophy: outcome of declination’ , ‘the recovery of philosophy’, ‘modernism and post-modernism’, ‘the pluralism of post-modernism’, ‘the critical theory and the neo-French theory’ as well as ‘the conclusion.’

The author has tried his best to pave the way for readers to gain knowledge about the post-modernism and its related viewpoint and their pioneers. During the explaining of post-modernism the author has stressed that we should think seriously about the post-modernism and its impact. He said we must know how and why it is trying to dominate our social and cultural life. We should also know how much it is harming our beliefs and traditions. He has warned that a group of people is taking it non-seriously and said post-modernism and its impacts are nothing but imaginary and fantastical trend of thinking. But the author has said that it is a reality and we cannot escape its effects and defects.

In spite of author’s seriousness towards the subject, he dealt in his book ‘Maba’ad Jadeedyet’ could not smartly explain and satisfy the readers. That is the reason there are some confusions and haphazard ideas. There are two kinds of literary criticism. One is creative criticism and the second one is non-creative criticism, pointing to an effort at compiling. This kind of criticism is also termed “eclectic criticism”. The creative criticism demands originality, non-prosaic narration, perspective, insight of vision and perceptiveness. The book is lacking these qualities.

In spite of these shortcomings and weaknesses the book is a thought-provoking effort and invites us to think on the new angle of paradigm.

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