MAPPING THE CONTOURS OF INDIGENOUS WOMEN SUBALTERNITY IN NADEEM ASLAM’S SELECTED NOVELS

My Findings

This research bring forward some hidden truths like, females are not only marginalized by men in fact, mature women contribute to this cause to a great extend. Being women, they know their sufferings that they might have gone through at some stage, but they prefer terror over caution. They impose the same conditions which usually men do. As we see Tara does not support Naheed for getting higher education. She forces her for the second marriage. In "the Blind Man's Garden," we do not see any men forcing female characters for second marriage or any other thing that they do not want to do. In "Maps for Lost Lovers," Kaukab despite loving her daughter, she condemns her, beat her and forces her for the second marriage.

This research sheds light on the issues and bad conditions of women who go through the war times. Off course, the problems of war effected females are different from the females who are leading a normal life. In war time, females are shown to be going through psychological trauma most of the time. In "The Blind Man's garden," Geo is killed in Afghan war and Naheed is at the horns of dillema all the time. People around her, have no respect or honour for being the wife of a martyr, in fact, they all taunt her being martyr wido. In "The Wasted Vigil," we witness worse situation of law and order and women as the easy victim of all this. We do not catch any glimse of rit of the state in the novel. It is all about a few powerful warlords and their trible disputes. they keep on fighting, and abducting, exchanging and using women for their personal motives as toys. They represent the Greek era when the victorious party used to abduct women of the loser party as we see in "The trojan Women" and "Hecuba."

Further, this research shows that how ideological state apparatuses works to brainwash people's mind regarding the rights of women. It is all done by the clerics. Clerics misquotes Islamic history to keep women subalterned all the time. One of the clerics when being asked about the queen of Shiba, he replies that she was not a woman. Further, on the instigations of clerics, we see female characters like Qatrina, Dunya and Zameen got threatened, abducted and killed. Moreover, Kaukab's father in "Maps for Lost Lovers" is cleric but it looks as if he does not know the rules of Islam and he marries her daughter to a boy who is not at all in accordance with her ideas and even it was against the will of Kaukab.

1.2. Statement of the problem

This research aspires to map an understanding of indigenous women's plight and the existing patterns of subalternity. Through this research, the researcher is undertaking a journey to locate the pseudo-religious ideas, engrained honour and patriarchal traditions and how women end up humiliated both physically and psychologically by their male members. The researcher also explore the role elderly women themselves play in perpetuating the structures of gender exploitations by suppressing sometimes by their younger counterparts.

1.3. Research questions

• What is the concept of Subalternity and its defining features?

• How does Nadeem Aslam portray the women's position as a subaltern?

• What are the local cultural/social factors producing the subaltern?

• What is women's view of their own subjugation?

Organization of the Study

This study is mainly divided into three chapters according to the focal points of discussion. These chapters establish and discuss certain arguments as mentioned below:

The first chapter is titled “Social, political and religious Subalternity of Pakistani Females.” As the name already suggests it deliberates the conditions of the women in Pakistan, living in the country as well as abroad. The novels are taken as reference points in this study to explain the actual conditions of women in South Asia through the stories of protagonists. In this chapter, the first novel discoursed is “Maps for Lost Lovers.” It is based on the story of Kaukab, Suraya, Mah-jabeen and Chanda, and their predicament living in a foreign land as part of the Pakistani immigrant community. The second novel is namely “The Blind Man’s Garden”, with Naheed as the central character of the story. Both of the novels accurately articulate the discrimination faced by women, mostly in the form of mental and psychologically distress. For example, Suraya is married without her consent, divorced and left with no choice but to opt for Islamic wed lease. Chanda is murdered in the name of honour killing. Kaukab and Mah-jabeen are verbally abused. Naheed was married without her consent, later on only ending up as a widow and living under societal fears for engaging in a sexual relationship with a man and bearing his child. Effects of post 9/11 and Afghan war on the widow women of Pakistan are can be seen through the character of Naheed. All these incidents, as well as some other in these novels, explain that the men and even some misogynist women take upon them to dictate the lives of the women in their families. They are considered opinion less subordinates, meeting terrible fates if they don’t comply with the rules imposed on them. The honour of a Pakistani family is considered to be dependent on the body and the mere existence of a woman. Therefore, this chapter analyses the stories of the victims within these two novels to find the norms and tendencies of a typical Pakistani society and the community abroad. In this way, the analysis is connected with the patriarchal value of the actual Pakistani society, identifying the distress it brings to the victimized woman.

The second chapter is named as “Socio-Religious Instruments of Afghan Females Exploitation.” The focal point of discussion in this chapter is the novel “The Wasted Vigil.” This chapter aims to explore, review, and scrutinize, in detail, the magnitude of the discrimination practiced against women in Afghanistan. The story covers the era of Talibanization (before 9/11 attacks), one of the worst periods of times for women in Afghanistan. Indeed, the violent and brutal attitude of Taliban rule exploited women to such a great extent that the country today is the worst place to be a female. The atrocities of these women are shown in the novel through the story of Qatrina. She was mercilessly killed by being stoned to death. On the other hand, one of the soldiers in the Russian Army subjected Zameen to rape, who was the daughter of Qatrina. Through these horrendous stories, a typical Afghani society is witnessed in this chapter. It further helps in analysing the norms and traditions against women in both their parental and maternal homes. The major questions addressed in this part of the study are the causes, whys, wherefores, and means of mistreatment of Afghan women. The horrendous attitude of the Taliban and the Afghan men is highlighted. They believe in taming women according to their extremist views. This can be seen when Qatrina was being stoned to death in front of a huge crowd. A microphone was placed near her, so her shrieks could be heard everywhere. This was done supposedly to inculcate fear in people, presumably women, to be mindful of their actions and deeds. In this chapter, these laws, retributions, and complications are thoroughly discussed with the reference to various statistics and surveys of recent years. Further, this chapter explores the negative role of Islamic clerics who influence people in the name of religion.

The third chapter of this study is “A Comparative Analysis of Pak-Afghan Females Subalternity” which focuses on the terrible fate of the female characters in the aforementioned novels. The chapter starts with exploring the geographical layout of Pakistan and Afghanistan. It eventually takes history in the account especially the event of 9/11 to explain the changes in the relationship between the two countries, from open trade to wiring the border, that is, from the friendly to soar. Then, the political conditions and structure in both countries are discussed separately. In this way, the major difference between Pakistan and Afghanistan is highlighted. Moreover, constructive arguments are established regarding the reasons behind the marginalization and demotion of women. These arguments are supported by statistics and findings from various reports. Factors like lack of education, rigid and conservative religious conventions, war, and dreadful law are mentioned and elaborated as the causes of banishment of women from attaining their rights. These are then compared in context of Pakistan and Afghanistan respectively to understand the extent of female subalterned in both the countries respectively. For example, women in Pakistan receive much more quality education whereas in Afghanistan young girls are actually debarred from attending any level of school. There have been far more instances of girls' schools being attacked in Afghanistan as compared to Pakistan. A hefty comparison between the law and order situation has also been made in this part of the study. Afghanistan has remained a war-torn country since ages and its considerable effects have been felt by Pakistan, especially in the province of KPK. Further, in the chapter other issues faced by women in these countries have been highlighted, like gender discrimination in the workplace and conventional expectations of fulfilling particular roles. References are again made to the female characters of the aforementioned novels. Overall, it is established in this chapter that in Pakistan women generally face discrimination that demoralizes them mentally or psychologically. However, in Afghanistan women are met with much more terrible fates due to physical reprimands, almost all the time resulting in death.

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