Exploring History-Fiction Interface And The Idea Of Alternate Political Reality In Mohsin Hamid’s Novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist

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Manzoor Ahmad Bhat & Dr. Nipun Kalia


The writings on Pakistan or the Muslim world especially in the post 9/11 scenario have generally tended to be monolithic, orientalising and self-righteous. Such narratives often indulge in the fallacy of simplistic and patronizing descriptions that create a sort of racial, cultural and religious divide. This ignores many integral aspects of Pakistani or Muslim political, social and cultural life, which are as diverse and heterogeneous as any other culture. The interest in the Muslim world has grown manifold in the post 9/11 world that we inhabit and with growing Islamophobia and the claims of   so-called clash of civilisations. There is an ever more need to intervene and critically engage with these questions in a scholarly framework. This proposed research  entitled “ Exploring History-Fiction interface and the idea of Alternate Political Reality in Mohsin Hamid’s novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist” focuses on Mohsin Hamid’s much acclaimed novel written about varied themes but more specifically about the situation of his country and the so-called Third World’s relationship with the West, thereby touching issues of identity, race, belonging, immigration, class, stereotypes borne out of media profiling, Empire, Neo-colonialism etal. This novel in general deals with various themes like political issues, Fundamentalism, dangers of Capitalism and Nationalism. It also deals with the post 9/11 stereotyping of Muslims and the gap between the East and the West, identity crises or rootlessness. Mohsin Hamid through this novel wants to present a clear picture of Muslims that are otherwise considered as terrorists in the eyes of the West, when Changez in the novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, says, “Do not be frightened by my beard, I am a lover of America”.

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