Education, Development, and Change
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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Adhe Adhoore Khawab

Review by Muhammad Shaban Rafi
There has always been a crucial knot between novelists and social reformers. The novelists trigger reforms through their powerful ideas embedded with empirical findings which reflect their life time experience. But unfortunately a majority of them are selling their minds to Hollywood and Bollywood productions which aim to do business. However, the societies always grow with the efforts of a very few writers who create a stir in the life of disappointed people who always curse the system being part of the system. Dr Siddiqui is one of those writers who have devoted his life to bring social reforms through education. He ventures to address these challenges in his recent Urdu novel Adhe Adhoore Khawab, that deals with the themes of education, justice, politics, inequality, coercion of state and passion. He draws our attention to the fact that Pakistan needs people with critical thinking who can confront the growing challenges of intolerance, hatred, and bigotry in the country.
Professor Fateh Muhammad Malik, a renowned Urdu critic considers this novel as “a trend setter in Urdu literature”. Asif Farrukhi, a famous short story writer, views the novel as a blend of “scholarship and literature where a social scientist has derived his narrative from his own experience.”
Adhe Adhoore Khawab is a captivating description of changing landscapes and exposure to multiple narrative styles. Professor Saharan Rae, the protagonist in the novel, is a university professor. He is an unassuming person but a competent and committed professional who is popular among his students for his enthusiasm, commitment, and passion for teaching. He believes that education can be used to bring change in the lives of individuals and society. His charismatic personality influences a number of his students. Among them is Imtisal Agha who is not a direct student of Prof. Roy but has heard a lot about him and meets him accidentally. Imtisal Agha, who is passionate about social change and justice shares her dreams with Prof Roy. The story takes a sharp turn when Prof Roy gets arrested as a result of his active role in the movement for the restoration of judiciary. The author has managed to tighten the screw of suspense almost without our being aware it is happening, and the result is a tale of enormous tension. It is an exciting story that is set against the back drop of the lawyers’ movement in Pakistan and discusses the crucial linkage of education, justice, and social equality.
The diction of the novel is simple but interspersed with images that bestow extra layers of meanings and interpretations. At times the prose touches the boundaries of poetry that enhances the impact of communication. Following lines of chapter two are such example of poetic prose.
Khahish apna rasta khud tarashti hay.
Manzal apni rah khud janam deti hay.
Aur ta'beer apna khuwab khud chunti hay.
The novel persuades its readers to put themselves in the shoe of Prof Rae who is portrayed as a role model in this novel. Prof Rae believes that a teacher is like a three layered cake. Its first layer is knowledge and second is pedagogy. The third layer is icing on the cake. This icing in case of a teacher is affective part of the personality hat includes emotions and feelings. Drawing an analogy from pottery book, he says a teacher is a precedent of potter who pursuits three laws to make a carafe. The first law is of mind, a good potter draws a skeleton of the carafe in his head. The second law is of hand which is crucial to give the right shape to the moving carafe. With this ‘a perfect dead skeleton becomes ready’. The third law, the law of Love brings life into it. Similarly, a teacher’s love and dedication for his/her profession infuses life into teaching and learning process.
Education does not end with delivery of contents in the four walls of a classroom rather it synchronizes with the socio-economic and political life of the countrymen. Prof Rae proves that a teacher is a harbinger of change in the main stream of socio-political disequilibrium. He takes part in the lawyers’ movement and bears the hardships of imprisonment and torture. Eventually, he renders his life for the restoration of independent judiciary.
The novel endorses the teachers to replace the old cycle of transmission pedagogy with critical thinking pedagogy to bring socio-political change in the society. The empirical findings reflect that the teachers subconsciously provide the pedagogy of answers to the learners. Eventually, the teachers deny the learners the opportunities and the rights to question, and the learners are abandoned to reason and reflect higher order thoughts. Although powerfully advocated by the scholars, among many such voices, critical thinking still does not seem to have an explicit role in education. However, the novel Adhe Adhoore Khawab marks the beginning of practical critical pedagogy debate among education planners. Book: Adhe Adhoore Khawab

Book: Adhe Adhoore Khawab
Author: Shahid Siddiqui
Publisher: Jahangir Books, Lahore
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