Education, Development, and Change
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Adhe adhoore Khawab: A Review by Sonia Farooq

Sonia Farooq
Lecturer, Department of English, International Islamic University

Adhe Adhoore Khawab, is a dazzling critique of educational practices in Pakistan.  It distinguishes itself from contemporary Urdu fiction in terms of its content, diction, and style.  The story is about the journey of a devote teacher, Saharan Roy, who is selfless and gallant and puts his heart and soul to see his dreams fulfilled. His dreams are the dreams of those many individuals of our society who comprehend the potential of our youth and take a stand against the injustices of society. The story is an inspiration to young teachers to bring a change not only in society but in them by trusting in a critical and creative approach. The dreams of this man who realizes his responsibility as a teacher, friend, guide and reformer are bright but would lose their shine if not fulfilled and all he can foresee is darkness of life in the world of hollow men.
The story is an inspiration to young teachers to bring a change not only in society but in them by trusting in a critical and creative approach.
The novel proves to be a fine attack on dehumanizing aspects in education. Mechanization of education is one important thought behind the story and the struggle of Professor Ray stirs up the intellectuals and those related to educational and other social institutions to move towards an educational and social change and reform.
Since the need for pedagogical strategies for the development of creativity and critical consciousness are important themes of the story, the novel is incredible in pointing out the “perfect dead skeleton” that is the true emblem of our society. Arousing the dead skeleton and bringing it to its real perfection is the aim of the novel. So the novel turns out to be a critique on degradation of creativity in our educational system and it alerts the reader about the commodification and dreadful conditions of our educational institutions. The writer has skillfully given the example of teaching by explaining the art of pottery. It suggests creative thinking as a way to bring a change in our existing teaching methods by grooming our classroom through creative approach keeping in mind our cultural and socio-economic constraints.

The story of a much-loved teacher is devotedly narrated by his students Tassavur who had been taught by him and Imtisaal Agha who knew him from others before she actually met him. The story also focuses on the beautiful bond of a teacher and a student which our present society fails to develop while the professor thinks,
 “Yeh rishtay bhi kese rishtay hen. Jahan humkhayali, mohabbat, aqeedat aur dosti ki bunyaad banti hai aur manzilon ka ishtaraak humein rafaqat ki lari mein piro deta hai.”

Within the story we find the character of Imtisaal Agha reading Bronte’s Wuthering Heights and the character of Heathcliff sounds different to her. Who had known that a man loved by so many around would become her Heathcliff in life to whom she would be Catherine; an emotional support? This makes the novel a beautiful composition of light romance which is pure at the same time. The saga of emotional attachment of the main characters Saharan Ray and Imtisaal Agha has been woven nicely through snippets of little incidents of relatively short time. “The Celestine Prophecy” that has brought the two characters together is marvelously presented in the story unlike most contemporary works of literature where artificiality, glamour and extravagance of appearance and passions are highlighted.
The imagery of darkness and then footsteps of Imtisaal are very emblematic and meaningful for she is the one who is meant to break the darkness and dead silence all around through her self confidence. She who understands the unjust social stratification of society and the deep relationship between ideology and education can change the hearts and minds of those who are in a state of oblivion and disenchanted with life as in one of her discussions with Prof. Roy she says:

“Mujhe bhi taleem ke critical pehlu se dilchaspi hai. Ek esi taleem jo neutral aur passive na ho balkay mua’shray ke dil mein dharak rahi ho.”
Professor Rai then says, “Taleem aur ideology ka aapas mein gehra ta’luq ha. Taleem ek qaum ko sula bhi sakti hai aur bedaar bhi ker skti hai. Ye mua’shray ki samaaji aur mua’shi tafreeq ko berha bhi skti hai aur kum kernay mein mua’ven bhi saabit ho skti hai.”
Thus, the novel raises issues for all those educationalists and members of the young generation who are being manipulated by ideology.

The fast pace of the novel forms a contrast with the calm mood of the main characters. The calm and pleasant tone of Professor Roy is beautifully present throughout the novel. The contrast is strikingly meaningful and echoes Emily Dickenson’s Because I Could Not Stop for Death as the protagonist has “promises to keep” before he goes to sleep. The colours and ideas are skillfully woven on the fabric of the story. The story is also a reminder to those individuals who in a rush of mechanic life have brought decline to the beautiful realities of life. This brings into my memory Leisure by Davies read long ago. He reflects this quandary as:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

Colours and passions blended beautifully in this small piece of art weave beautiful and pure thoughts. This blend of imagery from the nature is magnificent. The relationship of ingredients of nature i.e. rain, wind, hillocks, mountains, greenery, streams, pastures, snow, flowers etc. with the soul of human being is skillfully pictured in the form of feelings and moods of the characters.
“Barishon ki awaz ki apni mosiqee hai jo apnay zor se ghatti berhti dil kay taaron ko chairty hai”.
This blend wonderfully integrates thought and realization which develops a kind of self confidence in the reader as s/he moves forward

“Khawahish apna raasta khud taraashti hai
Manzil apni raah ko khud janam deti hai
Aur tabeer apna khawab khud chunti hai”

Similarly the dialogues are deep and wrap up the readers into thinking; 
“Aasmaan se barf narm, be awaaz gaalon ki surat zameen me jazb ho rahi thi.
Mohabbat ke subuk jazbay ki tarhan jo khawhishon, khawabon aur nazarion ke jalo mein
hamaray rag o pae me utar jata hai
aur jab tak humein uski maujudgi ka ehsaas hota hai
Wo hamaray jism o jaan mein dur tak phael chuka hota hai.
Phir bahr ki ruton ka kesa he ulat phair ho
Andar ka mausam amr ho jata ha.”

So as a person related to modern and post-modern studies I am pleased to find the novel standing on its own merits. The novel is highly recommended for those who regret the shallowness and depthlessness in the works of arts and care for the betterment of themselves and society. Therefore, this story is not intended to satisfy the appetite of audience addicted to commercialized texts of mass entertainment because one of the most important features of the novel is that unlike contemporary Pakistani fiction this novel does not promote commodification of life and consumption of brands and use of any tag to define one’s social identity. The title Aadhay Adooray Khawab is also very significant that half of the dreams needed to be combined with the dreams of others and they are incomplete for dreams of others will get along with it and a beautiful galaxy of dreams will be there and each one will be sharing his with others. It will be a chain, a constellation of beautiful dreams that our next generation would be hoped to accomplish.

The reader might initially need to struggle with the social and political concepts but then they are so beautifully and simply discussed that the reader develops more interest in the book. The character of professor Roy is beautifully developed through the memories of his students and readers will learn a lot from the novel. The language is simple and as much cotemporary as it can be which gives the story a lively hit. The author has satisfactorily concluded the book as Roy shares his dreams with Imtisaal who is hoped to take them on. Thus the writer has maintained the element of hope by sharing his dreams with so many Imtisaal Aghas of our generation who will play their roles in the story by reading it and will take these dreams and fulfill them.

Title: Aadhay Adhooray Khawab
Author: Shahid Siddiqui
Publication: Jahangir Books, Lahore
Date: 2010
No. of Pages: 176


  1. Very rightly commented Sonia, being the teachers we need to play our part by taking these dreams and own them and strive for their realization!

  2. This movie leaves many questions unanswered. Is it a criticism of our legal system or is it an attempt to reopen an old case. Nevertheless, it is a good biopic and Rajkumar Yadav really deserves praise for his fine acting skills.