Education, Development, and Change
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Friday, March 23, 2012

Aadhy Adhoory khawab: A Stirring Social Critique

Rabia Khan
 “Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” Gloria Steinem

Dr.Siddiqui’s shared dreams as intimate sanctum of his soul warn about the present and foretell a promising future and instigate the co-believers who become the ardent believer of the societal transformation. As we know, through literature, human ideologies, philosophies, and emotions are expressed in such a way as they pour out of a writer’s pen become a rainbow, projecting multifarious political, ethical, moral, social, educational and historical colors of the societal trends, on the horizon of literary representation. “Aadhy  Adhooray khwab” is a thought -provoking   and path- breaking novel dispersing all these colors through some parched dreams that are going to prove the seedlings of a quenched reality because these are the dreams through which according to the writer ideals  are going to be achieved.

“Aadhy  Adhooray khwab” is a thought -provoking   and path- breaking novel dispersing all these colors through some parched dreams that are going to prove the seedlings of a quenched reality because these are the dreams through which according to the writer ideals  are going to be achieved.
 During reading this novel, the most appellant aspect for me was that the novel does not rely upon artificial ideological approach rather it is embedded in a system of reference from the actual society that is hard hit by man who in the age of neo-liberalism has turned into selfish, competitive animal and his inhumanity is increasing apparent in the blighted landscape of social injustice and educational backwardness. The novel deals with the present social issues and draws our attention to the troubling aspects of contemporary society.
The writer with his sharp observation, deep thinking, civilized and artful use of language blends didacticism with estheticism in a unique way and gives a philosophy of life through the mouthpiece of the protagonist, Professor Roy. The purpose of existence according to him is not merely to make a living but to enable the society (of which Imtisal agha is a representative) to live more amply with new visualization and with finer spirit of hope for a positive change. In the novel, Professor Roy  and Imtisal agha, having a mentor-mentee relationship spread the brightness of their souls and  fragrance of their wishful longings into the literary drawing rooms.

 The novel is to be appreciated on the following grounds:
Firstly, the novelty of thematic conception makes this novel unique one. The writer has embedded oft-used old themes into the newer ones,   i.e. education, politics, justice, coercion, gender discrimination, love, social change and agitation, etc, in a refined way. As reader we come across a new vision and know how education can prove to be a catalyst for change in the society. The protagonist in the novel stands against the status-quo and strives for a future that is little more than a perpetuation of the present. The novel is a critique of educational practices that make relished thing, like learning, a boring and unexciting.  As the author is a renowned educationist himself and has experienced the drawbacks of our educational system provides new vistas to the existing teaching-learning processes. Education can bring the disjointed strata of society together as Imtisaal agha comes closer to Professor Roy due to some shared and common dreams and  she tells professor:

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 Roy 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.”

Secondly, another exciting feature is the provocation for love of a certain ideology. Only ideologies can bring a change in the society, that (either big or small) is constant in any progressive society and inevitable for its development. If the whole social system remains immobile and static, the facelift of society and its healthy image will be marred. Education with its multifaceted, hierarchical and dynamic objectives is the fountainhead of social change. It is therefore indispensable in the concern of the society to improve educational facilities. This ideology was given by professor to his students. As he tells Imtisaal:

Khawab aur nazreiy ki muhabat sab sy ar’fah muhabat hy jo hamein baqi tam’am muhabaton sy be-nayaz kar deti hy, ya yon samjho keh phir is khawab aur nazreiy sy wabasta sab logon sy muhabat ho jati hy. Muhabat qurbani mangati hy. Kabhi maal ki, kabhi martaby ki, kabhi jan ki.

Thirdly, the novel is an apt documentation of political and judicial scenario of 2008 that has been projected through the lawyers’ movement where the civil society and lawyers are seen raising hue and crying against the injustice and facing the constant tribulations. Professor is also sent behind the bars for the same action. The writers’ patriotism and regard for the supremacy of constitution and institutions gets reflected through this part of the novel. Professor Saharan besides teaching also takes part in political activities and participates in the lawyers’ movement and finally dies voicing in the favor of human rights. This novel stirrers our attention towards how education can be helpful in creating a civil society where students, teachers and all the members of society participate to create good governance. At the end of the novel, professor ceases to be but through his students he is everywhere because now he is in their minds and hearts in the form of dreams to be fulfilled.
Fourthly, mildly tinted romanticism enhances the beauty of the novel. The writer enlightens us about the purest motivational force of love and perceives it as the key to success in any industry, from the classroom to the boardroom. According to him Life, through unconditional love, is a wondrous adventure that excites the very core of our being and lights our path with delight. Love ignites such a luster that brightens the very soul of the humans and empowers them to do certain actions for the cause of it. The following lines, extracted from the novel, represent his philosophy of love:

“Muhabat apny aap ko mit’any ki khawahish ka naam hay. Ham muhabat ky ma’bad main dakhil hotey hain to apna tajruba, apna martaba, aur apni ana us ki dehleez par rakh jaty hain.”

“Assal mein muhabat ki nahi jati, ho jati hay.”
“Muhabat kay subak jazby ki tarha jo khawahishon, khawabon aur nazriyon kay jalo main hamary rag-o-pay mein utar jata hay
Aur jab tak hamein us ki mojoodgi ka ehsas hota hay
Woh hamary jism-o-jan mein door tak phaill chukka hota hay.
Phir bahir ki ruton ka kaisa he ulat pher ho
Andar ka mosam amar  ho jata hay.”
 Fifthly, another remarkable feature of the novel is the use of poetic prose that is creative and fascinating. For example read the following lines:
“Aasmaan se barf narm, be awaaz gaalon ki surat zameen me jazb ho rahi thi.

While reading this novel, one can read fine thoughts and beautiful imageries. For example:

“Is mein koi peshgi mansoba bandi nahi hoti. Aap kay iradey ka dakhal nahi hota aur jab muhabat ho jati hay to apni rah khud bna leti hay, pahardi jharny ki tarah.” 

During his class discussions, Professor talks about the characteristics of a good teacher by using the metaphor of a cake. As the cake comprises of layers, so is a creative teacher, where the first layer consists of subject as well as pedagogical knowledge; the second layer as the teaching tactics; and the third one is the passion with which a teacher delivers his knowledge to his students. In other words it is the 3 H of teaching: the Head, the Hand and the Heart and I was pleased to observe that many teacher-trainers exploited this theory of him in their lectures that is a healthy sign of acceptability.
Professors Roy asks his students to draw flowers on a piece of paper and metaphorically tells the differences between individuals through the variety of flowers.

Sixthly, the plot of the novel has a logical sequence .The novel does not have only a single narrative plot rather it is crafted in the form of the spiritual and intellectual journey of the main characters. It is divided into several short chapters so that readers may not get bored or disinterested. The plot of this novel revolves around Professor Saharan Roy who is a proficient, compassionate and gentle professor and as an expert educationist understands the character traits and behaviors of his students. Education does not totally depend upon formal structured system of education rather it can be promoted in a number of informal ways that is mirrored throughout the novel by professor. Because of his unusual teaching approach, he is very much admired by his formal and informal students. Among them is Imtisal Aga who comes to the city from a countryside area and accidentally meets professor Roy. Imtisal’s character grips our attention from the beginning due to her innovative and inquisitive nature .She wants to explore all the possibilities of radical change and wants to improve her own lot and that of her village that according to Aristotle is the pivot of the civilization. In the end of the novel, she goes back to her village and starts teaching to the deprived children that is a small beginning towards a bigger change.

Seventhly, the splendor of the novel is in its simple and understandable diction. The writer’s audience is not the only the highly intellectual sect of the society rather he speaks to every common man in his own colloquial language to convey message of change and revolution that is why he deliberately and meticulously uses simple language.

Eighthly, dramatic situations capture our attention at different places. The meeting between Imtisal and Professor Roy as plotted by “The Celestine Prophecy”, is highly dramatic. They come closer, due to a shared vision and philosophical unanimity, in a deserted hostel where there are only three inhabitants of whom two are they. At another place writer uses the same technique to create a link between the beginning and the ending of the novel through the fate of Heathcliff, a character from a novel, Wuthering Heights, that Imtisal is shown reading in the beginning. Professor in the end shares the same fate when he is exposed to the turbulent situations. Lastly, Imtisal lives with the remembrance of Professor and his preaching, strives to fulfill his dreams and tells her students about him in a dramatic way.

Ninthly, the writer has a philosophical bent of mind that grabs the attention at different places in the novel. The following lines are highly prolific, terse, thought provoking, attention seeking and reflect the critically creative aptitude of the writer:
“Khawahish apna raasta khud taraashti hai
Manzil apni raah ko khud janam deti hai
Aur tabeer apna khawab khud chunti hai”
“Ba’az auqat raston aur manzilon ka koi tal’uq nahi hota.”
"mohabbat qurbani mangti ha, kabhi maal ki, kabhi martabay ki, kabi jaan ki." “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.”
Being a highly innovative, this novel in future can prove a foundation stone for the new trends in Urdu novel writing. This novel is a food for thought for educationists, students, activists, reformists, planners and literature lovers. In the novel are embedded the dreams of the young generation who are the agent, source and believer of societal transformation. May Allah give the strength to the celebrated and emerging writers to share the voice of Dr.Siddiqui. Ameen!