Faith and Feminism in Pakistan
Religous Agency or Secular Autonomy?
by Afiya S. Zia
Rs. 1195 Rs.1015
Are secular aims, politics, and sensibilities impossible, undesirable and impracticable for Muslims and Islamic states? Should Muslim women be exempted from feminist attempts at liberation from patriarchy and its various expressions under Islamic laws and customs? Considerable literature on the entanglements of Islam and secularism has been produced in the post-9/11 decade and a large proportion of it deals with the “Woman Question”. Many commentators critique “the secular” and “Western feminism,” and the racialising backlash that accompanied the occupation of Muslim countries during the “War on Terror” military campaign launched by the U.S. government after the September 11 attacks in 2001. Implicit in many of these critical works is the suggestion that it is Western secular feminism that is the motivating driver and permanent collaborator – along with other feminists, secularists and human rights activists in Muslim countries – that sustains the West’s actual and metaphorical “war on Islam and Muslims.” Faith and Feminism addresses this post-9/11 critical trope and its implications for women’s movements in Muslim contexts. The relevance of secular feminist activism is illustrated with reference to some of the nation-wide, working-class women’s movements that have surged throughout Pakistan under religious militancy: polio vaccinators, health workers, politicians, peasants and artists have been directly targeted, even assassinated, for their service and commitment to liberal ideals. Afiya Zia contends that Muslim women’s piety is no threat against the dominant political patriarchy, but their secular autonomy promises transformative changes for the population at large, and thereby effectively challenges Muslim male dominance.
Publisher: Folio Books
Publishing date: May 2018
Rights: South Asia
Availability: In Stock
by Faraz Talat
Rs. 395 | $ 05.00
A diabetic microbiologist turns 73 in a world that rejects the elderly, denying them healthcare in accordance with the draconian ‘Second Chance’ laws set in place after the Great Pandemic. When an opportunity arises to challenge this rule, her brother does whatever he must to make sure she lives to see her next birthday.
“A post pandemic story written way before the pandemic. A haunting little book about second chances, last days and human relations that survive the unsurvivable.”
Mohammed Hanif, author of A Case of Exploding Mangoes
“Any culture’s science fiction is its dream of what its future could be. Now we live in a global culture, and Faraz Talat’s Seventy Four shoots right to the heart of all our current fears and hopes. It’s an intense experience, poignant and memorable.”
Kim Stan Robinson, author of Blue Mars
“Scientists become saviors in times of plague, but their attempts to exert control over pathogens and politics go awry in Faraz Talat’s science fiction novella Seventy Four. Razia Ntikoladze, eminent scientist and Pakistani emigree, is locked in a race against a deadly new contagion and her own mortality; before she can save the world, she has to escape the colloquium’s merciless eugenics project. A daringly brilliant literary experiment which pits humanity against its own worst enemy—itself.”
Bina Shah, author of Before She Sleeps
by Bacha Khan
Translated from the original Pukhto by Imtiaz Ahmad Sahibzada
Affectionately known as ‘Bacha’ Khan or ‘King’ Khan amongst his people, Ghaﬀar Khan’s life was dedicated to the social reform of the Pukhtuns, who traditionally adhere to a strict code of life, ‘Pukhtunwali’, governed by rather rigid tribal norms. His life-long struggle to modernise Pukhtun society and his decades-long non-violent defiance, adopted by his Khudai Khidmatgar (Servants of God) party during the struggle for independence against the British, have earned him a stature that few other anti-colonial leaders in the Sub-continent can match. Few are aware that the Khudai Khidmatgar lost the greatest number of workers compared to any other party that was part of the anti-colonial movement.
An increasing consciousness amongst the Pukhtuns against oppression and war, in Pakistan and Afghanistan, has led to a resurgence of the teachings of Bacha Khan. His powerful political weapon of non-violence, his emphasis on including women in all walks of life, his belief in religious tolerance and his legacy of speaking truth to power, are, today, values that bear increasing relevance to the people of a much-troubled region.
“Bacha Khan’s message of the power of peaceful protest for liberty, equality and justice changed our culture and customs forever and inspires me every day in my activism for girls’ education and women’s empowerment.”
-Malala Yousafzai, Youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate
“As a student activist, what struck me the most about working with Bacha Khan was the strength of his compassion and his disarming humility. He would insist on walking long distances even in old age to reach the marginalised to help them or to at least express solidarity with them. The publication of English translation of his Pakhto autobiography is coming out at a time when younger generations are rediscovering Bacha Khan’s life and struggle.”
-Afrasiab Khattak, Former Provincial President of Awami National Party, former senator, writer and analyst of regional affairs.
“This compelling story is more relevant now than ever. Bacha Khan’s tireless struggle against oppression and division was non-violent and uncompromising, principled and creative. Readers will be enthralled and inspired.”
-Mukulika Banerjee, Author of The Pathan Unarmed, 2001.
“The life story of a man of peace and non-violence, born amidst mayhem and conflict across the Sub-continent, still carries a powerful message in the turbulent times we live in. The autobiography of Bacha Khan in English, for the first time in a lucid translation from the original Pakhto by Imtiaz Ahmad Sahizada, is a landmark publication. The history of modern South Asia has been incomplete without a better understanding of how and why the fierce Pashtun tribes embraced the Gandhian ideology of non-violent defiance. My Life and Struggle introduces a new and younger generation to the tribulations of the Pashtuns.”
-Ahmed Rashid, Author of Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan and Afghanistan, 2012.
Publisher: Folio Books
Weight in kg: 0.900
Publishing date: February 06, 2021
Rights: Pakistan and Afghanistan
A 21st Century Perspective
by Bilal Zahoor and Raza Rumi
This book brings together the leading contemporary currents of thought from a galaxy of established scholars and intellectuals of Pakistan. It is a monumental contribution to the national debate on a series of crises and lingering issues that need attention of the stakeholders all around.
The book covers three major areas of investigation into public life in the country. One, it delves into the historical, sociological and cultural causes of various political conflicts, ranging from the negative role of the educational curricula for national harmony to cultural violence and persistent militarism to the curse of enforced disappearances. There are highly analytical contributions that define the conflict-resolution nexus. Two, the book is a source of inspiration on the liberal agenda of creating a scientific frame of mind, setting the feminist debate in a global context, challenging the shrinking space for media and focusing on the largely forgotten area of industrial relations. Readers will find ample issue orientation in the analysis and policy orientation in the deliberations. Three, the book enters a domain of hope, planning for a bright future and focusing on some longer-term issues couched in comprehensive new approaches to development, environment, energy, foreign policy and feminism.
The scope of the book is amazingly wide, the analysis is rich with conceptual references and empirical finding, and the scholarly idiom is comprehensible for both the articulate section of the population and the scholarly community.
“Rethinking Pakistan brings together some of the best minds of the country and invites them to reflect upon the most pressing issues that it is facing in all spheres – including politics, external relations, environment, human rights, gender relations, religious fundamentalism, education, freedom of expression … It is a most valuable collection that is highly accessible to everyone.”
– Christophe Jaffrelot, Professor, Sciences Po; Author, The Pakistan Paradox
“This book brings together the leading contemporary currents of thought from a galaxy of established scholars and intellectuals of Pakistan. It is a monumental contribution to the national debate on a series of crises and lingering issues that need attention of the stakeholders all around. The book covers three major areas of investigation into public life of the country. One, it delves into the historical, sociological and cultural causes of various political conflicts, ranging from the negative role of the educational curricula for national harmony to cultural violence and persistent militarism to the curse of enforced disappearances. There are highly analytical contributions that define the conflict-resolution nexus. Two, the book is a source of inspiration on the liberal agenda of creating a scientific frame of mind, setting the feminist debate in a global context, challenging the shrinking space for media and focusing on the largely forgotten area of industrial relations. One finds ample issue-orientation in the analysis and policy-orientation in the deliberations. Three, we enter a domain of hope, planning for a bright future and focusing on some longer-term issues couched in comprehensive new approaches to development, environment, energy, foreign policy and feminism. The scope of the book is amazingly wide, the analysis is rich with conceptual references and empirical findings, and the scholarly idiom is comprehensible for both the articulate section of the population and the scholarly community per se.”
– Mohammad Waseem, Professor, LUMS; Author, Politics and the State in Pakistan
“Each of the essays depicts Pakistan’s current social, political and economic challenges with analysis that makes this publication one of the few credible works on Pakistan available in recent times. The contributors are some of the most respected experts in the field on which they have expounded their thoughts, laying bare the malaise that have stunted social progress, democratic development and economic stability in the country. The essays also show a way forward making this a must-read for all generations of Pakistanis who wish to understand and contribute to the elimination of existing threats to peace, security and respect for human rights.”
– Hina Jilani, Advocate, Supreme Court of Pakistan; Co-founder, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
“Rethinking Pakistan is a wide-ranging analytical dissection of the Pakistani polity and offers a well-meaning, progressive prescription for present-day Pakistan, stitched together by an eclectic list of experts spanning diverse backgrounds and subjects. From energy self-sufficiency and scientific development to freedom of the press and the essential question of the dominance of the military over civilian affairs, this compendium offers a suitable guide for anyone who seeks to understand the striking mix of contemporary and historic challenges faced by Pakistan in the twenty-first century. A must-read on Pakistan’s contemporary realities and future prospects.”
– Shashi Tharoor, Ex-Foreign Minister, India; Author, An Era of Darkness
“The book sets up an unfamiliar but authentic diagnostic mosaic of Pakistan that the state prefers ignoring. It collects and presents the genius that Pakistan sets aside, stretched out on its ideological bed of repeated blunders. What emerges is an intensely original view from the marginalised intellect the world recognises as Pakistan’s survival kit.”
– Khaled Ahmed, Consulting Editor, Newsweek Pakistan; Author, Pakistan: The State in Crisis
Publisher: Folio Books
Division: Folio Course Books
Publishing date: February 2019
Availability: In Stock
People have disagreed since time immemorial. They have argued or agreed to disagree, or eventually arrived at agreement. All that is part of life, of living. But we live in times when any form of dissent in India is marked as anti-Indian, suggesting that the very concept of dissent has been imported into India from the West. It is an argument made by those who visualize the Indian past as free of blemishes and therefore not requiring dissenting opinions. But as Romila Thapar explores in this timely historical essay, dissent has a long history in the subcontinent, even if its forms have evolved or changed through the centuries.
Thapar looks at the articulation of dissent, focusing on nonviolent forms, which is so essential to all societies, and relates it to various moments of time and in varying contexts as part of the Indian historical experience. Beginning with Vedic times, she takes us from the second to the first millennium BC, to the emergence of groups that were jointly called the Shramanas—the Jainas, Buddhists and Ajivikas. Going forward in time, she explores the views of some Bhakti sants and others of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries AD, and brings us to a major moment of dissent that helped to establish a free and democratic India— Mahatma Gandhi’s satyagraha.
In her argument, Thapar emphasizes how religion has always reflected social change, and ends with the eventual politicization of religion in the present.
She also highlights the public response to particular forms of dissent. She places in context the recent peaceful protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens in places like Shaheen Bagh, Delhi. Implicit in this is the question of whether or not the idiom of religion is necessary. According to her, dissent in our time must be audible, distinct, opposed to injustice and supportive of democratic rights. The articulation of dissent and debate through dialogue is what makes of it a movement that changes society for the better.
Written by one of India’s best-known public intellectuals, Voices of Dissent has immense relevance. It is essential reading for anyone who contemplates not only the Indian past but also the direction in which society and the nation are headed.
ROMILA THAPAR is Emeritus Professor of History at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She has been General President of the Indian History Congress. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and holds honorary doctorates from Universities of Calcutta, Oxford and Chicago, among others. She is an Honorary Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, and SOAS, London. In 2008 she was awarded the prestigious Kluge Prize of the Library of Congress, USA.
Publisher: Folio Books
Release date: July 14, 2021
Availability: In Stock