The South Asian Wanderer: A Literary Evolution of the Orient


Recent times have witnessed the reemergence of the popular notion of the oriental, though now dyed in a singular Arabesque hue due to the sociopolitical and theological nature of the present ‘East’ and ‘West’. This paper however, aims to revisit Edward Said’s interpretation of the notion and to highlight the oriental as a South Asian wanderer by exploring the literary evolution of the archetype through a series of Pakistani literature written in English; though most notably through Taufiq Rafat’s play, Foothold. As one of the newfound pioneers of the Pakistani idiom, Rafat’s works will be used as the focal point of the persona that becomes the basis of the character often found between the pages of Pakistani literary works of today. This paper will also take into account Rafat’s contemporaries and how their work influenced the development of the archetype post-partition and where it potentially stands now. Following an interdisciplinary approach, I shall discuss the eternal adventurer that travels from narrative to narrative, one that is auspicious to modifications under the ‘proper’ conditions that is elucidated through contemporary Pakistani literature written in English. This shall be done through a study of the oriental as proposed by Edward Said and later elucidated by Lisa Lau in her book Re-Orientalism and South Asian Identity Politics: The oriental Other within. Moreover, the study of the archetype and its due evolutionary aspect through the ages and through different literary mediums will also be considered through Albert I Tauber’s stance idea of the ‘immune self’.

Author Information
Saira Salman, Information Technology University of the Punjab, Pakistan

Paper Information
Conference: ACAH2018
Stream: Literature/Literary Studies

This paper is part of the ACAH2018 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon