Politics of Religion in Tehmina Durrani’s Blasphemy
Generally regarded as one of the most influential factors in the human history, religion has frequently been used as a strong political force by the ruling pundits. In the hands of retrogressive elites, religion has often been operated as an aggressive tool to subdue the voices of the common. In the recent political history of the subcontinent, the aforementioned political role of religion can hardly been overemphasized. Made on the rhetoric of Islam, Pakistan has frequently identified herself as Islam ka Qilla (fortress of Islam) since the very inception till date. Such a monolithic approach of religion has substantially shaped the individual and collective socio-political consciousness of people in Pakistan. Driving the country’s contemporary sensitivities, the politics of religion pivots Pakistani society. The contemporary English fiction in Pakistan largely represents the cultural issues, deeply rooted in religion. Tehmina Durrani, one of the most acclaimed Pakistani novelists, frequently writes about the religiosity and the status of women in Pakistan. Setting against this socio-political preference of religion in Pakistani society, it is proposed that Tehmina Durrani’s Blasphemy can be read as a critique of the retrogressive roles of clergy and aristocracy in Pakistan. Highlighting Pakistan’s patriarchal and religious society, it is contended that Blasphemy is a realistic representation of the wretched conditions of women. Investigating the politics of religion in Pakistan’s rural setting, the paper foregrounds Tehmina’s bold stance on issues of women in the harsh social conditions caused by the nexus of retrogressive clergy and oppressive feudal aristocracy.
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