Informations and abstract
Keywords: partition literature, spatial theory, Pakistani anglophone novel
The paper proposes a reading of Sorayya Khan’s novel Five Queen’s Road as a way of interrogating how Partition literature represents the territorialisation of Pakistan and India and the consequent manifold reshaping of conceived and perceived spaces that took place in public as well as private domains from August 1947. The discussion places the novel within the context of Pakistani Anglophone literature that has developed since the beginning of the new millennium and has emerged as a critical space where socio-political issues relevant to the Pakistani community are dealt with. It argues that the literature written in English by Pakistani authors provides a platform for the development of narratives that reveal the complex and multi-layered nature of the nation, thus opposing monolithic portrayals of Pakistani society. More specifically, the study considers the novel’s depiction of the redefinition of Muslim-Hindu relationships after Partition and the author’s representation of the characters’ role in re-configuring the places they inhabit, resisting imposed definitions of spaces in post-partition Pakistan. The analysis examines how the characters relate to the spaces of the home they inhabit, as well as of the city they live in, and focuses on the Hindu protagonist who decides to stay in Lahore, thus rejecting the new interpretation of spaces that appears to be imposed on him by others. The study maintains that by developing a story centred on the resistance opposed by a Hindu who refuses to leave Pakistan the author opposes a nationalist narrative that portrays Hindus as the sole perpetrators of violence during Partition and voices their right to live in the country as citizens enjoying equal rights.