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This study struggles to find out the postmodern themes that are related to psychology in Pakistan. For this purpose a novel Sifar Se Aik Tak is selected which is based on the themes of postmodernism and postmodernity and is analyzed with Foucaulidian discourse analysis. Different themes were extracted from the novel. Some of the major themes include Identity Construction and Identity Transcendence from Traditional to Modern and then from Modern to Postmodern identity, Changes in the patterns of Socialization, Gender Role Construction and its transcendence from Traditional to Modern and the Postmodern. Some alternate discourses includes the role of language and changes within it and social critique which strengthens our major discourses.
Key Words: Sifar Se Aik Tak, Foucaldian discourse analysis, Postmodernism
1.1A Brief History
Postmodernism cannot be defined in one line or sentence. it started back when FriedrichNietzsche claimed that God is dead, and is continuing since now. Various philosophers and thinkers tried to explain different perspectives of it. I will try to cover all perspectives. To do so, we have to dive in history. West divides its history in three stages, ancient or old, modern and postmodern. The time before 14th century is referred to as old or ancient. In this era, religion was ruling the world. There was no room for any sort of new knowledge or theory, any new theory was measured on the basis of religion and thus negated. No scientific knowledge was being produced at that time. Scientists like Galileo were hanged only because the new scientific fact which they brought up, contradicted religion. It was time of frustration and regression for thinkers and public as they only have to think on the patterns made by religion. After renaissance, the shift in traditions, culture, education and every other aspect of life came, there came more focus on objectivity and objective truth and knowledge, hence this period of time is called modernity. This shift was basically a result of the regressed frustration created in the old era. Modernism focused on objective truth. It rejected the blind folded faith in religion and started asking question. The curious minds of that time started formulating new theories, new scientific inventions. Identity was considered equal and same for all human beings. Focus on the logical interpretation became so intense that anything which cannot be logically justified was negated and not even considered worth discussing. The cultural, sociological and psychological differences among humans were put aside only as they were not logical enough to be considered. In short this era is the era of enlightenment and logic. Then came a time, when thinkers started to question modernity, its logic and all its value. The term postmodernism was first used by an English painter John Watkins Chapman in 1870. Then this term was coined by Federico de onis in 1934 against the use of difficult words and experience in poetry. In modern thought, literature and philosophy were interpreted on basis of logic and objectivity. Knowledge became objective and other than objective reality or truth, all became useless. This started to shorten the breathing space of a creative or thinking mind. Modernism started playing the same role of Godly Judge which religion was playing in the past. It became the reason of the rise of postmodern era.
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The 1960s were the true beginning of the postmodern era. The decade brought forth audacious critiques of the modern worldview, attacks on all belief systems. Strange new ideas about such matters as consciousness and sanity and objective truth entered the public dialogue... The [I 960~1 revolutionaries challenged the entire modern worldview. -Anderson (7 990, pp. 44-48)
Only the one who claims to have a simple, definite, and clear-cut identity has an identity problem. -Gergen (1991, p. 155)
Postmodernism rejected the concept of objective truth and objective reality on whole. It focuses on subjectivity and subjective truth or reality. Though some philosophers consider it a mere extension of modernism, but it changes the whole scenario. The identity, which became all the same for all human beings, suddenly started searching its roots in culture, economy, society and ancestors.
The turn to a theory and politics of difference following the critique of identity politics presupposed notions of a “postmodern” condition decentering and destabilizing identity. In fact, the long discussion of identity issues has come to be framed by a growing distinction between the modern and the postmodern. The behaviors which became sheer results of different actions, are now studied culturally, sociologically, gender wise etc. This change does not come in one night; it was a whole long process which lays its grounds on decades. –Dunn (1998, p. 51)
1.2 Indigenizing Postmodernism
Indigenizing postmodernism is quite a difficult phenomena. To do so, we have to take help from history. Before the arrival of East India company, subcontinent was divided into many states which were ruled by Nawabs and Rajas. These Nawabs and Rajas were the political heads of those states and were answerable to the King of subcontinent. Before the arrival of Islam in subcontinent, it was a place where Hindus were at majority. The political system at that time was at its failure. Rajas and Nawabs at tha time used to manipulate it for their own good. Class system was at its peak. Public was suppressed till hunger to fulfil the needs of Rajas and Nawabs. In 712, Muhammad Bin Qasim arrived here and Islam was spread here. It claimed to be a peaceful religion so majority started following Islam. Class system did not end at all but basic human rights were being fulfilled. The arrival of Mughals in subcontinent was a blessing at that time. The needs of people started fulfilling and art and literature started grooming. Then came the British. They ended the King system of ruling subcontinent and introduced their own system (which is still prevailing here in somehow modified form). They changed the Raja and Nawab systems and divided the prevailing states into many small states. To every state, they appointed their favored Rajas, thus divided a big power source into many which made it easy to control. They also introduced their culture, their identity, their norms and ethics into subcontinent. The people here, who were first in the confusion about their identity that whether they were Hindu or Muslim, or they were same and equal even after accepting Islam, got no idea and started accepting this colonial effect. This made the confusing state worse and after British left Hindustan divided, the condition worsened. The effects of post colonialism never came up as topic of discussion at that time as there were more important problems at hand at that time to solve. With the formation of Pakistan in 1947, till now, as nation we have not understood the post colonial effects of our identity, culture, society etc. we are confused about our identity that either we name our casts, we name our religion, we name our culture, we name our provinces, we name as Hindustanis or we name as ourselves. In late 70s the effects of modernism started coming here. We, again, just followed them like blind person without any sort of questioning. This continues till 90s, when modernism came at its peak here. There was technological revolution, suddenly the focus of education become science, people started to name their identity on basis of logic etc. as we were just the “victims” of after effects of modernism, we were not able to understand it completely and then we were flushed towards postmodernism. Now if I say that we live in postmodern era of post colonialism, it cannot be described as wrong. The focus on subjective reality these days, the subjective truth and subjective interpretation of any phenomena claims our identity to be postmodern.
1.3 Mirza Athar Baig
Mirza Athar Baig was born on March 7, 1950. He was associated with the department of philosophy in Government College University of major part of his life. He was just not a simple philosophy teacher but his areas of interests also includes physics, literature, space science etc. These versatile interest leads to the production of many creative works of art which include dramas, short stories, and novels. Daldal, Hisaar and Khwab, Tamasha and Nashaib were his famous plays which were on aired on nation television. His first novel Ghulam Bagh (The Garden of Slaves) was published in 2006 and hit the academic and literary circles like a bomb. The major theme of this novel, beside many other themes, was postcolonial dilemma in our society. His second novel Sifar Se Aik Tak (From Zero to One) was published in 2010. This novel covers the vast topic of our present confusing postmodern condition. His third novel Hassan Ki Soorat-e-Haal (The Condition Of Hassan) is just published in 2014.
1.4Sifar Se Aik Tak (From Zero to One)
Sifar Se Aik Tak (From Zero to One) was the second novel of Mirza Athar Baig. Its first edition was published in 2010. The name of this novel depicts the binary language/ code system used in computer programming. The novel explains the indigenize condition of post modernity via its characters. Zaki, one of the main characters in Sifar Se Aik Tak (From Zero to One), is
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