Education, Development, and Change
Email Dr. Shahid Siddiqui

Thursday, June 30, 2011

My reflections on 'Adhe Adhoore Khawab'

Fida Bibi
 Head Teacher, 
Government Primary School, 
Gilgit Baltistan
Dr. Shahid Siddiqui is an educationist and author of, Rethinking English in Pakistan.  Adhe Adhoore Khawab is his Urdu novel which I found unique because of its themes, treatment, and simple style. The novel deals mainly with educational and social change which reflects the writers own desire of bringing about change in people’s mind sets. I can say this as this desire is so evident in his articles, he writes in the national English newspapers.   

I found the novel unique because of its themes, treatment, and simple style.
 In the novel he skillfully tried to discuss a number of social issues.  Some of these issues include equality and equity, justice, education, critical pedagogy, student- teacher relationship, etc.  I found it a unique book and a great achievement in the field of education. This book is written in the way that there are many connections between nature and education. The novel talks about the social class differences that have crept into our education system which is further widening the gaps.  The school where Imtisal opts to teach is a good example of schools where students have desire to learn but are constrained by poverty.
       The novel mentions some interesting books including the Wuthering Heights.  This book is highlighted in the novel with reference to Heathcliff who was a sign of love, revenge and rebellion. I was so inspired that I actually read Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. I have made a list of other books mentioned in the novel which I plan to read.  At places I found this novel autobiographical just like George Eliot’s Mills on the Floss.  In the end I must say that this book is significant addition in Urdu literature dealing with the theme of education. May Allah Bless Dr Shahid to write more novels and books (Aameen)                        

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My favourite quotes of Adhe Adhoore Khawab

Sufia Sultana

Love not only demands sacrifice it teaches how to sacrifice as well.
I cannot recall the exact date and month even, but I do vividly recall that it was late night of an early autumn last year.  I had been arguing with my friend about the ever fresh topic of love. It was during this conversation that she mentioned the novel Adhy Adhoory Khawab by Dr Shahid Siddiqui.  The very next morning I started searching for the book, and it’s the first book I searched so eagerly and read many a times.
I recall that day when I was confined to my room forgetting ht rest of the world.
The story and style of the novel are so powerful that I was spell bound.   It was a fascinating reading experience.  The text was studded with short, pithy sentences full of wisdom.  Here are some of the statements I underlined and would like to share with you.
Zinda rehny ki khawahish ka hamesha koi jawaz hota hy.
(Chapter 9, p: 58)
It is a line that keeps haunting me and I probe inside me…the reason of living….
Ham jeety aur marty un k lye han jin sy muhabat karty han.
Yeh muhabat bhi ajeeb cheez hay.
Kabhi zindagi ka jazba ban jati hay.
Kabhi marg-e-aarzo ka pegham.
(Chapter 9, p: 58)
 If all of us analyse our lives, we really live for those whom we love. Very true lines about love…
Sir Roy ki class mein sona aur bore hona manna tha.
(Chapter 2, p: 18)
The most inspiring protagonist I have ever read about…
Professor Roy ko provoke karney mein maza aata tha.
(Chapter 4, p: 28)
Uchooty khayal , teekhy sawal…
(Chapter 4, p: 28)
After meeting some people, we really have this feeling…
Shayad bohat pehly-
Kisi aur zamanay mein-
Kisi aur janam mein-
(Chapter 8, p: 52)
Some important questions are still unanswered
Muhabat aur udasi-
Khawab aur waswasy-
Tamanna aur nakami-
In ka aapis mein kya jor hay jo hamesha sath sath rehty hain?
(Chapter 10, p: 60)
Everyone of us has gone through these feelings once in our lives:
Kabhi kabhi ham apny aap ko khud sy chupaty hain.
(Chapter 12, p: 73)
Lekin ham sochty kuch han aur hota kuch hay.
(Chapter 12, p: 75)
Kabhi kabhar bulandi bhi be-chargi ka jawaz ban jati hay.
(Chapter 13, p: 78)
Ba’az auqat raston aur manzilon ka koi tal’uq nahi hota.
(Chapter 13, p: 81)
My tragedy…
…muhabat mein judae sab sy bara such hy aur yeh insane ka awwalein aur akhari dukh hy.
(Chapter 21, p: 124)
My beliefs about love…
Muhabat zindagi hy. Muhabat ky beghair koi jazba, koi khawab muk’mal nahi hota. (Chapter 21, p: 124)
Muhabat karobar nahi keh is main mol tol ho. Muhabat main koi mantaq koi reasoning nahi hoti. Aap jis sy muhabat karty hain ussy khush dekhna chahty hain. Apny kisi ama’l ka badla nahi chahtey agar koi aesa chahta hay to muhabat nahi karobar kar raha hay. (Chapter 21, p: 124-125)
Muhabat aik aesa jazba hy jesy beyan nahi kiya ja sakta sirf mehsos kiya ja sakta hy. Muhabat kissi aadarsh, kissi jazbey, kissi nazriay, kissi an-dekhe subh se bhi ki ja sakti hay. (Chapter 21, p: 125)
Muhabat apny aap ko mit’any ki khawahish ka naam hay. Ham muhabat ky ma’bad main dakhil hotey hain to apna tajruba, apna martaba, aur apni ana us ki dehleez par rakh jaty hain.
(Chapter 21, p: 125)
Khawab aur nazreiy ki muhabat sab sy ar’fah muhabat hy jo hamein baqi tam’am muhabaton sy be-nayaz kar deti hy, ya yon samjho keh phir is khawab aur nazreiy sy wabasta sab logon sy muhabat ho jati hy. Muhabat qurbani mangati hy. Kabhi maal ki, kabhi martaby ki, kabhi jan ki. (Chapter 21, p: 126)
Assal mein muhabat ki nahi jati, ho jati hay.
(Chapter 21, p: 126)
Is mein koi peshgi mansoba bandi nahi hoti. Aap kay iradey ka dakhal nahi hota aur jab muhabat ho jati hay to apni rah khud bna leti hay, pahardi jharny ki tarah. 
(Chapter 21, p: 126)
Bohat sy logon ko akhir tak ilm nahi hota keh un sey muhabat ki ja rahi hay. Isi tarah bohat sey log is bat sey be-khabar hotey hain  keh unhain muhabat ho gae hay. Is ka pata unhain tab chalta hay jab dair ho chukki hoti hay. 
(Chapter 21, p: 127)
Muhabat kay subak jazby ki tarha jo khawahishon, khawabon aur nazriyon kay jalo main hamary rag-o-pay mein utar jata hay
If I look back into my life and review my successes and failures, gains and losses, triumphs and setbacks, the result is only one passion altogether on the balance sheet and that’s love. It’s not just the pleasure of recognition; I have gone through the pangs rather while reading the novel. Imtisal and Prof Raey are the dignified selfless characters and their love is an exalted, purified spiritual passion; love of ideology. Their dreams are lofty. Prof Raey believes that love demands sacrifice, love not only demands sacrifice it teaches how to sacrifice as well. When love turns you into a loving being, the objective is achieved.
There is something intriguing about Imtisal’s character.  Though she is inquisitive and sensitive, she tryies to evade love.  Its only towards the end that she realizes that it’s not possible.  Some people think, love is all about curiosity, and it ends when curiosity ends; I don’t believe, as to me inquisitive nature leads to love and love is always there to stay, whether reciprocal or one sided, it keeps aching forever.
Aur jab tak hamein us ki mojoodgi ka ehsas hota hay
Woh hamary jism-o-jan mein door tak phaill chukka hota hay.
Phir bahir ki ruton ka kaisa he ulat pher ho
Andar ka mosam amar  ho jata hay.
(Chapter 30, p: 175-176)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Democracy, diversity, and devolution

Dr Shahid Siddiqui
Pakistan Today, 12 June, 2011
Diversity has always been considered a hazard by imperialist powers as they believed in the positional superiority of their culture. They would consider the colonised and marginalised groups as others who were undeveloped savages. They would like to civilise and develop them by conquering them This melting pot approach denies all kinds of diversities by refuting their legitimacy. Such a monolithic approach erodes individual liberty and identity and leads to a despotic environment.

Why is it important to recognise diversities in a society? It is tantamount to recognising different perspectives and viewpoints. A society may have social, ethnic, political, economic, linguistic, and educational diversities. In a hegemonic setup, these diversities are not only ignored but deliberately stigmatised and excluded from the main discourse. A true democratic system not only recognises diversities but also provides spaces to celebrate them. In Pakistan, we have seen prolonged spans of military rule where one person becomes the source of power and alternative perspectives are snubbed as they are considered to be potential threats to power concentrated in the centre.

To keep the power concentration in the centre, the centre strategically maligns the peripheral identities by dubbing them incompetent and unpatriotic. In Pakistan, we have witnessed this centrist mindset during many regimes. In all the martial law regimes in Pakistan, politicians were perceived by the dictators as corrupt and incompetent. The voices of dissent were suppressed by declaring them traitors and punishing them. One elected Prime Minister, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, was deposed and hanged to death by Zia-ul-Haq on the pretext of a murder case which was no more than a judicial farce. Another, Nawaz Sharif, was deposed, handcuffed, and put in Attock fort in solitary confinement and was later sent into forced exile.

In Pakistan, dictators have exploited the notion of oneness: one religion, and one language. After independence, Bengalis demanded Bangla to be declared as a national language together with Urdu since it was spoken by a majority. Unfortunately, this legitimate demand was denied as it would not go with the ‘oneness’ theory. It was declared that Urdu would be the only national language of the country. Even though there were numerous examples of countries with multiple national languages but the myopic administration did not pay heed to them.

In Pakistan, a powerful centre has either ignored or undermined the role and rights of provinces. The legitimate voices from provinces, especially smaller provinces, were suppressed by using coercive means. A typical response to the popular demand of rights has been that the provinces do not have the financial capacity and human resources to carry out the responsibilities. This perception could have some element of truth but the question is that how can provinces build their capacity if they are not given a chance to run their own affairs.

How can diversity be valued? A clear answer to this question is a true democracy that believes in sharing power with all the stakeholders. Interestingly, in Pakistan, two military dictators announced local governments apparently showing that they were ready to dilute the power of the centre but their political intentions were highly questionable. Thus rhetoric of delegating powers to lower levels happened to be counterproductive in essence.

A serious effort in this regard came in the form of the 18th Amendment that completes the third angle of the triangle: democracy, diversity and devolution. As a result of the Amendment, a number of ministries are to be devolved to the provinces. These rights are coupled with responsibilities, mainly of a financial nature where provinces will have to generate fundings for development projects. This very important juncture came sixty four years after independence where all the major political parties unanimously passed the resolution.

The forces of change are always challenged by the forces of resistance. So is the case with the 18th Amendment where status quo forces are trying to dampen this historical initiative. A major political party has left the membership of implementation committee while PML(Q), which is not very enthusiastic about devolution, managed to get the membership of the commission. The deadline of 30th June, 2011 is fast approaching. A common observation is the lukewarm attitude of the federal government. Similarly provinces, with the exception of KP, are not very enthusiastic. This situation is raising an important concern. Are we going to lose this hard-earned opportunity of devolving powers to provinces? Hopefully, this won’t happen and the hard work of implantation commission will lead to the empowerment of provinces, the ideal way of celebrating diversity.

The writer is Professor & Director of Centre for Humanities and Social Sciences at Lahore School of Economics and author of Rethinking Education in Pakistan. He can be reached at

My Impressions on Adhe Adhoore Khawab

Babar Khan
AKU-PDCN, Gilgit

AdhyAdhooryKhawb by Dr. Shahid Siddiqui is an exceptional novel because of its peculiar content and unique style. The novel covers multiple aspects of life, ranging from personal to professional experience. It discusses love, education, geography of a particular area and peoples’ perception and identity. The characters are wonderfully presented.  Each character typifies a specific perspective but at the same time is beautifully connected with the other characters of the story.  I liked two characters very much, a) Imtisal and Professor Rai. While reading the at times I felt that I know professor Rai and Imtisal for a longer time.  The way professor Rai influenced Imtisal as teacher and as human being is simply amazing.
Each character typifies a specific perspective but at the same time is beautifully connected with the other characters of the story.
            Dr. Siddiqui has skillfully addressed the current situation of teacher educations and institutions where teachers are developed. I have been involved with teachers education  and school improvement programme in Pakistan and while reading the novel, at times, I felt it is not the author, but me who is saying this all. Dr. Siddiqui has presented the voice of teacher educators who are trying to work hard to develop quality teachers. He also reminded the educators and teachers the qualities of teachers and the parameters that need to be considered in the classroom. The novel explained that it is not only the content which teachers need to deliver in the classroom but they also need to explore the critical aspects of education through developing critical thinking skills.
I have read the novel once but I am sure I am going to read it many more times to come.