An insight into political, social strife in Pakistan.

LAHORE -- Moderating the ThinkFest session, where 'Struggle for Hegemony in Pakistan' -- a book by Asim Sajjad Akhtar -- who now teaches at the Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, was launched, Sarah Eleazar, an anthropologist from the University of Texas at Austin, USA, said the work should be translated into Urdu to have a wider readership locally.

She says though the book didn't offer a solution to the Pakistani crises, it poses questions; who is the revolutionary subject of our times? How do we map politics of the Left, she asks, and what would the political terrain be like in the backdrop of aspirations of the middle class that believes that the present electoral model can lift the people out of poverty. She sees such mindset behind the rise of Imran Khan. Asim's book, Ms Eleazar says, provokes us to do better, desire better and organise better.

Afiya Zia, the author of Fate of Feminism in Pakistan, from the Wesleyan University, US, says many Pakistani authors are writing books that are mainly meant for donors from the West and they talk about resilience of Pakistan, ignoring the local contradictions. Such books, she says, are mostly politically neutral or just criticise, army, the West or the USA. Those writing such flat narratives just secure their connections in the upper class intelligentsia, she asserts.

Asim's book, she says, is different as he has not only presented ideological analysis of the evolution of the middle class in Pakistan but he has also indulged in critical, theoretical engagement, especially the critique of post-colonial theory.

Ms Zia says the feminists like her had been labelled 'enlightenment puppets' 'allergic to religion' etc for criticising post-colonial, postmodern theorists for their preference to culture and religion over class...

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