Muneeza Shamsie on Pakistaniaat and My Book

I find it apt to include here the kind words that Muneeza Shamsie, renowned Pakistani writer and critic,  wrote about Pakistaniaat and about my book in her annual bibliography of Pakistan-related works. You can find the whole article at the website of the Journal of Commonwelath Literature.

Shamsie on Constructing Pakistan:

Constructing Pakistan: Foundational Texts and the Rise of Muslim National Identity (1857–1947) by Masood Ashraf Raja studies the ways in which pre-Partition literary texts in Urdu created transgeographic narratives of Muslim unity which contributed to the idea of Pakistan. He asserts that the growth of Muslim nationalism and concepts of Muslim exceptionalism were political and “a question of survival” (xvi) amid major political changes in the post-Mutiny era. He re-interprets the writings of Ghalib and Sir Syed Ahmed Khan as a means of negotiating an equitable relationship between the British Raj and the Indian Muslims (not one of patronage). He discusses the new movement in Urdu literary criticism pioneered by Azad and Hali and the reformist message in the fiction of Nazir Ahmed, who advocated Anglicization while neo-traditionals such as Shibli Nomani and Akbar Allahbadi searched for answers in Muslim history and pan-Islamism instead. Raja goes on to compare Iqbal and his modern, egalitarian universalist interpretation of Islam with Maulana Mawdudi’s concepts of an Islamic state governed by shariah.

Shamsie on Pakistaniaat: A Journal of Pakistan Studies:

Pakistaniaat: A Journal of Pakistan Studies, edited by Masood Raja at the University of [North] Texas, is an immensely important addition to Pakistan Studies. The journal is a peer-reviewed multi-disciplinary academic journal with online and print editions; its many literature-related writings include critical articles, reviews, bibliography and a much-needed platform for new poetry, fiction and translations by writers of Pakistani origin.

Shamsie on Pakistaniaat’s Special Issue on 1971 War, edited by Cara Cilano:

Cilano guest-edited the “Special Issue on 1971 Indo-Pakistan War” of Pakistaniaat: Journal of Pakistan Studies which has five essays that look at the national and international dimensions of the conflict. These include Philip Oldenberg’s discussion of the four different phases of the 1971 war including Kissinger’s visit to Peking; Luke A. Nichter and Richard A. Moss’s examination of the memoirs and policies of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger and Mavra Farooq’s analysis of the relationship between Pakistan and China in 1971.


My personal gratitude and thanks from the entire staff of Pakistaniaat to Muneeza Shamsie for including us amongst the best of Pakistan-related works.



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