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"Pulp Fictions": READING PAKISTANI DOMESTICITY

"Pulp Fictions": READING PAKISTANI DOMESTICITY Kamran Asdar Ali The above passage is from an Urdu short story by Intezar Hussein.1 The story narrates the changes within the domestic sphere in Indian Muslim households. Hussein gives us a sense of how religious reform, expanding educational opportunities for both genders, and colonial modernization in the first quarter of the twentieth century undermined and challenged the more traditional aspects of middle-class Muslim life in North India. The community’s anxiety over a woman’s name being exposed to strangers is echoed in depictions of households from other parts of the Muslim world. For example, Assia Djebar, in her book Fantasia, similarly shows how her female relatives in colonial Algeria were scandalized when a postcard sent by her father arrived specifically addressed to her mother. Hence the postcard, letter, or magazine subscription to a woman in the family became a metaphor for modernity, the public and the outside penetrating Muslim moral boundaries and domestic ethos. In this article I seek to understand the process of this change within the social context of contemporary Pakistani domestic space. I use examples from Urdu fiction in popular women’s magazines in order to comprehend how middle- and lower-middle-class literate women articulate notions of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Social Text Duke University Press

"Pulp Fictions": READING PAKISTANI DOMESTICITY

Social Text , Volume 22 (1 78) – Mar 1, 2004

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2004 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0164-2472
eISSN
1527-1951
DOI
10.1215/01642472-22-1_78-123
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Kamran Asdar Ali The above passage is from an Urdu short story by Intezar Hussein.1 The story narrates the changes within the domestic sphere in Indian Muslim households. Hussein gives us a sense of how religious reform, expanding educational opportunities for both genders, and colonial modernization in the first quarter of the twentieth century undermined and challenged the more traditional aspects of middle-class Muslim life in North India. The community’s anxiety over a woman’s name being exposed to strangers is echoed in depictions of households from other parts of the Muslim world. For example, Assia Djebar, in her book Fantasia, similarly shows how her female relatives in colonial Algeria were scandalized when a postcard sent by her father arrived specifically addressed to her mother. Hence the postcard, letter, or magazine subscription to a woman in the family became a metaphor for modernity, the public and the outside penetrating Muslim moral boundaries and domestic ethos. In this article I seek to understand the process of this change within the social context of contemporary Pakistani domestic space. I use examples from Urdu fiction in popular women’s magazines in order to comprehend how middle- and lower-middle-class literate women articulate notions of

Journal

Social TextDuke University Press

Published: Mar 1, 2004

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