Subject: Re: Khuda Ki Basti

An important thing about any good novel is that it is a snapshot of the times during which it is written. That is why Umrao Jan Ada is such a great novel. It is an accurate depiction of decadence of the society of Avadh and Lukhnow of 19th century. That is why Yadon Ki Baraat is such a great book. Through his memoirs, Josh MaleehAbadi not only tells the story of his eventful life, but also describes the historic and social aspects of lives of Pathans who settled around Lukhnow in 18th and 19th centuries.

Once we accept the fact that a good novel is a mirror of society in which it is set,  then it becomes clear that Khuda Ki Bastee shows the society of early years of Pakistan. A society which has enough forces of good, but these forces get defeated by the forces of evil. 
The book is of Orwellian prophetic nature. It is an eye opener/ reminder to all of those who remember the 'good old days' of early Pakistan. 
When I read this novel about three years ago (for the first time- on insistence of a friend--I had never watched any of the TV serials), I was flabbergasted at the clarity with which Shaukat Siddiqui portrayed the social evils prevalent in our society. The novel got published in the late 50s. He must have worked on it for at least a few years. 

Characters like Niaz, Khan Bahadur, pick pockets, the crazy professor, sweet talking office boss and the creator of 'Skylark' movement can be seen in our society even now. When I see people like Amir Liaqat Hussain, Altaf Hussain, Malik Riaz, Zulfiqar Mirza, Asif Zardari, Mian sahibaan, Maulana Fazl ur Rehman...I can not help but think that these characters were seen and portrayed clearly by Shaukat Siddiqui. 
Such characters have always been there amongst us.
 How do these forces get beaten? How does good prevail over evil? Why do academically brilliant people like Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Dr Abdus Salam get ridiculed and hounded out and average college lads or drop outs like Mian Nawaz Sharif and  Asif Zardaris of this world get to be our 'constitutionally elected' prime ministers and presidents? 

I fully agree with you that 'Khuda ki Bastee' ought to be made a part of curriculum in Pakistan. May be when people realise how they have been exploited and how by not doing anything about these forces of evil, they are actually being complicit in their evil designs. They ought to see through characters like Khan Bahadur and realise that by building a show piece mosque, they are actually helping the forces against whom Holy Prophet MPBUH fought all his life. They ought to realise that forces that kill a philanthropist like Hakeem Saeed are their real enemies. They need to understand that people who promote sectarianism and religious bigotry by their policies of hatred would eventually kill the root of civilisation. They need to understand that the 'darkest places in hell are reserved for people who maintain their neutrality during times of moral crises'.