Centre for Research on Computer Supported Learning and Cognition (CoCo)
The University of Sydney, Australia
Adhe Adhoore Khawab, a novel by Dr. Shahid Siddiqui is not merely a book of fiction for me. The fiction skilfully intertwined with the real issues of society. If we see around us, we may find characters resembling Prof. Saharan Roy and Imtisal Agha, the two main character of the novel. The writer has beautifully portrayed the character of Prof. Saharan Roy with multiple layers of roles. He is apparently a teacher but not just a teacher. He is a guide, a friend, a revolutionary and a problem solver for the humanity. He is adored by his friends, his colleagues, his students and by any one who has the feeling of compassion and kindness for the helpless people. He was considered by the ruling establishment as a threat that must come to an end. He was arrested and tortured until breathed his last in the jail. But even his death could not stop his message which in the form of his dreams are shared and owned by his students.
Prof Roy is a guide, a friend, a revolutionary and a problem solver for the humanity.
Imtisal Agha’s, an informal student of Saharan Roy, shares the dreams of equality, freedom, and social justice. She like, Prof Roy, believes that education is the way to realise the ideals of social justice, equality, and freedom in any society. She also believes that this journey is full of difficulties and challenges. She opts to become a teacher in her village to realized the dreams of a society free of social injustice and oppression. This is a story of resistance linked with the lives of Prof Roy and Imtisal Agha who believe in resistance and change.
I read this novel almost two years ago in when I used to teach in a university in Pakistan. Now that I wanted to write these few lines, sitting in my apartment room in Australia, I thought I might have forgotten everything. But when I started writing about it, everything became so clear in my mind as if I had read it only yesterday. I could see Prof Roy teaching in his class, discussing with his students, having his mock birthday in the hostel, participating in rallies, having intellectual debates with Imtisal, and experiencing torture in the jail. I could see Imtisal Agha meeting Prof Roy for the first time in the TV lounge, having long discussions with him, buying books with him, meeting with Prof Roy for the last time in jail, hearing the news of her mentor, and finally making a bold decision of becoming a teacher in her village. This shows the deep impact of the novel on my mind. I’ll always cherish the experience of reading this novel.
In my previous articles on these pages I have been writing about various resistance movements against the British Raj in India. These movements varied in nature, scope, and dynamics. One such resistance movement was initiated by the Japanese government in collaboration with the Indian Independence League (IIL) and the Indian National Army (INA).
In my previous articles on these pages I referred to several movements of resistance against the British Empire in India. These movements were generally initiated by local emperors, peasants, employees, religious leaders, and ordinary citizens in different parts of India.
One important centre of resistance was the frontier areas, where a number of resistance movements were initiated by different spiritual leaders who motivated their followers to challenge the British imperialism.
New edition of my novel Aadhe Adhoore Khawab is published by National Book Foundation and is now available in all cities in National Book Foundation outlets.
Dr. Shahid Siddiqui’s novel Adhey Adhoore Khawab is a deftly documented tale of unrelenting determination to stand firm in the face of all trouble and shape the circumstances according to one’s conviction for the betterment of society. Siddiqui has intricately woven politics, education, and human relationships in a novel about optimism in a visibly depressing epoch. It’s a spell binding read that enables you to revitalize your strength in the midst of darkness to go ahead and play your part in bringing about change in the society.
The novel is engrossing, soothing, agonizing and amazingly inspirational.