Monday, Aug 08, 2022
Outlook.com
Book Review

Time’s Bitterest Jokes

In an inspection of identity, influences and civilisational pull, Sardar reclaims ‘desi-ness’ for the Pakistani, craving a new binding of old unifiers

Time’s Bitterest Jokes
Time’s Bitterest Jokes
outlookindia.com
2019-01-11T10:41:25+05:30

For the Greeks, nostalgia meant a mix of sweet and bitter pangs that humans suffer in search of their roots and identities. From what was once considered a ret­urn of pain or some sort of sickness, relived nostalgic moments are now said to improve mood, increase self-esteem, strengthen social bonds and imbue life with meaning. It does so for Ziauddin Sardar, as moments of reckoning through sights, scents, and sounds of the lived past reveal his true self as a ‘desi’, an identity sans ethnic lineage and national boundaries. Why should my identity be limited to a mere seventy years and a vaguely samosa-shaped area on the world map? As a compassionate critical thinker and an accomplished author, Sardar traces his identity in the macrocosm of culture and civilisation beyond the body politic of the nation-state called Pakistan.

Ways of Being Desi pieces together those aspects of history and culture that have either faded from peoples’ imagination or lie marginalised in the percepts of territorial identity. Such an identity has cast an unmistakable imprint on people’s minds, shattering their self-est­eem to the point that they don’t find any­thing true and authentic within their own country. Nothing could be worse for a heterogeneous population than a lack of belief in self and the country, the psychological underpinnings of which red­uce the sense of belonging to a cari­catured symbolism of political identity. It is the diasporic sense of separation and loss that is beautifully refl­ected in the rich anecdotal narrative.

Outlook Newsletters

Read More from Outlook

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

In happy times and sad, Habba Khatun’s sensuous songs make both young and old emotional. With the never-ending conflict bringing tragedies to every doorstep, Habba’s lyrics of separation amplify their mourning.

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

In India, only those relationships between a man and a woman are considered to be legitimate when there is a marriage between the two.

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Virat Kohli, 33, had recently stepped down as India's T20I captain and was subsequently removed as the ODI captain.

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

A Mahila Congress leader, who is the face of the ‘Ladki Hoon, Lad Sakti Hoon’ campaign, however, has accused the party of anti-women bias after she was denied a ticket.