Book Review: The making of the Mirror of Society

Book Review: The making of the Mirror of Society

Taraqqi Pasand Afsana: Muashrati-O-Tabqati Kashmakash (Progressive Short Story: Social and Class Conflict)

Author: Dr Ashraf Lone (JNU, New Delhi)
Publisher: Kitab Mehal, Srinagar

The Progressive Writers’ Movement is without any doubt one of the greatest movements in Urdu literature. The movement’s influence on Urdu literature, especially on Urdu fiction, was paramount. It was due to the Progressive Movement that social issues made a place in Urdu literature. The basic premise of the Movement was that literature should be the mirror of society. It should always raise issues of the common man and woman in a simple language.
There are many books available on the Progressive Movement both in Urdu and English. JNU scholar Dr Ashraf Lone has come up with a new book on this most important movement of Urdu literature. It is pertinent to mention here that before this book, Ashraf Lone has written two books, one on the same movement and the other on one of the famous short story writers of Urdu, Saadat Hassan Manto. He also contributes regularly to various national and international newspapers and online portals.
In his Urdu book titled “Taraqqi Pasand Afsana: Muashrati-O-Tabqati Kashmakash” (Progressive Short Story: Social and Class Conflict), Ashraf Lone has dealt with the short stories in which depiction of class conflict is a major theme. These include the short stories of some of the great writers of Urdu like Prem Chand, Bedi, Krishan Chander, Ismat Chughtai, Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, Sohail Azim Abadi and many others.
The book includes six chapters, and the last three chapters deal with the main theme, i.e., class conflict, in short stories of the above-mentioned writers: class conflict between landlord and farmer, class conflict between workers and owners, and class conflict through the caste angle.
The first chapter deals with the definition of Marxism and the meaning of Class Conflict. Marxism’s basic premise is class conflict in society, which is a result of the feudal and capitalist system. Dr Lone has meticulously discussed the economic, political and social aspects of Marxism. Also, the views of various Marxist thinkers like Karl Marx, Engels, Lenin, Eric Hobsbawm on class conflict have been discussed. During his research, Ashraf Lone has not only consulted the important books of Urdu writers but the books available in English originally written in different languages.
Class conflict is one of the biggest issues human society has faced. Ills of this conflict have caused immense suffering to humans. With its exploitative nature, it has caused many problems and hurdles in the formation of a just and peaceful society. Class conflict has been the major theme of Urdu short story right from the times of Prem Chand, and Ashraf Lone has discussed it in Prem Chand’s famous short stories “Kafan” and “ Poos Ki Raat”.
Dr Ashraf Lone has taken good care of research methodology while writing this book. He has consulted English and Urdu books and some major newspapers, magazines and portals. There are various articles available on this subject but this is the first book on the subject. The book is well-bound and the title/cover page is also beautiful. There are some spelling mistakes that can be corrected in the next edition.

—The writer is Lecturer in Urdu, Department of Education, J&K


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.