“I have multiple identities. I’m British. I’m Pakistani. I’m Muslim. I’m a writer. I’m a father. And each identity has rich overtones. So I must be careful to look at your identity, and that of others, in the same way.” – Ziauddin Sardar
When we talk of philosophers of the present era, Ziauddin Sardar sits on the highest pedestal because of his polyvalent personality. Ziauddin Sardar is a British-Pakistani scholar, cultural critic, public speaker, intellectual of high repute. He was born in Dipalpur, Pakistan, in 1970. He received education both in Pakistan and England. He specializes mainly in Science but he carries within him the myriads of talents that have earned him the appellation of a polymath.
He has written books on every subject: be it religion, science, cultural studies, mathematics. His books, like Critical Muslim: Beauty in Islam (2019), Muhammad: All that Matters (2013), Future: All that Matters (2012), Islam beyond the Violent Jihadis (2016), Orientalism (1999), Postmodernism and the other: New Imperialism of Western Culture (1997), Why do people hate America (1977), American Dream: Global Nightmare (2004) are some of his seminal works which have enlightened readers with new knowledge and concepts. Apart from writing books on every subject, Sardar has delivered enlightening lecturers in almost every nook and corner of the world.
Sardar is living the life of an adventure scholar. His knowledge of all things is thorough and comprehensive. He brings home concepts in a very easy way. He prioritises less complex concepts over the more complex ones. He has written much about the identity of an individual. He writes that identity of a person is complex. Identity, he says, is not monolithic and static but multi-layered and ever-changing. Sardar is a strong supporter of ‘multiculturalism’ and tries to bolster it in every which way. His standpoint is that ‘multiculturalism’ makes possible a transfer of power and clout to non-western cultures and helps these cultures to speak for themselves.
Apart from writing on ideas like ‘identity and multiculturalism’, he has propounded many novel concepts, like Transmodernity, Postnormal Times, etc. With these novel concepts and ideas he has deconstructed the perception of people with regard to Postmodernism and so-called Contemporary Normal Times. Post-Normal Times (PNT) is the most challenging and philosophical concept given by Sardar. He candidly advocates that coeval times have become ‘Postnormal’ and we are living in ‘Postnormal Times.’ Our age, he says, is characterized by uncertainties, ignorance, risks, infobesity (information over-load) which are very difficult to control. In a sentence, he means to say that we are living in an age in which we have no control over the rapidity of the events that are very distant from what we call “normal”.
Transmodernity, the other seminal and novel concept given by Sardar, is all the more philosophically engaging and enlightening. The term was actually used by the Spanish philosopher and feminist Rosa Maria but Sardar expatiated on the concept in a very thorough manner. According to Sardar, Transmodernity is the transfer of modernity and postmodernism from the edge of chaos to a new order of society.
In conclusion, it can be said with certainty that Ziauddin Sardar is a polymath in the true sense of the term.
The writer is a research scholar at the Department of English, AMU. He has qualified UGC-NET and JKSET for Assistant Professorship. He can be mailed at: [email protected]