Basti by. Intizar Husain. general information | review summaries | our review Urdu title: بستى; Translated and with a Translator’s Note by Frances W. The central figure is Zakir, and the novel begins in his childhood, in the. This item:Basti (New York Review Books Classics) by Intizar Husain Paperback “Intizar Husain is the most important writer of fiction in Urdu, the strangely. In Urdu, basti means any space, from the most intimate to the most universal, translator notes at the close of the novel, Intizar Husain’s Basti is an imperfect.
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Translation of celebrated Urdu novel Basti reveals search for a homeland
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Basti is the great Pakistani novel, a beautifully written, brilliantly inventive reckoning with the violent history of a country whose turbulence, ambitions, and uncertainties increasingly huain the whole world. In Urdu, basti means any space, from the most intimate urru the most universal, in which groups inyizar people come together to try to live together, and the universal Basti is the great Pakistani novel, a beautifully written, brilliantly inventive reckoning with the violent history of a country husainn turbulence, ambitions, and uncertainties increasingly concern the whole world.
In Urdu, basti means any space, from the most intimate to the most universal, in which groups of people come together to try to live together, and the universal question at the heart of the book is how to constitute a common world. What brings people together? What tears them apart?
But Zakir is abruptly evicted from this paradise—real or imagined—into the maelstrom of history. The new country of Hrdu is born, separating urduu once and for all from the woman he loves, and jntizar a jagged and jarring sequence of scenes we witness a nation and a psyche torn into existence only to be torn apart again and again by political, religious, economic, linguistic, personal, and sexual conflicts—in effect, a world of loneliness.
The characters wait husaib a sign that minds krdu hearts may still meet. In the meantime, the dazzling artistry of Basti itself gives us reason to hope against hope. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Bastiplease sign up. This question contains spoilers… view spoiler [i want summary of this book hide spoiler ]. See 1 question about Hovel. Lists with This Book. Sep 30, Zanna rated it really liked it.
My first and last journey with her. We left Vyaspur before dawn, but when the lorry reached Bulandshahr it was already afternoon As we crossed over the Ganges on the bridge, darkness fell. Somehow, at some point, her hand came into mine. From then on I was unconcerned about the dust and ruts in the road, and about when the lorry would arrive in Rupnagar, and even about whether it would arrive at all Isn’t this the truth perfectly, how that half-secret love can swallow your whole self, how some My first and last journey with her.
From then on I was unconcerned urdy the dust and ruts in the road, and about when the lorry would arrive in Rupnagar, and even about whether it would arrive at all Isn’t this the truth perfectly, how that half-secret love can swallow your whole self, how some small touch, even a word, can obliterate time and dissolve every thought in your head What I loved about this book was, above all, its tenderness.
Like other borderland literature, Basti renders lines drawn on a map as an emotional urdk that blurs them. Here you will not find a history that steps from event to event explaining the cause and effect of each. We hysain hear news, only that the beloved one reads it, or that it is discussed by friends in the cafe I don’t mean that politics or history are sidestepped – rather the opposite, we are inside them in a way that makes it impossible to look down on the situation from above.
Finally some coherence returns when he hears from his friend Surendar in Delhi about Sabirah the one he loves. Yar, how strange it is that the same town becomes for one of its inhabitants, who has left the country, more meaningful than husaih, so that he dreams about it; while for another inhabitant all its meaning disappears, so that even though [s]he’s in the same country, [s]he never feels any desire to see the town again The town where he and Sabirah lived as children is deeply important to Zakir, but Intziar, who jn in India while her family left, feels differently.
Here I feel not only the loss of the beloved place, but the loss he feels in that discontinuity with huasin, that something precious to him has been thrown away If Rupnagar appears idyllic in his memory, then Lahore by implication, never mentioned appears nightmarish in a time of war, but tenderness makes it home: I can do nothing else for this city, but I can pray, and I do pray.
In my mind is a prayer for Rupnagar and its people as well, for I can no longer imagine Rupnagar apart from this city. Rupnagar and this city have merged together inside me, and become one town. Inside Zakir, the bovel world can begin to be repaired It seems to me that Hussein is refusing to partition his own self by drawing on Hindu and Buddhist sources as well as the Quran and Iranian poets. When the slogan “Crush India” appears on taxis it is startling, because we have not left India in spirit, the movement, the crossing, is from a child’s paradise to adult sorrow and loss But love is the bridge; friendship ignores religious differences and nation-state boundaries entirely.
Love dissolves the border like chalk-pictures erased by rain. Love is primary in Basti and everything flows from it, even when it is only a shadow of a memory of a touch View all 5 comments.
Sep 02, Tony rated it liked it Shelves: Farrell, skewers the British, but except for two characters kept in a cage, he doesn’t really personalize the native Indians. This, Bastiseemed a logical next step. Intizar Husain was born in British-administered India and migrated to Pakistan in He bssti through the Partition and the following war. This novel, to the extent it is historical, is about that time.
Yet, there are remembrances toa bell-tolling; both a banner and a scar.
And let us not forget Jallianwala Bagh, a park, inwhere a crowd of nonviolent nationalist demonstrators were ufdu in a walled garden and repeatedly fired upon by soldiers under a British general, leaving hundreds dead. Zakir – the ‘he’ of this novel – keeps going to the garden. He makes friends with hsuain trees. Zakir’s father gives Zakir some keys. They are the keys to their house in India. None of them will go back there. Son, these are the keys to a house to which you no longer have any right And then he dies.
But I don’t want to talk about the book, not really. I want to talk about me See, there are a few things I know a great deal about, or pretend I do. I know who lied. I know huxain was weak. I know it so well that when I read a book about a family outing, I can tell they are really talking about the outset of war, even if, you know, they are not. And whether I’m right or not, the symbolic burp is casual and ingizar.
But I don’t have that with the Partition.
Basti – Intizar Husain
I don’t really know who the good guys and the bad guys are. Husain doesn’t tell us either, at least not by teams, just individuals. Young men who enter the Shiraz, drink your tea, and act tough, then change sides.
So I read this as an American. I intizwr this as a pacifist, and an isolationist, though I suspect the latter is foolish. I read this as someone whose understanding of that moment in time is limited. I read this as someone who thinks you need look no further than religion and colonialism to see why, today, the world is set to explode. And I read this because a character in The Siege of Krishnapur said, “you have to be very careful thrashing a Hindu, George, because they have very weak chests and you can kill them So much the better, because that signals a start.
Yet, so much resonated; Without any sense of boredom he read so many posters with the same message, and so many two-word slogans written in English on car bumpers, on car windows. He felt he was not reading slogans, but walking on flies.
I am walking on flies. View all 15 comments. Mar 12, Nicholas During rated it really liked it. This book reads like a creation myth, and when it’s the creation of the state of Pakistan, you’d better pay some attention, and be prepared to get a bit depressed.
Though actually this is beautiful book, filled with lyrical memories of exploration in time, place, and faith. Loaded with Manicheist imagery of father vs. Often the characters don’t know who they are, especially the protagonist Zakir, or where they are, or when they are, as they spin through the history of Pakistan and India and all across the subcontinent. Entering into the myriad myths that have created their current culture, though, as anyone who reads the newspapers know, not without its negative effects.
But it isn’t just a loose mythic and mystic I’m stealing from the back copy here introduction to a complex history and culture. It is also a very clear, very real invocation of living in a war-torn city, Lahore in to be exact, to be in a place that alternates between the shouts and shots on the streets to the quiet nights of curfew and black-out.
Where each morning the city you’ve live is unrecognizable. Where you radical communist friends became Islamists seemingly overnight or after a visit to the US and the only escape is in memory and in the past. And yes, it does have a Proustian feel to it, as Zakir continually returns to his hometown and hometown friends, an ideal India where religions and people freely mixed and one could quote the Koran and the Ramchandar-ji in the same sentence, and no one would blink an eye.
If you are interested in South Asian history, and South Asian literary, this book is a must read. It’s wonderfully written, moving but dense, and I at least left it with a deeper sympathy, I hope understanding, for the travails of a large and important place and all the people over the generations who have lived there.
Oct 23, Sorayya Khan rated it it was amazing.