Book Review: Chronicling Progressive Movement in a peculiar style
By: Dr. Reyaz Tauhidi Kashmiri
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 is due to this Progressive Movement, social issues and topics made a place in Urdu literature never seen before. The basic premise of the Movement was that the literature should be the mirror of society at it should always depict the issues of a society and a common man that too in a simple language. But it also talked about the importance of literariness of the art and literature.
There are many books available on the Progressive Movement, both in Urdu as well as English. And recently JNU scholar Dr Ashraf Lone has come up with a new book on the most important movement of Urdu literature. It is pertinent to mention here that before this book, Dr. Ashraf Lone has already written two books, one on the same movement and the other on the legendary 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), Dr. 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 including 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 the class conflict in society and which is a result of the feudal and capitalist system. Dr Lone has meticulously discussed the aspect of Marxism in the first chapter of the book. He has discussed the economic, political and social aspects of Marxism. Also, the views of various Marxist and non-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.
“Classes are mostly formed on the condition of economic background. This difference or dependence has a materialistic base.”
Class conflict is considered 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 to hurdles in the formation of a just and peaceful society. The class conflict has been the major theme of Urdu short story right from the times of Prem Chand and Ashraf Lone has discussed the class conflict in Prem Chand’s short story which include his most important and famous stories “Kafan” and “ Poos Ki Raat” through caste as class conflict angle.
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 which is appreciable. 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 addition.
The reviewer is an eminent Urdu short story writer and critic and also Lecturer Urdu , Deptt of
Title of the Book: 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
Reviewer: Dr. Reyaz Tauhidi Kashmiri