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Abstract ... 3
Introduction ... 4
Literature Review ... 8
Comparison between Khushal Khan Khattak and Charles Dickens ... 10
Conclusion ... 13
References ... 14
This research paper tends to seek the comparison and contrast of class-consciousness
between the two great writers of world literature, Khushal Khan Khatak and Charles Dickens.
The former belongs to the seventeenth-century feudal sub-continent of South Asia and latter
comes from the industrialised capitalist Victorian age. They depicted the economic plight,
misery and suffering of the toiling classes in their writings in the different historical ages to
project different visions of human situation. Both the writers in spite of different historical ages,
cultures, literary genres, socio-economic, political and class backgrounds possess one thing in
common, which is the class-consciousness. The comparison and contrast will be conducted in
this research study in terms of Marxist class-analysis of the two authors belonging to the two
different periods of history. Applying the Marxist hermeneutics to the textual analysis of the
texts of the both authors, the present research study tries to introduce new a portrait and re-
evaluation of the personages of the two greatest literary writers in an innovative perspective.
Key Terms: Feudalism, Capitalism, Class-consciousness, Social justice, Economic
Khushal Khan Khattak was one of the greatest poets and prose writers of the world. He
was the warrior, Islamic scholar, philosopher, thinker and poet of the seventeenth century. He
was born in Srai Akora, in 1022 Hijra (1613) in a prominent Pashtoon family of the sub-
continent of south Asia. He mentioned his date of birth in one of his couplets that, "It was 1022
of Hijra when I came to this world." (Rasa, M. S. R., 2001, p.16). Khushal Khan Khattak's
grandfather Malik Akore Khan was the tribal chief of Akora tribe. When he died, his son, Malik
Shahbaz Khan Khattak became the chief of the tribe of the Khattaks. Malik Shahbaz Khan
Khattak was a valiant soldier in the Mughal army who fought many wars against the Yousafzai
tribe and that brave warrior was the father of Khushhal Khan Khattak. He not only fought with
the Yousafzais but also with the Mughal army. He was so famous for his swordsmanship in the
wars that he got the title of swordsman. Khushhal Khan Khattak participated in the war against
Yousafzai tribe when he was only thirteen years old. He was by birth a swordsman and
swordsmanship one of the necessary skills for a chieftain at that time. Shah Jahan, the Mughal
Emperor appointed Khushal Khan Khattak as a tribe chief of the Khattaks.
Khushal Khan Khattak received his early education at home, as it was the tradition of
that time. His father was economically so prosperous that he was on an honourable position in
the Mughal army. Moreover, the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan had granted one of the estates to
his father. Therefore, he could easily afford the expenses of his son's education. However, he
also hired the services of some great and famous scholars of that time to teach his son at home.
We find two honourable names of them through his poetry. One was Maulana Abdul Hakeem
and the other was Awais Multani. Khushhal Khan Khattak wrote some books in Persian
language because it was the court and official language in sub-continent at that time but he
loved to read, write and speak in his mother tongue, Pashto. As he says in one of his couplets
"My position in Persian poetry is that of one commissioned, (but) in Pashto that of a high
priest" (Feroziuddin Begum, Dr. Miss Khadija, 2007, p. 353).
Khushhal Khan Khattak was very
fond of hunting and sword play. In this regard, it seems that he was very interested in hunting
and art of war than getting education. This interest was so intensive in his life that he ignored
all other interests and activities. As he says in the following couplet that,
"All the knowledge of
the world would have been mine/ had I not indulged in the hobby of hunting (Rasa, M. S. R.,
This does not mean that he did not get formal education. He did receive the knowledge
of logic, astronomy, scholastic philosophy, Qur'anic information and the Islamic jurisprudence,
he means to say in the above couplet that if he had not enthusiastically involved in hunting, he
would have gained all other worldly knowledge as well. Kaushal's vast knowledge about life
proves to be true that he was a thorough worldly and spiritual scholar as he wrote many books
on various topics. As for his wonderful contribution to Pashto language and literature concerns,
Khushal Khan Khattak have plausible claim that, "I have a great right over Pushto language,
whether it is poetry, prose, or script. There was neither a book nor writing in it at first; it was I
who authored a few books in it" (Rasa, M. S. R., 2001, p. 75).
Shah Jahan, the Mughal Empire had good terms with Khushal Khan Khattak. He was
one of the great personalities in his good books. However, in 1659, when he became ill, his son
Aurangzeb dethroned him, putting the crown on his own head. Aurangzeb, the new king also
honoured Khushal Khan Khattak like his father and grandfather but some ill-wishers and
jealous people produced misunderstanding between Khushal and the Mughal king. Then, Said
Amir became the chief of Kabul. He issued orders to Abdur Rahim, the Governor of Peshawar,
to arrest Khushal Khan Khattak. Therefore, he arrested and sent him to Dehli. He was kept two
and half years in the fort of Rathanpoor. When he was released, he was confined at home for
about five years. In 1668, when Muhabat Khan became the governor of Kabul for the second
time, he requested the Mughal Empire to set him free and receive his cooperation for handling
with the rebel Pushtoons. However, Khushal Khan Khattak strictly denied to do so. He told the
story of his innocence in the following verses:
"I am in Aurangzeb's prison undeservedly.
Allah knows about the allegation and slander on
Me, By God, I do not find any sin in myself.
But other people speak in disfavour of me" (Rasa, M. S. R., 2001, p. 83).
In the prison, his great love for his beloved homeland and the Pushtoons intensified his
hatred for the Mughal Empire, its goods and products. In this regard, he expressed the qualities
of his village and his aversion to Indian rivers and waters.
"Gentle breezes bear my greeting,
If pass Khairabad ye roam,
Past the silver stream of Landai
(River) To Srai, Srai my home.
Father Indus, hail him loudly,
as across his flood ye go, but to
Landai, gentle breezes, softer salutations
blow. Ganga, Jamna, how I hate you,
Sluggish Rivers of the plain
Hindustan has no cool
Waters; Would that I were at home
Again, Once again to drink of Landai
Hell must one day loose its chain"
(M.A, Biddulph, C.E., 1983, p. 60).
During this period, he wrote his "Dastar Nama", a great book in Pushto prose, which
reflected how he gave the Pushtoons a new and independent life.Khushal Khan Khattak, was a
versatile and dynamic personality who was most popular among the Pashtoon masses. He says
that, "In three thingsgenerosities, learning and writing has my fame spread" (Feroziuddin
Begum, Dr. Miss Khadija., 2007, p. 286).
The Mughal king appointed his son Bahram Khan as the chief of the Khattaks and gave
him the task to kill the old lion, Khushal Khan Khattak because he was a great danger for the
Mughals. Bahram Khan killed one of his brothers and arrested his eldest brother Ashraf Khan
with the help of the Mughals. Khushal Khan Khattak knew that he wanted to slay him for the
sake of throne as he did with his brothers. Therefore, he went to "Teerah", Afridies' territory
and resided there until his death. Bahram Khan attacked the village in several times but each
time he was badly defeated. When Khushal Khan Khattak turned very old and reached to the
age of (75 or 88), he was died "on Friday 26
of Rabi II, A.H. 1100 (1688 A.D.). He
wished to be buried in a place where Khushal Khan Khattak liked his grave to where the dust
of Mughal's horse's hoofs could not reach" (Khan, A., 1982, p. 149 and Iqbal, M., 1996, p. 60).
Finally, his friend fulfilled his desire and buried him in `Issurro' a small village in the Khattak
Hills, where the great Khan's tomb is still to be seen.
Charles Dickens was one of the greatest novelists of the world who was born on
February 1812 in England. He was the second child and the eldest son of John and Elizabeth
Dickens. John Dickens was employed in the pay office of Chattam Royal Dockyard for which
family also had to move sometimes to undesirable part of London. Financially, the family was
totally depending on his job but still these were good days for Charles Dickens. Unfortunately,
a sudden blow of sorrow came in his life when his father John Dickens was imprisoned (for his
unpredictable habits and reckless behaviour) for debt in 1824. Even the other family members
Elizabeth Dickens and his siblings were also moved in with John Dickens except Charles
Dickens. The good fortune for him of being sent to school was short lived because being an
eldest son of his parents he was compelled to support his family so that he started working in a
Warren's Shoe Blacking factory and this experience haunted him all his life. This secret he
shared only with his wife and best comrade and his future biographer John Forster.
However, his harsh and bitter toiling experiences turned him more sensitive emotionally
as he started thinking himself depraved member of working class. This was actually an age
when the child labour was on its peak or it was a trend even. The worst thing, which added
bitterness in his experiences, when Elizabeth Dickens (his mother) forced Charles Dickens to
continue his work in factory after his father's release from prison which really displeased him
but his father favoured him in attending the Wettington House Academy in London as a day
pupil in order to save him from a bitter life of a factory worker. Therefore, unfortunately he was
not able to pay the rent dues so he left school and got a job as a clerk.
Afterwards, Charles Dickens soon got courses of shorthand and became a reporter at
Doctor Commons Court. He fell in love with Maria Beadnell but this love affair ended in 1833
because her parents did not consider him good match for his unsatisfactory career. In the same
year, his first story "Dinner at Popular Walk" was published in a monthly magazine. This was
the beginning of his writing career whereas he got place in journalism as well. He also started
submitting sketches to various journals and newspapers under the pseudonym BOZ which
inspired Catherine Hogarth, the daughter of a famous editor, that she married him. Afterwards,
he came to know about many editors and publishers like Chapman and Haltill in this period. In
the same year, Charles Dickens became the most popular author of Pickwick Papers. To say it
would be very right that Pickwick got name and fame because of Charles Dickens. This period
made him the dynamic personality in the realm of other writers.
Moreover, Charles Dickens was seeking continuously and consistently to make his
position as a writer and journalist very strong. In 1836, he was so prominent in the world of
journalism that he got an honourable and prominent place of an editor of Bentley Miscellany,
which he maintained successfully. As a novelist, he started writing in 1837. The first novel,
which he wrote in Bentely Miscellany, was "Oliver Twist" which was published in 1838.
"Pickwick papers" and "Oliver Twist" were so popular that they succeeded to get attention of
Queen Victoria that she took keen interest in both of his novels.
It is a fact that the elements of writers' personal life must consist in their piece of
writings so the same can be applied to Charles Dickens' novels as well that whatever changes
upheavals he experienced in his real life, he depicted those events and incidents in his novels
as "David Copperfield" was considered as the most autobiographical of all his novels. His
second novel is "Oliver Twist" in which he has expressed the feelings and innocence of a child
that how he faces the cruel behaviour of the social formation. In this novel he has not only
depicted the real picture of society of Victorian England but also the changing conditions of the
English toiling masses, the impact of French Revolution and Industrial Revolution on them.
Similarly, Charles Dickens has also written five books on Christmas. The thought of the
most of his novels rooted in his mind during his visit to United States in 1842 in which he
depicted the same social class that he saw prominently in his real life (class-distinction between
upper class and poor class) and experienced miserable poverty as a worker which grew the
seeds of socialist egalitarianism in his mind. He wrote against the class-system of capitalism,
social slavery and supported socialist egalitarianism. The term "Egalitarianism" is derived from
French word `Egal' means equal. According to Webster Dictionary, egalitarianism means "a
belief in human equality especially with reference to social, political and economic affairs". He
actually wanted to highlight the social and moral abuses because he believed in human equality
in the existing social formation...
Khushal Khan Khattak is one of the greatest poets of the world. Many books and
research articles are available on his life and works. Major Roverty and certain other orientalists
say that Khushal Khan Khattak was not only Afghan nationalist but like Goethe and
Shakespeare, he was also a great humanist. Allama Muhammad Iqbal considers Khushal Khan
Khattak as a great Afghan nationalist. Allama Muhammad Iqbal came to know about Khushal
through the translations of his poetry done by some orientalists. He highly appraised his poetry
and hailed him, calling him the thinker and physician of Afghan nation. Allama Mohammad
Iqbal also expressed his desire that if he knew Pashto he would have translated KaushalKhan
Khattak's poetry into Urdu or Persian. This is really a great tribute to a great Man by another
great Man. Khushal Khan Khattak was a practical man who manifested all those qualities in his
living conduct, which he wanted to see in a man's character. Allama Muhammad Iqbal, the
great philosopher said about Khushal Khan Khattak in one of his couplets that,
"That Afghan Shanas (Khushal Khan Khattak) said well, He expressed what he saw,
without any hesitation. He was the Hakeem (Philosopher) of Afghan nation. He was the
physician of Afghan cause. He stated the secrets of nation boldly. He was rendering and said
the right very wisely" (Khattak, P., 1980, 150). At another place, Allama Mohammad Iqbal
commends Khushal Khan Khattak in the following words:
"I am tribal and am lost in the unity of nation. To elevate the name of Afghans
I love the young people who put the halter on stars this son of mountains is never less
than the Mughals O'colleaque did! May I tell you the secrets of my heart?
In 1927, Allama Mohammad Iqbal wrote an essay entitled "Khushal Khan Khattak, the
Afghan Warrior Poet" which was published in Hyderabad Deccan in a journal "Islamic
Culture", in which he suggested the education minister of Afghanistan to assign a research
scholar on Khushal Khan's glorious works to conduct a research study on his teachings (Iqbal,
M., 1996, Pp. 34, 35).
Charles Dickens is also one of the greatest dynamic authors of the world who
realistically depicted the miseries and hardships of the life of the proletariat. Therefore, many
researchers, scholars, critics and writers of the world have concentrated on Charles Dickens'
novels, life and ideas as well. Moreover, various researches have been conducted on his novel
writing and his thoughts from different theoretical and analytical lenses. Arnold Kettle, the most
eminent British Marxist critic has discussed his novels in the first volume of his book "An
Introduction to English novel" (London: 1960) from a Marxist perspective. E. M. Forster wrote
a book entitled "Aspects of the Novel" (London: 2000) on novel studies in which he discussed
Charles Dickens in detail. Edgar Johnson wrote a book entitled "Charles Dickens: His Tragedy
and Triumph" (two volumes, New York: 1952) in which he studied his life, literary career and
novels. Diane Dewhurst Belcher wrote a research paper entitled "Dickens's Mrs. Sparsit and
the Politics of Service" in which she discussed Charles Dickens's political thoughts derived
from his novels. Harold Bloom edited a book entitled "Modern Critical Interpretations: Charles
Dickens' Hard Times" (New York: 1987) in which the contributors discussed the different
facets of Charles Dickens' novels. B. Ford edited a book "The Pelican Guide to English
Literature: From Dickens to Hardy" (London: 1970) in which the contributors shed light on
various aspects of Charles Dickens's art of novel writing and ideas in detail.
Patrick Bran linger discussed Charles Dickens in "Dickens and the Factories" (1971) in
the light of the socio-economic conditions of the bourgeois Industrial Revolution of 1848. R. D
Butterworth discussed Charles Dickens as a journalist in his article "Dickens the Journalist: The
Preston Strike and `on Strike". He also discussed Charles Dickens in another research paper
"Dickens the Novelist: The Preston Strike and Hard Times." (1992), tracing his critical response
to the Preston Strike. Geoffrey Carnall wrote an article "Dickens, Mrs. Gaskell, and the Preston
Strike" in which he compared Charles Dickens with Mrs. Gaskell and studied them in the socio-
economic background of the capitalisation and industrialization of Europe. Nicholas Coles
wrote a book entitled "The Politics of Hard Times: Dickens the Novelist versus Dickens the
Reformer" (1986) in which he discussed Charles Dickens in the socio-political background of
the Victorian era.
Philip Collin discussed Charles Dickens in his essay "Dickens and Industrialism" (1980)
in which he highlighted Charles Dickens' critical responses to the industrialization of England.
Stanley Cooperman wrote an article "Dickens and the Secular Blasphemy" (1960) in which he
described Charles Dickens' secular philosophy. K. J. Fielding in his "The Battle for Preston"
(1954) described Charles Dickens' attitude towards the Preston strike. Jennifer Fletcher wrote
his article "Capital Fellows: Manhood, the Market, and Household Management in Dombey
and Son and Hard Times" (2003). In this study, he discussed the economic and management
problems of the capitalist Victorian England. Kate Flint wrote "Dickens and Social Change"
(1986) in which he studied Charles Dickens in the light of socio-economic and political changes
of his age.
These literary critical works which have been done by different writers, scholars and
philosophers of different schools of thought are valuable in many respects, but they neither
applied Marxist literary theory to the works of Khushal Khan Khatak and Charles Dickens nor
compared them with each other on these grounds. As far as this research study on Khushal Khan
Khatak and Charles Dickens is concerned, this research paper intends to focus on the following
Comparison between Khushal Khan Khattak and Charles Dickens
Khushal Khan Khattak was a tribal chief of the Khattaks, belonging to the feudal age,
which was dominated by the class-antagonism between the landed feudal lords and serfs. In
spite of his feudal and tribal background, he was by nature an egalitarian. His egalitarianism
aroused in him class-consciousness which enabled him to depict the problems of common
people and their problems in his works, describing symbolically the class-distinctions in the
existing social formation. We find the poor people as angels, well-mannered and the rich as
Satans and wolves in the following couplets:
"I pondered over the man, some of them are angels, some are Satans, some of them are
well-mannered, some of them no doubt are wolves" (Rasa, M. S. R., 2001, p. 293).
Khushal khan depicted the hardship of the working classes of his time and gives an
example of the toiling masses' hardworking in the following words:
"Wood, when cut and hewed, becomes an arrow. Even a horn becomes a good hilt with
a skill and hard work. Knowledge comes after going through the process of learning one, who
becomes desperate about death, becomes the chief" (Rasa, M. S. R., 2001, p. 278).
According to him, strenuous effort, hard work and working skill are very important in
human life. Khushal Khan Khatak Saw class-differences between the poor Pushtoons and the
rich in his surroundings and his sympathies are with the poor toiling masses who served the
rich classes. In this way, he wanted to change the inhuman class-relations of his time in which
there was no social justice and economic equality.
Charles Dickens is a prolific critical realist novelist with a variety of artist qualities who
has written many famous novels in the world such as "Oliver Twist" (1837), "David
Copperfield" (1849), "Hard Times" (1854), "A Tale of Two Cities" (1859), "Great
Expectations" (1860) and others. In his novels, Charles Dickens tried to arrange and choose the
appropriate and beautiful words, similes, metaphors, symbols and maxima in order to produce
an interesting story to his readers so they are motivated to read his novels and look for the
message. The readers will find and catch the point of what he has written. He is one of the
English Victorian novelists who seeks to write a full and intricate picture of complex socio-
economic conditions of his time. In this manner, he is fully aware of disorder, injustices and
hardships of the proletarians of the times. Samekto writes that, "Charles Dickens was the first
writer who wrote didactic novel. This period produced more literary works of prose and Charles
Dickens produced "problematic novel", the main purpose of which was against the social
imbalance in society by showing it so that the society could feel the situation. Moreover, Charles
Dickens' works are packed with criticism of the government policy for the betterment of the
citizens of England" (Samekto, 1976, p. 65 cited in Mar'atuttoyibah, N., 2007,, p.16).
In addition, Charles Dickens' novel "Hard Times" criticises the capitalist process of
bourgeois Industrial Revolution, describing the real socio-political conditions of the capitalist
Victorian era. Whereas, George Bernard Shaw also says that, "Hard Times" is a novel that, "of
passionate revolt against the whole social order of the modern world" (Shaw, G.B., 1971).
Many characters of his novels, of course, have utterly completely different social class
background, that influenced by the conditions of the capitalist Industrial Revolution. Charles
Dickens' character Slackbridge is the poisonous orator as a mere figment of the middle-class
imagination. Whereas, social class differences is the dominant subject, that appears in the story.
Charles Dickens' "Hard Times" is a novel that aims at highlighting the socio-economic and
political ethos of the time. The Industrial Revolution of Europe had influential changes on
irrevocably human labour, consumption, family structure and social structure. This revolution
introduced technology throughout European and non-European world. These conditions affect
some problems of life and the social change that reveals the impact of social class differences.
For example, Slackbridge is a character of the working class, who was just opposite to the
Stephen Blackpool. Sissy describes Gradgrind as an eminently wise father who is very cold and
does not have any feelings. Because of the explanation, he unendingly educates his youngsters
the fact and convinces them to not understand the notional imagination and fancy. However, he
actually loves his youngsters. As Charles Dickens writes that, "He was associate amative father,
once his manner; but he would all told likelihood have delineate himself (if he had been place,
like Sissy Jupe as `an eminently practical' father" (Dickens, C., 1995, p. 100).
In this way, Charles Dickens depicted the changes of the working class' conditions. He
struggled and protested against the exploitation of the capitalists or bourgeoisie .The socio-
economic ethos of the Revolution of Europe had influential changes on irrevocably human
labour, consumption, family structure, system, and even the terribly soul and thoughts of the
individual. This revolution concerned with industry and technology. This affects some
downside of life and the social amendment that reveals the impact of the look socio-economic
class-variations. In this way, due to his concern with the measurement and calculation of his
character in "Hard Time", Mr. Bounderby tends to use fact and statistics as the basic reason in
any aspect of his life such as he uses statistics in making decision of Louisa's marriage.
The railways chapter of Charles Dickens' novel "Dombey and Son" presents a scene
that affirms the industrial progress in England. In this manner, this means, the railway scene
marks a transformation stage in the capitalist development. "Oliver Twist" presents a world of
sophistication distinction and Charles Dickens condemns child labour in "Pickwick Papers".
Similarly, Charles Dickens describes the character of Sam Weller who is Pickwick's servant
and in "The Curiosity Shop" Quilp's character is presented in the same manner. In fact, "Bleak
House" is a portrayal of the historical class-division of the bourgeois England. Charles Dickens
delineated the class-system of the bourgeois English social formation of his times, however,
conjointly needed to alter it into a socially and economically just and socialist egalitarian social
The present research study attempted to prove the focal point of research by conducting
comparison between the two great writers of the world, Khushal Khan Khatak and Charles
Dickens that they were class-consciousness egalitarians. This point of view arouse in them
class-struggle that enabled them to depict the problems and miseries of the poor class
realistically and critically. Although, Khushal Khan Khatak was a feudal lord and tribal chief
of the Khattak tribe, belonging to the feudal era, he presented the miseries of the serfs and
struggled to change their inhuman social conditions. On the other hand, Charles Dickens came
from a poor class and had harsh and bitter experiences of child labour. Moreover, he was the
product of the capitalist age; he realistically portrayed the true picture of hardship of the
proletarians and struggled to change their social conditions. Unlike Charles Dickens, Khushal
Khan Khatak was neither poor nor had working class background but he felt the feelings and
problems of the poor Pashtoons. In this regard, they not only presented the class-distinction of
their times but also wanted to uplift their beloved class, socially on the level of the socio-
economic equality, justice socialist egalitarianism.
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2 (1985). Pp. 92-98.
Bloom, H. (1987). (ed.), Modern Critical Interpretations: Charles Dickens' Hard Times. New
York: Chelsea House.
Brantlinger, P. (1971). "Dickens and the Factories." Nineteenth-Century Fiction 26 (Sept.
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Khan Khattak. Peshawar: Pashto Academy University of Peshawar.
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Mar'atuttoyibah, N. (2007). Social Class Differences of 19th Century English Society in
Charles Dickens' Hard Times. A Thesis Submitted to English Letters and Language
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First published as ,, A Comparative Study of Class-consciousness between Khushhal Khan Khatak and Charles
Dickens" by Shahida Sher Mohammad in European Academic Research, Vol. IV, Issue 4/ July 2016
14 of 14 pages
- Quote paper
- Shahida Sher Mohammad (Author), 2016, Class consciousness in the works of Khushhal Khan Khatak and Charles Dickens. A comparative and contrastive study, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/338073