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Table of Contens
Chapter 1: Introduction
1.1 Introduction to the Novel
1.2 Problem Statement
1.3 Significance of Study
1.4 Research Objectives
Chapter 2: Literature Review
2.1 What is Pakistani Literature?
2.2 Use of English in post-colonial literatures
2.3 English in Pakistani context
2.4 An overview of Pakistani Literature; its history and evolution
2.5 Satire and humor in Pakistan
2.6 Introduction of the primary text
2.7 Criticism on the text
Chapter 3: Research Methodology
3.2 Research Methodology
3.3 Research Design
3.4 Theoretical Framework Post colonialism and Bhabha’s concept of mimicry
Chapter 4: Bhabha’s concept of Mimicry
4.1 A note on Homi Bhabha
4.3 Mimicry in post-colonial literature: Bhabha and others
4.4 Bhabha’s post-colonial contribution
4.5 Bhabha’s concept of Mimicry
4.6 Detailed discussion of Bhaabha’s OF MIMCRY AND MAN
4.7 Mimicry in The Diary of a Social Butterfly
This thesis is dedicated to my Family.
Their support and encouragement made this endeavor successful
I would like to thank first and foremost Aizaz Ali Shah who gives a spirit of back-up. My work stands for his support. My sincerest thanks go to Dr. Akmal Basharat who saw guidance, patience, and excellence as a teacher who made this thesis possible. I am also grateful to Lecturer Sara who was always a source of encouragement and an insightful and tireless reader. I would also like to acknowledge my teacher, Jahanzaib Jahan to strong my determination and continuity. A junior fellowship at Lahore Leads University for the selection of literary books and study of literature was important towards the completion of this thesis.
Moni Mohsin is one of the most popular and well read writers, based in London. My argument in this thesis is on Elite class of Pakistani women like Butterfly who spends their life in partying at nights. Mohsin has explored the colonial mentality of this major character and by extension a still lingering psychic condition of the post-colonies where the people after living under the British masters in the sub-continent are still mimicking their departed colonial masters and despite historical and geographical independence are still struggling with their colonized mind. Through the present thesis I have explored this idea in great detail using the concept of mimicry in post-colonial studies and especially applying Homi K. Bhaba’s idea to analyze the text and to illustrate how the major character in Mohsin’s work represents a quientessential case of post-colonial mimicry. Post-colonial theory is used as research methodology. Homi K. Bhabha concept of hybridity and mimicry provide basic framework for the research. My research falls into the category of qualitative inquiry. The most crucial theoretical dependence of my research would be on Homi K. Bhabha, Edward Said, Frantz Fanon, Gayatri Spivak and Ngugi o Thiongo.
Chapter 1: Introduction
The idea for the present thesis crossed my mind when I became familiar with Moni Mohsin’s work The Diary of a Social Butterfly through a friend. After reading it I realized how through the comic character of Butterfly in the novel, Mohsin has explored the colonial mentality of this major character and by extension a still-lingering psychic condition of the post-colonies where the people after living under the British masters in the subcontinent are still mimicking their departed colonial masters and despite historical and geographical independence are still struggling with their colonized minds. Through the present thesis, I have explored this idea in detail using the concept of mimicry in post-colonial studies and especially applying Homi K. Bhabha’s ideas to analyze the text and illustrate how the major character in Mohsin’s work represents a quintessential case of post-colonial mimicry.
1.1 Introduction to the Novel
A precise introduction of the primary text of the current research can be that “The Diary of a Social Butterfly by novelist Moni Mohsin is a collection of her popular satirical columns in The Friday Times which are remarkable for their linguistic strategy: a witty use of inaccurate English, colloquial Urdu and Punjabi. Mohsin captures with humor and verve the life and times of Butterfly, an upwardly mobile Lahore socialite. Butterfly plunges into weddings, balls, Halloween parties, shopping, gossip and name-dropping, while her Oxford-educated, “very bore” husband Janoo frets over politics, the tsunami, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban. (Shamsie, 648)”
those writers who write in English after and since partition until 1980s. For a detailed and in-depth understanding about first generation writers of this tradition, Pakistani linguist and research scholar Tariq Rahman’s book History of Pakistani Literature in English (1947-1988)
Looking at scant research on Mohsin’s hilarious comedy, I found only two journal articles. The research offers a thorough post-colonial analysis of the primary text with references from within the text and the arguments reinforced by other scholars and critics. The argument in this research is how the elite class of a post-colonial society mimics their former masters in terms of cultural and linguistic practices and illustrates their colonial mentality through Homi K. Bhabha’s theory of mimicry using the primary text for the discussion The Diary of a Social Butterfly which is interestingly a work of satire on the elite class of Pakistani society. In this respect, it’s apposite to highlight humor and its moods: satire, irony, black humor and the grotesque (Holoch 2012) and trace their history in Pakistani writings in English albeit very briefly before moving on to available criticism on the primary text and the topic in order to locate the present research in the pre-existing debates and underpin its contribution.
1.2 Problem Statement
The current study aim to investigate one of the aspect of post colonial theory in the writing of Moni Mohsin. The purpose of this research is to investigate critically analyze the text with reference to the character that hold different worldview. The mentioned novel have Muslim and socialist character who present their point of view regarding the salvation of European culture society. There is lack of cultural analysis as well as objective study of the object. This study shall investigate the literature containing the debate by all four scholars and present an objective analysis of the character Butterfly through the microscopic study of the text. It shall help the scholars on the subject to understand the authorial treatment of mimicry question and its socio-political implications.
1.3 Significance of Study
The mimicry question in Mohsin has been common topic of debate and dialogue among the academia. Some of authors have tried to theologize from Bhabha’s concept of mimicry while others have taken inspiration from his self-sustaining rebels. It shall study the character of Butterfly thorough different ideological canons and infer from her worldview. This would be a significant addition to the debate on Bhabha’s concept of mimicry and Frantz Fanon and Gauri Visvanathan.
1.4 Research Objectives
The research objective of this study is as follows:
- To understand the post colonial limitations of cultural criticism present the work of Moni Mohsin.
- To present an objective analysis of the concept of mimicry through character of Butterfly.
Post colonialism, in literature, is a vast field. The researcher shall avoid abstractions and restrict the study to the concept of mimicry or socio-cultural criticism includes investigation of writings produced by nations and societies that have gone under the control of European criticism.
Chapter 2: Literature Review
This chapter offers a comprehensive review of literature addressing crucial aspects and debates of the present research. Although Pakistani Anglophone literature has secured critical acclaim internationally for its artistic maturity and focus on crucial indigenous and international contemporary issues of 21st century. Dr. Raja (2018) in his article on the issue of authorial intention and reader reception of Pakistani Literature aptly starts it with the statement, ‘It would not be an exaggeration to suggest that the Pakistani novel in English has finally come of age and has garnered its space within and without Pakistan.’ (n.p.) Here it would be illuminating for a reader new to Pakistani Literature in English to be familiar with a few preliminaries before the central argument of the current study.
2.1What is Pakistani Literature?
Let’s first talk about the criteria to define Pakistani literature. It’s important because it will allow the reader to distinguish why certain writers are included in this subject and some are excluded by identifying for him the parameter which we use to measure relevance of certain writers or their works to be studied under this subject or otherwise. There are two to things based on which a work of literature, will be qualified and categorized as Pakistani literature. First of all, ethnic origin of the author i.e. whether he is
- living permanently in Pakistan but was born elsewhere or
- born in Pakistan, living somewhere else
- a Pakistani resident; born in Pakistan and living here
Second criterion is subject matter. Pakistani society, their history and culture should be at the center of the work (Raja, 9). A work can only be qualified as Pakistani Literature if it meets these two criteria.
2.2 Use of English in post-colonial literatures
Since the current research focuses on Anglophone Pakistani Literature, it is necessary to analyze a very significant and hot topic in post-colonial literature and that is use of English language i.e. colonial language for the production of literature of the formerly colonized. To simplify it, it seems a paradox to rely on the very language for expression of native cultural experiences, which was used as a tool of colonization by the Britishers against the natives. Starting with Achebe and Ngugi's differing viewpoints on this debate, the following discussion will move towards Pakistani context explicating very briefly how Pakistani writers and scholars have responded to this issue which we find in Post -Colonial studies.
Chinua Achebe and other writers argue when a writer uses English language; it means he is using the same language, which was used against the colonies to represent their own cultural and social experiences. So somehow, by using the language that was originally belongs to the colonizers. We have subjugated their language. Metaphorically we have invaded and subjugated their language to speak for us. so this is quite ironic. The colonizers invaded our territories and represented us, as without language and civilization. Now once their independence, they are using the same language, the language of the colonizers to represent themselves equipped with unique cultural experiences. (Ashcroft at al: 19)
So they believe that by usurping the colonial language, we have actually made it serve our own purposes. At the same time, by using English language, they have been able to place. These cultural experiences in the dominant mode of representation, since literature produced in English by the colonizers were still dominant after decolonization. Therefore, these writers wanted themselves, to be heard for them, medium of expression was of secondary importance. What was more important is that, their viewpoint, their narrative should be heard no matter even if it is being represented in the language of colonizers. So our messages, our voice can be more easily heard if we use English language as a vehicle for our creative literature. So this was the first argument, that they have, that we have subjugated the language of colonizers.
Second is the global status of English, that English language is being spoken across the globe in multiple countries. So if our message is more important, then we need to use a language that, we access the widest possible audience. If you produce your literature in English language, there are great chances that, your narrative will be heard, will be understood by dozens in Nations. In comparison if you write in your own language, only the native people will be able to understand it. So your audience will be very limited, and your counter canon, your resistance to the colonialist representation of the colonies will be heard by other countries.
Here I want to quote a scholar Jonathan Arac who says: "English in culture, like the dollar in economics, serves as a medium through which knowledge may be translated from the local to the global" (Paul, 35).
He says if you use English language, your representation of culture civilization and the history of the natives can easily move beyond the local to the global. So you want your message to be, to reach a great number of countries, instead of confusing it to your own.
Non-native language despite it’s less accessibility, to non-indigenous speakers, as a tool to produce anti-colonial narrative. English is their non-native language. It is not their first language and it is not understandable by indigenous people. The people whose first language is not English, obviously they understood it less than their own native language. Even, if the language might be prevented, in those most post-colonial countries.
The class who is comfortable with English language will be quite limited, so they say; we are actually using this nonnative language to produce anti-colonial narrative. Moreover, since we have widest audience or discourse a narrative will be challenging the formal representation of the colonizers; and bring a new narrative, which the colonies will be understood better.
These are the few arguments by those writers and critics, who believe in the effectiveness, usefulness of using English, have a medium of expression for a native literature, for a literature of third world countries.
We have counter arguments from a writer like Nagugi Wa Thiong'o. He is a great African novelist, who is twice nominated for noble prize. His arguments are very interesting and his story as a creative writer or as a novelist even more interesting.
Nagugi was a novelist of great acclaim, and he use to write in English. Then he came a point in his carrier, where he realized the hegemony of English language. He realized that he was still living the life of a colonized man as he was using the language of colonizers for his medium of expressions.
Nagugi talks about transformation of his perception towards English in the preface of his book Decolonizing The Mind. He produced his book "Petals Of Blood" in 1971. This book he decided to be his last creative text in English language. After 1971, Nagugi didn't write his plays, novels and short stories in English. He rather started writing in his native language. Instead English Nagugi choose to write in "GIKUYU and KISWAHILI"; the two African languages. But after 1971, he keep writing his prose in English. He didn't write creative literature in English. He used English in his prose, so works Like Detained: “A writer's prison diary” , “writer’s in politics and barrel of a pen”. These are his prose works, which were written after 1971 in English.
After 16years in1987, Nagugi produced his great prose work "Decolonising The Mind". In this book, he talked about the language of Africa and the theatre of Africa. We need to abandon the use of colonial language altogether and start writing in our own native language. This was the idea that Nagugi Wa Thiong'o had. He says he doesn't choose to write in English, there will be people who would translate his work into English, and through the translation he'll be able to continue his dialogue with the world at large. (Thiong’O, 28)
Here the researcher has mentioned the arguments of Thiong’o that he offered in support of his viewpoint. First, if one writes in English instead of your native language, there are some problems with it. First is, you are actually signifying that your own native language is inadequate to represent your own cultural experiences. That's why you have to choose another language that you think is more powerful medium than your native language. Secondly, he says that even in post-colonial Societies people who are familiar with English, are comfortable with English language in speaking and understanding it are elite. So if you don't produce your literature in English it means you're not addressing widest possible audience rather you are confining your attention to a limited audience; that's only elite of your society. Thirdly, he says the kind of audience you are approaching, you are aiming to address are outside your country. Your first audience should be your native people, because you are actually representing their culture in these works.
Actually he is challenging the hegemony of English language. English has gained this global status as Jonathan Arac says, due to our own concern, due to our own acceptance. If today we challenged it and abandon it. It will no longer be the global language. Nagugi says instead of accepting the way of things are, we need to change them and we need to revolutionize them. So that's why he chooses to write in his native African language.
The critics, who favor the use of English language for the medium of expression for third world, argue that even though Nagugi rejected the use of English language. At least he used the novel as a form of expression. Novel is a European and colonial form of discourse. So Nagugi rejected their English language but at least he relied on one form of their discourse.
2.3 English in Pakistani context
Looking at the debate on the use of colonial language in Pakistan, we have very few people in Pakistani context that initially rejected and reacted against the use of English language for Pakistani literature, and they had the same arguments that NAGUGI forward it. He offered to strengthen his own viewpoint that was against the use of English language for the production of native literature. English is actually a latest colonial language. So this phrase actually summarizes two points which have already discussed in relevance to NGUGI'S arguments, that:
English language is only spoken by ELITE; they are the one who are most comfortable with it. There is a large section of society with it still not familiar with this language; they are not proficient with it. So producing your native literature, Pakistani literature in English would mean to somehow distance those people, those sections of society, who are obviously very important being your native readers. Therefore, this approach is not commendable, it is not advisable; you should actually access your own native people first and think about the people who are outside the country, who are your western readers.
Secondly, the same idea that English is colonial language; the language of colonizers who ruled us unfairly for a long period of time. So if we continue writing in their language it means we still accept them and we still depend on their medium of expression, to talk about our own cultural experiences.
This was an argument that some people offered while rejecting the use of English language for the production of Pakistani literature. However, mostly you know specially during the last two decades when Pakistani literature has become very popular and has secured international acclaim. This unfavorable opinion, the use of English has subsided and ultimately it has dwindled into nothing.
In today's world especially in 21st century, we don't have writers, who reject the use of English language. But at the same time, ironically speaking from NGUGI's perspective let me add here one thing that, it’s actually this acceptance of English language. This overall acceptance where there is no arguments against it. No disagreement this consensus, in a way suggest the monopoly and hegemony of English language. Ultimately this resistance has lost its force in comparison with the way, English has kept its momentum and it is still being talked in many third world countries.
If you take Pakistan's example there are many courses and diploma’s being offered by the U.S., embassies itself, funding different institutions; universities colleges even religion ceremonies to teach English language to their students free of coast and also facilitating those students with many things and the arguments have remained the same GLOBAL empowerment of English; English being spoken across the world.
So considering this context the people have gradually lost this sense of resistance against English language and it is we can say unanimously accepted not only as one language; as a foreign language but rather as one of the indigenous languages because these people who favor and advocate and argue in favor of English language. For the production of Pakistani literature, argue that this language has lost its colonial status, it’s no longer English language, the language of Britain, rather with its use and experimentation we have formally and artistically changed the very condors of language. It is no longer recognizable as the same language, which was spoken by the Britishers; which was left by them after their departure. So this is a sort of new language that has evolved through continuous usage. This is the argument that we have in Pakistan. One Pakistani writer Shehryar Fazli said in one sitting in a literary festival, where there were many Pakistani scholars invited in the panel to speak on a topic, that the argument against the use of English language as a foreign colonial language has lost its force after significant research by a Pakistani linguistic scholar like TARIQ REHMAN who wrote a book on this subject talking about different varieties of English and how English has actually changed in Pakistani context. So now there appears no resistance against the use of English language in Pakistan.
Here while concluding this discussion; I just want to add a few ideas from Musharraf Ali Farooqi. He said in his interview with Mushtaq Bilal for his book "WRITING PAKISTAN", in which he has compiled interviews of mainstream or internationally acclaimed Pakistani writers. In that interview Musharraf Ali Farooqi has talked very honestly and frankly about a few aspects of people all across the world and especially in Pakistan. Accepting and adopting English as a medium of expression and one point is that, and then a writer decides to become a professional writer that writing becomes his source of living.
Therefore, he is certainly undoubtedly concerned about the commercial aspects of his profession . See the person who is going to write full time must to be thinking about, how he is going to make money and if you talk about English and Urdu. In addition, the writers preference, for English instead of Urdu. It is very interesting in the context of Musharraf Ali Farooqi, because he is not only an English writer but he has also translated world. So his command on English and Urdu is equally good. So he says that if you talk about Urdu; that's why i don't write in Urdu. It is because there is no established publishing industry for Urdu writers. And obviously when the writer is doing this writing things full time, he will not able to make money out of it because there is no established industry and there will be no royalty for the writer. So when he doesn't receive a handsome amount of money as a result of his writing his works, why would he choose Urdu?
Secondly, these ideas are actually very critical helping us to understand and this acceptance of English from multiple angle instead of simple talking about the global status of English. And the way English is now among the language or the language that is most spoken in the world.
That is one argument acceptable logically conceiving but at the same time we can't deny these other aspects which comes along with your choice of English language. The second thing that he pointed out in his interview was unavailable of Urdu literature. That if the writer wants to write in Urdu. Urdu literature is not available in abundant, see as a writer tomorrow you are going to place in a certain tradition, so you actually want to see, what other people are writing in order to be familiar with your current literary seen. So as not to somehow feel alien and talk about issues which might have gone out on board or discussion. So as a writer you need to keep yourself updated in your tradition. So he says for an Urdu writer there is very little Urdu literature in comparison with English.
The scarcity of Urdu literature and its difficult availability if a research is very keen on using Urdu and you want to somehow write on it despite the scarcity of literature available it becomes a difficult choice on the other hand English literature is available very easily. We can find it online. In the market there is an established industry for it. It is promises you a good royalty; if your book sells well with your readers.
These two ideas are actually expand our outlook on this acceptance on English in any 3rd world country. Because writers wants to make money out of it. And then native literature is not easily available and is abundance as English literature is.
Here I would like to allow you to read Musharraf Ali Farooqi's comment directly. Mushtaq Bilal the writer who is interviewing Musharraf Ali Farooqi; he questions him:
MB: you seem to have a comfortable command over both Urdu and English, if your various translations are anything to go by. What are the reasons for choosing English for your own creative expression?
MAF: I tried writing in French too but couldn't (laughs). This is pretty straight forward because this is a matter of making a living. I wanted to become a professional writer and although books written in Urdu sell in Pakistan and in India, there is not an established Urdu publishing industry in either of the countries. There are no royalties (for books published in Urdu). You have to self -publish your books and then self-distribute them too. It was like this Europe too during the time of Dickens. Writers would get their novels serialized (in newspapers). But if you want to become a professional writer you expect some income.
Here he has talked very honestly about the potential problems that a writer during writing in Urdu will face. He can't expand a good living and then even the distribution of his books will be a headache for him. Because he will have to manage things on his own. This is very difficult, instead if you have a good publisher who has access to the market and you publish with them obviously they are going to distribute your books on different branches of their book store or the people, the honors of book store. Because you know, industries work in cooperation with each other. So this becomes an easy thing for a writer, writing in English. He doesn't have to worry about either his income or the way he is going to distribute his books.
I have already talked about, how the people who favor the use of English; justify their viewpoint by saying that it is no longer English language, the language of Britishers. And one aspect that is most prominent in their arguments in urdulization of English.
Pakistani writers use indigenous expressions, indigenous words, Urdu sentences or single words in their English to give this language a local color. So Pakistani writers don't write in Queen's English, that's their argument. But the language, that captures the atmosphere of their countries. By Urduizing English there is this lavish sparkling of indigenous words and sentences in English that changes this very nature of language that we commonly call English. So it is no longer a colonial language. It is rather a language we have appropriate we have owned now by changing its very substance.
These writers use English language for their native experiences in order to convey in a language that is not one's own spirit that is one's on. He said that these writers use English language for their native experiences in order to "convey in a language that is not one's own the spirit that is one's own ". (qtd. In Rohma) He says the people who are in favor of the use of English language that language is principally not our own, but we have actually subjugated this language to represent our own unique different cultural experiences. So in this way it is a sort of achievements by a native writer that he is now using the same tool that the colonizers used and make to serve it for their own purposes.
Here again I have quoted from Musharraf Ali Farooqi's;
MB: you have used many Urdu words in your novels. Do you think this practice extends the boundaries of English language?
MAF: god forbids that is not my intention and there is no conscious effort either in this regard. However, let me tell you, if you read Latin American fiction, they use quite a few Hispanic terms for which there is no proper English counterpart. If i translate ghulab jaman as
MB: sweet balls... (Both laugh)
MAF: yes. So if you write something like this, it won't make any sense. We should write what everybody knows. So call it by its name.
Actually MAF's point is that there are certain expressions or words in native language which can't be translated in English. So the writer who uses Urdu words is not doing some favor to English. He is not sort of expanding the boundaries of English language, or a sort of refining or enriching its expression. Rather he is just trying to talk about things, used the words which can't be easily translated. If you actually desperately translate them forcibly, they will certainly lose their spirit, their true meaning, their true sense. So if you're writing something like this, like sweet balls, instead of ghulab jaman it wouldn't make any sense. We should write what everybody knows. So call it by its name.’
Therefore, point is that the phenomenon of Urduization of English is a sophisticated way of interpreting a way of very simple and without much significant phenomenon into a scholarly term urdulization of English. So it would be a grand way of putting a simple thing into a term. So he says the writer has no other choice if the translate, for example ; ghulab jaman as sweet balls it doesn't convey the same meaning .so instead he has to fall back upon the same indigenous words. Therefore, it is out of necessity not out of choice that the writer does so, but MAF's point is valid to a great extent. However, at the same time I personally think that, there is another aspect to using one word from the native language and that is the post-colonial approach.
The writers sometimes deliberately incorporate indigenous words and expressions, so as to localize English. That is the idea, the people who are in favor of use of English. That by bringing in words from our own native language is, we actually change the very texture and substance of language, and make it our own. Because in a way if we think about it very closely in a way, this use of Urdu words in English signifies inability, indigenous of English language to represent our own native experiences. So when English is unable, inadequate to represent our experiences with all its vocabulary. Bringing in our own vocabulary so in terms of post-colonial studies interaction between English language and Urdu language, means both languages are important and neither of them can be canceled against each other.
2.4 An overview of Pakistani Literature; its history and evolution
Next it will be quite relevant to an essential point in the central argument in this thesis if we look briefly at the history of Pakistani Literature and its evolution noticing what kind of literature Pakistani English writers have produced since Pakistan’s independence in 1947. This will help the reader grasp my argument on a significant difference in 21st century internationally acclaimed Pakistani writers like Kamila Shamsie, Mohsin Hamid, Uzma Aslam Khan and Nadeem Aslam and Moni Mohsin’s work especially The Diary of a Social Butterfly serving as the primary text for the current research.
Now in terms of brief history of Pakistani English literature history of writers who have contributed since independence, so for the sake of convenience and on the bases of my own understanding I have divided these writers into two generations. By first generation I refer to all those writers who write in English after and since partition till 1980s. For a detailed and in-depth understanding about first generation writers of this tradition, Pakistani linguist and research scholar Tariq Rahman’s book History of Pakistani Literature in English (1947-1988) provides an excellent account of many significant writers of various genres and foci and it is easily available in the market. Now for the sake of introduction I just want to mention the following three prolific and influential writers touching upon some of their seminal works as an example. In the first category Ahmed Ali Twilight in Delhi who received international recognition and critical appreciation with his classic novel Twilight in Delhi, that centers around the decline of Muslims in the subcontinent depicting an atmosphere of ethos prevailing around them after they are gradually absolutely vanquished and conquered by the British.
Secondly, we have Zulfikar Ghose a novelist and a poet. He is very well known for his novel The Murder of Aziz Khan. And then the writer who unlike many of her contemporaries remained in Pakistan and spent most of his life in the country and kept writing during the 80s and 90s and she was and is internationally recognized herself is Bapsi Sidwa. She produced many works of fiction including novel and short stories. One of her novels is The Bride that talks about the tragic story of a girl, who is separated from his parents at the time of partition and then adopted by a man in the refugee camps and raised by him. Qasim her adoptive father marries her off into the tribal area of Pakistan where her marriage does not work out well and then the story continuous (157). So, these are the three writers which I wanted to talk about in the first category of first generation of Pakistani writers. But apart from fiction, just to conclude this explanation of literature by first generation of Pakistani writers rather abruptly, we have a good amount of solid poetry written by some of Pakistani writers among whom eminent are Zulfikar Ghose and Toufeeq Rafat and others.
In what I call second generation of Pakistani writer, we have Mohsin Hamid, Kamila Shamsie, Muhammad Hanif, Uzma Aslam, Nadeem Aslam, Fatima Bhutto and many others. Now as I said that the work of theses second generation writers in my opinion are more important for students who are studying English literature in Pakistani context, can be justified in multiple ways. First of all the artistic accomplishment of these two generations although it is just rough comparison I don’t want to place the second generation is superior to the first generation writers. So I just want to explain the few difference and theses difference in my opinion are important to be understood by a reader of Pakistani literature in English. So first of all Pakistani literature in the hands of these second generation writer’s has matured and there has been a lot of experimentation with the language, forms and structure narratology. You know they have actually produced literature which can be compared to literature coming from great writer’s any part of the world. Although sometimes Pakistani native readers do have their doubt about the literary accomplishment of these writers and especially, the kind of representation Pakistan has been offered in their works and issues I will discuss at the satisfactory detail. Second reason, for considering second generation very important is contemporary in their works see if a person living in Pakistan in 21 century, the writer like, Bapsi Sidwa and Ahmad Ali is not directly relevant due to a substantial transformation after and as a result of 9/11. If you read the criticism around the 9/11 and what kind of literature was produced afterwards you will see the critic taking about the huge change taking place in the sensibility of writers toward their narrative and their subject matter. This was not merely a change that shaped the politics of the world but at the same times it effected and changed the perception of the literary scholar as well. So the kind of issue which we find understood by Pakistani literature we will analysis through some works by these writers not all.
Common denominators of these Pakistani writer’s
- Zia’s regime
- The Afghan Soviet war
- Nuclear standoffs with India
- 9/11 attacks (2): Islamophobias and issue of terrorism and fundamentalism.
So, next look at the common themes that we find in general in Pakistani literature. The literature that produced after 9/11 refers to a historical fiction. In addition, the reason these writers is preoccupied with the past of the nation and it seems a believe history is not matter of past it is strongly connect with your present and shapes the way you actually you look towards the future. So there is strong realization about the history and the way of Pakistani writers. So they have talk about the important and transformative moment through his works. Moreover, how we reacted to them as a nation, when you read these book by the writers it seems to suggest that there have been certain wrongs committed by us as nation that need to be acknowledge. You can simple overlook the past and whatever errors which you make and somehow survive very easily with a clear conscious. Their argument seems that subnational evident to strength their view point this angle of looking things. History of Pakistan is not written without the prejudice and practicality it contain many pitfalls, a lots of flows and many omissions. Let me explain what I mean by omission, omission is a kind of history that official main stream history been taught in our education system like school, and colleges has its own draw backs and publishing in our public institutions. This history actually leaves out few important accept of different historical event of our past some events are based diversity and truthfulness of have been abundant. They have been silent or marginalized given less space in the pictographic. This is main idea that I just want to explain with the reference of Pakistani writers and you know, it means history has been manipulate by the establishment and certain force as a student of literature we need to approaching things with an open mindedness and trying to different version of history from the one that we already familiar. Because when we are dealing with literature, we are not expecting the objective answer but we need multiple subjectivity in our answer so as reader, to dealing with the complexity of subject need to multiple opinions in our answers instead of over-simplifying these issues for the sake of certain establishment agendas.
To conclude the discussion through the common theme you will understand batter these approaches that are being offer by the certain narratives. First of all partition, see partition is a moment when united was divided in to two territories Pakistan and India so I was very sensitive moment when the India was divided into two countries. Now at the time of partition what happen is rewritten by these writers in the form of fiction. So basically we have narration of history in history books and you kind of narration in literature and that was actually incorporate by the historian. Or it center what was decanter or marginalized by the historian. Literature has contributed significantly by rewriting these stories in the forms of fiction. Partition was the bloodiest event in the history of subcontinent when millions of people from Pakistan and India. All the people who are involved have been explored by the writer’s which have briefly touched upon partition as back draw of the story.
There are two ways, some of them focused on psychological trauma which have been created and left by the partition the people of that generation still seems of obsess nostalgia, that have keen remembers of their past they could not detach yourself from their homeland the place they left in order to migrate in an another country during the time of partition. More importantly sufferings, measures’ involved with them. It became brutal battle of survival and you know if want to read the story of partition you have dozen stories about them. Let me explain the other aspects of partition some writers explain the social aspect of after effect of partition. How the societies suffered due to this huge change in the very structure of society or country. They have to start the country in new begging and it was a very new begging for both two countries. Literally it was very difficult when Pakistan came into being it was very literally painful for the people to survive and take care of their family. To accept the land or a homeland as they have dreamed of separate they have face a unseen problem, first they live in refugee camp, so survival absolutely difficult for the people at that time.
Civil War 71:
Second most important and painful event in the history of Pakistan is 1971 civil war in Pakistan you know Pakistan was unable to survive as one unity, East Pakistan was separated and those conflict emerged as different country, like Bangladesh. So, some of the writer talk about the dictator of the country. At the same time the conflict with India have captured 90 thousand soldiers of Pakistan that create a difficult situation. And that was a most humiliated experience for the people of Pakistan. Some many writers has been discussed about civil war like Moni Mohsin in his novel” End Of Innocence” and other writer Kamila Shamsi who talk about the civil war.
Third dictatorship of General Zia’s regime and Soviet war:
In which Pakistan became Zia's regime as the "front line" ally of the American supported with their political agendas and you know in collaboration with CIA Pakistan’s involvement in this war has been root cause of many uncontrollable problems in coming duct. How the country has been effect by negative effect by military presence. See these dictator have been manipulated power by their own power. In literature, See the Muhammad Hanif work he tried to explore the most objectionable aspect about Zia’s regime the way he tried to Islamism the country and its constitution he used as Islamizing for strengthen his root an maintain for the people of the country, Muslim have problem with dictator and after coming into to the power Zia hanging Bhutto to secure his position as a dictator. Therefore, he uses these tactic to maintain his power for certain period of time. And you know how dictatorship was used by international power lets be very direct American foreign police they wanted to weaken at that time super power Soviet Union and they were fought the war in Afghanistan and train people to fight against the soviet ultimately they succeed if you want read they are not found in fiction but there are reference like in Kamila Shamsi’s novel.
Nuclear standoffs with India:
Another theme that is Pakistan’s nuclear standoffs with India resulting from the country’s conflicting relationship with the neighboring India as it has and continues to consume a lot of our energy and revenue since independence to this day. Both countries, to express an impartial opinion, have manipulated this conflict for their own political purposes winning election campaigns by exploiting the patriotic xenophobia of the masses against each other. Painfully speaking both countries exploited anti India and anti-Pakistan strategies for shallow political interests. To read about the background of different historic events exacerbating the relations between the two neighbors and the way political relations with the other country have been misused one can read the Indian writer Arundhati Roy’s fiction and prose, which explores among other significant contemporary issues of caste injustices and terrorist attacks on Mumbai in detail allowing the reader a fairly broader perspective than is usually accorded to them by mainstream coverage and discussion of these moments in history.
The argument in this research is how the elite class of a post-colonial society mimics their former masters in terms of cultural and linguistic practices and illustrates their colonial mentality through Homi K. Bhabha’s theory of mimicry using the primary text for the discussion Diary of a Social Butterfly which is interestingly a work of satire on the elite class of Pakistani society. In this respect, it’s apposite to highlight humor and its moods: satire, irony, black humor and the grotesque (Holoch, 78) and trace their history in Pakistani writings in English albeit very briefly before moving on to available criticism on the primary text and the topic in order to locate the present research in the pre-existing debates and underpin its contribution. So a brief discussion of satire in Pakistan will be followed by other aspects to be incorporated and reviewed critically in this chapter.
2.5 Satire and humor in Pakistan
Since Pakistani literature in English is still undergoing a lot of experimentation by the emerging young writers, the genre of satire still hasn’t established its prominence and most of Pakistani Literature in English seriously engages with serious issues ravaging the country on national and international fronts. Nevertheless, as Ambreen Hai (238) ( in her article Uses of Humor in post 9/11 Pakistani Anglophone Fiction published in Aroosa Kanwal, Saiyma Aslam’s edited collection of criticism on various facets of this fiction Routledge Companion to Pakistani Anglophone Writing (2019) rightly points out that although limited but humor is still found in some of the globally read seminal works of Pakistani origin. She talks about the artistic function of humor in two works of Pakistani fiction, Muhammad Hanif’s A Case of Exploding Mangoes and HM Naqvi’s Home Boy. She interprets the use of humor in these works as playing a certain role in the narratives that is significant in post-9/11 context. Humor in Naqvi’s Home Boy challenges the myth of absence of sense of humor in the Muslims, which is an essential human attribute and consequently considered a telling fact about flawed humanity of the Muslims. Hai analyzes at length how Naqvi deploys Chuck the narrator-protagonist’s humor to establish him as someone whose portrayal suggests a strong rejection and absence of terrorist mind. So the writer uses humor in the novel to contest prevailing misunderstandings about the South Asians and exponentially rising racism against the Muslims in the wake of 9/11 terrorist attacks. (Hai, 315). While talking about the use of humor in Muhammad Hanif’s A Case of Exploding Mangoes, Hai explains how the narration alternating between two narrators: Ali Shighri a junior under Officer in Pakistan Air Force and an unnamed omniscient narrator. Shighri’s humor demonstrates his resilience against the powerful officials of the army wrongly charging him with involvement in Zia-ul-Haq’s (Martial Law Administrator of Pakistan 1977-1988) mysterious murder in a plane crash on the suspicions that he off-loaded at the last moment making room for someone more important and the disappearance of his companion in a stolen place on that very day. On other hand, the third-person narrator’s humor undermines the high-profile army officers and exposes their corruption. (Hai, 279-285).
Among most prominent Pakistani writers, only few have used humor as a dominating narrative style. Use of irony and satire within a largely serious narrative can be found in abundance in any literature. Marian Holoch has studied the use of irony in Bapsi Sidhwa’s Cracking India (first published as Ice - Candy Man) and Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things. While looks at the child narrators in these novels she explains: “Their irony critiques the distance between the “idealized” version of reality the codes shape for the children, and the unspoken, unrealized version of reality that exists beneath and beyond the worlds the children narrate.” (Haloch, 77-78). She draws on Henri Bergson’s essay Laughter and discusses how he discussed humor and irony as two forms of satire. Analyzing Sidhwa’s Cracking India, Holoch describes how the novel explores Partition and the subsequent chaos from the perspective of Lenny an eight-year old Parsee girl from Lahore. Despite exploring irony, she at one point highlights how Sidhwa’s deployment of irony in the novel does not arouse laughter. It does not implicate that there is some flaw in the narrative, rather in the interests of the current research, I just want to underpin that genre of comedy has not received much attention from most prominent Pakistani English writers (189). In this context, the kind of comic literature Moni Mohsin has produced in the form of The Diary of a Social Butterfly and its sequels merits research and this is the gap that the current research fills.
A journal article by Khan et al. talks about the use of dark comedy in Sidhwa’s novel The Crow - Eaters (324-329). The writers have offered a rough definition of dark comedy as “a sub-genre of comedy, but in the black comedy, the writers deal with some serious issues of life. Death , suicide, murder, domestic violence, diseases, insanity, fear, drugs abuse, rap, depression, abuse, mutilation, sexual violence, terminal illness, racism, sexism, disability (mental and physical), corruption and crime …” (326) and then provides textual references to some of these aspects of dark comedy in the novel. Apparently, a collaborative work by three researchers but the quality of contents didn’t deserve publication. The literature review section simply consists of quotations from reviews and various sources available online but all the quotations are brought in as a list without preceded or followed by any remarks by the writers explaining how these quotes are significant enough to warrant inclusion in a supposedly research article.
2.6 Introduction of the primary text
Before moving on to Moni Mohsin’s hilariously comic novel The Diary of a Social Butterfly which is the primary text for the present research, it is worth commenting on her serious novel The End of Innocence as a coming of age story of two girls. Set in green and fertile village of Sabzbagh, the novel explores partition and how it affected a huge population of India and specifically women murdered in thousands in the wake of eruption of communal violence and also abducted and raped by the rival groups. Amrita Pritam’s Punjabi verse serves as the epitaph of the novel lamenting woefully the tragedy and plight of women. As the story unfolds, it also used 1971’ civil war happening in the background (210).
The primary text chosen by the researcher The Diary of a Social Butterfly is also a great work of satire and contains humor in abundance and variety. The female writer Moni Mohsin actually started writing humorous pieces for The Friday Times and they became very popular with the readership for their hilarity. A year after she compiled all these pieces in the form of a novel.
The novel is about a social lady of Lahore whose name is Butterfly. The story starts with a brief introduction of Butterfly who loves to socialize all the time. She just cares about parties, huge weddings and get together and these are the most important things for her to be worried about. She is married and lives in a big house with her husband “Janoo” and a son “Kulchoo” having more than 10 servants. According to Butterfly, her husband is a boring creature who belongs to a backward family just opposed to her, as she is an educated elite class woman. Overall story has not head and tail but is quite fantastic in a comic manner. It gives the reader a deep insight of mimicry proposed by colonized community through so many different perspectives such as language, clothing, religion, society etc. Mohsin mimics so many perspectives of daily life through her style of writing.
Among other important aspects of mimicry that will be elaborated on in the textual analysis of this research, language plays a prominent role. The reader notices how Butterfly the protagonist of the novel is keen on speaking English language as it under colonial mentality of these colonies in general symbolizing high social status of the speaker and popularity of English in a globalized world where it is a language of communication and advantage. In this way, Butterfly symbolizes, as Macaulay said in his Minute on Indian Education “a class of interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern – a class of persons Indian in blood and color but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect…” (Macaulay n.p) When Adil called Butterfly ‘bizarre’ Moni Mohsin responded by saying, “She’s not bizarre, merely shallow, ignorant and misguided. But I’d say that, wouldn’t I, because she’s based partly on me and partly on several other characters I’ve met, who shall remain nameless.” (n.p.)
2.7 Criticism on the text
In this context, although the research is still scarce on this text as Qaisar also mentions. There are only two articles talking about a specific aspect of the novel. However, as I’ll explain during my commentary on them, they are simple analyses of humor without offering much insight into the text’s reading and interpretation. Kumar and Chauhan have analyzed the use of malapropism in the Butterfly’s language: how she misspells hundreds of words and this misspelling modifies the words into meaning something other than she denotatively intends to convey and this is what arouses laughter. Another aspect that these two researchers just touch on is Urduization of English. As it pertains to the current research, this must be understood that this indigenization of English is a post-colonial appropriating strategy used by the native writers to bastardize English and in a way bend it to serve the purpose of the same natives and their unique cultural experiences, represented in colonial discourse without language, culture or history. In addition, this is to which Chinua Achebe refers while asking the African writers to use ''New English, still in communion with its ancestral home but altered to suit its new African surroundings'' (qtd. In Shama 2017: 1) This is the phenomenon to which Moni Mohsin refers to in a conversation with Mamun Adil, calling it ‘chutney-fication of the English language’ (Adil 2011). This article although published as a journal article, offers quite simplistic textual analysis of one significant aspect of the novel and is devoid of actually making quality contribution in its interpretation.
On the other hand, the second article is written by Qaisar. She has analyzed Moni Mohsin’s use of neologism in the narrative and how the mixing of English and Urdu generates new words for various artistic reasons. Absence of much criticism forced Qaisar to rely on whatever was available and has it seems depended much on brief reviews of the novel. In comparison with the first article, commented upon above, this work is a better work exhibiting the writer’s hard work to put together these ideas. While reviewing literature, she moves quickly from unavailability of criticism on the text and explains the concept of neologism and traces it in the novel. The article is an excellent effort providing linguistic analysis of the text focusing on neologisms in the story.
Here it would be appropriate to briefly comment on the significance of the current research and how it actually contributes.
Still with the emergence of dozens of new voices on the literary scene there’s a dire need for more quality research on these works. In this context, it becomes a hard journey for a researcher aiming to explore some of these works as the first obstacle he encounters is lack of substantial criticism on debates in Pakistani context. It is no surprising then that the primary text of this thesis The Diary of a Social Butterfly by a British-Pakistani writer Moni Mohsin, in spite of the warm response from its readers and reviewers, has so far attracted little attention from researchers from within Pakistan and without.
Chapter 3: Research Methodology
In this chapter is shall discuss the technique and methods which would be used for conducting my research. Moreover, the research design and theoretical framework shall be elaborated in detail. In the theoretical framework, I shall discuss Post colonial Literary Criticism. My study shall be based on this theoretical framework. This section shall entail the introduction to the framework, its elements and its applications. Finally I shall conclude the methodology, design and theoretical underpinnings discussed in the chapter.
3.2 Research Methodology
I shall use “Textual Analysis” approach in the study. According to professor Ludwik Frey: “the purpose of textual analysis is to describe the content, structure and function of the messages contained in the texts” (Frey, 35-42). I shall analyze the text and take it as a primary source of data to support and further my arguments on the study. Likewise, the studies that have already been conducted on Mohsin and Bhabha’s and which are relevant to this study shall be analyzed and quoted where necessary. After reviewing the literature. I shall present the gaps which need to be worked upon and subsequently present my arguments in this regard. In order to fulfill the requirements of the method, the explorative and descriptive approaches will be used for this research.
3.3 Research Design
The study is narrative research and follow descriptive-cum-explanatory method of research. The culled textual references shall be given as an evidence for strengthening argument of this research. Building upon my theoretical framework, I shall explore and investigate its key concepts. The character analysis is an important ingredient of this research. Bhabha’s concept of mimicry and socialist character Butterfly shall be put under microscope for complete comprehension.
3.4 Theoretical Framework Post colonialism and Bhabha’s concept of mimicry
Post-colonialism is a type of cultural criticism, postcolonial criticism usually involves the analysis of literary texts produced in countries and cultures that have come under the control of European colonial powers at some point in their history. Alternatively, it can refer to the analysis of texts written about colonized places by writers hailing from the colonizing culture. In Orientalism, Edward Said, a pioneer of postcolonial criticism and studies, focused on the way in which the colonizing First World has invented false images and myths of the Third World stereotypical images and myths that have conveniently justified Western exploitation and domination of Eastern and Middle Eastern cultures and peoples (31). In the essay "Postcolonial Criticism", Homi K. Bhabha has shown how certain cultures (mis)represent other cultures, thereby extending their political and social domination in the modern world order.Postcolonial studies, a type of cultural studies, refer more broadly to the study of cultural groups, practices, and discourses including but not limited to literary discourses in the colonized world. The term postcolonial is usually used broadly to refer to the study of works written at any point after colonization first occurred in a given country, although it is sometimes used more specifically to refer to the analysis of texts and other cultural discourses that emerged after the end of the colonial period (after the success of the liberation and independence movements). Among feminist critics, the postcolonial perspective has inspired an attempt to recover whole cultures of women heretofore ignored or marginalized women who speak not only from colonized places but also from the colonizing places to which many of them fled.
Post-colonial theory is used as research methodology. Homi k Bhaba concept of, hybridity and mimicry provide basic framework for the research. Mimicry the means by which the colonized adapt the culture (language, education, clothing, etc.) of the colonizer but always in the process changing it in important ways. Such an approach always contains it in the ambivalence of hybridity. My research falls into the category of qualitative inquiry. The most crucial theoretical dependence of my research would be on Homi K Bhaba, Edward Said, Frantz Fanon, and Gayatri Spivak, Ngugi o Thiongo.
Bhabha’s work develops a set of challenging concepts that are central to postcolonial theory: hybridity, mimicry, difference, ambivalence. These concepts describe ways in which colonized peoples have resisted the power of the colonizer. This chapter focuses upon Bhaba’s postcolonial concept of Mimicry to explore how colonized imitate the colonizer and want to liberate themselves. My research is essentially inductive. The data has been gathered from different articles, books and internet.
Homi k Bhaba concept of mimicry provide basic framework for the research. Bhabha’s concept of mimicry as discussed in his essay “Of Mimicry and Man: The Ambivalence of Colonial Discourse”. This essay has been taken from his book The Location of Culture. The concept of mimicry is not as simple as it seems at first instance, but a complex one. Next comes a concise and by all efforts of the researcher an illuminating review of different books, articles, journals, newspaper, book reviews and online resources which helped to build arguments for this research. Firstly, this chapter focuses on post colonialism. Then it moves forward towards the perspective of different authors regarding post colonialism. Moreover, this chapter would deal with Bhaba’s key ideas in and then especially his concept of mimicry that is at the core theoretical framework for the current research. Available criticism and reviews on Bhaba’s concept of mimicry would also be discussed.
Chapter 4: Bhabha’s concept of Mimicry
Leela Gandhi also asserts that post colonialism is not bound to historical periods as the exact date for the start of post colonialism can never be judged. Post colonialism as a theory emerged during the late 1980s. Post colonialism is a proactive movement against any kind of injustice, any kind of depravity and distinction. It has developed the literature that has given us a platform to view the relationship between the western and non-western countries from a different point of view. In the Introduction to Robert J.C. Young’s Post colonialism: A Very Short Introduction, Montage says, “post colonialism offers you a way of seeing things differently, a language and a politics in which your interests come first, not last”. (Montage, 47).
The history of colonialism dates back to the period of Renaissance. Discovery of America marks the modern period of colonialism. In the Introduction to The Empire Writes Back, Bill Ashcroft and others define the term Postcolonial and say it is “all the culture affected by the imperial process from the moment of colonization to the present day”. The chief pioneering figures of postcolonial theory are Edward Said, Homi Bhabha and Gayatri Chakravarti Spivak. It was Edward Said’s groundbreaking work Orientalism, which marked the beginning of postcolonial studies.
The postcolonial thinker, Frantz Fanon has been influential in the works of these contemporary postcolonial critics. Fanon’s ideas have helped the critics to understand the layers of marginalization that exist in the society especially amongst the Blacks. His work The Wretched of the Earth (1961) has influenced the people worldwide, who were once colonized by the British colonial powers. Fanon deals with the psychological effects of colonial domination and disempowerment in his Black Skin, White Masks.
The language and culture have been the major tools of colonization. The enforcement of English language in the colonies made the natives mute and dumb. It became difficult for them to communicate, and express themselves or raise their voice against any kind of exploitation. This was a kind of spiritual subjugation in the words of Ngugi Wa Thiong’O. In his work, Decolonizing the Mind: The politics of Language in African Literature, he says “The bullet was the means of the physical subjugation. Language was the means of the spiritual subjugation”
A type of cultural criticism, postcolonial criticism usually involves the analysis of literary texts produced in countries and cultures that have come under the control of European colonial powers at some point in their history. Alternatively, it can refer to the analysis of texts written about colonized places by writers hailing from the colonizing culture. In Orientalism, Edward Said, a pioneer of postcolonial criticism and studies, focused on the way in which the colonizing First World has invented false images and myths of the Third World stereotypical images and myths that have conveniently justified Western exploitation and domination of Eastern and Middle Eastern cultures and peoples. In the essay "Postcolonial Criticism", Homi K. Bhabha had shown how certain cultures misrepresent other cultures, thereby extending their political and social domination in the modern world order.
4.1 A note on Homi Bhabha
Homi K.Bhabha was born in 1949 in Mumbai. He is one of the most important thinkers in cultural theory called post-colonial criticism. He received his B. A. from Bombay University and his M.A., D. Phil. from Christ Church, Oxford University. He is a leading voice in postcolonial studies and is highly influenced by Western poststructuralists, theorists, notably Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan and Michael Foucault. Bhabha’s work takes post-structuralist approaches and applies them to colonialism, producing what has been called ‘colonial discourse analyses.
His Works include Nation and Narration, The Location of Culture Cosmopolitanisms in Public Culture, Edward Said: Continuing the Conversation. Bhabha’s work develops a set of challenging concepts that are central to postcolonial theory: hybridity, mimicry, difference, ambivalence. These concepts describe ways in which colonized peoples have resisted the power of the colonizer.
Although many of his most influential writings were originally published during the 1980s, Bhabha is very much a thinker for the twenty-first century. The complex doublings he finds in the colonial archive have continued relevance. In the years following 9/11 (the destruction by terrorists of New York’s World Trade Center in September 2001), this relevance has become more obvious. Recently Bhabha’s work has begun to explore the complexities of a world marked by colonial and neo-colonial wars, counter-globalization movements and widespread cultural confrontation. We are faced with a world seemingly polarized and divided into discrete cultures.
In The Location of Culture, a collection of his most important essays, Bhabha creates a series of concepts that work to undermine the simple polarization of the world into self and other. As the most famous example of these concepts, Bhabha’s writing emphasizes the hybridity of cultures, which on one level simply refers to the mixed-ness, or even ‘impurity’ of cultures so long as we don’t imagine that any culture is really pure. This term refers to an original mixed-ness within every form of identity (90).
Bhabha insists less on hybridity than on hybridization; in other words, he insists on hybridity’s ongoing process. In fact, for Bhabha there are no cultures that come together leading to hybrid forms; instead, cultures are the consequence of attempts to still the flux of cultural hybridity. Instead of beginning with an idea of pure cultures interacting, Bhabha directs our attention to what happens on the borderlines of cultures, to see what happens in-between cultures. He thinks about this through what he calls the liminal, meaning that which is on the border or the threshold. The term stresses the idea that what is in-between settled. Cultural forms or identities like self and other is central to the creation of new cultural meaning. To give privilege to liminality is to undermine solid, authentic culture in favor of unexpected, hybrid, and fortuitous cultures. It suggests that the proper location of culture is between the overly familiar forms of official culture.
Hybridity new transcultural forms that arise from cross-cultural exchange. Hybridity can be social, political, linguistic, religious, etc. It is not necessarily a peaceful mixture, for it can be contentious and disruptive in its experience. Note the two related definitions, catalysis: the (specifically New World) experience of several ethnic groups interacting and mixing with each other often in a contentious environment that gives way to new forms of identity and experience. Creolization societies that arise from a mixture of ethnic and racial mixing to form a new material, psychological, and spiritual self-definition.
The concept, ‗Hybridity‘, an important concept in post-colonial theory refers to the integration (or, mingling) of cultural signs and practices from the colonizing and the colonized cultures. Homi Bhabha states that the assimilation and adaptation of cultural practices, the cross fertilization of cultures, can be seen as positive, enriching, and dynamic, as well as oppressive.
Bhabha points out that even the Bible is hybridized in the process of being communicated to the natives. He states that the colonial presence is always ambivalent, split between its appearance as original and authorities and its articulation as repetition and difference. Homi Bhabha generated the concept: hybridity of cultures refers to mixedness or impurity of cultures knowing that no culture is really pure.
According to Bhabha, every culture is an original mixedness within every form of identity. He states that the cultures are not discrete phenomena, but being always in contact with one another, we find mixedness in cultures. Bhabha’s point is that we need to look again at modernity using perspectives drawn from the experiences of colonized people he argues that we need a post-colonial perspective on modernity, and that modernity and post-colonialism are inescapably connected. He writes:
‘Our major task now is to probe further the cunning of Western modernity, its historical ironies, its disjunctive temporalities, its much-vaunted crisis of representation. It is important to say that it would change the values of all critical work if the emergence of modernity were given a colonial and post-colonial genealogy. We must never forget that the establishment of colonized space profoundly informs and historically contests the emergence of those so-called post-Enlightenment values associated with the notion of modern stability.’
Among others, Bhabha has developed his ideas from the work of M.Bakhtin, Antonio Gramsci, Hannah Arendt, W.E.B.Du Bois, and Albert Memmi. His influences are so numerous that I will focus on two of Bhabha’s key influences, Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault, and on Bhabha’s development of his sense of critical thinking as a process.
Mimicry the means by which the colonized adapt the culture (language, education, clothing, etc.) of the colonizer but always in the process changing it in important ways. Such an approach always contains it in the ambivalence of hybridity.
Bhabha’s analysis to illuminate the agency of the colonized, as well as the anxiety of the colonizer, that anxiety has to open a space for the colonized to resist colonial discourse. This chapter will demonstrate how anxiety is matched by mimicry, with the colonized adopting and adapting to the colonizer’s culture. Importantly, this mimicry is not slavish imitation, and the colonized is not being assimilated into the supposedly dominant or even superior culture. In fact, mimicry as Bhabha understands it is an exaggerated copying of language, culture, manners, and ideas. This exaggeration means that mimicry is repetition with difference, and so it is not evidence of the colonizer’s servitude. In fact, this mimicry is also a form of mockery, and Bhabha’s post-colonial theory is a comic approach to colonial discourse, because it mocks and undermines the ongoing pretensions of colonialism and empire.
The comic quality of mimicry is important because colonial discourse is serious and solemn, with pretensions to educate and improve. Perhaps the ‘export’ of democracy advocated by some Western politicians reminds us of these pretensions. Despite these pretensions, colonialism’s grand ambitions are consistently undermined by what Bhabha calls, in ‘Of Mimicry and Man’.
‘Colonial mimicry is the desire for a reformed, recognizable other, as a subject of difference that is almost the same, but not quite. Which is to say, that the discourse of mimicry is constructed around ambivalence; in order to be effective, mimicry must continually produce its slippage, its excess, its difference?
According to Bhabha postcoloniality assumes “a relationship of continuity rather than rupture between the era of colonialism and the contemporary period, which he refers to as “the ongoing colonial present that’s it. Mimicry includes the element of mockery. The result of mimicry is in-betweenness, and hybridity. For example to wear jeans but don’t know how to walk. They become “theoretical creoles”.
4.3 Mimicry in post-colonial literature: Bhabha and others
Now let us look at the concept of mimicry in Bhahbha and by other post-colonial writers.
1. Bhabha defines mimicry and says, “colonial mimicry is the desire for a reformed, recognizable Other, as a subject of a difference that is almost the same, but not quite” (86).
2. In his essay “Of Mimicry and Man: The Ambivalence of Colonial Discourse”, Bhabha probes the psychic mechanisms of the colonized subject and his desire to imitate the colonizer. According to Bhabha, “mimicry” is one of the most effective strategies of colonial power and knowledge. Mimicry, in colonial and postcolonial discourse, is defined as when people of the colonized country start imitating the behaviors, attitudes, language and culture of the colonizers. The feeling of superiority of the colonial masters over the natives leads the members of the colonized nation to look at themselves as the inferior human beings. Thus, it automatically establishes the belief that the West is always ‘educated’, ‘civilized’, ‘reformed’, ‘disciplined’, and ‘knowledgeable’, while the east is illiterate, barbaric, primitive and ignorant. “Mimicry” seems to be an opportunistic method of copying the person in power. This suppresses one’s own cultural identity and leaves the person to an ambivalent and confused state. Bhabha says “… the discourse of mimicry is constructed around an ambivalence” (86).
3. M. S. Nagarajan, in his book English Literary Criticism and Theory, says that this colonialist ideology created colonial subjects who behaved in the way the colonizer had programmed. They willingly accepted the superiority of the British, and their own inferiority. It produced a ‘cultural cringe’ so to speak”. Thus, this difference of the natives from the superior colonial masters forced them to imitate, and the phenomenon of imitating the West, in terms of Homi Bhabha is called ‘mimicry’. Homi Bhabha is one of the chief pioneering figures of postcolonial theory. He has talked about mimicry, ambiguity, and hybridity in postcolonial contexts. His concept of mimicry is often discussed in postcolonial studies. How the colonial mimicry influences the psyche of an individual is of interest to the readers of postcolonial literatures. He has been influenced by French thinkers Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan. He borrows his concept of mimicry from Jacques Lacan and writes: “The effect of mimicry is camouflage. It is not a question of harmonizing with the background, but against a mottled background, of becoming mottled exactly like the technique of camouflage practiced in human warfare (qtd. in Bhabha 85)”.
4. The central character of V. S. Naipaul’s The Mimic Men, who not only changes his name from Ranjit Kripal Singh to Ralph Singh, but in this process of becoming like an English man, he reaches to the state of displaced, disillusioned, disintegrated and fractured identity. Ralph’s idea of England as a “promised land” finally disappoints him. This disillusionment ultimately leads him to believe what he says in the novel: “So quickly had London gone sour on me. The great city, center of the world, in which, fleeing disorder, I had hoped to find the beginning of order. So much had been promised by the physical aspect there is no light like that of the temperate zone (18).” Ralph Singh comes to believe that he was living an artificial life when he says: “We pretended to be real, to be learning, to be preparing ourselves for life, we mimic men of the New World, one unknown order of it, with all its reminders of the corruption that came so quickly to the new (146).”
5. Homi Bhabha, in his essay “Of Mimicry and Man”, introduces the study of Charles Grant’s “Observations on the State of Society among the Asiatic Subjects of Great Britain” in which Grant has considered the Christianity as a form of ‘social control’ in a country like India where multicultural people reside. Bhabha quotes the words of Grant, “that partial reform” will produce an empty form of the imitation of English manners which will induce the colonial subjects to remain under our protection” (qtd. in Bhabha 87).
6. In Macaulay’s words, the “mimic men”, created through the English schools, who used the doctrines of the hegemonic power to construct their own identities as subjects of Empire, were “a class of persons Indian in blood and colour but English in tastes, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect” (qtd. in Bhabha 87 ). Bhabha traces the examples of mimic men in India through the works of Rudyard Kipling, George Orwell, and V. S. Naipaul. Bhabha says that the effect of a flawed colonial mimesis in which “to be Anglicized, is emphatically not to be English”.
7. Homi Bhabha’s concept of “mimicry” has gained wide significance in Colonial Discourse Analysis. “Mimicry” as defined by Bhabha is a complex phenomenon. It is not merely the imitation of the human behavior but the attitude and temperament come into play. It does not cultivate a positive and creative approach in the mind of the ignorant native instead it hampers his growth. The native desires for something that he lacks and he keeps on learning the new strategies of imitation to achieve the desired goal. But Bhabha says that “mimicry repeats rather than re-presents ”. Bhabha says that this process of imitation is never complete, and there is always something that he lacks. There are always cultural, historical, and racial differences which hinder one’s complete transformation into something new. This desire of the colonized for the total metamorphosis and have the power of the imperial master is never fulfilled and Bhabha says that “the menace of mimicry is its double vision”. The obligation on part of the colonized to mirror back an image of the colonizer produces neither identity nor difference, only it is a sort of “partial presence” in him, which is the basis of mimicry.
8. In the similar way, Frantz Fanon analyses the psychological effects of colonial domination in his Black Skin, White Masks. He exposes the trauma of being a Black and the haunting desire to be like the Whites. In his Introduction to the Black Skin, White Masks he questions, “What does the Black man want?” . He answers in his own voice and says that Black is not even a man. The desire to mimic the White haunts the Black day and night. He confesses, “I am obliged to state it: For the black man there is only one destiny. And it is White”.
9. Toni Morrison’s novel The Bluest Eye is a critique of such influence on the Blacks. In which, the female protagonist, a young black girl Pecola craves for the blue eyes so that she will look like the Whites. She thinks that after being White everything will get changed; their family standard will be uplifted. The suffering and the pain of Pecola to have something that she can’t have makes her insane. Toni Morrison has tried to give a glimpse of her suffering: “Long hours she sat looking in the mirror, trying to discover the secret of the ugliness, the ugliness that made her ignored or despised at school, by teachers and classmates alike”
10. Homi Bhabha strikes at the same point and says that the metamorphosis of the ‘colonized black’ in the process of being a White, makes him different from his own race and community and transforms him only to resemble the White. Thus, he is excluded from his own society and belongs to neither his own people nor to the Whites, and he is “almost the same but not white”. Fanon, very excellently, exposes this racial anxiety of being White in his Introduction to the Black Skin, White Masks: “There is a fact: White men consider themselves superior to Black men. There is another fact: Black men want to prove to White men at all costs, the richness of their thought, the equal value of their intellect”
11. M. S. Nagarajan refers to this “divided self” of the colonized as “unhomeliness”. He says, “One becomes a psychological refugee, in not being able to feel at home even in one’s own home” (187). During the rule of the colonial masters in the colonies, the influence of imperial powers led the dominated natives feel dispossessed, and devoid of the language of the colonizers to communicate. This pressure forced them to imitate the superior Other.
The colonized native at this first stage of imitation belongs to Lacan’s ‘mirror stage’, when the child neither has the language, the symbolic system, nor the understanding of the world. He looks at his own image in the mirror and looks at ‘Others’. This ignorant and child-like native also looks at his own image in the mirror of colonial masters’ superior etiquettes only to find himself inferior and small, but he cannot express himself until he enters into Lacan’s ‘symbolic stage’ and learns to speak and raise his voice.
12. Thus, Bhabha, having analyzed ‘mimicry’ in the colonial discourse, hints that there is a need to use mimicry as a subversive method in postcolonial discourse. He suggests that having entered into the ‘symbolic order’ of our development, we should now speak. The influence of Freud and Lacan on Homi Bhabha is quite obvious, as he has taken them into consideration in his essay. According to Bhabha mimicry does not only destroy, as he says:
“Mimicry does not merely destroy narcissistic authority through the repetitious slippage of difference and desire. It is the process of the fixation of the colonial as a form of cross-classificatory, discriminatory knowledge in the defiles of an interdictory discourse, and therefore necessarily raises the question of the authorization of colonial representations.”
According to him mimicry is an “eccentric strategy of authority in colonial discourse and the ambivalence of mimicry leads us to think that the “fetishized colonial culture” is an “insurgent counter-appeal”. On one hand, there are writers like Ngugi Wa Thiong’O, Wole Soyinka, who have talked of decolonization and the restoration of the past of their native culture, while on the other hand there are writers like Derek Walcott and Homi Bhabha who believe in hybridity, cultural transplantation and cross-pollination.
13. In Benedict Anderson's excellent essay on nationalism, as the anomalous Bipin Chandra Pal. The figure of mimicry is locatable within what Anderson describes as "the inner incompatibility of empire and nation. “It problematizes the signs of racial and cultural priority, so that the national is no longer naturalizable. What emerges between mimesis and mimicry is writing, a mode of representation, that marginalizes the monumentality of history, quite simply mocks its power to be a model, that power which supposedly makes it imitable. Mimicry repeats rather than re-presents and in that diminishing perspective emerges Decoud's displaced European vision of Sulaco as the endlessness of civil strife where folly seemed even harder to bear than its ignominy the lawlessness of a populace of all colors and races, barbarism, irremediable tyranny. . . . America is ungovernable. 10
14. Ralph Singh's apostasy in Naipaul's The Mimic Men: We pretended to be real, to be learning, to be preparing ourselves for life, we mimic men of the New World, one unknown corner of it, with all its reminders of the corruption that came so quickly to the new.
Both Decoud and Singh, and in their different ways Grant and Macaulay, are the parodists of history. Despite their intentions and invocations, they inscribe the colonial text erratically, eccentrically across a body politic that refuses to be representative, in a narrative that refuses to be representational. The desire to emerge as "authentic" through mimicry through a process of writing and repetition is the final irony of partial representation.
15. Cesaire describes, the menace of mimicry is its double vision which in disclosing the ambivalence of colonial discourse also disrupts its authority. And it is a double-vision that is a result of what I've described as the partial representation/recognition of the colonial object. Grant's colonial as partial imitator, Macaulay's translator, Naipaul's colonial politician as play actor, Decoud as the scene setter of the opera buffer of the New World, these are the appropriate objects of a colonialist chain of command, authorized versions of otherness.
16. If we turn to a Freudian figure to address these issues of colonial textuality, that form of difference that is mimicry almost the same but not quite will become clear. Writing of the partial nature of fantasy, caught inappropriately, between the unconscious and the preconscious, making problematic, like mimicry, the very notion of origins, Freud has this to say: Their mixed and split origin is what decides their fate. We may com-pare them with individuals of mixed race who taken all round resemble white men but who betray their colored descent by some striking feature or other and on that account are excluded from society and enjoy none of the privileges.
17. The “inferiority complex” in albert memmi’s The colonizer and the colonized and the “dependency syndrome” in mannoni’s Prospero and Caliban: the psychology of colonization the colonized led them to mimic the colonizers. The colonized considered the “other” outside the Western civilization and culture.
18. The postcolonial literature has helped to highlight the forms of “colonial mimicry” and criticizes it at many levels. Even it suggests of dismantling the concept of first world and third world countries as it creates a division between these two places. The first world includes all the developed and ruling countries while the third world includes all the developing and ex-colonized countries. The first world countries are automatically given prominence when they are put in binary opposition as first world/third world. The third world countries still look up towards the first world considering it reformed, polished, mannered and civilized. Mimicry of the West has now extended to the imitation of their way of speaking, clothing, and living. This unnatural and abnormal mimesis of the West is a hindrance to third world countries’ complete development. The influence of the western culture is very much obvious not only in our day to day life but in other fields like films, music, literature, customs, religion and our personal relationships as well. In the name of modernity we have become blind adherent to it and keep copying and mimicking whatever comes to our way. We have adopted the policy of ‘what is west is best’ without acknowledging the logical reasons of it and its consequential results. Thus, the first world still keeps fascinating us with the use of magical spells of its language, and culture.
Once the realization dawns on the natives of the third world countries, they start resisting against the domination of the imperial powers through the same techniques with which they have been colonized. During this postcolonial era, we should now resist the impact of the West with best possible means. We should now put the binary oppositions in play and dismantle the hierarchy of the west and the rest. Mimicry can be the method of subversion and it can adopt a new role in postcolonial discourse. Though Bhabha doesn’t clearly mention how mimicry can play subversive role in postcolonial discourse yet often he seems hinting at this idea. We can use mimicry to make fun of what we don’t like in the West and can counter attack it. The political freedom of the third world countries will then only result in mental and psychological independence of its people. Thus, it will lead them to a better future.
4.4 Bhabha’s post-colonial contribution
Homi K.Bhabha was born in 1949 in Mumbai. He is one of the most important thinkers in cultural theory called post-colonial criticism. He received his B. A. from Bombay University and his M.A., D. Phil. from Christ Church, Oxford University. He is a leading voice in postcolonial studies and is highly influenced by Western poststructuralists, theorists, notably Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan and Michael Foucault. Bhabha’s work takes post-structuralist approaches and applies them to colonialism, producing what has been called ‘colonial discourse analysis.
His Works include Nation and Narration, The Location of Culture Cosmopolitanisms in Public Culture, Edward Said: Continuing the Conversation. Although many of his most influential writings were originally published during the 1980s, Bhabha is very much a thinker for the twenty-first century. The complex doublings he finds in the colonial archive have continued relevance. In the years following 9/11 (the destruction by terrorists of New York’s World Trade Center in September 2001), this relevance has become more obvious. Recently Bhabha’s work has begun to explore the complexities of a world marked by colonial and neo-colonial wars, counter-globalization movements and widespread cultural confrontation. We are faced with a world seemingly polarized and divided into discrete cultures.
In The Location of Culture (1994), a collection of his most important essays, Bhabha creates a series of concepts that work to undermine the simple polarization of the world into self and other. As the most famous example of these concepts, Bhabha’s writing emphasizes the hybridity of cultures, which on one level simply refers to the mixed-ness, or even ‘impurity’ of cultures so long as we don’t imagine that any culture is really pure. This term refers to an original mixed-ness within every form of identity.
Bhabha insists less on hybridity than on hybridization; in other words, he insists on hybridity’s ongoing process. In fact, for Bhabha there are no cultures that come together leading to hybrid forms; instead, cultures are the consequence of attempts to still the flux of cultural hybridity. Instead of beginning with an idea of pure cultures interacting, Bhabha directs our attention to what happens on the borderlines of cultures, to see what happens in-between cultures. He thinks about this through what he calls the liminal, meaning that which is on the border or the threshold. The term stresses the idea that what is in-between settled. Cultural forms or identities like self and other is central to the creation of new cultural meaning. To give privilege to liminality is to undermine solid, authentic culture in favour of unexpected, hybrid, and fortuitous cultures. It suggests that the proper location of culture is between the overly familiar forms of official culture.
Bhabha’s point is that we need to look again at modernity using perspectives drawn from the experiences of colonized people he argues that we need a post-colonial perspective on modernity, and that modernity and post-colonialism are inescapably connected. He writes:
‘Our major task now is to probe further the cunning of Western modernity, its historical ironies, its disjunctive temporalities, its much-vaunted crisis of representation. It is important to say that it would change the values of all critical work if the emergence of modernity were given a colonial and post-colonial genealogy. We must never forget that the establishment of colonized space profoundly informs and historically contests the emergence of those so-called post-Enlightenment values associated with the notion of modern stability.’
Among others, Bhabha has developed his ideas from the work of M. Bakhtin, Antonio Gramsci, Hannah Arendt, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Albert Memmi. Among other greatest influences for Bhabha are Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault, and on Bhabha’s development of his sense of critical thinking as a process.
Bhabha’s work develops a set of challenging concepts that are central to postcolonial theory: hybridity, mimicry, difference, ambivalence. These concepts describe ways in which colonized peoples have resisted the power of the colonizer.
4.5 Bhabha’s concept of Mimicry
Mimicry is a word used by Bhaba (1994) for the individuals who mimic the cultural habits, living style and values of the colonizers in ordered to be accepted, recognized and successful. Homi K Bhaba who is famous for his different concepts like mimicry hybridity and ambivalence also introduces the concept of third space and says that due to mimicry and hybridity the third space comes to the surface.
Bhaba in his essay on the mimicry also talks about the mimicry. He says that people of colonized areas try to copy almost each and everything of the colonizers and in this method they lose their own identity which is replaced by their mimic identity.(Bhabha, 85)
Homi k Bhaba concept of mimicry provide basic framework for the research. Bhabha’s concept of mimicry as discussed in his essay “Of Mimicry and Man: The Ambivalence of Colonial Discourse”. This essay has been taken from his book The Location of Culture. The concept of mimicry is not as simple as it seems at first instance, but a complex one.
According to Bhabha postcoloniality assumes “a relationship of continuity rather than rupture between the era of colonialism and the contemporary period, which he refers to as “the ongoing colonial present that’s it. Mimicry includes the element of mockery.The result of mimicry is in-betweenness, and hybridity. For example To wear jeans but don’t know how to walk. They become “theoretical creoles”.
I have tried to define the concept of mimicry in simplest form; its role in colonial and postcolonial discourse and how the western exploitation of the east led them feel inferior. Though imitation is a very natural phenomenon to perceive something which is superior to us, yet when this natural becomes unnatural the problem arises. This tendency of considering themselves inferior to the colonial masters during the colonial times due to their ignorance of the manipulation and diplomacy of the West led them feel frustrated, dispossessed of their identity, disillusioned and destroyed. To mimic the whites became the ultimate destiny of all the racially distinguished people. My focus here is on the various ways in which mimicry operated not only during the colonial era but also how it has crept in the postcolonial times when all the ex-colonized countries have become independent. Now with the turn of the century everything has changed, even the forms of the colonization have changed. The direct and visible domination of the West over the East has taken the form of the indirect and invisible control over third world countries. Mimicry of the West now is not only limited to European countries but USA, having entered into the first world, has gained more prominence. People now do not imitate only the superior manners of the first world countries but they have started considering that whatever is foreign is the best. This change of attitude and blind imitation is fatal to the growth of the individual and the nation as a whole.
4.6 Detailed discussion of Bhaabha’s OF MIMCRY AND MAN
In Of Mimicry and Man Homi Bhabha gives his concept of mimicry. Bhabha’s argument is that mimicry can become unintentionally subversive, though the colonized, in the process of mimicry, rarely realizes he is undermining the powerful systems enacted by the colonizer. Essentially, by copying them, he evidences how hollow they are. The essay begins with the assertion that colonialism results in “trompe-l’oeil, irony, mimicry and repetition.” As colonialism produces these results, ‘mimicry emerges as one of the most elusive and effective strategies of colonial power and knowledge. (Bhabha, 86)”. Bhabha, in this quotation, illustrates the powerful nature of colonial mimicry, but leaves it ambiguous to whom it gives power and in doing so suggests that the colonized can use it to subvert the colonizer. This becomes clearer when he asserts that when placed between the demand for identity, stasis and change, difference mimicry represents an ironic compromise. He means that as the colonial relationship progresses and there is constant tension between the imperial power’s desire for constant control and domination and the natural progress of history, these two factors, create an unlikely product: mimicry.
Bhabha argues that colonial mimicry is “the desire for a reformed, recognizable other, as a subject of a difference that is almost the same, but not quite”(Bhabha, 172).In clearer language, he asserts that the colonizer wants to improve the other and to make him like himself, but in a way that still maintains a clear sense of difference. In that sense, the Other becomes almost the same as the colonizer, but never quite fits in with the hegemonic cultural and political systems that govern both of them. He continues to illustrate that for colonial mimicry to work, it must continue to express its difference, which he terms ambivalence .
Bhabha fleshes this out two paragraphs later, after a brief discussion on Locke’s Second Treatise: “It is from this area between mimicry and mockery, where the reforming, civilizing mission is threatened by the displacing gaze of its disciplinary double, that my instances of colonial imitation come.” He illustrates that there is a space between mimicry, which carries a respectful tone, and mockery, which seems more subversive and negative, in which the colonial subject threatens the colonial mission in his mimicry. This fear results in, Bhabha goes on to argue, only a partial proliferation of belief systems, etc. He gives an example: Charles Grant, in “Observations on the state of society among the Asiatic subjects of Great Britain (56),” advocates for the partial diffusion of Christianity and the partial influence of moral improvements because he is afraid that should the colonial subjects receive all of the education, they would gain enough self-consciousness to rise up against their oppressors.
Bhabha states that the menace of mimicry is its double vision which in disclosing the ambivalence of colonial discourse also disrupts its authority. He clarifies that mimicry can be a subversive tool because in its slippage in its production of imitators rather than real Englishmen the power of the colonizer is undermined. This ambivalence suggests that the civilizing mission just does not work because it only allows for Anglicization, not the total transformation of natives into Englishmen.
His final point suggests that the founding objects of the Western world become the erratic, eccentric, accidental objets trouvés of the colonial discourse the part-objects of presence.” In other words, ideology of Europe and America are explained to the colonized only partly, and so become, in a way, meaningless. They are only part objects caused by the presence of the colonizer. The colonizer does not successfully impart his beliefs on the colonized, and the colonized will forever be not quite/not white. The body and face of the colonized are not a pretty sight. It is not without damage that one carries the weight of such historical misfortune. If the colonizers face is the odious one of an oppressor, that of his victim certainly does not express calm and harmony. The colonized does not exist in accordance with the colonial myth, but he is nevertheless recognizable. Being a creature of oppression, he is bound to be a creature of want.
The first attempt of the colonized is to change his condition by changing his skin. There is a tempting model very close at hand-the colonizer. The latter suffers from none of his deficiencies, has all rights, enjoys every possession and benefits from every prestige. He is, moreover, the other part of the comparison, the one that crushes the colonized and keeps him in servitude. The first ambition of the colonized is to become equal to that splendid model and to resemble him to the point of disappearing in him. By this step, which actually presupposes admiration for the colonizer, one can infer approval of colonization.
The extremism in that submission to the model is already revealing. A blonde woman is she dull or anything else, appears superior to any brunette. A product manufactured by the colonizer is accepted with confidence. His habits, clothing, food, architecture are closely copied, even if inappropriate. A mixed marriage is the extreme expression of this audacious leap. This fit of passion for the colonizer's values would not be so suspect, however, if it did not involve such a negative side. The colonized does not seek merely to enrich himself with the colonizer's virtues. In the name of what he hopes to become, he sets his mind on impoverishing himself, tearing himself away from his true self. The crushing of the colonized is in cluded among the colonizer's values. As soon as the colonized adopts those values, he similarly adopts his own condemnation.
All that the colonized has done to emulate the colonizer has met with disdain from the colonial masters. They explain to the colonized that those efforts are in vain, that he only acquires thereby an additional trait, that of being ridiculous. He can never succeed in becoming identified with the colonizer, nor even in copying his role correctly. In the best of circumstances, if he does not want to offend the colonized too much, the colonizer will use all his psychological theories. The national character of peoples is incompatible; every gesture is subtended by the entire spirit, etc. If he is more rude, he will say that the colonized is an ape. The shrewder the ape, the better he imitates, and the more the colonizer becomes irritated. With that vigilance and a smell sharpened by malice, he will track down the telltale nuance in clothing or language, the "lack of good taste" which he always manages to discover. Indeed, a man straddling two cultures is rarely well seated, and the colonized does not always find the right pose.
4.7 Mimicry in The Diary of a Social Butterfly
Moni Mohsin in her novel The Diary of a Social Butterfly has highlighted the colonial mentality of Pakistani elite class who are mimicking the West blindly. They are adopting their culture, traditions, language, dressing, architecture, customs and religious activities in order to show themselves superior than middle class of their country. They are in practice of concealing their identity, past and religion, which highlights their colonial mentality. According to the colonizer, there are always two traditions from the colonized, imperialist tradition and resistance tradition. Cultural bomb is the best weapon by imperialism. Through cultural bomb, the colonized people disbelief their culture, language and environment. Through this tradition, the colonized people abandon their past and start disgusting it. They want to get rid of that past and wasteland. So they start following others culture which can distance them from their own. They doubt their own identity, traditions and cultural heritage. They take their own people, culture and unity ridiculous. Whenever they think of their own culture, they feel despair and wish death. In this situation imperialism is cure for them. So they start copying others culture abandoning their own(Thiang’o, 92-95).
Mohsin has succeeded in mimicking a certain faction of high society through her character of Butterfly in many perspectives. A partier of an elite class mimicking the former colonizers can be seen through their appearance too. Their clothing, their jewelry, their manners all show that how concern they are with their apparent look and their religious approaches show their hypocrisy, towards the world and towards religious duties too. Here I am quoting some example that can be considered as the evidences of people’s hypocrisy and show offing of their wealth and status.
Janoo’s mother cares for her appearance even when she got heart ‘’…respite claiming to have had a heart attack she still hadn’t taken off her thirty tola gold kara’’ – may 2001
Butterfly’s appearance on a coffee party at her house ‘’I was wearing a new jora from Karma and my new shoes from the Parada boutique from Dubai. With nice diamond earrings’’ – Aug 2004
“Vaisey between you and me, I tau was quite disappointed with her. I mean Nobel Prize winner and she wasn’t wearing even a designer jora!”
In the lines above the apparent look is considered more important as talking about the first example that is of Janoo’s mother, who got an angina attack but Butterfly noticed her heavy gold bangles which were still in her hands as she was ill but did not compromise on her looks. Same is the case with Butterfly because she is the person who can never compromise on her looks and criticizes others for not having proper dressing sense as she explains small details about her outfit and shoes in coffee part at her house, saying “jora from Karma” , “shoes from the Parada boutique from Dubai” and “With nice diamond earrings’’. Now look the ladies how concerned they are with expensive things, mimicking others.
In The Diary of a Social Butterfly, Moni Mohsin has extraordinarily achieved in exposing the mimicry of Pakistan Elite class to be like the West and also Satirizes the so called living standards. She has exposed the gap between the middle class following their own language and culture and the elite class running after the West while abandoning their own language and culture. Elite class of Pakistan wants to get rid of this country, people and culture. They doubt their own identity and are desperate. Many decades have passed since the freedom from colonial masters but their cultural bomb is still working and the elite class are thinking their former masters superior and still copying them. In this novel, Moni Mohsin has satirized the elite class of Pakistani society that after so many years of freedom from British colonialism, still the elite class is following their former masters and showing their colonial mentality. The elite class has abandoned their own culture and language to show themselves superior to others. They feel ashamed in speaking their own language and following their own traditions.
In The Diary of a social Butterfly, the narrator is a representation of Elite class in Pakistan who mimic their former masters. The Diary Of a Social Butterfly is a story with the various happenings in the protagonist’s (Butterfly) life. Butterfly is an over sentimental, warm and impressive socialite who lives in Pakistan but copies the western style and is constantly in search of get-togethers worth applying her socializing skills to. She laughs her own culture and feels ashamed to follow her traditions. She criticizes the persons who are following their own culture and traditions and mocks them for not having a standard life. The mentality of Elite class is shown in this line, “you tau seem like a total paindu pastry.” (Mohsin, 6). The word paindu depicts the mentality that the people living in Pakistan hate their identity and past.
Butterfly criticizes the dressing sense of the middle class because they are following their culture and not copying the West. She mocks at the women having, “Grey-se hairs, sari, glasses, chappals, bindi.” (Mohsin, 15) Butterfly is in habit of criticizing middle class life style and the educational system of this country because these middle class do not meet the standards of the West. “Janoo’s sisters went to Home Economics, where all the middle-class…go”. (Mohsin, 7) According to Butterfly learning Home Economics is cheap thing. Butterfly thinks that shopping from a local brand or shop is an insult and in the Elite Class it is fashion to shop from international brands, so she mocks at her friend in this way, “Furry…buys her sabzis herself from the mandi only? And pretending never to shop anywhere but Pace and Al-Fatah. Jhoothi . My cook caught her in the mandi red-handed, haggling like a dhoban.” (Mohsin, 16)
Through different techniques the colonizer controlled the colonized. First there was physical violence in the battlefield then there was psychological violence of the classroom. The second one proved more beneficial instead of first. Because battlefield was visibly brutal and classroom was gentle. Through this new school technique the colonizer was successful to change the mentality of the colonized and the colonized started hating their culture and idealized the colonizer’s culture. The colonizer had the ability to kill with efficiency and then heal with same art. They did not need cannons anymore, new school was the new technique to destroy their culture, identity and unity. Because cannon forces the body and school fascinates the soul (Thiong’o, 39). Likewise Moni Mohsin has highlighted that how the elite class of Pakistan is blindly following their former British Masters and through adopting their culture, they have forgotten their identity and call others stupid who are still following their culture and traditions. While talking about her husband, the butterfly thinks that he is such a bore person because he follows his culture and still loves it. Butterfly hates the villages and village people and calls the village so boring and stinky. Butterfly calls herself very sophisty because she follows the elite and foreign life style and hates village life which is the real culture of this country, “They are hundred miles away in a bore-sa village called Sharkpur, which I haven’t been to, thanks God, for nearly four years.” (Mohsin, 9)
The culture of Pakistan is ignored and the Western culture is adopted as fashion, “Floozie…started wearing see-through clothes in winter” Butterfly as a representative of elite class prefers BBC and other foreign channels so that the world can see her style, “Vaisay it would have been so much nicer if it had been BBC, then whole world could’ve seen my yellow Shamael jora… me can switch to sensible channels like MTV or B4U or AXN.” (Mohsin, 28) The ladies of Pakistan prefer, ‘expensive sweater from Harrods’. The elite class idealizes the West so much that the start hating their country and wish to move to Europe like Butterfly idealizes, “I am begging every summers to go to London.” (Mohsin, 19) The dressing style of the West is blindly copied by the elite class of Pakistan like Butterfly prefers Vogue and Harper’s and Harrods for shopping. In this novel Butterfly also likes the Western style of dressing when she says, “You just drape it off one shoulder. So classy it looks.” (Mohsin, 25) Elite class is impressed by the living style of Western countries, “Because they live in skyscrapers and condoms and eat Big Macks and hot dogs and watch Jerry Sponger and Opera Winfrey.” The Elite class copies dressing style of the West as well as the architecture. This is obvious in this novel when Butterfly hates Flopsy for copying her dining room furniture and Teensy for stealing her Filipina. (Mohsin, 28)
Butterfly joyfully brags about her high profile connections, shopping big brands, foreign travels, property, BMWs, society weddings, and charity balls. She exaggerates herself before others to show her class when she says she lives, “In a big, fat kothi with a big, fat garden in Gulberg”. She is habitual of criticizing the middle class by saying, “newly-rich cheapsters who live in Defence vaghera” She flatters and does not like local servants even and in competition with other ladies of her class, she hires foreign servants, two maids one Filipina. She does not like to be recognized like other persons of this culture. She thinks herself different from this culture and feels ashamed to expose her identity as a part of this culture, “Not that anyone can do competition with me. Mummy (that’s my mother) says I’m unique”. (Mohsin, 7) To maintain her status of being different and rich, she does not like local brands, instead she prefers, to get my designer dresses. Butterfly flutters over her education from, “ Kinnaird College, where all the rich illegible girls go”. (Mohsin, 12)
The Elite class mimics the West in any way. They prefer mediocre jewel of Europe over purest jewel of their own tradition. Butterfly likes to wear artificial jewelry and hates the tradition of Pakistani family to wear gold jewelry gifted by her in laws, “the hideous gold bangles and necklace that I got from Tony’s family when we married that I’ve always hated because they’re so paindu.” (Mohsin, 25) She has no interest in people’s welfare, she presents her mentality while talking about her husband, ‘He likes bore things like reading-sheading, watching documentaries and building schools in his stinky old village.’ She criticizes her husband who has no interest in parties and gatherings, “who is a zinda laash”. Butterfly talks about international newspapers and TV shows she refers Good Times and Vogue many times during her conversation.
Domination of culture and language are powerful tools employed by the colonizer. In West Indian, American, Australian, Canadian and New Zealand, there are different versions of English. They reflect their own culture through their language and add more life and vigor into their language while reflecting their own culture. But English is not the language of the colonized and does not represent their culture. So language is most important vehicle for the colonizer, through imposition of English language, they can destroy the cultural heritage of the colonized. Power of language held the soul prisoner. Through bullet physical subjugation is possible but through language spiritual subjugation is confirm. (Thiang’o 48)
In Mohsin’s view every story has its own style. This is evident in her book as being a political satire interspersed with humor, fun and innovation in the intermixing of English, Urdu and at times Punjabi languages. This switching of codes is something which actually is seen as a part of the day-to-day life in our Pakistani set-up, copying their former masters. Butterfly’s voice is a pitch-perfect mixture of malapropistic, sub continental English and colloquial Urdu spoken by her class, perhaps the most authentic example of what Salman Rushdie has term the ‘chutneyfication’ of the English language. Mohsin has succeeded in exposing the Elite class culture which has mixed the West culture with the East and English with Urdu and Punjabi. Elite class of Pakistan copy the West language and show their colonial mentality on the name of standard.
Language has a dual function, as it is a means of communication and carrier of culture. For the British English was a source of communication and also carrier of their culture. But after imposition of English language in Central Asia, English became means of communication but not a carrier of their culture and history. In native languages, there is magical power and stories of their struggles are told. The heroism and unity themes are essential part of native language. The natives can feel the musicality of their language through riddles, proverbs, images, symbols and arranged words. But the colonial school and imposition of colonial language deprived the natives of their own language and feeling. Because the language of education was not the language of their culture. English was the formal educational language and was thought measure of intelligence. (Thiang’o, 27)
In the novel Moni also exposes same colonial mentality that after decades of freedom from British rule, Pakistani’s are still mentally slaves of the West and feel proud in speaking their language. Butterfly is a true representative of this class and tries to copy English language with a mixture of desi style to show her class without any proper pronunciation and grammar. While copying their language she forgets her own identity and thinks herself out of this culture. By speaking English she wants to maintain her image as an elite class representative. There are misspellings resulting from false phonetic realizations of words, incorrect intonations, funny parsing, inter language rhythmic parallels in word selections, literal translations of idioms and proverbs, transliteration of Lahorie Urdu phrases. Despite of all this, Butterfly speaks wrong English without having proper knowledge and do not feel ashamed of being wrong. She speaks many wrong words like liposuction in Moni’s English becomes liposeduction, menopause – menoapplause, Massachusetts – mesaachewsits , Jumerah beach – Humera beach, Gucci – Goouchhy, condominium—condom, angina – vagina, Mossad – Masood, egocentric—egg centric, Sara Suleri – Sara Guleri, Meatless days – Meatless ways, ex-thief minister—ex-chief minister, bizarre – bazzar, Saiqa – Psycho, Kokab – Coke up, Kubra – Cobra, Asghar – Oscar. (Mohsin, 25-78)
Mohsin’s book abounds in borrowings from various languages like Urdu, Punjabi as well as Hindi. The words will be placed under different lexical fields, such as food items, dresses, festivals and typical “Punjabized” and “Urduized” expressions and words of common vernacular uses to show how English language is used with a mixture of Punjabi and Urdu expression to maintain social status. Butterfly uses English affixations with urdu words like ‘Ghararas’ , ‘designer joras’ , ‘chappals’, ‘Bhindis’ , ‘Karelas’, ‘lootos three banks’, ‘charoos on my nerves’. The word „gharara‟ when affixed with English “s” gives plural meaning and it is a part of formal dress usually meant for brides or is used by a female attending marriage ceremony or so ‘jora’ is used in terms of dress for both formal and informal wearing and style. The third ‘chappal’ is a kind of slipper for informal and casual use. 4-5 are vegetables and in our context the use of words like ‘bhindi’ and ‘krela’ are referred to as plurals but here with English affixation “s” they give the same meaning of quantity of being in bulk. The last affixation of “s” however is significant in the sense that a word “loot” is used both in English and Urdu but it has been used in Urdu way and ‘looto’ the Urdu word has been used as a verb by adding “s” with it. (Mohsin, 40-56)
English words are also used with an Urdu/Punjabi suffix, such as: ‘Uncle ji’, ‘Ma’am ji’, ‘Nan Ji’. In Urdu or Punjabi, the suffix “ji” is attached to any word, may be a common or a proper noun which is regarded as a marker of respect or to mock. Butterfly has compounded a root morpheme in Urdu with a root morpheme in English like ‘shaadi season’, ‘Tabahi wedding’, ‘shawl wallah’, ‘Electronic Tasbeeh’. Butterfly has used adjectival forms by using ‘ed’ to the stem. For example: ‘Mistooked’ (‘ed’ with the past participle ‘mistook’), ‘Principled stand’ (‘ed’ with the noun principal), ‘Relieved’ (‘ed’ with noun relief), ‘AC’D rooms’ (‘d’ with noun AC). In the first instance, the noun ‘crack’ has been added with ‘damn fool’ which turns it into a unique expression. In our context these innovative uses performs the intensifying purposes. The word ‘crack’ is very often used to show annoyance, anger and sometimes even love. Many intensifying terms or expressions such as ‘paindu paistry jesi shakl’ are in common use in our society.
In fact Butterfly uses the word ‘desi’ in contrast to ‘valeti’ and the latter is used mostly derogatively for the ‘goras’ or white people. The implication arising out of this phrase is that of ironical and derogatively used for a person who is a born American and yet ‘Desi’ and ‘confused’. The insertion of the word ‘tiyara’ in the middle of the third phrase is highly unusual because it is an Urdu word which means aeroplane. Butterfly speaks unusual noun phrases little ‘bit bonga’, ‘Twenty-what kay bulb’ and Hyphenated Phrases like ‘Funny-si look’, ‘Bore-sa village’, ‘Baggy-si jeans’, ‘Top-ki films’, ‘Wedding shedding’, ‘Balls-valls’, ‘Fat kothi’, ‘Fat-fat’, ‘fried-fried prawns’, ‘paindu paistry’. In the first four instances, Urdu words ‘si’, ‘sa’ and ‘ki’ have been inserted in the middle of the phrases which otherwise contain all English words. These inserted Urdu words form the equivalence to the English words such as ‘similar’ or ‘like’ used as a prepositions or to show some likeness. She has also combined an Urdu suffix with an English word funny-si expands her expressions. (Mohsin, 56-105)
Butterfly has used Punjabized Nouns like ‘Fillum’ (film), ‘Milluk shake’ (milk), ‘Toash’ (toast), ‘Unteek’ (antique), also used names of Festivals, ‘Bakra Eid’, ‘Basant’, and names of Pakistani dishes like ‘mithai’, ‘Gulab Jamans’. These are the traditional Pakistani sweet dishes. She has used names of Pakistani wedding expressions like ‘Tops’, ‘dholak’, ‘Menhdi’, ‘Jamawar’, ‘jhumka’, ‘Shamiana’. Butterfly has spoken the typical Pakistani expressions which are massively used by people and some of them are typically associated women such as, ‘haw hi’ (expressing amazement, shock or mixed feelings at times), ‘Hi Allah’, ‘but chalo’ (to deliberately overlooking something), ‘Bus, enough is enough’, ‘Tauba taubab’, ‘Writing shiting’, ‘Club shab’. As a matter of fact, these are common streets expressions and do not carry any specific meaning as such but depending on the context mean different things, She has also used mixed and self-made abbreviations like Isloo (Islamabad), GT (Get Together), ABCD (American Born Confused Desi) and idioms like That‟s that, Around the clock, Nervous. (Moshin, 78)
The language of the colonizer was taking the colonized away from their language and culture. It was taking them far from themselves to other selves, from their world to another world. The imposition of English language was the systematic suppression. (Thiag’o, 67) Moni Mohsin has exposed this slave mentality of Pakistani society that they feel proud in leaving their own language and speaking English either they have enough know how of this language. Butterfly has used Urdu expressions like tight-tight shirts, lose-lose morals, thin-thin models, little-little clothes, peecha churraoed, figure-shigure, Jano more bore than Pal Gore, marroed another chutti, bachoeed bal-bal, loots bank, latkaoed work, paindu crowd, Khata-Peta, daba k PR ki, Ya kismat Ya naseeb, sale-shales, begumshobji, shweeto, tu, vaisay, B-b-b-bgum ji, su-su stains, haw hai bechari, small-sa, cosy-sa, tit-for tit, our nose will be cut and our faces will be blackened, I’ll see if my shoes even listens, how my nose will be cut if I do not get the visa, Urdu swear words Kameeni, Kutti, abbreviations like GT for get together, Paris Sheraton—Paris Hilton.Butterfly used the word window instead of widow, “Janoo’s mother is a window” and wardrope instead of wardrobe. Sometimes she corrects herself when she speaks wrong words like, “best enemas, sorry, sorry, I mean enemies”.
Many times butterfly’s husband corrects her English pronunciation because she speaks many wrong words like when she says about her mother in law, “She’ll f she’d had a vagina attack. Bas, dekha, I said, it’s only vagina, not heart’. ‘ANGINA!’ Janoo shouted.” (Mohsin, 20) Butterfly calls cholesterol as chloroform, “Too much of sugar, too much of ghee, too much of chloroform.” But if someone corrects her, she is so angry at this. ‘How dare she correct my Kinnaird College English’. According to Butterfly the person who cannot speak English and is unable to shop from international brand has no standard when she says that her mother in law, “wears Bata shoes and can’t speak English”. So English is thought to be measure of intelligence in Pakistani society and Urdu and Punjabi are thought to be barbaric and substandard languages.
Butterfly is the representative of the elite class of Pakistan who are busy in their frivolous activities and do not take heed to national and international affairs. They do not have any concern about the world and the tussle among different countries. Butterfly has materialistic approach and she is busy enjoying parties and shopping all the time. When Taliban threaten to destroy all statues, Butterfly concerns about her friend Floozie who runs off with best friend’s husband. Butterfly is busy in gossiping about her and curses her and calls her name as mud, worse than mud. Nutterfly shows her sympathy for Tony, ‘Tonky took the pills home but now I’m worried keh what if he overdouses’? And when Pakistan and Iran agree on broad-based government for Afghanistan, Butterfly is thinking about writing a novel and contemplating on starting a career as novelist, “I write my book and tell everyone about how I had a horrible mother, horrible sister, horrible friends, went to a horrible school, married a horrible man and had a horrible life but still stayed innocent and trusting and religious.” (Mohsin, 16)
Butterfly is overwhelmed with parties and is interested in meeting with different celebrities avoiding what is happening in assemblies and showing no national interest. When there is Restoration of assemblies in March, Butterfly attends six parties in two days. She is busy in talking about, “The party groupies like Samir and Muddy and Sana Hashwani and Abbas Sarfaraz and Tariq Amin and Choo Choo.” (Mohsin, 12) Butterfly has craze for brands and wants herself to be prominent in these parties, “it would have been so much nicer if it had been BBC, then whole world could’ve seen my yellow Shamael jora.” (Mohsin, 12) She is not concerned with the politics and country but is all time discussing about decoration in parties “eliminated with fairy lights and diyas.” (Mohsin, 13)
Kashmir is the hot issue between Pakistan and India and the sufferings of the Kashmiris in Occupied Kashmir take the attention of the world. But Elite class living in Pakistan has no concern with the sufferings of their brothers and they are busy in their personal interests. Like Butterfly in the novel does not bother about, ‘Kashmiris decline talks with all leaders’. She is concerned about slaughtering sheep to save herself from ‘bad nazar’. She shows off having, ‘an expensive one. A good bakra, if nothing, must be at least ten thou. (Mohsin, 125)
Terrorism and sectarianism in Pakistan has shook the roots of country and in May 2001 Pakistan Anti-terrorism law was amended in order to root out sectarianism, Butterfly mocks at her sister in law’s heart attack. When her sister in law calls her and tells that, ‘The Old Bag has gone and had a heart attack. Butterfly does not bother about this situation and tells her that her, ‘Bhaijaan’s busy watching Kaun Banay Ga Crore Patty.’ So she is part of this ‘tamasha’ and has no interest in country’s situation.
Butterfly takes no notice of the democracy of Pakistan rather she purchases jamawar shawl which indicates that the people of Pakistan overlook their national and political concerns and are busy in partying and shopping copying the West. Butterfly is shopaholic women like other women of elite class, “I have four—one beige, one green, one brown and one navy blue-and-grey rewindable. Sorry, sorry, I mean reversible.” She buys expensive things on for show off in her class, ‘Antique-shantique koi nahin,’ I said. “One lakh. Not another paisa.” (Mohsin, 79)
Butterfly attends grand wedding in solitary style without having concerned about the international happenings. ‘Three week long celebrations, khaana to die for, AC’d marquee, two thousand people.’ All she is interested in celebrities like Farooq Leghari and Asghar Khan to Irum and Amo. From Qazi Hussain Ahmed and Nawabzada Nasrullah to Deepak Perwani and Tariq Amin. Butterfly is obsessed with her elite class show off activities parties and her dressing and becoming different is her major concern. She does not bother about the worldy affairs and the plight of Muslims in the whole world especially after 9/11. But contrary to Butterfly, her husband is interested in the international and national affairs and is all time concerned about the Muslim world. That’s why Butterfly calls him boring. (Mohsin, 103)
When in September 2001, Al Qaeda attacks New York and blows up the Twin Towers, Butterfly’s husband Janoo is busy watching news and is worried about the effects of this incident on Muslim world while Butterfly loses her patience with Janoo for hogging the TV. Instead of bothering about the incident, she calls this, ‘America versus Afghanistan drama’. Butterfly’s this non serious behavior indicates the non-serious of Pakistani Elite Class that they do not have any concern that the Muslim world is going to face hurdles in the whole world and America’s military attack on Afghanistan is a hint towards destruction of other countries also. (Mohsin, 84)
When Pakistan becomes an ally in the US war against terror, Janoo is all time worried about the condition of Muslims when Butterfly asks about going into party, he says, ‘I’m not in the mood because of the war in Afghanistan. I don’t have it in me to party at present. Butterfly responds in such way, “Mujhay tau lagta hai he is finding bahaanas. The more I think, the more I think so keh maybe he doesn’t like parties.” The whole world is worried about the future of Muslims but Butterfly is only thinking about her in laws and backbiting them. She says, “Try living with my in-laws. I tell you, one day with them and you’d become suicidal.” (Mohsin, 94)
The colonized idealizes the colonizer, their culture, language and religion. They think their own religion orthodox and copy the West by following their religious and cultural events. They hate their past and find pleasure in mimicking the colonizer. (Thiong’o, 48) Likewise the elite class of Pakistan mimics their former masters blindly and is busy in adopting their religious activities in order to show themselves superior than middle class of their country. They are in practice of concealing their identity, past and religion which highlights their colonial mentality.
The Diary of a Social Butterfly Moni Mohsin has criticized the elite class’ shallow belief on religion. They are so busy in their frivolous activities and so called status that they do not have much knowledge of religion and criticize others of being religious. They laugh at the middle class who follow their religious teaching and call them ‘paindu’. Butterfly shows her disgust in this way, ‘This is the same Fluffy whose mother still wears a burqa.’ Butterfly truly depicts the mentality of being non-religious when she says, ‘Janoo’s sisters went to Home Econmics, where all the middle-class or purdah types go’. Here she is criticizing the women who wear veil and calls them middle class. According to Butterfly, “the girls in frocks with no sleeves and no backs” have a standard and class. In Islam the women are taught to wear shawl on shoulders to cover their body and Islamic women proud to have that veil. But in Pakistan the elite class follows the West and their dressing style to look modern and look like ‘ghoras’, in order to copy the West hey have forgotten their own religious practices. Butterfly is so concerned about her class that she does not like to look like middle class women, her mentality is shown when she says, “jamawars are just so bulky, na, keh figure-shigure sub chhup jaata hai.” (Mohsin, 28)
After 9/11 the worldwide image of the Muslims is destroyed by the American media and Bush’s war on terror has spread fear in them for Muslims. So the innocent Muslims are suffering all over the world without any reason. In this novel, Butterfly criticizes the women who wear hijab because of the image of Islam and hijab over the west. She is crazy to go to London by hook or by crook without bothering about the plight of Muslims in the whole world. So she criticizes her mother of wearing hijab, “it’s all Mummy’s fault Who told her to go and stand in the queue at the embassy with sunblock, sunglasses and head-scarf? Naturally, they thought she was a hijabi fundo and mistooked her for Al Qaeda.” (Mohsin, 49)
Elite class of Pakistan is so busy in partying and following Western life style that they do not like religious months to come because the party season will be off. Butterfly is worried about her boredom in the coming month, “Muharram’s going to start and then summers will come and everyone will get sealed inside their AC’d rooms and then parties-sharties sub khatam.” The elite class have forgotten their religious values and are behind trends of showing off in parties and marriages. Butterfly says “Thank God, Ramzan will finish before proper party season starts.” Because according to her parties will ruin if Ramzan is still going on. Another example of leaving religious values is when Uncle Pansy is dead, “in Muharram after finish of party/shaadi season and before start of London season. So we didn’t have to cancel anything. Thanks God.” It shows that she is not sorry for uncle Pansy’s death and has no religious affiliation in the month of Muharram. Instead of performing her religious duties, she is busy thanking that party and marriage season has finished and she is happy that London season will come after Muharam.
In another event, Butterfly shows her class’ hollowness that she has no concern with religion and its practices. All she is concerned about foreign religious practices and their trends. She happily says, ‘God is on my side. I’ve always known, but now it’s official. If he hadn’t been, then he wouldn’t have ended Muharram in time for Basant.’ Festival of Basant and Hallowen day is basic source of attraction for her rather than the performing religious duties in Muharram and Ramzan like Butterfly proudly declares, “I organised a Holloween part.” In pursuit of some material things and standards, she has lost her religion and its practices. Elite class of Pakistan like Butterfly is abandoning their religion to be like the West in pursuit of materialism and to maintain their status up to the mark. (Mohsin, 36)
Another shallowness of elite class is shown that they do not perform any task purely for the will of God rather to show off themselves in their society and class. Likewise, Butterfly wants to sacrifice a goat to avoid herself from the evil eye, all she bothers about is that the goat must be expensive. So that she can take the admiration from other women that she is so rich. “No, ji, an expensive one. A good bakra, if nothing, must be at least ten thou.” This sentence shows her showy nature.
The Muslims of today are so far from religion that they do not take the religious activities as Holy activities. They take religion for worldly pursuits and benefits. Especially the rich class does not find spiritual pleasure in Islam, they are only so called Muslims and using the religion for worldly benefits just like Butterfly. Butterfly asks her mother, “to bring me a litre of holy water from the holy land. It makes your skin glow.” Here Butterfly shows lack of knowledge and interest in religion. Holy water purifies the body and the soul and the Muslims use it for the special affiliation with of their Prophet. Nevertheless, Butterfly is not interested in religious affiliation. She is interested about her outlook and uses the holy water for glow her skin. Outward beauty and glow of skin matters to her because she has to look more beautiful in her class. (Mohsin, 59)
The Muslims have strong religious affection towards The Holy Kaaba, they have this belief that all the prayers are heard and fulfilled there. So whenever someone is going to visit The Holy Kaaba all the relatives and friends ask him to pray on his behalf to for their health and other anxieties. Butterfly does not require her mother for spiritual prayers, “I told Mummy to do lots of duas for me, for my health, for my looks, for my social life, my bank account.” Here in these lines, she shows her upper class’ mentality that they do not bother about their spirituality rather the only focus is money, appearance and their social status. She wants her mother to pray for her good look and her bank account. These things are the major concerns of upper class. (Mohsin, 257)
Resultantly The Diary of a Social Butterfly is a true depiction of frivolous activities of Elite class who are running their own culture and language in the name of class and status. They are copying the West to be called as superior than others. They are a part of a frivolous race which has no destination. While copying Western style of living, they are leaving their own culture behind in darkness. They are neither part of this culture nor the West, they do not own their culture and West does not own them. So in pursuit of Western life style and to be like them, they have lost their identity and self-respect. Therefore a dire change is needed to save our Pakistani culture and ourselves, otherwise with the loss of culture and history, we will soon lose identity, culture, religion and ourselves.
Homi Bhabha is a prominent voice in postcolonial studies and he is influenced by Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan and Michael Foucault. He has contributed a set of challenging concepts, such as: Hybridity, Mimicry, Ambivalence, the Stereotypes, the Uncanny, the Nation, Otherness, etc. to postcolonial theory. In his essay Of Man and Mimicry, he has highlighted the concept of mimicry by quoting Jacques Lacan that mimicry is distinct from the background, it is the harmonization with the background but this harmonization is mottled. So according to Bhaba mimicry is limited and it was not allowed to go beyond a particular line. Bhaba has discussed mimicry in postcolonial point of view that there is always ambivalence in the colonial dominance. The colonizer wants the colonized to be like them but they do not want the colonized to be them. (Bhaba, 175)
West talks about East in a tongue that is forked, they have dual intentions. They say that they want to civilize the colonized but they actually do not want to civilize the colonized people. They just want a little change in them. If the colonized become just like West, the West will lose the right to rule them. The idea of European Enlightenment is exposed by Bhaba that The Europe does not want to enlighten the colonized; they just want the colonized to mimic them in distorted form. They just want authority and superiority over them by rejecting their own culture and mimicking the West. So the colonized starts to copy the West and their culture by supposing it superior to their own. (Bhaba, 165)
Mimicry is copying of language, culture, manners and ideas according to Bhaha. Bhaba argues that ambivalence, mimicry is never quite accurate. The colonial discourse wants both similarity and difference in the figures of the colonized. The mimicry conceals no presence or identity behind its mask. In mimicry, real identity is concealed and the mask is the new identity. The colonizer wants to be superior and thinks the colonized inferior so the colonizer never allows the colonized to mimic them exactly and be like them. If the colonized becomes exact like the colonizer, they will lose the right to rule them. So the basic purpose behind the enlightenment of the colonized is not to make them civilized but to make them slave by hating their own culture and identity. (Bhaba, 164)
I would like to recommend to future scholars who would like to contribute to the debate on Bhabha’s mimicry that they should see novels of post colonial writers. If these texts are interpreted without making any sense of post colonial aspects, they are likely to fall into ideological transgressions which may blur the ethical project of the author. The misinterpretation would actually do an injustice to the idea of the author as well as to the sanctity of the written work. While it is important to interpret the text through the canon of modern literary theory and criticism, one should also take care of political aspects upon which the post colonial is supposed to be built. Without the solid political foundations, the post colonial interpretation can deviate into coherence lacking any factual substantiality. This framework provides holistic tools of research, through which a logical investigation can be carried out and a substantial conclusion reached.
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