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I have argued throughout this book that the political interventions made by progressive Urduphone intellectuals – “modern,” “secular," and left-leaning – were inspired by in great part by the Indo-Persianate cultural and ethical lifeworlds that had outlasted Mughal imperial rule in spite of subsequent colonial epistemes that placed new limits upon Urdu literature. Having moved beyond the colonial archive by closely examining texts and debates within the vernacular South Asian language of Urdu, it is my contention that leftist politics in late colonial north India and in early postcolonial Pakistan cannot be fully understood without turning to a longer history of Urdu literary ethics, particularly its relationship to religion, given the impact of Sufi thought upon the leftist Urdu literary milieu. Lastly, a history which examines leftist politics in South Asia cannot ignore the Indian Muslim minority question embedded within political movements for freedom against colonial rule.
Faiz’s literary pursuits are difficult to disentangle from the wider political trajectory out of which he emerged and impacted. I argue that Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s ethical self-fashioning as a political subject was deeply rooted within Perso-Arabic, Indo-Persian, and Urdu literary traditions even as he became increasingly invested in internationalist solidarity. I show that Faiz’s poetry, deeply rooted in Urdu literary and ethical traditions and composed during incarceration and exile, demonstrated his revulsion for the narrow confines of territorial nationalism and the authoritarianism of the postcolonial state.
A historiography of South Asian Muslim nationalism and the place of Urdu progressive literature within a broader political context of independence struggles against colonial rule in India and Pakistan.
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