Beyond the ‘“recruitable” narrative’? The fictive portrayal of Pakistani Christians in Nadeem Aslam’s The Golden Legend

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Abstract

In seeming response to rising global interest in the condition of non-Muslims in parts of the Muslim world, recent fictions by anglophone Pakistani writers have explored how the country’s Christians are positioned as lesser subjects. Such literature speaks to legitimate concerns about the welfare of religious minorities in Muslim-majority contexts, but may also risk reproducing “‘recruitable’ narratives” which situate Christians and Muslims on either side of an unbridgeable religio-cultural divide. This article investigates how Nadeem Aslam’s (2017) The Golden Legend depicts Christian experiences of religious discrimination and coexistence within the Islamic Republic. It argues that Aslam’s fiction revisits savages-victims-saviour trichotomies and demystifies religious offence, bringing to light alternative configurations of Muslim-Christian relationships and ways of understanding points of contention. Acknowledging the limitations of Aslam’s liberal humanist vision, it hopes to identify how novels like Legend extend available representations at a time when critical perspectives on interfaith cohabitation require careful articulation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Postcolonial Writing
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sep 2022

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