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    Nadeem Farooq Paracha’s quest to explore various questions of identity in the nation-state of Pakistan continues. In this sixth book of his, The Reluctant Republic, he ventures even deeper to investigate the history of statist-nationalist narratives in Pakistan and how the country’s diverse ethnic, sectarian and sub-sectarian groups responded to these narratives. Paracha posits that statist experiments in this context have largely failed to build a cohesive and confident nation-state which is always in fear of coming apart. As is often the case in his books, parallel to investigating the faultlines that crisscross Pakistan’s existence as a nation-state, Paracha simultaneously weaves a counter-narrative. He challenges and deconstructs the statist narratives to provide a constructive alternative to experiments and narratives that have been unable to shape a unified and progressive nation-state but continue being repeated with minor modifications. Paracha builds a compelling case to conclude that the state of Pakistan must come to terms with the fact that the formulation of a civic-nationalism – or a nationalism based on a nation of diverse ‘micro-nations’ joined to an integrated economy rather than to a dominant ethnic group or a specific faith – is the country’s only way out of the vicious cycle it seems to be stuck in. A cycle that weakens the resolve and structure of the nation-state every time it completes one futile rotation after another.


    Sufism has always been a contested space in Pakistan. Successive governments, political parties, and religious organizations have attempted to co-opt it or reject it to suit their own political agendas. Since the turn of the millennium, however, the Pakistani government has made a conscious effort to recast Pakistan as a ‘Sufi country’—a whitewashing endeavor.

    In the past few decades, Pakistan’s image has taken a severe beating, ravaged as the country is by the rise of religious extremism. A focus on the syncretic culture of Sufism was seen as a way to reverse this damage without the need to explore more secular narratives and alternatives as almost every attempt at genuine reform has triggered extreme reactions from the politicoreligious segments of the society that were empowered through various controversial constitutional amendments and laws between 1974 and the late 1980s.

    Soul Rivals discusses the many strands of Sufism (State, Pop, and Militant) that have emerged in the course of the country’s attempts to reimagine Sufism. In this close look at the religio-political space in Pakistan, Nadeem Farooq Paracha is as insightful as he is entertaining.

    Praise for Points of Entry Paracha’s essays are constructed around closely felt personal encounters; and in being so, they nudge the reader (wherever she may be) to look around with keener eye and ear to find the imprints of history and diverse influences in everyday conversations, in the music and food around, in the life stories of stray acquaintances. It is, in sum, a riveting introduction to Pakistan. – Mini Kapoor, The Hindu

    Layered and powerful, Paracha’s writing takes you beyond … the usual cliches, to present, a nuanced picture of a complex nation caught…. between the modernist impulse and the theocratic one – Manjula Narayan, Hindustan Times.


    Author, cultural critic and historian nadeem farooq paracha details the history of muslim modernism – a 19th century idea which further evolved in the the early 20th century and inspired the creation of a separate muslim-majority country, pakistan. Paracha explores how this idea became part of the narrative which first justified the creation of pakistan and then became part of this country’s nationalist outlook.

    however, from the mid-19705, this idea began to erode and was replaced by a more myopic view of pakistani nationalism which permeated the state and society, retarding their evolution. It hurled them into an identity and existentialist crises ravaged by extremist violence, hate crimes and severe sectarian, sub-sectarian and religious polarisation.

    after investigating the reasons behind the birth, rise and decline of muslim modernism in south asia and pakistan, paracha builds a case of its possible revival for a state and polity now trying to wriggle out of the many ideological and constitutional traps they created for themselves in their bid to divorce the country from its modernist muslim roots.


    In The Pakistan Anti-Hero, Paracha further explores the political and social evolution of Pakistan’s polity which he first investigated in his best-selling debut, End of the Past.

    He expands this investigation by closely tracking the country’s social and political trajectory through the lives of ‘anti-heroes’ – or those men and women whose place in history has transcended model heroic characteristics.

    From digging deeper into the psyches and histories of well-known men and women, to looking closer at the lives of those who have only briefly been explored, Paracha surveys the lives of scholars, ideologues, sportsmen, authors, politicians, militants, actors and even some obscure personalities that he met as a young man and then as a journalist.

    He cuts through the mainstream historical accounts of certain famous as well as notorious figures to study them in a more detached and yet empathetic manner to gain a starker understanding of a nation which has continued to develop through multiple existential crisis.


    END OF THE PAST is a documentation of how the consequences of various ideological experiments over the last many decades in Pakistan seeped into the soul of the country, insulating future generations from the world, causing them to experience the worst kind of identity crisis.

    Paracha’s observations and pithy prose weaving in personal stories stems from growing up as the son of a journalist who eventually found a voice of his own as one of Pakistan’s leading cultural critics and satirists. He chronologically maps how Pakistan’s spiritual soul has been trampled upon in its quest to gain acceptance as an ‘ideological state’.

    END Of THE PAST is written not so much as a nostalgic memoir as an analysis in the form of a narrative and a means of explaining the enigma that is Pakistan.

    Paracha looks at Pakistan’s political, sporting and cultural pasts, hoping that future generations will learn from them and chart a brand new beginning for a country that he loves passionately. He pleads for a decisive end of the past so that a new and less tumultuous future can be envisioned and built.