Naulakhi Kothi

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NAULAKHI Kothi is a colonial narrative narrated by a post-colonial writer Ali Akber Natiq. His mind is naturally attuned to the poetry who has transformed his poetical expressions into a prosaic form. The way he tells a tale intrigues the readers and audience seems to be engrossed in the text.

Art of characterization also reminds Gorky’s way of depiction. Historical facts hooked up the reader’s attention that how wonderful writer knitted a plot and climax of the story. It revolves around three major characters that played their role accordingly; Maulvi Karamt, William and Ghulam Hyder.

The story follows in a way that a protagonist character of William assumed his charge as Assistant Commissioner in Firozpur district and Jalalabad city. His father was also a renowned bureaucrat who built a palace namely Naulakhi Kothi.

Therefore, the city and palace was a magnet for William, who did not leave the palace till his last breath. Even though, he faced hardships as Second World War took place, by leaving the subcontinent every settler cut umbilical cord from the land however William longed to be a citizen of the newly emerged state, but his every attempt goes in vain.

Meanwhile, the orders passed for evacuating Naulakhi Kothi by the grandchild of Maulvi Karamat whom William favoured by appointing as a Teacher in Jalalabad with high remuneration. Therefore, William claimed that the people of this land can be a good clerk, but they cannot be good officers till centuries. It portrays a bleak picture of the bureaucratic system rather satirical tone for the state.

Apart from that Jalalabad was under the influence of Ghulam Hyder, his people were attacked by Sardar Sodha Singh.

It was the responsibility of William to resolve the case, he tried from pillar to post, but Ghulam Hyder killed Sodha Singh along with his people in return. For ten years Ghulam Hyder exiled, he was longing for blessings in disguise so the World War-II became a source of happiness for him.

Afterward, Jinnah favored Nawab Mamdot to release his friend from death sentence cases. The text breaks traditional and conventional narrative that colonizers rule over people with their evil intentions, though William was guided in a way to rule the people of this land, but owing to poetic rhymes in his veins he failed to be a good ruler.

While training days, he was instructed by one of his colleagues that William is an Oriental, here he is a ruler, they are here not to do romance with the land but they are here to rule the people. The words remind me E.M Forster’s A Passage to Inida where Mrs. Moore was similarly instructed that they are not here to make friendship with Indians rather they are here to rule.

Furthermore, the novelist killed his characters in a single line also reminds Hemingway’s style of writing who killed his self-created characters in one word whereas Charles Dickens do the same as Natiq did with the character of William who defeated death multiple times and survived to meet the author for telling his tale to document it in a way of firsthand experience.

To be concluded, the author has depicted both sides of the coin that the settled people fall prey in identity-crisis, whereas the settler gives a lesson to remain a part of foreign land by accepting it as his parental heritage by giving meaning to his mortal existence.

Means to say; now it is up to the people, whether they detach themselves from the fundamentals of their parents or they attach themselves with the parental heritage.

—The writer is a critic & graduated in English Studies based in Hyderabad, Sindh.

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