DEPICTING the creative count in Pakistani English Literature, Ghulam Murtaza Aatir, an academician brought his debut work Straggling Through Fire: An Anthology of Proemistry, a process book with a hefty responsibility of nationalism.
Aatir’s Proemistry is an unbounded struggle for the roots that lie in his land and its people, and he is not writing for the self but for the whole Pakistani nation: “It is not my book, but our book” (Aatir, 2021, p. 03).
Third world countries have no space in the first world, and, similarly their cultures and peoples are also marginalized.
Aatir questions the Western hegemony that entertains only those writings that serve western agendas or are written for ideological appeasement of the West, causing image crisis for Pakistan through such representations that its peoples are poverty ridden, war-shattered and sick.
Proemistry exposes this entangled imagination that downplays indigenous culture and tradition for ulterior motives.
With easy expression and stylistic diversity, Ghulam Murtaza Aatir’s satire on the societal concerns through the hierarchy and power of animal kingdom also invites the reader to meditate on the harsh realities of human world.
The writer is a great humanist who shares the sorrows of the nation as well as the people across the borders, who do not get any space either in writings or on social media, and who are victims of the power dynamic and are killed by labelling them as terrorists.
His Proemistry creates space for the privations of the underprivileged. The agenda of his glocality is not only to give voice to the silenced, but to give them due space in the margin of the process-Proemistry.
Quoting Sherman Alexie’s point of view about making new rules rather than following the old ones, Aatir also takes the similar terrain thinking that he must not be slave of English masters, and follow the rules laid by them, but he should act self-sufficiently, and, hence, he displays a robust independent sense of self.
He justifies his position of being autonomous when he refers to the human nature to violate the law since the creation of first human being. And what happened then? Man modified the nature-based laws.
Straggling through Fire is a strong proemistic critique of the world governed by the illegal law of might is right, of the suppression of the state institutions, and of religio-political crises of Pakistani society.
With rich implications of Proemistry, sardonic tone and graphic portrayal of the human plight, Aatir’s work has changed the scenario of Pakistani Anglophone poetry: it is another day after the arrival of Straggling through Fire.
The book has served the essence of literature truly to humanize the others. His work has a lot for the present-day readers and the generations to come to know what happened to Pakistan and the nation in the last seventy years.
—The Reviewer is Lecturer in English Literature at GC University Faisalabad. Currently, she is PhD Scholar at FJWU Rawalpindi.