Moshin Hamid The Reluctant FundamentalistPENGUIN BOOKSTHE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST'A fantastic piece of work, supe. understand the workings of 'the Islamic fundamentalist mind.' Nothing seems novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, offers up just the sort of short cut that an. PDF | In the postcolonial and the capitalist phase, the phenomenon of The Reluctant Fundamentalist () by the Pakistani novelist, Mohsin.
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The Reluctant Fundamentalist [Mohsin Hamid] on medical-site.info *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Now a major motion picture Short-listed for the Man. The Reluctant Fundamentalist: The Re-territorialisation of the Encounter between The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid is a novel that explores several .. pdf>. This course will introduce students to the heritage of British literature as well as pieces from a variety of cultures and genres. The coursework is.
In outline at least, the story is fairly straightforward: Changez goes to America in his college years to make a success of himself, and seems at first to become a success.
After a while he comes to the resentful realisation that life in America has made him a traitor to his identity, and made him a mercenary for American interests. A not-quite- consummated love affair with a pampered Manhattanite named Erica adds some psycho-sexual masala to the tale. Unfortunately, neither story really works: the outer plot is too implausible to be credible, and the inner plot is too banal to be interesting.
Changez is a Princeton-educated bourgeois financial analyst with precisely the soul of a Princeton-educated bourgeois financial analyst, and Hamid gives us no reason for taking seriously the idea that the American government would want such a person dead.
Nor — and I say this as a fairly enthusiastic proponent of targeted killing — can I think of a reason that would do the trick. On this scenario, Changez, wounded late in the book by a comparison of himself to an Ottoman mercenary p. So a smart guy with an Ivy League degree and a promising career haunts the chai- khannas of Anarkali, lying in wait for hapless American tourists, plying them with tea and kebabs in order to behead them on the darker corners of Mall Road.
Omar Saeed Sheikh and Khaled Sheikh Muhammad were religious fanatics with lifelong histories of violence, but Changez appears not to have a religious bone in 56 Khawaja The Reluctant Fundamentalist his body, and the closest he comes to violence in the novel is an abortive fist fight over a racial slur.
This is simply not the material of a credible murder plot. If the outer plot is preposterous, the inner plot, by contrast, is entirely believable. In fact, that could be the story of any of my Pakistani cousins — or, frankly, any foreigner here for the first time on a student visa. What makes him interesting, however, is not the frightening glimpse he gives us into the dark soul of the Islamic fundamentalist, but the revulsion he produces as a recognisable instance of the contemporary South Asian elite, clawing its way to the top of the global economic order while trying desperately to pledge allegiance to the delusional pieties of ethno-religious solidarity.
He is bright, articulate, cosmopolitan, intelligently hedonistic, and without the slightest tinge of religiosity, fanaticism, or bigotry. But these somewhat superficial traits tend to conceal a set of deeper and more unsavory ones, namely the ones that actually constitute his character. From the very opening of the novel, we confront in Changez a man whose articulate cosmopolitanism masks an overwhelming narcissism, obsession with status, and sense of superiority to almost everyone around him.
By page 3, we learn that Changez came to the U. Changez is candid about the class origins of his self-image, which he puts as follows: Our situation is, perhaps, not so different from that of the old European aristocracy in the nineteenth century, confronted by the ascendance of the bourgeoisie. Except, of course, that we are part of a broader malaise afflicting not only the formerly rich but much of the formerly middle-class as well: a growing inability to download what we previously could.
Confronted with this reality, one has two choices: pretend all is well or work hard to restore things to what they were. I chose both. The pretense produces disorientation, and the disorientation in turn produces resentment and shame. In fact, they did more than trouble me: they made me resentful. Four thousand years ago, we, the people of the Indus River basin, had cities that were laid out on grids and boasted underground sewers, while the ancestors of those who would invade and colonize America were illiterate barbarians.
Now our cities were largely unplanned, unsanitary affairs, and America had universities with individual endowments greater than our national budget for education. Their art consists of setting forth, passing judgment upon, and drawing general conclusions from the relevant data". In the dialectic form of the essay, which is commonly used in philosophy, the writer makes a thesis and argument, then objects to their own argument with a counterargument , but then counters the counterargument with a final and novel argument.
This form benefits from presenting a broader perspective while countering a possible flaw that some may present. This type is sometimes called an ethics paper.
The main idea of all the criticism is to provide an opinion either of positive or negative implication. As such, a critical essay requires research and analysis, strong internal logic and sharp structure. Its structure normally builds around introduction with a topic's relevance and a thesis statement, body paragraphs with arguments linking back to the main thesis, and conclusion.
In addition, an argumentative essay may include a refutation section where conflicting ideas are acknowledged, described, and criticized. Each argument of argumentative essay should be supported with sufficient evidence, relevant to the point. NarrativeJapanAcademicEmployment essays detailing experience in a certain occupational field are required when applying for some jobs, especially government jobs in the United States.
How much had changed in the four years since I had left Lahore! I turned; it was Jim. Barbecue going, music playing. Reminded me of Princeton for some reason, of how I felt when I got there. Jim let his gaze wander out over the water, and for a time we stood together in silence. I found myself wishing during the course of the evening that Erica were there.
You wondered what had become of her? No, I had not forgotten; she was very much a part of my life in New York, and I shall return to her shortly.
And that, as you will come to understand, is saying a great deal. A week later, when the analyst training program came to an end, Jim called us one by one to his office. He laughed. Nurture it. It can take you a long way.
Want to be on it?
I felt bathed in a warm sense of accomplishment. Nothing troubled me; I was a young New Yorker with the city at my feet. How soon that would change! My world would be transformed, just as this market around us has been. See how quickly they have brought those tables into the street. Crowds have begun to stroll where only a few minutes ago there was the rumble of traffic.
Coming upon this scene now, one might think that Old Anarkali looked always thus, regardless of the hour. But we, sir, who have been sitting here for some time, we know better, do we not? Yes, we have acquired a certain familiarity with the recent history of our surroundings, and that—in my humble opinion—allows us to put the present into much better perspective.
I have been told that it looks like a rope burn; my more active friends say it is not dissimilar to marks on the bodies of those who have taken up rappelling—or mountain climbing, for that matter. Perhaps a thought of this nature is passing through your mind, for I detect a certain seriousness in your expression, as though you are wondering what sort of training camp could have given a fellow from the plains such as myself cause to engage in these activities!
Allow me, then, to reassure you that the source of my injury was rather prosaic. We have in this country a phenomenon with which you will doubtless be unfamiliar, given the state of plenty that characterizes your homeland.
Here—particularly in the winter, when the reservoirs of the great dams are almost dry—we face a shortage of electricity that manifests itself in rolling blackouts. We call this load-shedding, and we keep our homes well-stocked with candles so that it does not unduly disrupt our lives. As a child, during such a time of load-shedding, I grabbed hold of one of these candles, tipped it over, and spilled molten wax on myself.
In America, this would have been the start, in all likelihood, of a protracted bout of litigation with the manufacturer for using candle-wax with such a high, and unsafe, melting point; here, it resulted merely in an evening of crying and the rather faint, if oddly linear, scar you see today.
Ah, they have begun to turn on the decorative lights that arc through the air above this market! A little gaudy? Yes, you are right; I myself might have chosen something less colorful. But observe the smiles on the upturned faces of those around us.
It is remarkable how theatrical manmade light can be once sunlight has begun to fade, how it can affect us emotionally, even now, at the start of the twenty-first century, in cities as large and bright as this one. Surely, New York by night must be one of the greatest sights in the world. I remember my early nocturnal explorations of Manhattan, so often with Erica as my guide. She invited me to her home for dinner soon after our return from Greece; I spent the afternoon deciding what to wear.
I knew her family was wealthy, and I wanted to dress as I imagined they would be dressed: in a manner elegant but also casual. My suit seemed too formal; my blazer would have been better, but it was several years old and struck me as somewhat shabby. In the end, I took advantage of the ethnic exception clause that is written into every code of etiquette and wore a starched white kurta of delicately worked cotton over a pair of jeans. It was a testament to the open-mindedness and— that overused word— cosmopolitan nature of New York in those days that I felt completely comfortable on the subway in this attire.
Indeed, no one seemed to take much notice of me at all, save for a gay gentleman who politely offered me an invitational smile. The area—with its charming bistros, exclusive shops, and attractive women in short skirts walking tiny dogs—felt surprisingly familiar, although I had never been there before; I realized later that I owed my sense of familiarity to the many films that had used it as a setting.
Naturally, I responded with an equally cold and rather imperious tone—carefully calibrated to convey both that I had taken offense and that I found it beneath myself to say so—as I stated my business. This had its desired effect; he promptly rang up to inquire whether I should be allowed to pass and—when informed that I should—directed me in person to the elevator.
I was instructed to press the button for the penthouse, a term associated in my mind with luxury and—yes, I will confess—with pornography as well. Erica received me with a smile; her tanned skin seemed to glow with health.
I had forgotten how stunning she was, and in that moment, pressed as we were into close proximity by the confines of the entryway, I was forced to lower my eyes. She said she wanted to show me something, and I followed her to her bedroom. I felt a peculiar feeling; I felt at home.
Perhaps it was because I had recently lived such a transitory existence—moving from one dorm room to thenext—and longed for the settled nature of my past; perhaps it was because I missed my family and the comfort of a family residence, where generations stayed together, instead of apart in an atomized state of age segregation; or perhaps it was because a spacious bedroom in a prestigious apartment on the Upper East Side was, in American terms, the socioeconomic equivalent of a spacious bedroom in a prestigious house in Gulberg, such as the one in which I had grown up.
Whatever the reason, it made me smile, and Erica, seeing me smile, smiled back and held up a slender, brown parcel.
And so I kind of want to hold onto it for a little longer. I met her eyes, and for the first time I perceived that there was something broken behind them, like a tiny crack in a diamond that becomes visible only when viewed through a magnifying lens; normally it is hidden by the brilliance of the stone.
I wanted to know what it was, what had caused her to create the pearl of which she had spoken. But I thought it would be presumptuous of me to ask; such things are revealed by a person when and to whom they choose.
So I attempted to convey through my expression alone my desire to understand her and said nothing further. As we were leaving her room, I noticed a sketch on the wall. It depicted under stormy skies a tropical island with a runway and a steep volcano; nestled in the caldera of the volcano was a lake with another, smaller island in it—an island on an island— wonderfully sheltered and calm.
She nodded. His mother gave it to me when she was clearing out his stuff. In its attention to detail—though not, of course, in its style or subject—it reminded me of our miniature paintings, of the sort one would find if one ventured around the corner to the Lahore Museum or the National College of Arts.
Her father stood at a grill, placing hamburgers onto plates; it was apparent from his demeanor that he was a man of consequence in the corporate world. Perhaps you misconstrue the significance of my beard, which, I should in any case make clear, I had not yet kept when I arrived in New York. Moreover, not all of our drinkers are western-educated urbanites such as myself; our newspapers regularly carry accounts of villagers dying or going blind after consumingpoorquality moonshine.
Indeed, in our poetry and folk songs intoxication occupies a recurring role as a facilitator of love and spiritual enlightenment. Is it not a sin?
I see you smile; we understand one another, then. But I digress. It was a warm evening, like this one—summer in New York being like spring here in Lahore. A breeze was blowing then, again as it is now, and it carried a smell of flame-cooked meat not dissimilar to that coming to us from the many open-air restaurants in this market that are beginning their preparations for dinner. The setting was superb, the wine was delicious, the burgers were succulent, and our conversation was for the most part rather pleasant.
Erica seemed happy that I was there, and her happiness infected me as well. I do, however, remember becoming annoyed at one point in the discussion. Corruption, dictatorship, the rich living like princes while everyone else suffers.
I like Pakistanis. But the elite has raped that place well and good, right? And fundamentalism. You guys have got some serious problems with fundamentalism. There was nothing overtly objectionable in what he had said; indeed, his was a summary with some knowledge, much like the short news items on the front Page of The Wall Street Journal, which I had recently begun to read.
Afterwards Erica and I shared a taxi down to Chelsea, where a friend of hers— the daughter of the owner of a contemporary art gallery—had invited her to a party to celebrate the opening of a show. I could hear our driver chatting on his mobile in Punjabi and knew from his accent that he was Pakistani.
Normally I would have said hello, but on that particular night I did not. Not in the least. It shows on your face.
It means you care. I insisted on paying for our cab, and Erica led me by the hand into an unimpressive building, a decrepit, post-industrial hulk. Upon entering I heard music; it grew louder as we mounted several flights of stairs, until finally we pushed open a fire door and were immersed in sound.
The gallery was a vast space, white, with clean lines and minimalist fixtures; video projections of faces glowed on the blank heads of mannequins. We passed fashion models, old men with tans, artists in outrageous outfits; I was glad I had worn my kurta.
Erica was soon at the center of a circle of friends, none of whom I had previously met. I watched as she attracted people to her, and I was reminded of our trip to Greece, of the gravity she had exerted on our group. Yet this time was different; this time she had brought me with her, and she made certain— through a glance, the offer of a drink, the touch of her hand at my elbow—that we remained connected throughout the evening.
When she kissed me on the cheek hours later, as I held the door of the cab in which she would return to her home alone, I felt as though we had spent an intimate evening together, even though we had spoken little at the party.
In the weeks that followed, she did invite me to meet her on a number of occasions. But unlike that first night—when we were together in her room and in the taxi—we were never again alone. We went to a small music venue on the Lower East Side, a French restaurant in the meatpacking district, a loft party in TriBeCa—but always in the company of others. Often, I found myself observing Erica as she stood or sat, surrounded by her acquaintances. At these moments she frequently became introspective; it was as though their presence allowed her to withdraw, to recede a half-step inside herself.
She reminded me of a child who could sleep only with the door open and the light on. Sometimes she would become aware of my gaze upon her, and then she would smile at me as though—or so I flattered myself to believe—I had placed a shawl around her shoulders as she returned from a walk in the cold. We exchanged only pleasantries on these outings, and yet I felt our relationship was deepening. At the end of the evening she would kiss my cheek, and it seemed to me that she lingered a fraction longer each time, until her kisses lasted long enough for me to catch a trace of her scent and perceive the softness of the indentation at the corner of her mouth.
My patience was rewarded the weekend before I left for Manila, when Erica asked me to join her for a picnic lunch in Central Park and I discovered that we were not to be met by anyone else. It was one of those glorious late-July afternoons in New York when a stiff wind off the Atlantic makes the trees swell and the clouds race across the sky. You know them well? Yes, precisely: the humidity vanishes as the city fills its lungs with cooler, briny air.
Erica wore a straw hat and carried a wicker basket containing wine, fresh-baked bread, sliced meats, several different cheeses, and grapes—a delicious and, to my mind, rather sophisticated assortment. We chatted as we ate, lounging in the grass. The sun is too strong, and the only people one sees sitting outside are clustered in the shade. There we often used to take our meals in the open—with tea and cucumber sandwiches from the hotel.
For a while I stopped talking to people. I stopped eating. I had to go to the hospital. They told me not to think about it so much and put me on medication. We kept it quiet, though, and by September I was back at Princeton. But I glimpsed again—even more clearly than before—the crack inside her; it evoked in me an almost familial tenderness.
When we got up to depart, I offered her my arm and she smiled as she accepted it. Then the two of us walked off, leaving Central Park behind. I remember vividly the feeling of her skin, cool and smooth, on mine. We had never before remained in contact for such a prolonged period; the sensation that her body was so strong and yet belonged to someone so wounded lingered with me until long afterwards.
Indeed, weeks later, in my hotel room in Manila, I would at times wake up to that sensation as though touched by a ghost. What bad luck! The lights have gone. But why do you leap to your feet? Do not be alarmed, sir; as I mentioned before, fluctuations and blackouts are common in Pakistan. Really, you are overreacting; it is not yet so dark. The sky above us still contains a tinge of color, and I can see you quite clearly as you stand there with your hand in your jacket.
I assure you: no one will attempt to steal your wallet. For a city of this size, Lahore is remarkably free of that sort of petty crime. Do sit down, I implore you, or you shall force me to stand as well. As it is, I feel rude to remain in this position while my guest is uncomfortable. Ah, they are back!
Thank goodness. It was nothing more than a momentary disruption. And you—to jump as though you were a mouse suddenly under the shadow of a hawk! I would offer you a whiskey to settle your nerves, if only I could. You smile; I have hit upon a spirit to which you are partial.
Sadly, all the beverages in this market that can trace their origin to your country are carbonated soft drinks. One of those will do? Then I will summon our waiter immediately.
Creepy, you say? What a delightfully American expression—one I have not heard in many years! I do not find them creepy; indeed, I quite like them. Lahore was home to even larger creatures of the night back then—flying foxes, my father used to call them—and when we drove along Mall Road in the evenings we would see them hanging upside down from the canopies of the oldest trees. They are gone now; it is possible that, like butterflies and fireflies, they belonged to a dreamier world incompatible with the pollution and congestion of a modern metropolis.
Today, one glimpses them only in the surrounding countryside. But bats have survived here. They are successful urban dwellers, like you and I, swift enough to escape detection and canny enough to hunt among a crowd. I marvel at their ability to navigate the cityscape; no matter how close they come to these buildings, they are never involved in a collision. Butterflies, on the other hand, tend to splatter on the windshields of passing automobiles, and I have once seen a firefly bumping repeatedly against the window of a house, unable to comprehend the glass that barred its way.
If so, they would have long been extinct in New York—or even in Manila, for that matter! When I arrived in the Philippines at the start of my first Underwood Samson assignment, I was terribly excited. We had flown first class, and I will never forget the feeling of reclining in my seat, clad in my suit, as I was served champagne by an attractive and—yes, I was indeed so brazen as to allow myself to believe—flirtatious flight attendant.
I was, in my own eyes, a veritable James Bond— only younger, darker, and possibly better paid. How odd it seems now to recall that time; how quickly my sense of self-satisfaction would later disappear! But I am getting ahead of myself. I was telling you about Manila.
Have you been to the East, sir? You have! Truly, you are well-traveled for an American—for a person of any country, for that matter. I am increasingly curious as to the nature of your business—but I am certain you will tell me in due course; for the moment you seem to prefer that I continue.
Since you have been to the East, you do not need me to explain how prodigious are the changes taking place in that part of the globe. I expected to find a city like Lahore—or perhaps Karachi; what I found instead was a place of skyscrapers and superhighways.
Yes, Manila had its slums; one saw them on the drive from the airport: vast districts of men in dirty white undershirts lounging idly in front of auto-repair shops—like a poorer version of the s America depicted in such films as Grease. I tried not to dwell on the comparison; it was one thing to accept that New York was more wealthy than Lahore, but quite another to swallow the fact that Manila was as well.
I felt like a distance runner who thinks he is not doing too badly until he glances over his shoulder and sees that the fellow who is lapping him is not the leader of the pack, but one of the laggards.
Perhaps it was for this reason that I did something in Manila I had never done before: I attempted to act and speak, as much as my dignity would permit, more like an American.
The Filipinos we worked with seemed to look up to my American colleagues, accepting them almost instinctively as members of the officer class of global business—and I wanted my share of that respect as well.
Did these things trouble me, you ask? Certainly, sir; I was often ashamed. But outwardly I gave no sign of this. In any case, there was much for me to be proud of: my genuine aptitude for our work, for example, and the glowing reviews my performance received from my peers. We were there, as I mentioned to you earlier, to value a recorded-music business.
But despite his colorful past, he had managed to sign lucrative outsourcing deals to manufacture and distribute CDs for two of the international music majors.
Indeed, he claimed his operation was the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia and—piracy, downloads, and Chinese competition notwithstanding—growing at quite a healthy clip. To determine how much it was actually worth, we worked around the clock for over a month. We interviewed suppliers, employees, and experts of all kinds; we passed hours in closed rooms with accountants and lawyers; we gathered gigabytes of data; we compared indicators of performance to benchmarks; and, in the end, we built a complex financial model with innumerable permutations.
I spent much of my time in front of my computer, but I also visited the factory floor and several music shops. I felt enormously powerful on these outings, knowing my team was shaping the future. Would these workers be fired? Would these CDs be made elsewhere? We, indirectly of course, would help decide. Yet there were moments when I became disoriented. I remember one such occasion in particular.
I was riding with my colleagues in a limousine. We were mired in traffic, unable to move, and I glanced out the window to see, only a few feet away, the driver of a jeepney returning my gaze.
There was an undisguised hostility in his expression; I had no idea why. We had not met before—of that I was virtually certain—and in a few minutes we would probably never see one another again. But his dislike was so obvious, so intimate, that it got under my skin. I stared back at him, getting angry myself—you will have noticed in your time here that glaring is something we men of Lahore take seriously—and I maintained eye contact until he was obliged by the movement of the car in front to return his attention to the road.
Afterwards, I tried to understand why he acted as he did. Perhaps, I thought, his wife has just left him; perhaps he resents me for the privileges implied by my suit and expensive car; perhaps he simply does not like Americans.
I remained preoccupied with this matter far longer than I should have, pursuing several possibilities that all assumed—as their unconscious starting point—that he and I shared a sort of Third World sensibility.
Then one of my colleagues asked me a question, and when I turned to answer him, something rather strange took place. I looked at him—at his fair hair and light eyes and, most of all, his oblivious immersion in the minutiae of our work—and thought, you are so foreign. I felt in that moment much closer to the Filipino driver than to him; I felt I was play-acting when in reality I ought to be making my way home, like the people on the street outside.
I did not say anything, of course, but I was sufficiently unsettled by this peculiar series of events—or impressions, really, for they hardly constituted events—that I found it difficult to sleep that night. Fortunately, however, the intensity of our assignment did not permit me to indulge in further bouts of insomnia; the next day I was at the office until two in the morning, and when I returned to my hotel room, I slept like a baby. During my time in Manila—I arrived in late July and left in mid-September—my main links to friends and family were weekly phone calls to Lahore and online correspondence with Erica in New York.
Because of the time difference, messages she wrote in the morning arrived in my inbox in the evening, and I looked forward to reading and replying to them before I went to bed.