Vol. 2 No. 2 (2017): Creative Writing from the Islamic World
ISSN No: 2583-4347Guest Editorial
This issue marks quite a divergent path for Samyukta which has so far been engaged in publishing critical analyses of literature and culture. The idea of this unique issue on creative writing from the Islamic world, evolved from the deliberations and discussions generated by the previous issue on Islamic Feminism. Those deliberations were a timely aide-memoire that we in the Indian academia were yet to constructively engage with religious life worlds, especially from the Islamic/ Muslim milieu. As academicians, the present political turmoil also provoked us to recognise how Islamophobic public discourses have been furthering communal distrust and divide. Of late, more public intellectuals and academicians are engaged in analysing how geopolitical structures of statist violence, increasing economic inequality, and unjust wars have left the Muslim populations ravaged and though scant, there are attempts at documenting its wide-ranging impact on the everyday life of Muslims. This important yet difficult task has been more daunting for the difficulty in developing new incisive critical apparatus with existing theories and terminologies which are biased. But it is an indefatigable truth that even when we are challenged in academia by the absence of appropriate terminologies, the ebb and flow of creative articulations are not stemmed by such challenges. In this special issue we have tapped into that possibility of a 'non-academic' language to deal with the myriad hues of the Islamic world. This special issue of Samyukta completely focuses on creative voices from the Islamic world that would provide an insight into the life worlds that the world at large perceives to be different by virtue of faith. It is by design that we used the term Islamic world in lieu of Muslim world; to keep it open for all voices that adhere to/ engage with Islam; rather than to use battered media categorizations that would limit the scope of this volume to specific geographic locations or cultural specificities that are usually seen only as Arab and hence Muslim. Universalizing Muslim belief and tradition has been the prevalent media practice, though Muslims in different parts of the world live very different lives and talk about being Muslims in different ways. A key point is that there are not only diverse varieties of 'living-as-a-Muslim' but also differences of opinion among people who identify themselves as Muslims in their understanding of "Islam". The bouquet of articulations put together here stands testimony to this fact. This volume brings together a series of searing political commentaries and personal narratives very varied in their flavour and thrust. I believe these articulations would contribute towards such an understanding and engagement, resulting in positive transformations.
Guest Editor - VARSHA BASHEER