Politics of Representation (De)orientalizing Muslim Women in Tariq Ali's "Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree" and "The Book of Saladin"

Main Article Content

Zakir Hussain
Binod Mishra


This article takes a feminist viewpoint to highlight the lives and religious identities of Muslim women who are victims of pervasive negative perceptions of imperialist discourses and restrictive cultural practices of native males. We intend to investigate the practicability of empowerment conferred by feminism in redefining their subjectivity as represented in Tariq Ali’s Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree (1991) and The Book of Saladin (1998). Drawing on the concepts of postcolonial theorists such as; Edward Said, Chandra Mohanty, Fatima Mernissi and Riffat Hassan, we interpret the female characters as reflective of the women’s struggles to renegotiate their identity. The novels under scrutiny address the difficulties of depicting Muslim women in a cultural setting dominated by images of religious fanaticism, violence, and female subordination. Ali articulates a particular ideology regarding the construction of Muslim women’s socio-religious identity(ies) that serve the interests of Muslim clergy and patriarchy. We suggest that these representations are a powerful resource Muslim Women can draw upon in constructing their identities. Finally, it is argued that a disruption of the stereotypes of Muslim women signals the potential for the compatibility of Muslim women’s distinct identities.


Metrics Loading ...

Article Details

Author Biographies

Zakir Hussain, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, India

Zakir Hussain is a research fellow in postcolonial literature at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, India. He works on the cultural expression of minority Muslims in postcolonial literary representations. His research interests include identity politics, postcolonial literature, resistance literature, historical fiction, Muslim writing, and Eurocentrism. He has published research articles on postcolonialism and historiography in relation to religion and the cultural
dialogue/conflict between the West and Islam. (ORCID: 0000-0001-9631-9961; Email: zakalhaidary786@gmail .com)

Binod Mishra, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, India

Binod Mishra is a professor of English at Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, India. He has served as a faculty in various reputed institutions and contributed academically to many national and international journals. He is also credited with two poetry collections, Silent Steps and Other Poems (2011) and Multiple Waves (2017). His research areas include Indian English literature and postcolonial literature. (ORCID: 0000-0003-2364-6405; Email: Mishra.binod@gmail .com)