Qaum, Mulk, Sultanat
Citizenship and National Belonging in Pakistan
Ali Usman Qasmi



THE PAKISTAN TIMES REPORTED on 28 September 1947 that “Mr J. K. Mehra, Station Director, Radio Pakistan, Lahore, embraced Islam . . . at the hands of Maulana Ghulam Murshid of Lahore. Mr. Mehra’s Muslim name is Ahmad Selman.”1 This news was published as Hindus and Sikhs from what had become an overwhelmingly Muslim-majority province of West Punjab were forced to flee their homes and move to India. In a similar trend in East Punjab, Muslims were forced to migrate to Pakistan to escape violence. Amid this bloodshed, it was not uncommon for communities or individuals to insist on staying in their ancestral land. One survival strategy was conversion. Mehra/Selman was among the millions on both sides of the border who had to change religions to conform to the normative ideal of citizenship according to the nation-states in which they wished to remain. Mehra/Selman’s decision—and most importantly, its public announcement—signaled his intent to live by the ideals of a “Muslim homeland” where faith-based identity was privileged above all others.

Fast-forward to 2016, when another popular story circulated in Indian and Pakistani newspapers. Salma Agha, a veteran actress and singer, applied for an Overseas Citizen of India card to permanently settle in Mumbai.2 In her application to the Ministry of Interior, Ms. Agha emphasized her “Indian roots” by referring to her maternal grandfather, Jugal Kishore Mehra, who was married to her maternal grandmother, Anwari Begum, a star singer in the 1930s and 1940s. It is noteworthy that Agha referred to her grandfather as “Jugal Kishore Mehra” and not as “Ahmad Selman,” indicating her tacit understanding of shifts in Indian citizenship laws that privilege Hindu religious ancestry. Even though her mother was a stepdaughter of Mehra, Salma Agha was granted the citizen card on the pretext that she was a British citizen and that her grandparents were of Indian origin.3 But what is most remarkable is that, against Mehra’s prior plea for acceptance as a Muslim to stay in Lahore, decades later his Muslim step-granddaughter reasserted his Hindu roots to stay in Mumbai.

Thousands of others, if not millions, chose to switch religion without publicly announcing it. Many low-caste Hindus and Sikhs, landless peasants, and small landowners chose to remain in West Punjab by adopting the official religion of the newly formed state or landowner. In several cases, during the 1950s, Christian missions worked hard to convert low-caste Hindus and Sikhs.4 There were also possibly thousands of cases of Muslims stranded in East Punjab, just as there were Hindu and Sikh women and children in West Punjab. Most had been abducted during Partition, giving rise to massive retrieval projects undertaken by the governments of both India and Pakistan.5 If Muslim, such individuals were considered “stranded Pakistanis,” and if Sikh or Hindu, they were identified as captive Indians.

Consider the case of Charagh Din, also known as Jagjit Singh, of the Bhatinda district of Kotha Guru, who was living in Mian Chunnu’s Khanewal district.6 Separated from his parents at age sixteen during the Partition violence of 1947, Charagh Din was saved by Zaildar Thakar Singh Sodi, who then raised him as his son and renamed him Jagjit Singh. He lived with his adopted family for eight years, learned Gurmukhi, and memorized parts of the Guru Granth Sahib—the Sikh sacred scripture. In 1955, Charagh Din/Jagjit Singh was reunited with his family in Pakistan, and he later became known as Baba Guru Pakistani.

I cannot fully capture the trials and tribulations of such individuals as Baba Guru Pakistani or J. K. Mehra. Yet I attempt to understand their stories by challenging how the citizen has been legally defined. What kind of legal fiction helps make sense of the countless children and women who could not be retrieved and continued to live with their abductors? What did it mean for Ahmad Selman to be a Pakistani citizen, or for someone like Salma Agha, who lived in Pakistan and later the United Kingdom, to be an Indian citizen? My purpose in raising these questions is to highlight the absurdity of law—especially its refraction through a predetermined ascription of a legal identity based on religion—to settle the citizenship question or the notion of national belonging.

These stories demonstrate how individuals and communities navigated, and continue to navigate, the legal entailments of the state and balance it with their desire for immersion in an intimate social or cultural community. Beyond the membership of the political community—understood as citizenship in the academic literature—the postcolonial state extends or aspires to extend its power to cultivate a majoritarian sociocultural community of the nation. But it’s never a one-way process by which the individuals and communities are at the receiving end. They strove to situate themselves in milieus and networks that sustained affective bonds and carried intimate cultural values for economic sustenance and political ascendancy.7

In the early 1950s, as new postcolonial states consolidated legal structures and institutions and cultivated a majoritarian national identity, individuals and communities actively engaged in the process. The force of the moment as a foundational one affording the opportunity to build new identities, forge alliances, and seek economic and political opportunities was not lost upon them. Many of these attempts were colored by the overarching influence of a statist ideology and its cultural entrapments. These responses and aspirations took several forms. Take the example of a letter to the editor published in Nawa-i-Waqt, an influential Urdu daily, in the early 1950s. A migrant from East Punjab who had settled in a village called Khotiyan—the name means “jennets”—was annoyed at this impropriety.8 He suggested changing it to “Islamabad” to reflect the Islamic spirit of the new country. This was years before Pakistan developed a new capital and named it Islamabad.

Let me add to these examples of supralegal forms of citizenship and belonging a memory from my childhood. Growing up in Lahore during the 1990s, I remember reading a special issue on Independence Day published by a popular children’s magazine, Aankh Micholi. The magazine offered a gift in the special issue: a board game about the Pakistan movement.9 Its instruction manual included a historical essay written by the magazine’s editor, Tahir Masud.10 Starting with the statement by the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, that Pakistan was founded on the day the first person embraced Islam in the subcontinent, Masud gave an overview of Muslim history in the region, recounting various wars, rulers, betrayals, and achievements.

The narrative helped explain which specific historical episodes, events, and personalities contributed to Pakistan’s creation and which obstructed its progress. If players landed on, say, the Muslim military’s success in the Battles of Panipat, they were rewarded with points or progress in the game. Landing on the “invention” of Din-i-Ilahia rather heterodox amalgamation of various religious value systems under Mughal emperor Akbar—would take players back. The implication was that certain historical events and personalities facilitated the emergence of Pakistan, and others obstructed its development. The board game cultivated Pakistani statist ideology by having citizens play out history along a predetermined national temporal grid. The player fought battles for Pakistan, celebrated its heroes and leaders, and identified villains who had hampered the creation of the Muslim homeland. To be Pakistani was not simply to be a legal resident of the country; it also required a sense of belonging and affiliation mediated through history, culture, and literature.

This book is about the mediating practices through which the postcolonial state sought to cultivate a sense of Pakistani national identity and its constitutive elements. At the same time, the book details strategies whereby individuals and communities have contested the power of the state and its nation-making project so that it has remained abortive, always in the process of becoming. I focus on both the legal framing of citizenship and performative acts of state making through such spectacles as the celebration of Eid as a national festival, the commemorative chronology of the national calendar, the renaming of roads and cities, discussions of the national anthem, and so on. In all cases, a particular understanding of Muslim nationalism and the historical narrative of the Islamic nation undergirded the process of state formation, national identity, and citizen making. The narrative itself was subject to change or contested by varying claims to the past. While my focus throughout the book will be on the formation of a normative order of citizenship and on nationhood as both legal membership and majoritarian ethos, I approach citizenship and nationhood as an aspirational project of the postcolonial state: this project aims to hegemonize everyday life, and yet it is haunted by the specter of ambivalent affiliations and fluid identities of the likes of Mehra and Baba Guru.


On the face of it, citizenship is a matter of designating who is a legal member of a political community. It is a documented existence, that is, a corporatized identity that allows the member to benefit from his or her legibility to the state in the form of a passport, identity card, ration card, or any other documentation. But there is a long and continuous history of groups, individuals, and communities who have struggled to get recognition, who demand equality as citizens, and who blur the distinction between citizen and noncitizen. A somewhat abstract and seemingly banal distinction in citizenship has profound consequences for a state’s projected self-image and for its majoritarian ethos. In the case of Pakistan and India, it is vital to understand a violent history of state formation that included mass exodus and murder. Equally important are the prehistories of ideas of nationhood and statehood—such as the ideological predispositions of the Indian National Congress and of the All-India Muslim League—that the postcolonial state embodied through legislation and policy. Nevertheless, after these nations’ citizenship laws were codified in the 1950s, the “citizenship question” was far from over. This question resonates across the region, shaping ideological posturing, political mobilization, and policy outcomes to this day.

The massive mobilization in India against proposed changes to citizenship law provides a recent example. According to the new amendment to the Citizenship Act of 2003, which builds on previous changes since the 1980s, illegal migrants who were non-Muslim minorities from neighboring Muslim countries—specifically, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan—would not be considered unlawful migrants, and hence were eligible for grant of citizenship.11 The 2003 amendment also provided a procedure for setting up and maintaining the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in response to controversies such as that in Assam, where illegal Bangladeshi migrants were seen as a potential threat to the region’s demographics. During the 1980s, sporadic outbursts of communal violence led to a popular demand that noncitizens be weeded out. As a result, in 1986, the citizenship act was amended to grant citizenship to Bangladeshis who had entered Assam between 1 January 1966 and 24 March 1971. The cutoff date conflicted with the original date set in the constitution. In a thinly veiled jibe that religiously coded the issue, the Indian Supreme Court took up the case of illegal Bangladeshi migrants in the name of internal security threats and supervised the maintenance of NRC. The process started in 2015; by the time it ended in 2019, almost four million people had been excluded.12 The outcome was not unexpected. In a largely undocumented economy and illiterate society, people did not have the required proof to establish that they had lived and earned their livelihood from there for decades; that is, they could not even establish their corporatized identity as a citizen.

Although the policy was an exercise initially meant for Assam and its particular historical context, the BJP government—whose manifest Hindutva ideology aims to transform India into a Hindu majoritarian state—promised to extend it to other parts of the country. Such an extension would have put the onus on citizens to provide documentary proof in order to be included in the NRC. It is little surprise, then, that the NRC got conflated with the newly proposed constitutional amendment, which excluded Muslims from the category of “illegal migrants,” thus aggravating Indian Muslims’ fears of further marginalization or even of an outright stripping of their citizenship rights. These fears were not unfounded, given the increase in systematic mob violence against Muslims and astonishingly brutal statements issued by influential Hindutva ideologues. Subramanyam Swami, for instance, flatly refused to acknowledge Muslims as equal citizens and called for their disenfranchisement if they refused to recognize their Hindu ancestry.13 Fears of India’s citizenship criteria moving from civic nationalism to ethnic nationalism—a process that had been underway for some time—became too real, posing an imminent existential threat to Indian Muslims.14 In response, they came out to protest against proposed changes to the citizenship laws in large numbers.

Similarly, an announcement made by the Pakistani prime minister in September 2018 expressing his desire to grant citizenship to Afghan and Bangladeshi refugees in Pakistan caused an uproar, especially in the provinces of Sindh and Baluchistan, where nationalist groups feared that this would turn them into ethnic minorities in their own provinces.15 The number of illegal migrants, workers, and refugees in Pakistan is estimated at five million. Most of them are Afghans displaced from their homes as a result of the 1980s Soviet invasion. Most have since lived in designated campsites, although those with financial resources have managed to obtain forged identity documents for business and travel. The clear majority, now the third generation, continues to languish in camp life, barred from better employment for lack of proper documentation.16

Given that most Afghan refugees are ethnic Pashtuns, if they were to become Pakistani citizens, it would greatly disturb the ethnic composition of Baluchistan. Roughly half the documented population of Baluchistan is Pashtun. Pakistan’s largest province in terms of land but smallest in terms of population, Baluchistan is the most underdeveloped area of the country. As it is, its people are marginalized and exploited, and there is a growing sense of “red Indianization,” including fears of a non-Baluch majority. Baluch nationalists are anxious that the situation will only worsen when the proposed expansion of the port city of Gawadar is completed and Gawadar becomes “another Dubai,” attracting professionals, corporations, and more workers.17

Sindh, in contrast, has a distinct history of dealing with migrants. Around the time of the establishment of Pakistan in 1947, migrants from North India settled in Karachi in large numbers. Scions of North India’s Muslim intelligentsia—many claimed an elitist ashraf culture as well as landholdings and professional class associations—these Urdu-speaking migrants took over the city, then the capital of Pakistan. Ethnic Sindhis lost control of the province’s only major urban center, thus stunting the growth of the community’s professional middle class. Over the decades, a new Mohajir (migrant) identity emerged in response to a democratized polity of the 1970s, when Sindhi chief ministers used their electoral advantage to introduce pro-Sindhi measures. Such measures included compulsory Sindhi-language learning in schools and quota systems in jobs and college admissions that enabled the social mobility of rural residents of Sindh. Possessing domicile in rural Sindh became a vital tool of empowerment. Accepting Afghans and Bangladeshis as Pakistani citizens would dilute a Sindhi majority.

Equally paranoid are Mohajirs living in Karachi. Since the 1980s, hyperracialized tensions between Mohajirs and Pashtuns in the city have often resulted in violence. Karachi’s increasing Pashtun population weakened Mohajir control over city politics.18 Formal recognition of Afghans as nationals, Mohajir political groups fear, would further consolidate Pashtun control of the city, especially in electoral politics.

If the possible recognition of Afghan refugees and Bangladeshi workers as citizens causes political turmoil, then the nonrecognition of Pakistan’s “own” causes a distinct set of problems. As Ammar Jan, Pakistan’s leading Marxist academic and activist, satirically points out, Pakistan is perhaps the only country in the world where the majority seceded from a minority—the reference is to the 1971 debacle with East Pakistan, when 54 percent of the population fought a war of liberation to become Bangladesh. Writing in reference to demands put forward by the people of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATAs) for inclusion into the Pakistani federation as full citizens with equal rights, Jan quips that the paranoid Pakistani state looks at these calls for integration, rather than separation, as subversive and unpatriotic.19 Shaheen Sardar Ali and Javaid Rehman’s work gives an excellent account of how minority groups in Pakistan—whether ethnic, linguistic, or religious—enjoy only limited citizenship rights.20 There exists, in other words, a model of unequal citizenship rather than a careful federal scheme for accommodating ethnic and linguistic differences. Such an arrangement is sharply brought into focus in the cases of GB and the FATAs.

Gilgit-Baltistan, formerly nominally part of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, joined Pakistan after an armed struggle in 1947–1948. Although it owed only symbolic allegiance to the ruler of Kashmir, the Pakistani state decided to keep the region’s legal status ambiguous until settling the Kashmir dispute. This arrangement has continued to this day, with disastrous consequences for the people of GB. Reduced to an administrative unit without citizenship rights, the region held the vague geographical appellation “Northern Areas” and was administered by a federal secretary in Islamabad. Only in 2009 was some semblance of political autonomy granted to the region, and it was formally renamed Gilgit-Baltistan. However, full citizenship rights for residents of GB remain a far-fetched idea.21 One possible explanation for this is that granting provincial status to GB would not only bear on pro-Pakistani sentiment on both sides of Kashmir but also create an anomaly of an overwhelmingly Shia-majority province in an otherwise Sunni-dominated Pakistan.

In the case of the FATAs, Pakistan has acted as a successor state of British India, replicating the policy of dealing with the region as a special zone under its own punitive law. Drafted during the colonial period, the so-called Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) was a set of rules designed to deal with the empire’s restive frontier. In their fetishized Orientalist understanding of Pashtun society, the Raj and its successor postcolonial state recognized the tribal areas for their “peculiar” traits of chauvinism. The colonial-era law endorses such forms of tribal justice as Jirga and punitive punishments like the burning of the homes of an entire clan to atone for the crimes of an individual.22 Only in 2018 was the formal constitutional procedure for the integration of the FATAs into the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa completed.23 But full-scale integration and equal application of Pakistani law to all residents in the FATAs remains a dream. Different models of citizenship rights continue in provincially administered areas and Azad Kashmir—to say nothing of the vast lists of grievances levied by communities who feel they are effectively treated as unequal or lesser citizens despite being ostensibly recognized as full citizens.24 Even those Pakistanis who do not encounter the violence of marginalization per se nevertheless face the citizenship question—that is, issues of inequality—in their daily life. To apply for an identity card or passport, citizens who want to register themselves as Muslims must sign off on excluding Ahmadis by designating them non-Muslims in a declaration.

In contrast to this, the recent issuance of identity documents for khwaja siras—an umbrella term for the “third gender” in Pakistan—offers an instance of acceptance and negotiation. In a series of judgments issued in the 2010s, the Pakistani Supreme Court reaffirmed the rights of khwaja sira communities by officially recognizing the category of third gender on national identity cards. The judgment opened new spaces of state intervention in regulating bodies and sexualities. Commenting on these developments, Faris A. Khan argues that many among the khwaja siras, nonnormatively gendered communities as he conceptualizes them, practiced and desired a form of “translucent citizenship—a mode of belonging which involves not only demands for equal rights from the state but also the right to remain hazy to broader publics.” While recognizing the potential benefits of access to state resources, the khwaja sira communities were also wary of the potentialities of the state’s policing of their bodies and sexualities—hence the need for translucent citizenship whereby the community achieves “empowerment through political participation, state recognition and cultural acceptance, while seeking to sustain the many freedoms encapsulated within indigenous patterns of identification and organization, through modes of resistance to fully being ‘seen’ by the state and society.”25


The idea of citizenship undergoes various semantic and ideological changes when we shift the focus of the inquiry from the European origins of the concept to its non-European histories. In the South Asian context, for instance, the biography of citizenship reads differently when the interlocutory power of a European concept is read against its own history.

T. H. Marshall’s theorization of citizenship has provided an accepted model for the history of citizenship, whereby the concept is understood as originating in England to mean equal membership in society. This transformative idea arose from civil rights discourse in the eighteenth century and was extended to political rights in the nineteenth century, followed by economic rights in the twentieth.26 Reading Marshall alongside Weber, one can trace the religious roots of modern democratic polity and problematize a supposedly neat division of secular and sacred power. As Turner explains, society for Weber was premised along the division of secular rule of the state and the spiritual rule of the church, corresponding with two distinct forms of citizenship: spiritual citizenship within the community of believers, known as the body of Christ, and worldly citizenship within the political community. As an eschatological religion with a focus on the afterlife, Christianity considered the current world and its worldly powers—the City of Man—insignificant and a prelude to preparation in the City of God. In the postmillenarian environment, the church adopted a this-worldly approach of good citizenship in the City of God, affecting worldly urban politics to attain rights.27 Thus, contrary to the popular view that the rise of urban citizenship was at the expense—or due to the corrosion—of religious authority and confessional ties, Weber argued that the Christian notion of a faith-based community that transcended differences of blood undermined traditional links in the city and allowed for an associational pattern of urban groupings to emerge.28

In Turner’s reading of Weber, this marks the triumph of Gesellschaft over Gemeinschaft, moving from closed, personal relationships to open, impersonal relationships and corresponding to the success of markets over villages.29 To borrow from Tonnies, who initially thought of this differentiation, the community comes prior to an established political order with cohesive traditional ties, as opposed to the fragmented societal and associational ties that follow as rationalized and individualized structures.30 Durkheim similarly understood movement from community to society as a function of modernity whereby an individual identification with the collective, contractual relations, and cooperation between groups are established.

Although Durkheim did not romanticize the idea of community as prepolitical and was instead inclined to regard social organization as individuated and differentiated, he nevertheless considered community a prerequisite to strong societal bonds, which in turn effective citizenship requires.31 In sum, the historical and sociological account of citizenship in the European context describes it as a process involving social differentiation between religious and secular spheres, and the corrosion of traditionally held belief structures; modernity is thus defined as autonomous liberal subjecthood, democratic politics, and economic growth.32 This forms the basis for coming together as a community and contractually attaining rights, provisions of justice, representation in political life, and protection against social inequality.

It is necessary to emphasize the simultaneity—rather than a sequential unfolding—of these developments and their mutual reinforcement with the rise of the nation-state, the conceptual framework of modernity, and capitalist modes of production. The Marshallian approach assumes a neatly discernible, layered history of citizenship that helps stabilize the forces of discontent and protest. It makes the history of citizenship an idealized temporal grid of an onward triumphalist march and its supposed universality. Such a framework forecloses the possibility of analyzing the constituent elements of citizenship as it emerged as a political concept in the European world, thus effectively reducing much of the current scholarship to an analysis of sociological categories and possibilities for individual citizens’ autonomy within a liberal framework. The scholarship of Will Kymlicka, for instance, is primarily concerned with increasing citizens’ individual and community freedoms and rights within existing liberal frameworks of citizenship, especially as a way of addressing issues of migrants, the question of assimilation, and debates about multiculturalism in increasingly intolerant European and North American politics and praxis.33 The study of citizenship in its European iteration, therefore, becomes a description of its various categories (e.g., active and passive rights) or its conceptual basis (e.g., civic virtue, equality, civil society, public sphere) or its models (e.g., civic, republican, ethno-national, communitarian, Marxist).34 These approaches are bereft of the radical potential that exists within the history of citizenship, especially when that history is read as part of a global history of colonial rule that is based on difference where the distinction between the national citizen and the colonial subject was adamantly maintained.

Engin Isin adopts a similar set of practices that espouses a “bundle of rights” approach but explores the concept’s non-European origins. While Isin locates the polis and its genealogy in a vastly imagined European intellectual history from the ancient Greeks to the European Union, his work allows for space “after Orientalism” to study the possibility of a distinct history of citizenship or conception of political membership in non-European societies.35 Such an intertwining of the Global North and the colonized South helps expose the dubious universalization of the citizen as “male, propertied, white, heterosexual, able-bodied, generally Christian figure” rather than simply trying to retrieve non-European conceptions and practices of citizenship. Isin’s project opens up possibilities for understanding how non-European and colonized subjects constituted themselves as “political subjects not in terms of the dominant figure of the citizen and its orientalizing perspective but as a challenge to them.”36

I take Isin’s intervention as a point of departure for tracing the shift from the abstract universalization of citizenship via its European history to a global intellectual project whereby the contestation of rights and the formation of political subjectivities permeated circuits of power that connected the Global North with the colonized South from the nineteenth century onward. In their earliest iterations, these trends can be seen in colonial debates and anxieties about the possibility of recognizing some form of legally sanctioned subjecthood for colonial subjects, whether in the form of cosmopolitan imperial citizenship or according to a much narrower premise. These debates extended well into the twentieth century, coinciding with similar debates about equal citizenship in Europe. The British official and author Lionel Curtis, for instance, favored imperial citizenship based on the idea of loyalty to the sovereign in a commonwealth that brought nations together in a single political framework under the banner of the empire.37 In contrast, the Scottish novelist and diplomat John Buchan envisioned a cosmopolitan version of citizenship inclusive of national identities and democratic ideals.

However, even such paternalistic notions of inclusion were not extended to Britain’s colonies in Asia and Africa in the nineteenth century. The inevitability of legal subjectivity in an increasingly connected world—linked by the exchange of goods and labor—forced the empire to accord its subjects documentary recognition. As Radhika Mongia’s work shows, the invention of the passport in the early twentieth century and its extension to the colonies was a technology to surveil and manage bodies that regulated racialized mobility, organizing a massive flow of indentured labor, sailors, agricultural workers, and others across continents. It was within the framework of these racialized categories of surveillance and this global outreach connecting the metropolitan with the colonized—in other words, at the nexus of colonialism and racism—that, according to Mongia, “a notion of the nation as a territorially and demographically circumscribed entity” took shape.38 In a related study, Radhika Singha traces the genealogy of the passport as shaped by an imperative to keep India’s borders porous in order to maintain British interests in Indian labor, including on plantations and in oil works and mines in the Bay of Bengal and in the harbors of Malaya, Burma, and Ceylon.39 In line with Mongia’s argument, Singha sees the emergence of the passport as an act of claiming territorial coherence for what was otherwise a fragmented sovereign power and historically unstable entity: the modern state. Such a project gelled with the compulsion to identify and establish colonial difference, whether for internal administrative purposes, such as granting travel documents to pilgrims or to Indians studying abroad, or in response to external problems, such as regulating maritime traffic and managing the cross-continental migration of indentured laborers and workers. This, in turn, defined the debate and politics around introducing the passport in British India. The granting of a passport, restricted as it was, did not endow any legal obligations or political subjecthood to a person. It made the person a protected British subject only for the purposes of law and classification. The anxiety around underscoring and distinguishing concepts and categories like race, nationhood, and subjecthood was thus central to the development of regimented zones of legal classification with corresponding rights; that anxiety forms a vital feature of the global history of citizenship.

In short, in an increasingly interconnected world, the distinction between citizen and colonial subject was key to the endowment of rights and racialized control of bodies. The domestic differentiation between citizen and national, then, served as an additional marker for making political subjects legible. This categorization was both formal and informal, as in the German case of distinguishing Staatsangehorigkeit from Volksangehoritkeit, that is, membership in the state from membership in the Volk.40 These terms map onto the conceptual registers of membership in a political community based on formal legal status, and thus the idea of the abstract citizen, and an intimate sense of belonging to a community defined by a majoritarian ethnic, linguistic, or religious ethos.

As Brubaker’s work on the conceptual differences between French and German citizenship models shows, the history of French state formation and its consolidation—along with a rhetoric of civic equality as championed by the bourgeoisie revolution of 1789—led to the institutionalization of ideas of political rights in France and to a relatively stable union of nation and state. The French citizen, earlier on than the German one, existed within the institutional and territorial framework of the state.

The German mode, however, was distinct. Legal membership in the Prussian state, for instance, could be dissolved and replaced only by a German national-state after 1871. Brubaker writes: “The initial distinctness of nation and state—ethnic nationality and political citizenship—in Germany gave to the later nationalization of citizenship a specifically ethnocultural dimension that was muted, if not entirely absent in France.”41 Brubaker describes French and German citizenship as based on, respectively, the jus soli (right of soil) and jus sanguinis (right of blood). In both cases, it is only the history of state formation that has differently connected the national type and its majoritarian ethos, though admittedly with distinct outcomes. What does not change is that, in both cases, citizenship is at its core defined as membership in the modern political community, whereby legal recognition by the state serves as a formal basis for a rights-based interaction between the individual and the state.

Citizenship is thus markedly different from nationality, which historically has been a matter of transforming the subject’s affective bond with the sovereign into an allegiance to the nation-state, hence reifying the majoritarian ethos.42 Citizenship, in its pretense of abstraction, universality, and equality, becomes an attempt to override affective bonds of allegiance to the sovereign and intimate connections with the local, as well as identification with the nation via majoritarian values. In Oommen’s formulation, citizenship becomes a tool whereby nonmajority groups variously defined along the lines of race, religion, language, or ethnicity can be provided protection, a sense of belonging, and the opportunity for participation.43 But reducing individuals to legal members of a community is a process of disavowing the political in general and upholding the rights-bearing individual as a normative model and de-ethnicized entity. Such a liberal conception of citizenship is based on an erasure of identities and suprastate bonds, which is prerequisite for equal membership in the political community.

Brubaker’s and Oommen’s analyses bring us to the heart of Hannah Arendt’s formulation about the right to have rights. For Arendt, the universality of rights-bearing subjects was premised on the particularity of an organized community. The experience of statelessness and deprivation of citizenship rights experienced as a German Jew had convinced Arendt of the need to particularize what was otherwise, in its universal form, abstract. But this quest for a place in the world and “a right to belong to some kind of an organized community” as prerequisite to the endowment of rights exposes the fault lines and palpable, unresolved tension between the allure of citizenship as equal membership in a modern political community and an enchantment with the nation as a supralegal, premodern fiction of affiliation and belonging to a homeland—that is, the citizen-national chasm.44

I posit that membership in and belonging to a political community are two different things, a distinction that Habermas tacitly recognizes as “the tension between the universalism of an egalitarian legal community and the particularism of a community united by historical destiny . . . built into the very concept of the national state.”45 The equivalents would be the juridical identity of the individual as a citizen and the affective belonging to the nation as a majority. As Mamdani has argued, the political modernity of the nation-state is premised on community or society imagined as a nation and then conflated with the state to produce the nation-state, with a permanent national majority and minority. This is not to imply the fixing of boundaries, however, as the definition of the national self keeps on changing to create new minorities and to set the limits for who belongs and who doesn’t. This makes national belonging a social endeavor and a legal project, a dynamic that, according to Mamdani, creates a vicious relationship between nation and state, wherein the state exists to serve and aggrandize the nation.46

The conjoining of nation and state can occur in civic nationalism, as in the United States, or, at its worst, in exclusionary forms like Nazism, apartheid, Zionism, and Hindutva that put a premium on the purity of the nation.47 But even in its civic form, the presupposition of the normative value system does not fade; it can only pretend to be more inclusive and pluralistic. As current events involving controversies of free speech show, such as European bans on the public display of religious symbols and a related disapproval over conspicuously Islamic architectural styles in major European cities, the non-European citizen must adapt and convert to the archetype of the ideal European national, a performative act. In that sense, “national” is not, as international legal jargon would have it, equivalent to “citizen.” The national is the person who retains or represents the imaginary of prepolitical notions of organic ties of blood and soil. The nation-state, by its very nature and definition, embodies the national as a guarantor of the sovereign nation. In this fashion, sovereignty has been nationalized. This transformation has led to what Nandita Sharma describes as the emergence of national natives, that is, the postcolonial afterlife of colonial forms of state power, violence, and exclusion.48 The essentialist autochthony in this discourse betrays the promises and possibilities of the anticolonial struggle for sovereignty.

To sum up, there is a problematic triangulation of state, nation, and citizen. To borrow from Arendt, rights are based on sameness, assembling various communities as a nation, and also on difference, to ensure equality between said communities. In the name of sovereignty and nationhood, the postcolonial state seeks to flatten that difference to create a homogenized citizenry, and yet it holds on to the affective power of the national symbol, the archetype, imagining a glorious past to animate the disenchanted present. Managing affective, prepolitical, organic community bonds and their symbols and metaphors is at the heart of state-making projects. The flattening of difference refuses to recognize minority types and whatever does not fit into the imagined national type, dealing with them through eradication or, at best, liberal assimilation, with a corresponding set of differential rights, layered forms of citizenship, and special constitutional categories. When the Mozambican revolutionary Samora Machel says that the tribe must die for the nation to live, Mamdani interprets it as a message that “every potential source of competing identity had to be cleansed in order to homogenize the nation.”49 In other words, this flattening is part of national homogenization, going against the Arendtian idea of establishing artificial equality to constitute the “basic condition of both action and speech” wherein individuals can realize their humanity through public action and speech.50 This is why in separatist struggles and ethnic movements, the emphasis is often on equality and recognition of difference.

There is, therefore, an inherent tension in the processes of state formation, identity articulation, and demands for citizenship rights that is often masked by or necessitates sociological formulations of different modes of citizenship in the name of multiculturalism or the accommodation of diversity. A study of these processes would open interstitial spaces for analyzing the constitutive elements of the nation-state, its claims to sovereign power, and the attempts to cohere a national type that is territorially bound and legally subjected. An understanding of the normative order thus constituted—and of various forms of political mobilization, alternative historical models, concepts of community boundaries, and the quest for sovereign self—offers a rich understanding of ideas about the state, sovereignty, nation, and citizen as part of a global intellectual history of ideas.


Understanding the postcolonial context of citizenship rights and nationhood requires understanding the history of the transition from colonial subjecthood to postcolonial citizenship and how ideas of nationhood were imagined. Given the overlap between the European and non-European in the global history of citizenship, it is problematic to conceive of a sequential ordering of political developments that result in legally endowed rights, that is, of a veritable transference from West to East. It is by historicizing the simultaneity of modernity, capital, and right-based politics as the organizing principles of the colonial state and its attempts at organizing itself as a hegemonic entity that we should study the conceptualization of political subjectivities and shaping of their different modular forms as part of a global intellectual history.

In colonial India, for instance, it was the principle of national self-determination that defined the quest for political subjecthood. The articulation of the nation served as the fulcrum for petitioning legal and constitutional rights on behalf of the Indian subject. The nation, national self-determination, and freedom coalesced into a political movement for Indian independence, setting up an independent state in which citizens were to have equal rights. The demand for freedom was as much about finding a rhetorical language of freedom—enabling the soul of India to find utterance, as Nehru famously put it—as it was about, and couched in, finding a precise constitutional language for creating the Indian Republic and the rights-bearing Indian citizen.

Much of academic literature has focused on the rhetorical imagination of Indian nationhood in literature and history and the expressions of the Indian nation in vernaculars and politics. The work of both Partha Chatterjee and Sudipta Kaviraj provides an essential theoretical framework for understanding the development of Indian nationalism in its various phases, inspirations, modalities, creative expressions, and political articulations.51 It is not just the history of Indian nationhood as a “felt community,” but also that of political groups and communities campaigning for constitutional rights, that helps us understand postcolonial developments.52 Niraja Gopal Jayal’s foundational work on citizenship helps trace the history of the constitutional language through which nationalist groups contested the colonial government in a century of disagreements, as she calls it.53 Her work is a veritable biography of citizenship in the Indian context that covers different shades of thought as various Indian leaders, political groups, and communities—whether as leaders of the Indian National Congress, Dalit campaigners for caste groups, or Muslim nationalists—sought to establish the political subject as a legal entity.

In the earliest phase of Indian nationalism, a handful of Indian elites—subject-citizens, as Jayal calls them—campaigned to cultivate a legal relationship of subjecthood between the Crown and the Indians based on the Queen’s declaration of 1858, promising equal and just treatment, as well as commonality of loyal subordination to the Crown.54 For the prehistory of citizenship in colonial India, Jayal differentiates between imperial and colonial modes of citizenship. With race and class as primary markers of differentiation, the British Empire recognized the status of its Indian subjects as members of the British Empire—that is, as imperial citizens—on par with other subjects of the Crown. Such identities were assigned in cases of indentured labor or to serve other imperial interests in different colonies. The colonial subjects in another part of the empire had to be differentiated from the native population while the Crown entertained their claims to equal or fair treatment.

The colonial citizenship focused on subjects within India and was thus a site of claims for civil liberties and political rights.55 Although race stood as the primary marker of differentiation, the legal categorization of colonial subjects was further stratified: it distinguished along the lines of non-European, natural-born subjects in the British colony; protected persons in the principalities (British-protected persons); and a third category, including colonial administrators, Eurasians, and poor Europeans.56 The British administration thus expressed a deep sense of anxiety, distinguishing between natural-born subjects of India and “white subalterns” to maintain racial superiority as the fulcrum of British colonial authority.57 So while imperial citizenship was deeply hierarchical and racialized, colonial citizenship had no pretense of inclusiveness. This rule of difference signified a political lack and failure to actualize the universalist bourgeoisie project of rights and liberty, and it was addressed, managed, and governed through the spectral violence of legal coercion.58

The colonial public sphere was narrowly confined to mostly British-trained lawyers and landlords. In their earlier debates, as Jayal’s work shows, these putative citizens of the empire highlighted the paternalistic character of the Crown’s new charter and urged the colonial state to honor it. They expressed their disappointment to the benevolent Crown in an empire that did not hold itself up to its own liberal standards. The occasional imperial darbar served as the site for the performative praxis of loyal subordination by elitist subjects in return for the Crown’s benevolent affirmation of fair treatment and just rule. For the bulk of the Indian liberal elite, a common political citizenship “within the framework of British rule and, even when it aspired to Swaraj, within the empire” continued to be a viable political project well into the twentieth century.59 But with the entrance of new nationalist leadership in an era of mass-based politics, the language of the nationalist movement changed. However, it was not uncommon for the Indian National Congress to continue drafting constitutional reforms and political rights that it then submitted to the British government.

For instance, in 1918 the Bombay session of the Indian National Congress issued the Declaration of Rights, guaranteeing equality before the law and equal political liberties. The Nehru Report of 1928, which, according to Jayal, “prefigured the Indian Constitution of 1950 in several important ways,” not only defined a jus soli criterion for Indian citizenship but also delineated fundamental rights. These included, in addition to political liberties, equality before the law and freedom of expression and of faith, as well as social and economic rights.60 Many other draft constitutions prepared in the 1940s came up with similar provisions and helped set the tone for discussions on constitutional rights in the postcolonial period.

Although nationalists continued to fault the empire for its unequal treatment of subjects, its denial of political rights, and the limiting of franchise to property owners, their proposed solution was no longer to seek recognition within imperial citizenship, home rule, or commonwealth status, but to demand independence. In other words, from the early twentieth century onward, the demand was not for equal treatment as colonial subjects but for national freedom and the setting up of an independent state as an expression of sovereign power that guaranteed equality, liberty, and universal rights.

The formal language of constitutional law in which these issues were taken up from 1947 was shaped by the prehistory and ideological content of debates on citizenship and by the historical contingencies of political thought that informed them. In addition to the political genealogy of imperial and colonial citizenship, Joya Chatterjee talks about the “original blueprints” of Indian and Pakistani citizenship, which she locates in the Constituent Assembly debates before independence. After elections in 1945–1946, the assembly started functioning in December 1946—although notably the Muslim League, which had gained overwhelming support from Muslim constituencies, chose to boycott the sessions. One of the earliest tasks taken up by the assembly as part of the constitution-making process was to define “the people of India.”61 A proposed definition was to recognize as a citizen anyone born in the union or naturalized according to existing law.62 But months before a formal transfer of power, as violence erupted and the refugee crisis started simmering, the citizenship debate could no longer ignore the question of those stranded outside of the Indian union as a result of the creation of Pakistan. The matter was deferred, to be taken up only after independence, when the refugee crisis reached such a point that any future outcome of the legal question of citizenship depended on it.

In Uditi Sen’s categorization, the “citizen refugee” was the locus of debate as to who was an Indian or Pakistani citizen.63 However, this question did not necessarily answer who belonged to India or Pakistan. The works of Haimanti Roy and Vazira Zamindar provide a detailed analysis of such aporias of belonging. According to Roy, the divided identities of nationals versus citizens were discursively produced through the categories of refugees, evacuees, and displaced persons, among others.64 The distinction of national and citizen became a defining feature of the new legal regime of control and surveillance, each category requiring a different criterion of documentary evidence and of affect to establish the notion of belonging. Roy’s work is an extensively researched history of the statist imposition of a documentary regime. From as early as 1948, the Indian and Pakistani postcolonial states started defining the legal identities of citizens through travel permits or by granting passports specific to travel between them. Zamindar’s work focuses on affective modes of belonging, especially that of the Indian Muslim minority, as people navigated their way through a nation richly imagined as male and Hindu. The division of families across borders and a longing for the lost homeland—along with a strong sense of alienation, anxiety, and displacement in the newly adopted abode—are prominent tropes through which Zamindar offers a rich description of mohajir, or migrants, and their dilemmas of belonging.65

Despite claims to an obvious choice of jus soli citizenship, there were competing “citizenship discourses,” as Ornit Shani describes them, which defined both the legal criteria for membership and the affective notions of belonging. On the basis of an approach to citizenship as a primary mechanism for making claims to the state and state membership in order to develop a shared community or sense of social solidarity, Shani delineates the content of such claims and solidarities in the democratic workings of the Indian nation-state. She identifies four notions of citizenship: liberal, republican, ethno-nationalist, and the nonstatist, which are often in competition with one other as delimiting processes. In addition to universal inclusion in the liberal model and to the predominance of the common good and civic virtue envisaged by republicanism, there is some overlap and tension between the ethno-nationalist model—which emphasizes notions of blood, soil, and majoritarian ethos—and the privileging of the individual as a member of the moral community in the nonstatist model developed along Gandhian lines.

As Shani’s analysis of the Gandhian model shows, the abhorrence of the state in Gandhian thought contrasts with the independence of “the self and self-regulated stateless national life.”66 The locus of moral action lies within the individual, who is situated in an idealized community of Ramrajya—a utopia of sorts—“by which he [Gandhi] means a ‘reign of ideal justice’ of ‘self-imposed law of moral restraint.’67 Though seeking a nonstatist view of individual action in a moral community, the Gandhian notion was thus couched in a religious idiom and had to be represented in a language transcending the ethno-nationalist conception of citizenship.68 Village councils, or panchayats, were premised on an idealized notion of a self-reliant village community in which everyone cooperated regardless of identity politics, caste distinctions, or Hindu-Muslim affiliation. However, the use of such terms as bhoodan, the moral duty of good Hindus—in addition to references to a Hindu cosmological order that was tied up with a moral universe that these councils aspired to achieve—had an alienating effect, failing to counter the impact of the ethno-national narrative.69 Still, despite their inherent tensions, the polyvalence of views could be held together because of the democratic process of debate and frequently forced repositioning of the state’s idea of citizenship. This is why ongoing changes to the citizenship law in India and resulting controversies have caused alarm bells to go off, as there is now an unprecedented challenge to the precarious balance among competing types of citizenship discourses.

The blurring of boundaries that allowed for the dominance of a normative ethno-national model was also built into the country’s supposedly liberal constitutional doctrine. Ananya Vajpeyi’s work, though meant in adoration of the “founding fathers” of Indian nationhood and its constitutions, directs us to the almost-exclusive reliance on Hindu and Buddhist religious philosophy, imagery, and aesthetics that inspired prominent Indian thinkers. In her analysis of the political thought of individual ideologues of Indian nationhood, she reads Gandhi’s politics through the Gita, interprets Tagore’s philosophical musings through a longish fifth-century classical poem about longing by Kalidasa, explains Nehru’s state-building agenda by its affiliation with Ashokan era edicts and monuments, and locates Ambedkar’s radical manifestos for the Dalits in Buddhist canonical literature.70 It is not surprising, then, that to form a “righteous republic,” the new republic’s major symbols drew inspiration either from Ashoka as an idealized form of Indian state—centralized, strong, and expansive—or from various shades of classical Hindu and Buddhist religious traditions.

The strength of Indian scholarship and other interest in the academic study of the Indian constitutional democracy and secularism has caused that model to dominate discussions of citizenship in postcolonial nation-states. Until the 1990s, the predominant trend in scholarly literature on Pakistan was to focus heavily on studying the causes for the Muslim League’s demand for a separate homeland or on an exploration of debates on the Islamic versus Muslim state for the post-1947 period. In the past few years, there have proliferated new academic works from a growing, critical mass of Pakistani scholars, which has enabled a shift from state-centric views of history to an exploration of subaltern groups, ethnic and linguistic marginalization, women’s movements, religious minorities, agrarian revolts, and workers’ solidarities.71

What I am interested in can broadly be viewed as an intellectual history of Pakistan as a case study in the ideational basis of nationhood, that is, Muslim qaumiyyat. Pakistan’s transition to citizenship can be studied to delineate state development processes, identity formation, and politics of belonging. The excess of literature on Indian nationalism as theorized by the likes of Nehru and Gandhi, or its critiques by Ambedkar, is in contrast to a paucity of analytical work on Muslim qaumiyyat, especially its multiple variants in the state of Pakistan. The idea of qaumiyyat and its attendant history and articulation in political thought were central to the project of carving the Pakistani nation-state. A rigorous analysis of the history of this idea and its politics in the post-1947 period is a much-needed corrective to scholarly literature on both the political theory of citizenship and the politics of national belonging in the postcolonial world.

The study of citizenship in the Pakistani context has attracted the attention of a few scholars. Among the latest contributions are Nosheen Ali’s work on Gilgit-Baltistan. Given the peculiar history of the region’s independence from the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir in 1947–1948, the Pakistani state continues to keep the constitutional status of the area ambiguous. Ali describes the emotional language employed by the GB integrationist movement, in which the claim-making discourse around a push for equal citizenship is expressed through the reigning metaphor of a jilted lover whose desire for communion has not been reciprocated. In Ali’s estimation, “love is a compelling constellation through which we may chart how the dynamic of citizenship operates on the ground.”72 Her innovative analytical lens significantly complicates, and thus adds to, our current, more simplistic understanding of citizenship as a legal abstraction.

Coming from a legal, bundle-of-rights approach, Ayesha Siddiqi has developed new theoretical insights by looking closely at disaster management in the wake of the devastating floods that hit Sindh in 2010–2011. Her extensive fieldwork in flood-hit areas shows the breadth of the state’s influence. In their claim making, citizens continue to look to the state for the provision of rights. Siddiqi’s work speaks about rural Sindh, which is a region that is considered remote and inaccessible, and is largely ignored for developmental purposes. The choice of her fieldwork adds to the importance of her theoretical and empirical contributions. Her central claim is that a “relationship between the state of Pakistan and its citizens does exist,” and that the traditional structure of patronage—though still intact—accounts for only one part of that relationship. Her conclusion that the relationship between the citizen and the state is “based on [the] rights and entitlements of citizenship” proves to be the most significant aspect of her research.74 It leads Siddiqi to claim that the sensationalist specter around Islamists acting as viable alternatives to the state or as service providers because of state failure is overestimated.

While Ali’s and Siddiqi’s scholarship takes a regional approach to making broader theoretical claims, my analysis is more akin to recent contributions by Sarah Ansari and William Gould. Ansari and Gould provide an overview of general trends in citizenship-making processes through focused case studies. Taking the violence and displacement of the foundational moment of Partition, Ansari and Gould describe the approaches by the Indian and Pakistani states to cultivate notions of belonging through texts and performances and to lay down the basis for active civic and political life. Citizens themselves, emphasize Ansari and Gould, played a significant role in charting the acquisition of rights through their claims, critique, and political praxes, whether through organized, concerted efforts or everyday interactions with the state.74

Aside from these exceptional new works, postcolonial studies of citizenship, nation, and the state have focused on India and largely celebrated its continued tradition of a secular democracy unified around a single constitution, as well as the intellectual traditions of those who drafted it. This literature has left Pakistan out of the equation, given its subsequent history: the systematic breakdown of the democratic process and the presence of endemic ethnic and religious violence. An additional assumption is that the plan for a homogenized Islamic identity was, for a Muslim-majority state, a foregone conclusion that did not require debate or much imagination. My work rebuts such myopic views. By offering a rich analysis of the ideological content and political disputes that emerged from Pakistan’s postcolonial state-making process, this book contributes significantly to the intellectual history of political thought in the Global South.


Qaum, mulk, sultanat: these three words, which comprise a stanza in the national anthem of Pakistan, written by Hafiz Jallandhari in Persianized Urdu, are at the heart of my contribution to the study of citizenship, nationality, and statehood in Pakistan.75 The national anthem is the heralding of the nation, its moment of arrival in state form, built on the glory of the past with an aspirational march toward the future. Qaum, mulk, and sultanat can be translated as “nation,” “country,” and “state,” respectively. As I have previously argued in a jointly written essay, an etymological survey of these terms reveals that they have embodied various meanings and histories that do not necessarily cohere with those meanings emphasized in the anthem.76

The term qaum has variously been understood as referring to any kind of collectivity, especially those defined along kinship lines. During the election campaign in 1945–1946, Muslim League propaganda denounced qaum as antithetical to the universalist conception of a singular, faith-cemented community of Muslims.77 Despite the nationalization of the term in the anthem, it retains its vernacular usage, referring to kin groups and other claims to ethnic nationhood.

Mulk defines a literary imaginary, an amorphously bounded land. It is distinct from a modern iteration of the word to mean “state” and from related vernacular terms like watan for “homeland.” As Mana Kia’s recent intervention shows, such transformations in meanings are based on the presumption of an empty space on which political subjectivities are built—a modern phenomenon tied with the specificity of the nation-state’s territoriality. Such a conception of space as homogeneous and national overlooks various other modes of embeddedness through which individuals and communities ascribe different meanings of homeland to link people and spaces across regions and polities.78 Manan Ahmad has adopted a similar approach by looking at Hindustani regional histories written in Persian in the premodern period, which Ahmad considers the connective idiom that enables intimacy with the land. Ahmad argues that such a conceptualization—which is not to be reduced to a prehistory of the nation or the nation-state—was lost in the positivist histories of India commissioned by the officials of the East India Company.79 By the mid-twentieth century, a new term coined for geostrategic purposes became frequent: South Asia.80

Sultanat is a term that is still widely used to denote an empire in the premodern sense. Its usage in the anthem to refer to the state is presumably due as much to metrical limitations as it is for wont of a better replacement.

In this manner, the conceptual equivalence of terms for modern political thought, concepts, institutions, and their histories, shows how such terms draw upon various legal registers, cultural metaphors, and preexisting categories to cultivate and create modern sensibilities, political subjectivities, and collective identities. Words, as Bakhtin and Voloshinov describe them, are “the most sensitive index of social changes, and . . . of changes still in the process of growth, still without definitive shape and not as yet accommodated into already regularized and fully defined ideological systems. . . . [They have] the capacity to register all the transitory, delicate, momentary phases of social change.”81 A genealogical approach, therefore, can help trace the process of transition and translation as words transform to coincide with political processes and institutional change. In the postcolonial context, Muslim nationhood, variously defined and understood throughout the modern period, was at the heart of the movement for a separate state and of later nation-making and state-formation projects. Foregrounding the significance of qaum as a social and cultural metaphor before that term became a national type or was collapsed with the legal entity of the citizen offers an intriguing point of entry.

In using the term metaphor, I draw upon the cognitive theorists George Lakoff and Mark Johnsen and the literary theorists Paul Ricoeur and Shamsur Rehman Faruqi. All these theorists agree on the need to move beyond the Aristotelian notion of metaphor as a replacement for a word and function of persuasive rhetoric. For Lakoff and Johnsen, human thought processes and conceptual systems are metaphorical.82 They shift the locus of metaphorical action from words to concepts and from similarity to cross-domain correlations in experiences. Metaphors as conceptual systems are not only historically contingent but also significantly shaped by our bodies’ common nature and everyday functionality.83 Ricoeur is similarly focused on reading the metaphor as a discursive phenomenon rather than simply as a calculated error meant to displace the meaning of a word. “To affect just one word,” writes Ricoeur, “the metaphor has to disturb a whole network by means of an aberrant attribution.”84 Moreover, the disturbance produced by metaphor presupposes a logical order, conceptual hierarchy, and classification scheme operating within the constituted order that is temporarily displaced. What if this constituted order, speculates Ricoeur, were begotten by a similar process of displacement? The question “suggests the idea that order itself proceeds from the metaphorical constitution of semantic fields.”85

The shared poetic idiom and connected histories and geographies discussed by Manan Ahmad and Mana Kia can similarly be understood as constitutive of a discursive order that delineates metaphors for a premodern notion of qaum in Hindustan. Such metaphors continued well into colonial modernity given the preponderance of Persian as a classical language, a tradition inherited by Urdu as an embodiment of Indic-Muslim religious, political, and cultural thought, and especially by North Indian languages. To a considerable extent, as emerging scholarship on vernaculars shows, many aspects of metaphysical thought in the qissa tradition, for instance, were located in the cosmopolitan Indo-Persian epic traditions and tales circulating via land-based trade routes of the Indian Ocean, which encompasses a vast region.86 As Sudipta Kaviraj has argued, it was the modernity and its twin political projects of nationalism and state formation as new modes of space making that drove a wedge between the individual and community sense of belonging to the land through the legal-strategic ordering of space and its transformation into sovereign territory of the nation-state.87 Emphasizing the role of lyricism and poetics in creating an affective surplus, Kaviraj shows how late nineteenth-century nationalist writers invoked premodern religious and literary traditions whose initial vocalizations were specific to their regional contexts in order to conjure an image of the nation that claimed a more significant historical tradition and thus spirited people into action for its glory and safeguarding.88 The connectivity of nation through land and language, however, was limited by the inherently majoritarian model of the nation in which the Muslim was the “other.” Poetry, as Ali Khan Mahmudabad’s work has shown, was equally influential in making a powerful claim to the land on behalf of all and in setting a “normative horizon” that was broadly construed.89 But even if we accept the premise that modern forms of imagining the nation were different—regardless of whether they resulted in a fragmented polity or held the potential for inclusivity—it is the nation as the metaphor for a collectivity, group, or community sutured into a folk (i.e., the people) that requires further scrutiny. It is essential not only to emphasize the richness of language around qaum, mulk, and sultanat but also to historically locate such terms and analyze the processes whereby—to use a term from literary theory coined by Jauss—a concretization of meanings takes place.90 In applying the term to political processes, my emphasis is on ascertaining modernity’s impacts on imposing—or the attempts made by nation-states to impose—an overarching hegemonic authority and consistency in thought.

The best way to understand the layered, overlapping, and sedimented literary and political repertoires is through Umberto Eco’s concept of the encyclopedia as a “multidimensional space of semiosis . . . a complex system of shared knowledge that governs the production and interpretation of signs inside communicative contexts.”91 Eco calls these repertoires an encyclopedia because of the heterogeneous nature of this knowledge system. The encyclopedia in this theorization becomes a register within which meanings in a social habitus and cultural unit are recorded, generated, regulated, renewed, and suppressed—or alternately, glossed over. Eco offers “house” as an example, with its correlated meanings of a physically delimited space for dwelling or inhabitation. But metaphorically, the sky is a house for birds, which does not fall within the same semantic values. What connects the uses is the idea of shelter: man takes refuge inside the house, and the bird flies into the open sky, yet both are connected through a shared narrative and cultural frame. In this metaphoric transference, shelter, and open space are condensed as sky despite the mutual exclusion of their ordinary meanings. In this manner, metaphors subvert semantic orders attached to words or terms by dictionaries and establish semantic contamination.92 Metaphors, therefore, are central to Eco’s description of the encyclopedia, in which, unlike the dictionary, words lack fixed meaning and are capable of generating new meanings through subversion, conversion, correlation, deletion, and replication.

Eco describes this understanding of the semiotic system encapsulated in an encyclopedia as resembling the working of the rhizome as theorized by Deleuze and Guattari. In this conceptualization, each point is connected with another point; connections are drawn as lines that can be broken off at any point and later reconnected following other lines. The rhizome has neither an outside nor an inside and can be broken down into its constituent units and modified. For Eco, the most crucial feature of the rhizome is that “only local descriptions of the rhizome are possible . . . [;] every perspective (every point of view on the rhizome) is always obtained from an internal point.”93 This conceptualization emphasizes the interconnectedness and virtual infinity of multiple interpretations in a given culture. It serves as the encyclopedic repository of truth, where truth is defined as the discourses about a term posited in any given moment.94 Thus, it envisages an open-ended system of knowledge and communicative action, though one that is situated locally. The massive accumulation of knowledge in a cultural system requires selective modes of amnesia and remembrance to offset what Eco describes as a “vertigo of knowledge.”95 However, that which remains in abeyance remains retrievable for future modes of action.

Within this system of signification and interpretants, Shamsur Rehman Faruqi’s description of the cultural content of classical poetry’s metaphors—and their histories, subsequent developments, attributions, and ascriptions—can be understood. A leading novelist, critic, and literary theorist, Faruqi adds to literary theories on metaphor by tracing its conceptual genesis and discursive shifts encyclopedically. According to Faruqi, the thematic focus of classical Urdu poetry derived from Arabic and Persian is limited to a few subjects. Through the concept of mazmun afrini, poets strive to create new meanings, extending them beyond given metaphorical limits or the surface meanings of a word, sentence, or couplet. Faruqi takes up giriya-i-ishq (wailing for the beloved) as an example: this phrase has been used as a metaphor for the weeping eye (chashm-i-girya) in an expansive and exaggerated interwoven web of meanings involving rivers, clouds, rain, greenery (haryali), jungle, desolation (virani), floods, and more. Despite its usage for hundreds of years in Persian and Urdu poetry, the metaphor hasn’t lost its freshness, as each poet uses it differently.96 In the same fashion, Faruqi traces religious ideals that seep into poetics through the metaphorical imaginary and contends that they serve as a shared poetic idiom across regions. He cites the Sufi poet Rumi’s famous har lehza ba shakal-i-aan but-i-ayyar bar-amad as a classic example of yearning for the One and being one with the Divine. He then traces this concept in the work of poets who followed Rumi hundreds of years later in North India and the Deccan. Divided across time and space, these poets had what Faruqi calls “mutual comprehensibility” when it came to a shared metaphoric understanding of being one with the Divine.97 The same mazmun was replicated in classical Urdu poetry innumerable times, and even by Hindu poets like Swami Ram Tirath (d. 1906), whose ghazal carries the unmistakable influence of Sufi influences as Vedantic in his depictions of Ram and of being one with Ram.98 Through this broader encyclopedic canvas, Faruqi charts a historical account of how shared comprehensibility across the poetic realm develops ideas across cultural and religious traditions and imbibes them. The corresponding impact is that metaphors either fade into oblivion or transform into a new meaning, or wholly new metaphors are coined to reflect changing sociopolitical contexts.


1. Pakistan Times, 28 September 1947.

2. Deccan Chronicle, 30 May 2016.

3. Anwari Begum had married Rafiq Ghaznawi, with whom she had a daughter, Nasreen, who was Salma Agha’s mother. Anwari married Mehra following her divorce with Ghaznawi. I am grateful to Professor Ishtiaq Ahmed for sharing this information with me.

4. Ilyas Chattha, “The Impact of the Redistribution of Partition’s Evacuee Property on the Patterns of Land Ownership and Power in Pakistani Punjab in the 1950s,” in State and Nation Building in Pakistan, ed. Roger D. Long, Gurharpal Singh, Yunas Samad, and Ian Talbot (London: Routledge, 2016), 31–52. Chattha is currently working on a full-length book project tracing the history of Christian conversion in Punjab in the aftermath of Partition and the role of various missions in this process.

5. On the abduction of women and children during the Partition and the details of their recovery, see Urvashi Batalia, The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India (Delhi: Viking Penguin India, 1998); Ritu Menon and Kamla Bhasin, Borders and Boundaries: Women in India’s Partition (Delhi: Kali for Women, 1998); Pippa Virdee, From the Ashes of 1947: Reimagining Punjab (Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 2018).

6. “Baba Guru Pakistani || Charagh Din Jagjit Singh || Kotha Guru, Batninda To Pakistan || Punjab 1947,” YouTube video, posted by Desi Infotainer,

7. Elisabetta Iob’s Refugees and the Politics of the Everyday State in Pakistan: Resettlement in Punjab, 1947–62 (London: Routledge, 2018) gives a lively account of how refugees navigated life in a new country. In particular, she focuses on the importance of patronage networks in interactions with the postcolonial state, providing rich insight into the everyday life of the migrants as they strove to become citizens of the republic and draw economic sustenance from it by building political alliances.

8. I came across this letter in the file of Nawa-i-Waqt and took notes as well. Unfortunately, in the “digital heap” of collected archival material, I lost the precise date and year of publication. A village of this name still exists in Chakwal district.

9. Ankh Micholi, August 1990. The special issue was called “Dil Dil Pakistan” after a famous patriotic song popularized by a pop sensation—Vital Signs.

10. Tahir Masud, “Manzil Pakistan,” Ankh Micholi, August 1990, 93–99.

11. Anupama Roy, “The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and the Aporia of Citizenship,” Economic and Political Weekly 54, no. 49 (14 December 2019): 28–29. The 2003 amendment specified that citizenship by birth will be granted only in cases where at least one parent is of Indian origin and the other one is not an illegal migrant.

12. Niraja Gopal Jayal, “Faith-Based Citizenship: The Dangerous Path India Is Choosing,” India Forum: A Journal-Magazine on Contemporary Issues, October 31, 2019, 4,

13. Uzma, “Indian Muslims Have Hindu Ancestry: Subramanian Swamy,” August 25, 2011,

14. Jayal, “Faith-Based Citizenship,” 1.

15. “Imran Khan Pledges Citizenship to Afghan and Bangladeshi Refugees,” Al-Jazeera, September 17, 2018,

16. Sanaa Alimia’s recently published monograph on the Afghan refugees and their role in the making of Pakistan’s urban fabric captures the experiences of everyday lives of Afghan refugees in the country: Refugee Cities: How Afghans Changed Urban Pakistan (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2022). For a similar work on Bengali and Rohingyas, mostly living in Karachi, see Nausheen H. Anwar, “Negotiating New Conjunctures of Citizenship: Experiences of ‘Illegality’ in Burmese-Rohingya and Bangladeshi Migrant Enclaves in Karachi,” Citizenship Studies 17, nos. 3–4 (2013): 414–28.

17. Hafeez Jamali’s PhD dissertation, “A Harbor in the Tempest: Megaprojects, Identity, and the Politics of Place in Gwadar, Pakistan” (University of Texas at Austin, 2014), is a detailed ethnographic study of the fears and anxieties of Baluch residents of a small fishing harbor that is undergoing massive social change as a result of, what the nationalists view as, extractive mega-developments in the area.

18. For a detailed historical overview of the Mohajir national identity and the politics of urban violence in Karachi since the 1980s, see Laurent Gayer’s Karachi: Ordered Disorder and the Struggle for the City (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014). On criminal networks and political patronage—especially in the Lyari neighborhood of Karachi—see Nida Kirmani, “Mobility and Urban Conflict: A Study of Lyari, Karachi” (Crossroads Asia Working Paper No. 28, University of Bonn, 2015).

19. See Ammar Ali Jan, Rule by Fear: Eight Theses on Authoritarianism in Pakistan (Lahore: Folio Books, 2021).

20. Shaheen Sardar Ali and Javaid Rehman, Indigenous Peoples and Ethnic Minorities of Pakistan: Constitutional and Legal Perspectives (Surrey, UK: Curzon Press, 2001).

21. “Gilgit-Baltistan Autonomy,” Dawn, 9 September 2009,

22. For a historical overview of the Frontier Crimes Regulation and its provisions, see Benjamin D. Hopkins, “The Frontier Crimes Regulation and Frontier Governmentality,” Journal of Asian Studies 47, no. 2 (May 2015): 369–89.

23. “President Signs KP-Fata Merger Bill into Law,” Dawn, 31 May 2018, https:/​/

24. Anam Zakaria’s work provides a rare insight into the lives of ordinary people living in Azad Kashmir and their struggle for constitutional rights: Between the Great Divide: A Journey into Pakistan-Administered Kashmir (Delhi: HarperCollins India, 2018).

25. Faris A. Khan, “Translucent Citizenship: Khwaja Sira Activism and Alternatives to Dissent in Pakistan,” in “Sedition, Sexuality, Gender, and Gender Identity in South Asia,” special issue of South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal 20 (2019).

26. Will Kymlicka and Wayne Norman, “Return of the Citizen: A Survey of Recent Work on Citizenship Theory,” in Theorizing Citizenship, ed. Ronald Beiner (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995), 285.

27. Bryan S. Turner, “Religion and Politics: The Elementary Forms of Citizenship,” in Handbook of Citizenship Studies, ed. Engin F. Isin and Bryan S. Turner (London: Sage Publications, 2002), 260.

28. Ibid., 261.

29. Bryan S. Turner, “Islam, Civil Society, and Citizenship: Reflections on the Sociology of Citizenship and Islamic Studies,” in Citizenship and the State in the Middle East: Approaches and Applications, ed. Nils A. Butenschon, Uri Davis, and Manuel Hassassian (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2000), 31.

30. My understanding of Tonnies’s differentiation between community and society is borrowed from Gerard Delanty’s “Communitarianism and Citizenship,” in Handbook of Citizenship Studies, ed. Engin F. Isin and Bryan S. Turner (London: Sage Publications, 2002), 159–74.

31. Ibid., 161.

32. Turner, Religion and Modern Society, 11.

33. See, e.g., Will Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996).

34. For instance, see Thomas Janoski, Citizenship and Civil Society: A Framework of Rights and Obligations in Liberal, Traditional, and Social Democratic Regimes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).

35. Engin Isin, Being Political: Genealogies of Citizenship (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002); Engin Isin, ed. Citizenship after Orientalism: Transforming Political Theory (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).

36. Engin Isin, introduction to Citizenship after Orientalism: Transforming Political Theory, ed. Engin Isin (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 5.

37. Daniel Gorman, Imperial Citizenship: Empire and the Question of Belonging (Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2006).

38. Radhika Mongia, Indian Migration and Empire: A Colonial Genealogy of the Modern State (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2018), 113. As Kalyani Ramnath’s monograph shows, the postcolonial subject continued to wrestle with the specter of such policies of racializing bodies and actively sought to overcome them. Ramnath, Boats in a Storm: Law, Migration, and Decolonization in South and Southeast Asia, 1942–1962 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2023).

39. Radhika Singha, “The Great War and a ‘Proper’ Passport for the Colony: Border-Crossing in British India, c. 1882–1922,” Indian Economic and Social History Review 50, no. 3 (2013): 289–315.

40. Ulrich K. Preuss, “Citizenship and the German Nation,” Citizenship Studies 7, no. 1 (2003): 37–56.

41. Rogers Brubaker, Citizenship and Nationhood in France and Germany (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996), 52.

42. Saskia Sassen, “Towards Post-National and Denationalized Citizenship,” in Handbook of Citizenship Studies, ed. Engin. F. Isin and Bryan. S. Turner (London: Sage Publications, 2002), 278–79.

43. T. K. Oommen, Citizenship, Nationality and Ethnicity: Reconciling Competing Identities (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 1997), 45.

44. Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1966), 297.

45. Jürgen Habermas, “The European Nation-State: On the Past and Future of Sovereignty and Citizenship,” Public Culture 10, no. 2 (1998): 405–6.

46. Mahmood Mamdani, Neither Settler nor Native: The Making and Unmaking of Permanent Minorities (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2020), 252 and 334. In case of Israel, for instance, the idea of a Jewish homeland is at the heart of the settler-colonial state. So while the settler-colonial state actively disenfranchises non-Jewish Arabs as full citizens, it also vigilantly monitors the boundaries of Jewishness to determine the eligibility of those who can be full citizens. The state adopts an orthodox interpretation of Jewishness (halacha) to settle or apply Jewish law in personal matters, but it accepts a more fluid, open-ended definition and claims of ancestry to qualify for full citizenship status of Israel. Ibid., 256.

47. For my argument, I have drawn on an excellent analysis of Arendt’s political theory by Seyla Benhabib, especially from her book: The Rights of Others: Aliens, Residents, and Citizens (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), ch. 2.

48. Nandita Sharma, Home Rule: National Sovereignty and the Separation of Natives and Migrants (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2020), 14–15.

49. Mamdani, Neither Settler nor Native, 14.

50. Quoted in Andrew Schaap, “Enacting the Right to Have Rights: Jacques Rancière’s Critique of Hannah Arendt,” European Journal of Political Theory 10, no. 1 (2011): 26–27.

51. Partha Chatterjee, Nationalist Thought and the Colonial World: A Derivative Discourse (London: Zed Books, 1986); The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993); Sudipta Kaviraj, The Imaginary Institution of India: Politics and Idea (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010).

52. I have borrowed this term from Rajat Kanta Ray’s The Felt Community: Commonality and Mentality before the Emergence of Indian Nationalism (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2003).

53. Niraja Gopal Jayal, Citizenship and Its Discontents: An Indian History (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013), 23.

54. Ibid., 36–37.

55. Ibid., 28–29.

56. Ibid., 31.

57. See Harald Fischer-Tine, Low and Licentious Europeans’: Race, Class and White Subalternity in Colonial India (New Delhi: Orient BlackSwan, 2009).

58. Purnima Bose, Organizing Empire: Individualism, Collective Agency and India (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003), 8.

59. Jayal, Citizenship and its Discontents, 41–42.

60. Ibid., 137–38.

61. Joya Chatterji, “South Asian Histories of Citizenship, 1946–1970,” Historical Journal 55, no. 4 (December 2012): 1049–71.

62. Ibid., 1052.

63. Uditi Sen, Citizen Refugee: Forging the Indian Nation after Partition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018).

64. Haimanti Roy, Partitioned Lives: Migrants, Refugees, Citizens in India and Pakistan, 1947–1965 (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2013), 5.

65. Vazira Fazila-Yacoobali Zamindar, The Long Partition and the Making of Modern South Asia: Refugees, Boundaries, Histories (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007).

66. Ornit Shani, “Gandhi, Citizenship and the Resilience of Indian Nationhood,” Citizenship Studies 15, nos. 6–7 (2010): 659–78.

67. Ibid., 662.

68. Ibid., 667.

69. Ibid.

70. Ananya Vajpeyi, Righteous Republic: The Political Foundations of Modern India (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012).

71. Some examples are Maria Rashid, Dying to Serve: Militarism, Affect, and the Politics of Sacrifice in the Pakistan Army (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2020); Aasim Sajjad Akhtar, The Politics of Common Sense: State, Society and Culture in Pakistan (New Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 2018); Ammara Maqsood, The New Pakistani Middle Class (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2017); Ayesha Khan, The Women’s Movement in Pakistan: Activism, Islam and Democracy (London: Bloomsbury, 2019); Taimur Rahman, The Class Structure of Pakistan (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2012); Mubashar Rizvi, The Ethics of Staying: Social Movements and Land Rights Politics in Pakistan (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2019); Anushay Malik, “Public Authority and Local Resistance: Abdur Rehman and the Industrial Workers of Lahore, 1969–1974,” Modern Asian Studies 52, no. 3 (2018): 815–48.

72. Nosheen Ali, Delusional States: Feeling Rule and Development in Pakistan’s Northern Frontier (New Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 2019), 3.

73. Ayesha Siddiqi, In the Wake of Disaster: Islamists, the State and a Social Contract in Pakistan (New Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 2019), 6.

74. Sarah Ansari and William Gould, Boundaries of Belonging: Localities, Citizenship and Rights in India and Pakistan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019). Rohit De’s work shows how the Indian constitution, and its charter of rights, was taken up on its word by citizen for a range of litigations, which in turn affected the reading of the law and its implementation while showing how citizens cultivated a relationship with the state through exercise of rights. Rohit De, A People’s Constitution: The Everyday Life of Law in the Indian Republic (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2018).

75. Although I had grown up in Pakistan singing the national anthem in school, it was when Capital TV—a news channel launched in 2013—adopted qaum, mulk, sultanat as its tagline that I thought about the significance of this stanza and worked toward theorizing it.

76. Ali Usman Qasmi and Megan Eaton Robb, introduction to Muslims against the Muslim League: Critiques of the Idea of Pakistan, ed. Ali Usman Qasmi and Megan Eaton Robb (New Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 2017), 10–19.

77. David Gilmartin, “A Magnificent Gift: Muslim Nationalism and the Election Process in Colonial Punjab.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 40, no. 3 (1998): 415–36.

78. Mana Kia, Persianate Selves: Memories of Place and Origin before Nationalism (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2020), 6.

79. Manan Asif Ahmad, The Loss of Hindustan: The Invention of India (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2020).

80. For a detailed history, etymology, politics, and policy implications of the new term, see Aminah Mohammad-Arif, “Introduction. Imaginations and Constructions of South Asia: An Enchanting Abstraction?,” South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal 10 (2014).

81. Pam Morris, ed., The Bakhtin Reader: Selected Writings of Bakhtin, Mededev and Voloshinov (London: Arnold, 2003), 53–54.

82. George Lakoff and Mark Johnsen, Metaphors We Live By (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003), 6.

83. Ibid., 244–45.

84. Paul Ricouer, The Rule of Metaphor: The Creation of Meaning in Language (London: Routledge, 2003), 23.

85. Ibid., 24.

86. An excellent example of this emerging scholarship on the importance of reading the vernaculars for an alternative conceptualizations about language, literary theory, and social history, see Pasha Muhammad Khan’s The Broken Spell: Indian Story Telling and the Romance Genre in Persian and Urdu (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2019). Taimoor Shahid’s doctoral research uses the qissa of Saif-ul-Muluk—the story of a prince traversing oceans and continents in search for his beloved—and traces it in multiple languages across the wide stretches of the Indian Ocean, embodying various registers of love and intimacy, as well as shades of Sufi and Yogic philosophical thought. Retrieval projects of this sort will benefit immensely from Maryam Wasif Khan’s theoretical intervention in which she examines the Orientalist conceptualizations of language, literature, and canonical texts to explain the emergence of “classical Urdu literature” in the colonial period. Maryam Wasif Khan, Who Is a Muslim? Orientalism and Literary Populisms (New York: Fordham University Press, 2021).

87. Sudipta Kaviraj, “A Strange Love of the Land: Identity, Poetry and Politics in the (Un)Making of South Asia,” South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal 10 (2014):

88. Ibid.

89. Ali Khan Mahmudabad, The Poetry of Belonging (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2020).

90. Hans Robert Jauss, Literary Hermeneutics (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press), xxxi.

91. Paolo Desogus, “The Encyclopedia in Umberto Eco’s Semiotics,” Semiotica, no. 192 (2012): 501. For an understanding of Umberto Eco’s ideas about encyclopedia and labyrinth, I have relied extensively on Desogus’s commentary on Eco’s works.

92. Ibid., 514.

93. Umberto Eco, From the Tree to the Labyrinth: Historical Studies on the Sign and Interpretation (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014), 54–55.

94. Umberto Eco, Semiotics and the Philosophy of Language (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986), 83.

95. Eco, From the Tree to the Labyrinth, 93.

96. Shams-ur-Rehman Faruqi, Sher-i-Shor Angez: Jild Chaharum (New Delhi: Qaumi Council Bara-i-Farugh-i-Urdu Zaban 2008), 93–95.

97. Ibid., 147–48.

98. Ibid., 149.