PROJECT: A FEMINIST PERSPECTIVE ON NATION & IDENTITY
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contradictory, fractured and fragile national identity relies
on specific notions of masculinity and femininity, reinforced
through an ideology of militarism and religious fundamentalism.
The dissemination of this identity through state institutions,
educational curricula, madrassas and, increasingly, through
parts of civil society as analysed by the author, calls into
question the very basis of a national identity predicated
on religion and the subordination of women.
Saigol critically examines the unstable genealogy of this idea
of Pakistan from Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and M.A Jinnah to
Zia ul-Haq, through a gendered lens thus exposing
its many, often contradictory, premises and assumptions.
She then discusses the complex layering of this idea as it
has evolved over the last sixty years, whether insidiously
through textbooks and laws, violently through the construction and
persecution of ‘enemies of state’ or explicitly through the
military’s claims of safeguarding national security. Saigol
interrogates the successive mythical ‘ideas of Pakistan’ that
have been deployed by the state, vested interests, civilian and
military ruling elites and religious institutions in order to subvert
democratic development, especially gender equality.
is currently an independent
researcher based in Lahore. She has authored and edited
several books and papers in English and Urdu on education,
nationalism, the state, ethnicity, religious radicalism,
terrorism, feminism and human rights for academic
journals in India and internationally. Among her many
published works are:Engendering
the Nation-state; Aspects of Women and Development;
Deconstructing Terrorism: Discourse and Death in Pakistan;
and,Talibanisation of Pakistan: Myths and Realities.