Raja Gidh by Bano Qudsia is one of the most widely read and acclaimed Urdu novels offering the said trilogy bonanza to readers. Gidh is the Urdu word for a vulture and Raja is a Hindi synonym for king. The name anticipates the kingdom of vultures. The metaphor of the vulture as an animal feeding mostly on the carcasses of dead animals is employed to portray the trespassing of ethical limits imposed by the society or by the religion.
The philosophy is the concept of Halal & Haraam & hereditary transmission of Haraam genes. Naturally the plot is woven to support the thesis. In the opinion of many readers and critics she manages to convince them that the pursuance of Haraam, be it financial, moral or emotional, results in the deterioration of a person's normality in some sense. She seems to suggest that the abnormality is transferred genetically to the next generation.
The city is Lahore. The nostalgic narration of the historical Government College Lahore and of the Lawrence Garden Lahore (Bagh-e-Jinnah) lights upon the days of seventies and eighties. Every sensitive reader who has attended a college or a university in a Pakistani setting is bound to find some similarities between him and one of the characters.
In my early days of Jehalat (present being post Jehalat era?) when I was a University students I met a scholar to discuss Raja Gidh. He said you know reader of Raja Gidh has two lives one prior to reading and one life hereafter.
Recently, one of my students met me and said: Sir, I read your blog writings at Daastan Siraey. Mind-blowing, your entries were awesome! I had a very different image of yours before reading your blog but since then your image has changed in my perception…An image far different from the previous…Like a matter changed its physical state completely after some series of chain reactions.
Shariq, Shylock & Shahid saw each other…Our meaningful sight has reasons to share…Shariq looked at me and said “Show-off”…I & Shylock smiled like we have reasons for smile again like Taj Din had for opening of new Nirala outlet.
Shariq: A student of National College of Arts for whom I am so called elder brotherly dictator and for me he is an incalculable critic for my calculated world.