Document Type

Book Chapter


The link between an embroidered Kashmir shawl in the National Gallery of Australia and Salman Rushdie's novel Shame may seem a little tenuous, but it can be sustained through the history that Rushdie 'translates' into his allegorical satire of modern Pakistan. Iskandar Harappa and Raza Hyder, two of the central male figures, are warped versions of the national leaders Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Zia ul-Haq. Since Zia was a creation of Bhutto, and it is through Bhutto that we get to Rushdie's use of a picture shawl, it is worth noting that the President's rise to fame began with his belligerent handling of the confrontation with India over Kashmir, culminating in the 1966 Tashkent conference and his arrival to popular acclaim in Lahore. Significantly, given Rushdie's concentration on the excessive passions of wounded pride in Shame, Bhutto used his brinkmanship over Kashmir as a histrionic exercise in redeeming national 'honour'.