Nadeed (1989) by Joginder Paul is an unusual novel in Urdu in the sense that it has no defined plot or storyline but is held together by a metaphor and abstract, metaphysical reflections on this metaphor. The tradition of the novel in Urdu has not been known to be very robust (though short story is) to admit of radical innovation and experimentation. It was quite courageous of Paul to write this novel when he did. Its English translation has appeared after more than 25 years of the original and bears the title, Blind, of which I will comment towards the end of the review. It tells the story of a group of people living in the ‘Home for the Blind’. The paratexts that accompany the translation make it clear that Paul’s visit to a home for the blind in Machakos near Nairobi in 1959, which haunted him for many years was the original impetus for the story.
October 2017, volume 41, No XLI