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The Reluctant Fundamentalist . The Pakistan-U.S. relationship. Learning Objective. To understand some key points about the relationship between America and Pakistan. To explain some of the reasons why Changez ’ character feels bitterness toward America. Pakistan. Is not in the Middle East.

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the reluctant fundamentalist

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The Pakistan-U.S. relationship

learning objective
Learning Objective
  • To understand some key points about the relationship between America and Pakistan.
  • To explain some of the reasons why Changez’ character feels bitterness toward America.
  • Is not in the Middle East.
  • It is South Asia
  • Pakistanis are not Arabs, they do not speak Arabic
  • Pakistanis are mostly Muslims. Indians are mostly not Muslims (although there is a very large Muslim population in India)
the story begins
The story begins…
  • The story begins in the Old Anarkali district in Lahore, Pakistan where Changezintroduces himself to an American man.
  • Changezis originally from this city, Lahore, which is the second biggest in Pakistan.
  • Each chapter of the novel begins and ends with their conversation in Lahore, which is really a ‘dramatic monologue’- more about this term later.
where pakistan isn t
Where Pakistan Isn’t
  • Pakistan is not in the Middle East
  • Arabic people do not live in Pakistan


key terms
Key terms
  • Imperial – grand, regal, royal
  • Empire – territory, kingdom, domain
  • Partition – divider, barrier
  • NATO – North Atlantic Treaty Organization – an intergovernmental military alliance – based on the North Atlantic Treaty signed in 1949.
  • Dramatic Monologue - A single character utters the speech that makes up the whole story, in a specific situation.This person addresses and interacts with one or more other people; and we learn what they say and do, only from clues in the discourse of the single speaker.
  • Post September 11 literature – literature written after the events of 9/11 – the events have an impact on the story/character/themes dealt with
  • Sanctions – restrictions, bans
changez s shame
Changez’s shame
  • Changez feels ashamed of Lahore’s decline from a majestic, imperial capital to a poorly run and funded shadow of its former greatness.
  • As Changez mentions, Lahore owes its rich history to the many empires within which it operated.
  • Changez comes to feel strongly that Pakistan’s reliance on U.S. aid is cause for shame.
the mughal empire 1526 1857
The Mughal Empire-1526-1857
  • These were Lahore’s ‘glory days’.
  • The empire was known for its great architecture and artistic accomplishments, including the TajMahal in India.
  • The Mughal empire declined in the middle of the 19th century.
more recent history
More recent history
  • Pakistan became part of the British Empire in 1857 and remained so until the British Partition of India and Pakistan in 1947.
  • Lahore suffered greatly during this time because of initial confusion about the India-Pakistan border. Violence broke out as Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs attempted to move from one territory to another.
game changer
Game Changer
  • In the early 1980s, Pakistan became the eighth nation in the world and first Muslim nation to possess nuclear weapons
9 11 and the war on terror
9/11 and the War on Terror
  • On September, 2001, the United States experienced a terrorist attack directed at several major landmarks.
  • Two of the four highjacked jets crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York City, eventually causing them to collapse.
  • Nearly 3,000 victims and the 19 hijackers died in the attacks.
  • Where were the terrorists mostly from?

paradigm shift
Paradigm Shift
  • Paradigms are boundaries
  • To shift is to change
  • A paradigm shift is where there is a change in basic assumptions
  • 9/11 caused a paradigm shift in America’s assumptions of how the world saw them
president bush
President Bush
  • The next day, President Bush declared the terrorist attacks acts of war.
  • That same day, the United States received the support of Britain, Pakistan, NATO and the UN Security Council.
  • In the next two days, President Bush approved a military plan to combat the Taliban, who seemed to blame for the attacks,in Afghanistan.
  • Why was this important for Pakistan?
pakistan s support
Pakistan’s support
  • Pakistan continued to support the US by demanding that the Taliban surrender Osama bin Laden, the suspected mastermind of the attacks.
  • Prior to the September 11 attacks in 2001, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were key supporters of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
  • Pakistan provided the U.S. a number of military airports and bases for its attack on Afghanistan, along with other logistical support.
  • The United States lifted sanctions on Pakistan and India that had been in place since 1998 because of both country’s nuclear tests.
what did pakistan get
What did Pakistan get?
  • In return for their military support, Pakistan:
      • Had sanctions lifted
      • Has received about $10 billion in U.S. aid since 2001, primarily militarily.
      • In June 2004, President George W. Gush designated Pakistan as a major non-NATO ally making it eligible, among other things, to purchase advanced American military technology.
changez and the war on terror
Changez and the War on Terror

‘Afghanistan was Pakistan’s neighbour, our friend, and a fellow Muslim nation besides, and the sight of what I took to be the beginning of its invasion by your countrymen caused me to tremble with fury.’ p. 114

  • What parts of Pakistani history are important to the novel?
  • What happened on 9/11 and how did the International Community respond?
  • Why does Changez feel proud but also ashamed of his home city, Lahore?
  • How did September 11 change the relationship between America and Pakistan? What was the relationship like before September 11? What changed?
the ending spoiler alert
The Ending – Spoiler alert!!
  • What does this mean for the ending?
  • It has been suggested that an interpretation of the ending depends on the reader’s background and experience.
  • As a result of Sept. 11 the world suddenly became paranoid and suspicious of people from countries like Pakistan.
    • So is it this paranoia from America and Western countries that leads us to interpret Changez’ actions as sinister and violent?
    • Are we being judgmental?
    • Is this the point of the novel?