BS (Social Sciences & Liberal Arts)

Faculty / School

Faculty of Business Administration (FBA)


Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts

Date of Award


Date of Submission



Aliya Iqbal Naqvi, Visiting Faculty, Department of Social Sciences

Project Type

SSLA Culminating Experience

Access Type

Restricted Access


In this project, using literary analysis as method, and using theoretical frameworks from feminist studies, feminist of color scholarship, and ‘Sufi studies’, I try to read how certain relations are exceeding other relations in Sohni. The very idea that certain relations exceed others was taught to me by Dr. Naveen Minai in Communication for Social Change, during which I designed a project which demonstrated how silence can exceed the authority to assimilate knowledge into speech. Dr. Naveen Minai has used this powerful concept-metaphor in her own work (Minai 2014) as means of critique, and her work has inspired me to use it in my own way. In this project, I have used the word ‘exceed’ eighteen times, only because I could find no other word to communicate what I was trying to say. I looked at the etymology of the word and discovered that it comes from the French exces, which means ‘excess, extravagance, outrage’, and from Latin excessus, which means ‘departure, a going beyond the bounds of reason or beyond the subject’ – ex marking the going ‘out.’ In one way, this is exactly in line with what I am trying to show in this project: how Sohni causes ‘outrage’ because her behavior is seen as ‘extravagance’; she also causes outrage because ‘she goes beyond the bounds or reason’, as it were, and reason in this story of Bhittai is almost always tied to the patriarch privileging of reason over bodily desire. In simple words, Sohni exceeds patriarchal expectation. On the literal space of the narrative, Sohni goes ‘out’ of the house, exceeding the boundaries of the house, ‘out’ at the river, where patriarchy does not want her to be.

While my work is not on the concept of excess in itself, I am inspired by the feeling this word generates in me and only hope that I am using it correctly. If not, I will be guided by my advisors to look for another alternative. My larger interest, in this project, remains the nature of authority/reason and desire/love rather than time and space strictly as such, but I ‘arrive’ at these larger metaconceptual categories through the routes of time and space. In other words, I am reading for time and space to think more critically about the role of authority and love in our lives. And I am trying to locate whether rethinking about these roles through a Sufi text can enrich my feminist imagination.



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