(Re)Mapping Peshawar: Palimpsest Preservation through Rhetoric of Walking
Literary representations of the city of Peshawar have continued to be shaped by fierce genealogical and political conditions, both nationally and globally. It would not be wrong to say that Peshawar has generally been depicted as a place of terror – a place taking shape according to changing civil and military dynamics following the post-9/11 geo-political discourse on the war against terrorism. In order to rebut the monolithic myths that largely define this city in terms of claustrophobia, terror and a threat to social order, I posit a nexus between De Certeau’s rhetoric of walking and Jeffrey A. Kroessler’s idea of ‘the city as palimpsest’ (2015: n.p.) to discuss the ways in which an English women’s the act of walking in the streets of Peshawar becomes palimpsestic exercises that unveil Pashtun histories that have been erased and written over. I argue that Kamila Shamsie’s A God in Every Stone takes a more positive stance in providing a contrapuntal reading of Peshawar to enable the readers to recuperate the forgotten stories of Pashtun life and peaceful chivalry that are mysterious but far from orientalist notions of barbarism and uncivilisation, so conveniently associated with Pashtun culture.