Exploring the Geometry of God (2008) as a Critique of Zia’s Islamisation of Pakistan


  • Waseem Hassan Malik Institute of Language and Literature, University of Sindh, Jamshoro
  • Ambreen Shahriar Institute of Language and Literature, University of Sindh, Jamshoro
  • Faraz Ali Bughio Institute of Language and Literature, University of Sindh, Jamshoro


Khan’s The Geometry of God (2008) is a representation of the conflict between the hard-line Islamists, and progressive and rational Muslims during General Zia’s government in Pakistan. The present paper attempts a textual analysis of the novel in the light of Althusser’s model of Ideological State Apparatuses (ISAs) and Repressive State Apparatus (RSA) (1970/71). Althusser (2008) propounded that State operates through ISAs and RSA to maintain the hegemony and power of the ruling class. ISAs include the educational system, the family, the media, the church (religion), the culture etc. operating through “ideology”. Contrastingly, the RSA consists of the police, army, courts, the prison etc. that operate through the principle of “violence”. The paper explores how RSA and ISAs functioned to establish and sustain the ruling ideology during the Zia regime in Pakistan. Khan notes that General Zia started the process of Islamisation with the help of Ideological and Repressive state apparatuses. The military dictator’s regime used the educational system, the family, the religion, and the media ISA to strengthen, maintain and internalise the ruling ideology – Islamic ideology - among the masses. However, Zahoor and his colleagues challenged ideological apparatuses of the state and presented an alternate ideology. To deal with such cases of ideological dissent, the state used Repressive tools to protect and uphold the ruling ideology. Despite the use of ISAs and violence, the ideology of the marginalized cannot be eliminated altogether. This message is exhibited through the young characters of Amal, Noman and Mehwish who show strong resilience against the ruling ideology and continue to fight for an inclusive and broader vision of Islam and Pakistaniness.