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Engaging Politically from the Margin 279

on Terror, respectively. The place and country names indicated in the

chapter titles suggest that these historical events are collective traumas

experienced by people in specific local contexts. Their traumatic

experiences, albeit of different scales, all attest to colonial and imperial

power that cuts across borders to dominate the world. There are

Hiroko as a “hibakusha,” namely “an explosion-affected person” in

Japan (Shamsie, 2009a: 50); Hiroko’s husband, Sajjad, as a subaltern in

British India and a “Muhajir,” “who had come to Pakistan from what

was now India at Partition” (152); their son, Raza, as a “a

bomb-marked mongrel” in Karachi (194); and Abdullah as a terror

suspect in the United States. These characters all represent subaltern

perspectives, from which Shamsie brings into question British,

American, as well as Japanese global imperial designs, in which “a set

of institutions or country determines the rules to be followed”

(Mignolo, 2011: 329). The links between the commonality of

Shamsie’s subaltern characters’ colonial experience with uncommon

local histories are shown subtly and metaphorically in the novel

through their interwoven relationship as either family members or

friends. Such links create a possibility to envision a universal project

similar to Mignolo’s “pluriversality” (343) or “diversality” (2000: 743).

Pluriversality or diversality as a universal project should not be

confused with diversity without borders. Rather, in Shamsie’s works,

pluriversality underscores connectivity to the world from a wide range

of borders, as represented in


by the pursuit of civil liberties of

all people and religions through attachment to different dimensions of

the local, and in

Burnt Shadows

by the subaltern’s common yet

different trauma experience of colonial and imperial differences.


A God in Every Stone

: Pacifist Nationalism

and Women’s Rights

As discussed previously, paying attention to human particularity

and diversity, Shamsie’s cosmopolitanism is as rooted as Appiah’s

cosmopolitan patriotism, and, issuing forth from the subaltern