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Engaging Politically from the Margin 281

breaks out, Vivian returns to London to serve as a VAD nurse with her

old school friend Mary, who is a suffragette turned zealous supporter

of the war. Upon receiving a postcard from Tahsin and believing that

Tahsin is encouraging her to go to Peshawar to escape the war, Vivian

travels to Peshawar, where she befriends a young Pashtun, Najeeb Gul,

and teaches him about excavations and antiquity. At the same time,

Najeeb’s brother, Qayyum, is discharged from a British hospital in

Brighton after losing an eye on the Western Front, where he has served

with the 40th Pathans for the British Raj. The first part of the novel

ends in 1916 when, deeply disappointed at not finding Tahsin and

Scylax’s Circlet, Vivian returns home to find more job opportunities

for women in London and is saddened to learn that Tahsin has died

because she betrayed his secret role in the rebellion against the

Ottoman Empire to the British War Office. In Book II, Najeeb’s letters

bring Vivian back to Peshawar in 1930 to dig for the Circlet again with

the discovery he has made as Assistant of the Peshawar Museum. The

region is, however, in full ferment, and Qayyum becomes involved

with Ghaffar Khan, an independence activist known for his

non-violent opposition to the British Raj. On April 23, 1930, the

English order a massacre in the Street of Storytellers, injuring Najeeb

and killing dozens of Pashtuns.

As the above plot summary has clearly shown, from the subaltern

perspective, Shamsie has blended fact with fiction to include historical

figures and invented fictional characters who are colonial subjects

serving and rebelling against different empires in history. These

characters could be read as Shamsie’s spokespeople, whose divided

loyalties complicate the way we think of patriotism and

cosmopolitanism. At first sight, they might appear to be patriots who,

like Kim in

Burnt Shadows

, only care about their nations; yet, if we

follow Mignolo’s idea of border thinking and Delanty’s self-

problematization, their patriotism after experiencing divided loyalties

may be reinterpreted with critical cosmopolitan imagination. It is

because these subaltern people’s patriotism, under the impact of the

other and the world, is ultimately geared toward internal societal