Q. Write the summary of The Murder of Aziz Khan.
The Murder of Aziz Khan” is a novel by Zulfikar Ghose, a renowned South Asian writer. Zulfikar Ghose was born in Sialkot, British India (now Pakistan), in 1935.
Characters in The Murder of Aziz Khan by Zulfikar Ghos
Akram Shah – The protagonist of the story, an ambitious individual who seeks to establish his own business and expand his ventures in Kalapur.
Aziz Khan – The stubborn owner of a substantial 70-acre tract of land that becomes a significant obstacle for Akram Shah. He refuses to sell his land despite Akram’s repeated attempts at negotiation.
Afaq – The youngest son of the Shah family, depicted as a spoiled and immoral bachelor who becomes involved in illicit activities.
Ayub – The middle brother of the Shah family, is portrayed as aggressive and volatile.
Rafeeq and Javaid – The sons of Aziz Khan, who share information with Afaq about the broker they sell their cotton to.
Muhammad Hussain – The broker who plays a significant role in the financial dealings between the Shah brothers and Aziz Khan.
Jameela Bano – A 13-year-old girl who tragically becomes a victim of Afaq’s assault in Aziz Khan’s fields.
Zakiya – Aziz Khan’s wife who faces kidney problems and undergoes a successful kidney transplant surgery.
Razia – Ayub’s wife who engages in an extramarital affair with Afaq and later travels to England hoping to meet him.
Zarina – A significant character whose relationship with Akram Shah is revealed as the story unfolds.
Shahid – Aziz Khan’s cousin, whom Aziz turns to for help in regaining his fields but receives disrespect and humiliation from a police officer instead.
The Murder of Aziz Khan Summary
“The Murder of Aziz Khan” is a compelling novel that explores the complexities of human nature, the societal implications of unchecked capitalism, and the consequences of power dynamics within a politically unstable backdrop.
Set in Pakistan during martial law and political unrest, the story weaves together themes of exploitation, resistance, social injustice, and moral dilemmas.
The narrative unfolds with the introduction of the protagonist, Akram Shah, who seeks refuge from the escalating tensions between Hindus and Indian Muslims in Mumbai.
He arrives in Kalapur, a rural setting in Punjab, where he is captivated by the lush greenery and sprawling cotton fields. Inspired by the surroundings, Akram decides to establish his own business. He sets his sights on acquiring the cotton fields that initially ignited his entrepreneurial spirit.
Armed with significant money, Akram successfully purchased the cotton fields and quickly became a prominent player in the local economy.
He trades the cotton produced for a handsome profit, rapidly ascending the economic ladder. Encouraged by his success and with the support of his friends, Akram embarks on an ambitious venture to establish two cloth industries.
However, amidst his rapid rise, Akram encounters a persistent obstacle – Aziz Khan, the owner of a substantial 70-acre tract of land. Aziz Khan refuses to sell his land to Akram despite repeated negotiation attempts.
Intrigued by the challenge, Akram exhibits incredible patience, opting not to pressure Aziz Khan for three years as his enterprises continue to flourish.
The stage is set for a clash of wills between Akram and Aziz Khan. Aziz Khan, holding onto his treasured land, becomes a symbol of resistance against the encroachment of unchecked capitalism. Meanwhile, Akram’s insatiable desire for expansion fuels his determination to acquire the land and further grow his enterprises.
Zulfikar Ghose weaves a rich tapestry of characters and events as the story unfolds. The youngest son of the Shah family, Afaq, is portrayed as a spoiled and immoral bachelor, often criticized by his brothers for his foolishness. Ayub, the middle brother, is aggressive and volatile. Their interactions reveal underlying tensions within the family dynamic.
The narrative takes a dramatic turn when the family’s accountant informs Ayub about the financial losses they have incurred due to Aziz Khan’s refusal to sell his land. Afaq becomes curious about this issue, prompting Ayub to reprimand him for his lack of understanding.
Frustrated, Afaq leaves the house in outrage and encounters Rafeeq and Javaid, the sons of Aziz Khan. They divulge information about the broker they sell their cotton to each year.
The Shah brothers, driven by their financial struggles, approach the broker, Muhammad Hussain, and instruct him not to pay Aziz Khan for his cotton crop. When Rafeeq approaches Hussain, the latter pretends to be unwell, leading Rafeeq to offer leniency. Instead of demanding the money owed, Rafeeq gives Hussain additional funds.
In a misguided attempt to assist his family, Rafeeq presents this money to his father, Aziz Khan, claiming it is the amount returned by Hussain.
The story in the novel ‘The Murder of Aziz Khan’ turns dark when Afaq, fueled by anger and influenced by his immoral nature, ventures into Aziz Khan’s fields.
He encounters a 13-year-old girl named Jameela Bano, whom he forcibly takes into the fields, sexually assaults, and flees. Tragically, Jameela succumbs to her injuries and dies.
When the incident occurred on Aziz Khan’s land, authorities wrongfully arrested and executed his son Javaid for the crime. Meanwhile, Afaq’s family sends him to England, utilizing their wealth, to ensure that he avoids facing any repercussions from the incident.
In this chapter, the narrative shifts its focus to Zakiya, Aziz Khan’s wife, who receives a diagnosis of kidney problems. Her family arranges for her to undergo a kidney transplant by a skilled doctor, and the procedure proves successful. However, upon her return, Zakiya finds her husband mired in debt.
To alleviate the financial burden, Aziz sends his son Javaid to Muhammad Hussain, the broker, to ask for a loan. When Javaid meets Hussain, the latter assumes he is there to demand repayment of previous debts and starts pretending to cough.
Javaid, only there to request a loan, surprises Hussain. Hussain lends money to Javaid but with a condition. Aziz’s 70 acres of land must be used as collateral. Hussain thinks that Aziz might have forgotten the owed amount because of his other son’s death.
Tragedy strikes again as bandits attack Javaid, robbing him of the loan money and killing him in a brutal act of murder. With the loss of his son and the stolen funds, Aziz Khan finds himself in an even worse financial situation.
The Shah brothers seized the opportunity. They take advantage of Aziz Khan’s vulnerable position. They seize his fields as he cannot repay the debt to Muhammad Hussain.
This act exemplifies the social injustices and class struggles in the narrative, as the privileged elite exploit the disadvantaged for their own gain.
Simultaneously, Razia, the wife of Ayub, embarks on a journey to England. She hopes to reunite with Afaq, with whom she has been having an extramarital affair. However, her time spent living with Afaq proves to be disillusioning, and she decides to return to Pakistan.
In a significant turn of events, Akram Shah returns from Bangladesh after inaugurating a soap factory. He orders Ayub, against his wishes, to move to Bangladesh and manage the soap factory.
Feeling betrayed by his brother’s actions, Ayub reveals a deep secret to shake Akram’s world. He discloses that Zarina, presumably a significant character, is actually Akram’s daughter.
This revelation adds another layer of complexity to the narrative as Akram grapples with his identity and responsibilities.
This chapter brings further tragedy to Aziz Khan’s family. After the death of her son, Javaid, Zakiya succumbs to her grief and passes away. The losses Aziz Khan experiences leave him in a state of despair and solitude.
The narrative exposes the consequences of power struggles and corruption that permeate the story. As the novel reaches its climax, Aziz Khan finds himself burdened by misfortunes. He encounters the machinery of the Shah industries operating in his fields.
This encounter becomes a significant turning point in the narrative. In deep depression, he contemplates suicide and heads toward a nearby cascade.
The narrative of “The Murder of Aziz Khan” leaves readers on a cliffhanger. The fate of Aziz Khan hangs in the balance while the stage is set for a final confrontation between him and Akram Shah.