|Author||Nadeem F. Paracha|
|Genre||Dystopian, Cyber novel|
|Media type||Online novel|
Acidity is a dystopian cyber novelette written by eccentric Pakistani journalist and writer, Nadeem F. Paracha. Written exclusively for the website Chowk.com in 2003, it has gone on to become a controversial cult favorite among many young Pakistanis and Indians.
Written by using various experimental writing techniques, such as William S. Burroughs' cut-up method and surrealist automatism, Acidity is basically notes kept by Paracha on post-Cold War politics, society and economics (in India and Pakistan), during his five years as a drug addict and alcoholic.
While recovering from his addictions, Paracha spent time rearranging these notes using the cut-up method and surrealist automatism.
He is a traveler who is always moving up and down both the countries looking for drugs and in the process having hallucinatory dialogues with a Pakistani cleric/Islamic extremist (called in the book as "The Mufti"), a group of Hindu fundamentalists (called "The pundits"), a group of young neoliberals (referred to as "the fun young people" and the "polite voids"), and an aging Indian Christian (called the "Holy Father").
There are also many other characters, but much of the story revolves around these main characters as Paracha constructs his dystopia in which capitalism and organized religion have been fused together as a new totalitarian system.
Acidity makes a clear comment this way on the rapid economic, political and social changes taking place in India and Pakistan, especially after the end of the Cold War.
Literary significance and criticism
Acidity drew extreme responses from readers when it first appeared on chowk.com. Some thought it to be a work of ingenious satire, while others thought it to be a work of a crank. However, over the years, it has grown into a cybercult classic among many young Indians and Pakistanis. But it still gets flack for itself being so extreme while attacking the extremes of capitalism and organized religion.
Many of its fans love the use of absurdist and dadaist imagery that Paracha uses, sometimes almost to the point of sounding slapstick in its attempt to create a science fiction satire on the current happenings taking shape in India and Pakistan.
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