The novel is an indicator of the development of a language. The Urdu novel started very late when compared to the poetry of the Urdu language. Nevertheless, the trend of novel writing in the Urdu language picked up pace very quickly.
With the passage of time, the Urdu novel has evolved, just as the society. The contemporary Urdu novels usually revolve around the following themes and topics.
1. Women rights
The Indian subcontinent has always been a male dominated society. There hasn't been any time or era when this region has seen female dominance or equality. So naturally the women rights are the theme of many novels.
Some courageous writers write about the rights of the widows too. This is because the widows are maltreated in this society most of the times. The remarrying is also not encouraged and thus the widows end up without having someone to protect them.
2. Feudal culture
Feudal culture is now a tragic problem of Pakistan. It is a shame for Pakistan that India and Bangladesh eradicated their feudal lords long ago. As a result their middle class is in their parliaments now and they are developing at a very fast pace. So the Pakistani Urdu novelists write about the feudal culture too.
3. Impact of religion on life
Many Urdu writers feel closely associated to religion and as a result their novels have a strong religious dose. They write about the social problems that arise only because the religion is ousted from the life of any average man or woman. Some novels are believed to be great religious masterpieces.
The family, especially the joint-family system is very strong in the Indian subcontinent. So the stories of many writers revolve around large families. The novels have a lot of characters, all belonging to a single family. The writers try to inculcate family values and try to encourage cousin marriages.
5. Current Affairs and political situation
The current political situation of Pakistan is abysmal. So the sensitive writers' minds are bound to get affected by it. As a result they write novels addressing different current and political issues. For example the bipolar society of today and the suicide bombing are two hot topics for novels.
6. Life in bureaucracy and armed forces
The Urdu writers tend to get too influenced from the bureaucracy and armed forces. As a result their stories often revolve around the bureaucrats and the people from the armed forces. Usually the armed forces personnel are shown too good, too caring and too patriotic. However it is a sad fact that the novels about the people from bureaucracy and the armed forces often paint a wrong picture of these two important institutions of the country.
It is a sad fact that the Urdu novels lack the romance, technological advancements, tourism and science fiction as their subject, although they are highly required in these times. May be our society is still not ready for it. However the topics, themes and stories of the contemporary Urdu novels indicate profusely that we are a third world country.