Urdu Short Story abroad

- By Professor Dr. Saadat Saeed Ankara University (Turkey)



Progressive Writers Association used to keep `reactionary', `liberal', humanist' and `romantic' writers away. Even a writer like Ahmad Nadim Qasmi was considered a persona non grata. But after the fall of Soviet Union it opened its doors to every tom, Dick and Harry.

Aashor Kazmi, secretary general of progressive Writers Association and director of London based Institute of Third World Art & Literature declared "Qasmi is a progressive writer". This declaration, however, made no difference, as the doors of his organisation have already been swung open to everyone. Anyway Aashor Kazmi is generous enough to declare all his friends and visitors progressive.

In recent years A. Kazmi compiled a book "Afsana Kahain Jisay" In it 42 Urdu short stories by all type of short story writers, (progressive, reactionary, liberal, humanist and romantic) living abroad are included. Whosoever among overseas Urdu writers has written even a few fictional lines has been considered a short story writer.

Although the Urdu lovers in various countries arrange several international poetry reading sessions they ignore their serious writings. Nobody arranges seminar concerning profound criticism, fiction and drama. This is said to be the main reason that Urdu readers in the subcontinent know only those few overseas poets whose names appear regularly in the literary pages of our Urdu newspapers. They seldom refer the works by those short story writers and critics whom they meat during their overseas visits as they fail to arrange meetings in their honour. So how can they pay back the hospitality not extended them.

In "Afsana Kahain Jisay" A.Kazmi has also included short stories by the Anwer Jalal Shamza, Zamir ud Din Ahammad and Hasan Ajmal Musserrat. These writers spent fruitful years in the UK and wrote revealing short stories.

Other prominent short story writers incorporated in this collection are Har Charan Chawla, Saeed Anjum (Norway), Sheen Saghir Abeeb, Qaiser Tamkeen, Jatinmohsan Shamsi, Hamida Mueen Rizvi, Shahida Ahmad, Safia Siddiqi, Dr Ameer Zahra Hussain, Saeeda Sharif (UK), Riffat Murtza, Anwer Khawaja (USA), Abid Jaffery, Dr Khalid, Sohail (Canada), Nasar Malik (Denmark), Irshad Ahmad Siddiqi (Italy).

It is after a long time that A. Kazmi is appearing with his critical cum research work. He wrote a valuable preface under the title of "The Tale of Short Story". Some of our creative critics think that the realm of research work and compilation essentially belongs to non-creative people or professors of languages and literature. They consider research work inimical to good taste. However our creative critics and research scholars by the virtue of their artistic works have brought about changes in their thinking. Mr A. Kazmi's research is productive as he, through travelling in the ranges of literary history of the world, gathers invaluable information about the past and present of fiction. In this connection he has explored even the literature belonging to India, Iran, Egypt, Iraq, Greece and Europe and referred to "Tales of Aesop' the ships Wrecked Sailor' Panj Tantar' `The Milesian Tales' "The love Romance' "Thousand Nights' fantasies, myths, and novels, he explores the record of modern fiction and mentions the names of those who, according to him, provide sound basis for new western short story.

In `Afsana Kahain Jisay' A. Kazmi has collected at least twenty short stories by those writers who have analysed life and its realities deeply. Living in alien conditions they face unfamiliarity, absurdity, enmity and also many other passions, which are unrelated to us in Pakistan. Western culture and morality is making the immigrants flimsy. They are struggling for the protection of their own cultural identity. Har Charan Chawla, Qaser Tamken, Jatinder Billo, Dr Khalid Sohail, Nasar Malik and many others wrote some short stories concerning this topic.

Dr Khalid Sohail in his book pages of my heart writes: `Perhaps one day we will reach that state of communal growth and human evolution where we can accept that weather they are children or elderly, women or minorities, the physically disabled or mentally sick, all human beings have a right to live respectfully and grow peacefully. For our future development as a species, we have to transcend the resentments based on class, race; gender, language or religion, anger because of the conflicts between the East and West, North and South, first and third world and many other man made divisions. Sooner or later we have to accept that we are all human, members of the same family'.

Depression emerging from alienation and strangeness seems essential part of the main incidents outlined in overseas Urdu short stories.

Late Saeed Anjum has explored the problems of immigrants in more expressive and transparent style.

A. Kazmi has rightly pointed out that the problems, which are faced by the writers in the subcontinent, are entirely different from those of the immigrant writers in west. Overseas Urdu writers have come from the subcontinent and have brought their values and traditions with them. They altogether feel that their new generation is not learning Urdu language and culture.

Nasar Malik is presently associated with Danish Radio. He also has depicted the problems of Asian émigré in Scandinavian countries in collection of his short stories, 'huey mer Key hum jo ruswa' published from Lahore.

It goes without saying that the short stories collected in 'Afsana Kahain Jisay' indicate that these are fertilised deeply with the tones of social conscious possessed by their writer. These writers are promoting the cause of the unfortunate souls skilfully. The particular characteristic of their short stories along with expressive metaphors and symbols depicting the real hues of alienation will be appreciated fully by the readers living in Urdu world.