Hisham Matar is a Libyian writer. His memoir of the search for his father, The Return, won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography and the 2017 PEN America Jean Stein Book Award. He once said that when conflict is at its peak somewhere, at that place are not enough possibilities for artists, writers to write or express that.
When we fit this saying to our state, same was the situation when Kashmir conflict was at the peak in 1990s.This was very hard for writers to crack the nut and express their feelings through creative writing.No doubt there was the group of writers who tried to narrate the story of those people who tasted the life in a conflict zone,but they were few in numbers,however, they tried to reach as many readers as they can although there were not Inf opportunities for them to reach many readers.
Later on,this taboo of writing about resistance was almost worn out by Kashmiri writers like Basharat Peer, Mirza Waheed, Shahnaz Bashir etc.. The writings of these writer’s caught readers attention world wide.Basharat Peer’s The Curfewed Night,Mirza Waheed’s The collaborator and The book of golden leaves, Shahnaz Bashir’s Half Mother and Scattered souls, are those books which opened the doors for writing about resistance literature in English.
When we talk about Urdu, as we Kashmiri mostly prefer to read Urdu instead of English. When we search resistance literature in Urdu there too are still few who penned down their writings in the melodic line of resistance literature.One among those Urdu writers is Mansoor Ah Mansoor,who tried to narrate the story of people living in conflict zone through fiction.
The above mentioned book “Yeh Basti Azaabun Ki” is the collection of short stories penned down by Prof Mansoor Ahmad Mansoor. This book can be reckoned as an excellent piece of writing as for as resistance literature in Urdu is considered.Mansoor Ahmad, author of this book is working as Prof in the Dep of Urdu Kashmir University. He completed his M.A,MPhil and PHD degree from Kashmir University.During studies, he began writing articles about different issues for various Urdu dailies of Kashmir and he also authorised many books that include fiction as well as non fiction.
This book “Yeh Basti Azaabun Ki”is a collection of 14 short stories.The stories in this book have been written in an easy and lucid language.The first story of the book titled as “Khawab Khaak Aur Khoon” is astonishing, just read these sentences from the tale “There is silence, both out and inside the house. Every door has been locked, it looks like people are sleeping in their homes, but the truth is they all are waking, but they are silent. There is no light and sound in this area, if there were no moon light it may appear like black island.If any ray of light comes out from the dark rooms,with in no time the sounds of shoes creates the panic.This is the reason everyone put light off before darkness covers whole area.These sentences are inf to describe what message writer wants to convey us.
In another story “Khawabou ka Maktal” Mansoor in this story tries to capture the image of people who are living miserable lives under the manpower of the occupation.The story rolls around the old man, namely Fazlu Uncle, whose eyesight is weak and he walks with the help of a stick. He visits his piece of land every day, that is why everyone in the village convey these words to Fazlu uncle that nobody will steal your land and the old man gives a smile while stepping towards his piece of land.But one day Fazlu Uncle gets shocked when he finds his land is no more his land because occupied forces have invaded his land.
Prof Hamidi Kashmiri, Urdu poet and former VC of Kashmir university writes these words about this book”The short stories of Mansoor Ahmad Mansoor resembles with the story of Intizaar Hussain. Just like Intizaar Hussain his writing style catches elements of parable and fable, occasionally veering into the surrealistic. Hamidi Kashmiri further says from the past few years his people have faced the unending brutal conflict and it evaded him to write the feelings of these people through short stories.
Prof Muhammad Zaman Azurda writer and teacher of the author writes these words about the book “If anybody will question me can we write Marsiya (Lamentation for the dead person) in prose? Or question me can there be Marsiya of any movement or can someone write Marsiya on Human Rights Violation. My ans to all these questions will be read this book and after that I didn’t need to verbalise more.
After reading this book what I realised that in Urdu we have writers who can narrate the tale of oppressed people through fiction and as Alama Iqbal says
Nahin Hai Na-Umeed Iqbal Apni Kisht-e-Weeran Se
Zara Nam Ho To Ye Mitti Bohat Zarkhaiz Hai Saqi
But of his barren acres Iqbal will not despair:
A little rain, and harvests shall wave at last, oh Saki!
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