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February 24, 2016

Short story collection on societal ills, oppressive values launched at T2F


February 24, 2016


“The short stories penned by Dr Shershah explore topics otherwise conveniently swept under the rug by our society, but in this suffocated environment we have to play a role in highlighting them.”

Observed moderator, Kurun Singh, an Urdu professor and an aide of Dr Shershah Syed, at the launch of Dr Syed’s collection of short stories titled Jo Dil Niklae To Dum Niklae, at T2F on Tuesday evening.

An obstetrician and gynaecologist by profession, Dr Syed had also previously written fiction and this time round his latest collection brings to light issues related to human rights violation, women rights as well as raging religious intolerance in society.

Speaking about the book, Singh said that in times when even whispering dissent could raise a furore, an individual could make use of words by embedding ideas in a way that gets the message across without eyebrows being raised.

“Stories like Sarak Maharaaj which shows a Hindu man worshipping a road as a deity, for it had eased his life, show the problems being faced by the people who did not have access to basic necessities like infrastructure,” said Singh.

“But I am sure if the allusions from Hinduism were replaced by Islamic ones, Dr Syed would certainly not be here,” he quipped, and added that even though the stories were not preachy they left the reader with a message to ponder over.

Dr Syed has not only written about sensitive issues like forced conversion, as seen in Na Qabil-e-Maafi, but he has also probed the readers by writing about homosexuality as well as individuals who wilfully change their sex.

Reading excerpts from the stories, the attendees were moved by Sauda, tale of a man who trades his daughter to a landlord to get an amount for his operation.

“I felt that in a house of two buffaloes, four goats 12 chickens, 2 roosters and six girls, one girl had been traded off,” read Dr Syed who lamented about the sorry state of affairs throughout the country.

He said that he personally strongly felt about Sarak Maharaaj which was about the Karachi to Mithi route, and how countless children and women had died because there were no proper roads there.

“If we can build bridges to connect SITE with the airport, why can’t we make roads to connect impoverished areas to the urban ones?” he remarked.  

Interestingly, Dr Syed in Aansoo’on ki Pakdandi discussed American history with respect to the mass murder of the Red Indians and the destruction of their culture and properties. He felt that Americans had accepted their blunders made in the past, but we needed to learn from our mistakes too.

Known classicial dancer, Sheema Kirmani also present at the event lauded Dr Syed’s efforts and stressed on the need for men to come together with women in the struggle for equality.

“Women’s issues are not solely women’s, rather men need to understand that they are affected by them too and are, hence, their issues as well,” she said.

About the recurrent use of dil or heart in the tile of his works, a smiling Dr Syed remarked that heart was perhaps the most sensitive part of the body, and its vital role was highlighted in all his works.

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