Monday February 06, 2023

Thinkfest Day 1: Lahore termed universal city

By Our Correspondent
January 15, 2023

LAHORE : English is not entirely a foreign language to Pakistan, we do have a sense of ownership of it too, says British-Pakistani novelist Mohsin Hamid in his conversation with Waseem Anwar on the first day of Thinkfest at Alhamra, The Mall on Saturday.

He said, whenever he writes a character, he tries to embody them in his mind first. “When you write fiction, you are creating characters and when you are reading fiction, you are allowing characters to be existing inside yourself,” he maintained.

Speaking of his Pakistan-centric writings, he said, “I tried to disengage myself from Pakistan and Islam in my third novel, however, I could not disengage from Lahore. Lahore is perhaps the most universal city in the world, it has little bit of everything the world has to offer.”

His novel 'Exit West', he said, highlights the preconceived idea of Western culture, but with the amount of migration taking place from East to West, the absolute idea of West has now blurred out. “My novel 'The Last White Man' sheds light on the notion that American influence is fading away from the world and people are going back to their own identities of either tribalism, caliphate or even British colonialism for that matter.

The central question is that if I, a brown man can write about white characters, while experiencing the embodiment of a white man, then why is the racism prevailing if we're understanding, accepting and embracing each other's identity.