Bridging reality and reflection

June 4, 2023

Ghamkhwar Hayat’s Sareechk unveils the essence of Balochistan through the power of aphorisms

Bridging reality and reflection


he human mind composes thoughts and emotions in various forms. Some employ fiction, while others use non-fiction to describe their surroundings. A third method blends fiction and non-fiction elements to create something imaginative that resonates within a social context. This later form incorporates a touch of reality based on one’s observations of societal affairs and their perspective on them. Writers then combine fictional and non-fictional attributes to produce the best expression of these thoughts.

Some opt for long compositions in this particular context, while others prefer concise and brief expressions. When a piece extends into a long form, it is often referred to as a novel. If it is slightly shorter, it may be classified as a novelette. Further reduction in length results in stories. Aphorisms are even more dense. Sareechk by Ghamkhwar Hayat is written in an aphoristic style characteristic of Baloch literature.

Sareechk combines a mixture of stories, encompassing both fictional and non-fictional elements and aphorisms consisting of two to fourteen lines (which, although presented like poems, are not poems). Originally written in Brahvi by Ghamkhwar Hayat in 2019 and entitled Tembo, the book has been translated into Balochi by Haleel Baloch, who is based in Kharan. A sareechk is a scarecrow typically installed in a field to protect the crops.

The book centres around Balochistan. In the preface, the writer dedicates the collection to those who hold decision-making. The author says that the book includes short stories and aphorisms. He says he has attempted to capture Balochistan using the most appropriate words possible. He emphasises the idea that every person has a unique way of expressing their love for their homeland. He says he leaves it to the readers to perceive his pieces as poems, prose, stories or some other form. He claims that “My writings are Balochistan, plain and simple.”

The book consists of several short write-ups, each with a specific title. The author talks about several incidents in Balochistan, including the nuclear tests carried out in 1998. The author is disappointed that not enough people have raised concerns about the human suffering that followed the tests. The book claims that many in the region suffered from various diseases after the tests. It states that the people of Chaghi, including Raskoh, where the nuclear tests were conducted, continue to demand a cancer hospital, a primary school, and a well-equipped general hospital.

The aphorism titles are derived from traditional norms observed by the Baloch. These include themes such as neighbours, hospitality, brotherhood, beasts, friendship, awareness, thoughts, luck and scavengers. Hayat also delves into topics like the world, life and the concept of hatred.

Most of the contents revolve around some harsh realities of the Baloch society. Hayat explores and compares the past and present manifestations of the Baloch value codes, highlighting the changes.

This offers not only a reflection on Balochistan but also deep contemplation about the simplicity of life. It encourages the readers to engage in critical thinking, prioritise learning, foster discussions and embrace acceptance and tolerance. It says no religion is demonstrably superior to others. It says all religions advocate love. It presents relatable examples and asks readers to reach their own conclusions based on practical insights.

Rather than presenting certain ideas as dogma, the book allows readers to contemplate the issue it introduces. It attempts to provoke new debates. While reading Hayat’s work, one is reminded of what Edward Albee once said: “Good writers define reality; bad ones merely restate it. A good writer transforms facts into truth, whereas a bad writer often achieves the opposite.”

Hayat not only reveals certain truths about society but also provides reasonable and relatable definitions, taking into account the readers’ perspectives. Given that only a few writers have captured the essence of Balochistan in their works, Ghamkhwar Hayat has secured his place in literature with Sareechk.


Author: Ghamkhwar Hayat Balochi (translated by Haleel Baloch)

Publisher: Anqa Publications Shaal


Price: Rs 250

The reviewer is a student of law at University Law College, Quetta. He tweets @Alijanmaqsood12

Bridging reality and reflection