Unfulfilled dreams

June 23, 2024

A work of fiction published after the writer’s death raises the question of a legacy

Unfulfilled dreams


or the last three nights, I have had the same dream. In a desolate place, a girl is standing. She is barefoot. The scorching sun is burning her feet. A camel is killed beside her. It is bleeding. The land is ingesting its blood like a thirsty person… Everywhere I sat, the girl was in front of my eyes.” (Momin, 2024, p.52).

Momin wrote a novelette, Ishkanden Wahisht (Incomplete Wish), consisting of only 80 pages. He sought to portray many facets of life in his homeland, Balochistan. In the preface to the book, he expressed his desire to be a writer who could adequate express his grief, dreams, life experiences, thoughts and advice for future generations.

The extent and nature of his effort and his success may be the subject of a debate for a long time. My view is that the book is a gem that has demonstrated that had he lived he could have been a great storyteller.

At first, when I began reading the story, it sounded odd to me. I remember a conversation with one of my friends, discussing in how strange a manner Momin had begun the novel. Given what one knew of him and his background, it was a surprising approach to the portrayal of a society.

I didn’t understand the scene where the protagonist first meets a girl in a bookshop and invites her to his home, where he lives all by himself. Such a depiction of the contemporary society seemed out of place to me. However, I continued reading and eventually came to realise that the story might also have a different aspect.

When the above-cited dream is recalled, things start making sense. At least they did to me. The dream sequence is particularly striking in that it conveys profound emotions and symbolises the many struggles of Baloch people.

It hurts that Momin will not write again. Yet, he has left a lasting legacy, preserving the best of his literary contribution for future generations.

The imagery of the barefoot girl, the scorching sun and the bleeding camel provides a powerful metaphor for the pain and resilience of the region’s people.

Momin’s ability to create such vivid imagery is a testament to his storytelling skill. At one level, his work is a reflection on the socio-political issues that have long plagued the region. The novelette packs a punch. It addresses themes of injustice, cultural identity and the human condition.

Despite the several shortcomings one notices readily, including un-artistic repetitiveness, Momin has produced a masterpiece. His work compels the readers to ponder the travails of Balochistan.

As fate would have it, Momin’s first novelette proved to be his last work. It deserves attention and debate among serious readers. Such a debate may open new vistas to engage with and understand diverse social perspectives in Balochistan.

A friend, who had known Momin in his life, has written to me recently. He says that Momin was a consummate storyteller. “Had he lived longer, he could have told many more beautiful stories arising from Balochistan.”

Momin’s ability to tackle complex emotions and in such a concise format is commendable. It is unfortunate that he will not be able to share more stories with the world. Yet, he has left a lasting legacy. The best of his literary contributions has been published and will be available to the future generations.

Momin is a persuasive pleader and gets his message across before leaving it to his readers to interpret and deliberate on his themes.

Ishkanden Wahisht

Author: Hammal Momin

Pages: 80

The reviewer is a law student. He can be reached at alijanmaqsood17@gmail.com. He tweets at @Alijanmaqsood12

Unfulfilled dreams