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Shaukat Siddiqui wove anger in his novels



ISLAMABAD - December 27: (L-R) Mohammad Hameed Shahed, Prof Fateh Mohammad Malik and Aslam Azhar at a reference in memory of Shaukat Siddiqui at the Pakistan Academy of Letters in Islamabad on Wednesday.— Dawn

Shaukat Siddiqui ‘wove anger’ in his novels

 ISLAMABAD, Dec 27: The literati of Islamabad and Rawalpindi came in numbers to the Pakistan Academy of Letters (PLA) on Wednesday to record their reverence to novelist Shaukat Siddiqui and poet Munir Niazi who died in the space of a week this month.

PAL chief Iftikhar Arif, who had convened the reference in memory of Shaukat Siddiqui before Munir Niazi died on Tuesday night, said he would organise a separate obituary reference for the poet.

Both men of letters rightly received great veneration for the lasting contributions they made to the literary traditions of Urdu and their services to the Progressive Writers Movement, he said.

PTV’s former managing director Aslam Azhar, who counted the great novelist as a friend, recalled a line spoken in the play Galileo that he had staged to celebrate 50 years of the Progressive Writers Movement had irked Gen Ziaul Haq’s administration. They took offence to the main character saying that he had witnessed the silence of the people and was waiting for their anger to unleash.

Using the same metaphor in the context of Shaukat Siddiqui’s novel Khuda ki basti Aslam observed that the novelist had witnessed the helplessness of the people and society’s apathy to bring any improvement in their lot.

“Shaukat Siddiqui wove this in his novel as profound anger in protest. His writings have brought fresh insight to our lost and damaged world if only we possessed the compassion to feel with the neglected section,” he remarked.

National Language Authority (NLA) Chairman Prof Fateh Mohammad Malik blamed “the decline in the standard of our intellectual output” on the suspicions the establishment holds about intellectual pursuits.

Progressive writers only used literature as a tool to preach equality in society but were branded as political activists and banned, he said. The establishment launched a parallel body in the name of Writers Guild - which many progressive writers joined - and later a so-called Thinkers Forum.

“Why haven’t governments tried to befriend writers and intellectuals instead of nurturing suspicions about them,” Prof Malik asked.

Shamim Ikramul Haq said to her Shaukat Siddiqui was also a great journalist who put the society under his scrutiny. She was one of the millions of the common people who witnessed his novel serialised on the television. “All of us felt ourselves to be part of Shaukat’s family”.

Prof Yusuf Hasan said Shaukat Siddiqui’s characters, always harried by internal and external pressures, gave “emotive quality” to his novels.

Ahmad Javed, Mansha Yad and Hamid Shahed thought Shaukat Siddiqui’s short stories did not receive adequate notice. In Ahmad Javed’s view the novelist was a pioneer in disclosing the inner class struggle of the post-independence Pakistani society. He brought to the fore that one must always expect incidence of crimes in an exploited society.

Mansha Yad classed him in the second generation of the progressive fiction writers. He said Shaukat Siddiqui’s novel had seen 46 editions and published in 26 world languages.

Hamid Shahed thought Shaukat Siddiqui taught us to find roots in our society.

DAWN Report

A Club of Urdu Writers



Mohammad Hameed Shahid

Mohammad Hameed Shahid