Storytellers will tell their tales that would continue to portray the chronicling the old and new traditions. As long as there are writers and storytellers, most of what is important will be retained and nothing will be lost.
Writers are the new mythmakers. With such words and feelings, the book distribution ceremony hosted at Pakistan Academy of Letters by Italy based Pakistani writer Sarfraz Baig to launch his two new books of fiction and short story collection, articulated a unique cohesion with the greatness of all writers, whether big or small, new or old.
Expressing solidarity with all writers, Sarfraz Baig launched his new books ‘Clandestitni’ & ‘Saeen Internet’, portraying the tales of pain and pleasures of immigrants as they settle down in a distant land away from their native country. Both books are a storyteller’s moving narratives of immigrant lifestyle.
Presiding over the launching ceremony, Pakistan Academy of Letters Chairman Iftikhar Arif said that expatriate writers reflect their new experiences that reflect their new locations, experiences, thoughts and aspirations. Likewise, Sarfraz Baig has written at the backdrop of the western cultural decadence and the conflict between East and West, and how the expatriate mindset looks at things offering an interesting parallel. He said that the role of a writer, and by extension the short story, is to reveal the culture and complexities of a society in a manner that is engaging and entertaining.
Iftikhar Arif said that though his diction is not in line with the contemporary Pakistani Urdu and at times appears to be ‘provocative’, yet his style is very simple and direct, as he highlights the issues of expatriate lifestyle.
Sharing his literary experience as an expatriate, Sarfraz said that he has tried to highlight the differences or similarities between two civilisations, as he saw and felt.
Inspired by Manto and Maupassant, his narratives are at times ‘shocking’, which he refers to his short stories as ‘shock stories’. Though his first book was a poetic collection, but fiction being his forte, he has amalgamated stories and fiction written over a span of 13 years in these two books. Sarfraz Baig’s short stories mirror’s the loneliness of emigrants and expatriates.
Talking about his style and diction, Sarfraz said, “I write instinctively, one paragraph giving rise to the other, and have a general idea of where I want to go. Everything, everyone I know and every experience I have or hear of, are grist to my mill in a simple language understandable to all readers”.
Sarfraz Baig said that the experience of publishing and printing his books turned out to be more difficult then writing.
Manzar Naqvi, who was also conducting the proceeding, introduced the writer and said that in the first book of short stories’ ‘Saeen Internet’, the author portrays the socio-economic problems of immigrant communities while his fiction ‘Clandestini’ sketches the tales of the illegal immigrants or hidden people. Atta Hashmi and Zulfiqar Baig were of the opinion that Sarfraz Baig has not only highlighted the issues of expatriates but also given a very descriptive sketch of their day-to-day living.
Courtesy: The News, 17/4/2008