Remembering Saba Dashtiari

Published Jun 19, 2013 08:33am

PROF Saba Dashtiari, whose second death anniversary was observed on the first of this month, was a fiction writer, poet, critic, research scholar and, above all, an intellectual with liberal credentials.

He has to his credit more than a dozen books, including literature, philosophy and religion.

Apart from his fiction works, Balochi Zoban Ay Aaqibt (compiled work on Balochi linguistics), Gul Kar O Chakan Kar (analysis of various poetic genres) and Angaren Wahag (literary criticism) can be placed among his contributions in the field of Balochi literature. He also compiled a voluminous bibliography of Balochi literature, published during the past five decades.

Although he generally contributed to all forms of Balochi literature, fiction was his mainstay. So far three collections of his short stories are published. What distinguished him in the realm of Balochi fiction is the subject he picked for his short stories.

Coming from a middle class family of Lyari, he portrays the unending socioeconomic plight of the lower middle class Baloch community of Karachi, a subject hitherto not touched upon by any other Baloch fiction writer.

Saba has an intense feeling for the endless pain and misery of women. In a number of his short stories, he touchingly narrates the sufferings of dejected and marginalised Baloch women.

Stories such as Dood (the custom), Sunt (the barren woman), Hon o Hosham (blood and thirst) and Zird Ay Trambol (a boil on the heart) reflect how pitiful the life of Baloch women is.

As a poet, he wields equal command over both ghazal and free verse. However, he didn’t follow the cliché of traditional Balochi romantic poetry. Mainly gaining inspiration from stalwarts like Mir Gul Khan Naseer and Syed Zahoor Shah Hashmi, he distinctly highlights the sufferings of his people.

His free verse is somewhat an extension of Gul Khan Naseer's voice: For several years, I am preoccupied by a dream, When comes the day A legend of my clan would break the shackles That have long enchained my dejected people (my dream).

Saba was also inclined towards Japanese haiku. His collection of haikus, Gungdamen Sarzameen (The Silent Territory), is up to now the only book of its kind in Balochi literature.

He is the only liberal Baloch poet who overtly condemns religious fanaticism and intolerance prevailing in our society. A number of his haikus reflect his intense love for humanity and hatred for extremism.

In 2003, he was awarded Tamgha-i-Imtiaz for the services he rendered in the field of Balochi literature. However, he returned the award to the government in the wake of Nawab Akbar Bugti’s assassination, protesting against the brutal murder of the veteran Baloch leader.

He was killed by unidentified men on June 1, 2011, in Quetta. Undoubtedly, his death caused the biggest loss ever to Balochi literature.

FAZAL BALOCH Turbat

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Comments (3) (Closed)


Aisha
Jun 19, 2013 09:08pm

Noam Chomsky of Balochistan. He was a mountain of a man. Alas our national media never even showed us his mammoth work until he was no more. Such is the tale of all those individuals who are termed the 'minority' like the non whites in a Western country, they are voiceless in this land of the Pure which was created in the name of Islam.

We as a nation need to wake up and call a spade a spade.The economic injustices if kept unchecked are going to be the last nail in our coffin if we don't desist.

It is not our belief that non Whites are not human and won't go to heaven, then why are we following the ones that do? He was killed because of racism and this country can't afford to keep following the racist West anymore.

We need to end corruption and realize that paying our taxes and not acting crafty is in our best interest, being 'tez' and 'chalak' bites you in the backside (excuse my language). The Westerners used to do trivial things like not telling the whole recipe correctly lest somone else makes the same dish as them, they have since become mature but our women continue to send the maid to the other side of the house if they are making a dish that they wish to 'keep secret'... this is nonsense. A foriegner once complained to me that women in Karachi come to her house and tell her that they are on a diet but then fill their plates up as if there is no tommorow? clearly not on a diet! And to top it all they don't ask for a recipe of her dishes but say they are on a diet and need to learn her country's cuisine, she is not impressed with the blatant lies. Finally she has told her Pakistani husband to not to call her in the living room if his pakistani friends show up at the door.

MOHAMMAD
Jun 21, 2013 08:46am

THE KILLERS ARE ANSWERABLE TO ALLAH FOR ANY KILLING INCLUDING THAT OF PROF SABA. THESE KILLERS SHOULD BE HANGED IN PUBLIC. THESE KILLERS ARE NOT BALOCHS, THEY ARE NOT MUSLIMS, THEY ARE NOT HUMANS. ALL COMMON PAKISTANIS SHOULD COME OUT AGAINST THESE TERRORISTS TO ENSURE A GOOD FUTURE FOR THE CHILDREN OF PAKISTAN INCLUDING BALOCHISTAN.THE ONLY WAY OUT IS TO HELP THE SECURITY FORCES .PAKISTAN ZINDABAAD.

MOHAMMAD
Jun 21, 2013 08:54am

@Aisha: DEAR AISHA WE NEED TO BE HONEST TO OUR NATION . WE SHOULD STAND UP FOR HUMAN RIGHTS .BUT WE DO NOT KNOW WHO KILLED HIM. WE CAN NOT BLAME ANYBODY UNLESS THERE IS PROOF. BUT KILLING ANY INNOCENT IS A BIG BIG BIG CRIME. THESE CRIMINALS NEED TO BE BROUGHT TO JUSTICE.