HYDERABAD: Speakers have underscored the need for developing interest among youths about Sindhi short stories to help remove injustice, inequality, intolerance and other social evils from society. They were speaking at a gathering titled ‘Sindhi short story — a century’ held at the Institute of Sindhology, University of Sindh, Jamshoro, on Tuesday.
Those writers who read papers included Abdul Hameed Sindhi, Dr Fahmida Hussain, Shaukat Hussain Shoro, Madad Ali Sindhi, Shabnam Gul, Naseer Mirza and Dr Tahmina Mufti. Pro-Vice Chancellor of the SU Thatta campus Prof Dr Sarfaraz Hussain Solangi was in the chair.
The speakers stressed the need for reprinting the Sindhi short story collections written through the century.
The event was organised by the Institute of Sindhology in collaboration with Anis Ansari Academy. Asghar Gago, Hameed Abro and Akhtar Hafeez were given awards as the ‘best story writer’ while Amna Soomro along with her superviser Dr Abid Mazhar was given an award on completion of PhD on writer Anis Ansari in Karachi University.
Hameed Sindhi shed light on different phases of the short story, saying that the genre had strengthened its place in literature by 2015 by preserving key ingredients of diction, plot, treatment, nomenclature and construction. The Sindhi short story kept itself linked to world literature and progressed from folktales to modern form of short story. Its subjects were acutely influenced by great upheavals of the 19th and 20th centuries of science and technology, he said.
Shaukat Hussain Shoro discussed periods from 1914 to 1924, 1925 to1940 and from 1940 1947. Partition introduced a host of new ideas, trends and subjects in short story writing when element of history with all its traumas crept into literature.
Fourth phase continued between 1947 and 1960 and it is continued. Sindhi short story had not only accepted new trends and techniques throughout its century-long progress, but also absorbed and propagated new thoughts that influenced the region and the world, he added.
“Critics of Sindhi short stories believe that the first original Sindhi story was Hur Mukhi Ja (Hurs of Mukhi lake of Sanghar) written by Lal Chand Amardinomal Jaghtiani in 1914. Thus, the first Sindhi short story completed its century in 2014,” he said, discussing its periods, movements and trends in the past 100 years.
About British efforts for standardization of the Sindhi language, he termed it the beginning of the golden era in it, providing impetus to Sindhi writers for writing and publishing books relating to various streams of literature. Initially, he said, short stories were translated into Sindhi from English and other languages.
Then Sindhi writers started writing original short stories to depict Sindhi society.
Madad Ali Sindhi gave an overview of Sindhi Ghazal after partition in his paper which started from Kalhora period in Sindh and developed to the present from passing through centuries. He highlighted the role of Sindhi poetry in raising social issues of society including human rights.
He said that through the 100-year journey, writers were sometimes influenced by events and portrayed political turmoil in their stories. Issues of downtrodden, feudalism, tribalism and emerging ideologies had left deep imprints on minds of writers who artistically shaped them into stories, he said.
Dr Fahmida criticised behaviour of society, saying that when women succeeded in getting high positions in society, men said they got it because of their beauty and relations with high-ups.
“It is negative thinking; we have to fight against this behaviour,” she said. Local short story writers depicted problems of the poor, role of feudal lords in emerging economy of Sindh and political hold on the masses, she said.
Shabnam Gul focused on the short story book of Jamal Abro and said he had deftly dealt with the issues of time.
His masterpiece ‘Pisho Pasha’ claimed wide respect in the field of literature. Writers like Abro, Ayaz Qadri, Lal Pishap and Anis Ansari had not only chosen subjects which mattered in life, but also used strong techniques to convey their message. Prevalent socio-religious imbalance, hypocrisy, political turmoil and changing social trends were addressed skilfully in stories. While doing so, they remained faithful to original and indigenous subjects, she said.
Pro-VC Dr Sarfaraz Hussain Solangi called for holding such gatherings frequently to create interest in literature. These gatherings were a source of inspiration for budding writers and greatly helped to nurture creativity, he said.
He said organisations should come forward to reprint story books of old writers and publish a book covering short stories written through the past century.
He talked about declining reading habits, saying that though population of Sindhis ranges between 10 million to 35 million, sometimes it was difficult to sell 1,000 copies of a Sindhi book, which was a pity.
“We need to motivate youngsters to read more and more literature to defeat intolerance and social evils,” Solangi said.
Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2015