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Pashto fiction magazine launched to encourage women writers

Updated May 10, 2015


Books on sale at a store in Peshawar.—Dawn/File photo
Books on sale at a store in Peshawar.—Dawn/File photo

PESHAWAR: Rehmat Dewan, a young writer, has launched a fiction magazine to encourage woman writers to contribute their fiction pieces.

He said that his quarterly Pashto fiction magazine ‘Tasweer’ would also publish translated version of short stories from different other languages to enrich Pashto literature.

Spreading over 68 pages, the magazine contains 11 short stories including Pashto rendition of one short story ‘The Last Night of the World’ penned down by American science fiction legend Ray Bradbury and two short stories from Urdu fiction one each written by Ahmed Nadim Qasmi (Sifarish) and Zubeida Khatoon (Warra Khabara).

This first-ever full-fledged Pashto fiction magazine carries an interesting short story titled ‘Da Khazo Wraz’ (Women’s day) by a London-based Afghan woman writer Sana Sapi. She writes that it was a petty that after more than a decade of Taliban’s regime, even Americans in Kabul could not protect rights of Afghan women. She questions why women should not have a protective cover in this age of human rights.

Mr Dewan, the editor of the newly launched quarterly Pashto fiction magazine, said that he had launched his monthly showbiz Pashto magazine in August 2012 under the same title which brought out only its eight regular issues. He said that he had to close it down in February 2013 owing to serious financial constraints.

Mr Dewan said that he had turned the monthly journal ‘Tasweer’ into quarterly magazine to ensure its regular publication and also to enrich Pashto fiction. The magazine, he said, would publish short stories, literary reportages, travelogues and novels in serialised form.

He said that he would bring out his literary magazine on self-support basis and subscription of readers and contributors. “I think we need to focus on fiction writing in Pashto, especially woman writers are being encouraged to contribute their pieces and the title picture on the cover page suggests our aim. My colleagues and I want to make another attempt,” he added.

Nimroz Qais, Sana Sapi, Rehmat Dewan, Syed Roshan Shah Qalamyar, Latif Shah Shahid, Mohammad Siddiqi, Sami Jan Alikhel and Prof Zubair Hasart have contributed their original Pashto fiction pieces while Tahir Zaland, Inamullah Gauhar and Rehmat Dewan have rendered famous short stories of Ray Bradbury, Ahmed Nadim Qasmi and Zubeida Khatoon into Pashto.

Late Rahim Shah Rahim, a noted Pashto fiction writer from Swat, has a portion of his celebrated novel based on history ‘Rajganrra’ in the first quarterly issue of Tasweer.

Zubair Hasrat, a senior writer, has contributed a story in Pashto with an English title ‘Nymphomania’ which is a new issue being introduced in Pashto fiction. The story illustrates the plight of women at workplace where most of them are subjected to sexual harassment.

“There are a few fiction writers in Pashto who touch upon this aspect of women issues in a typical Pakhtun society. Mr Hasrat is one of them. He boldly sheds light on mistreatment of women in a male-dominated society,” Mr Dewan said.

The magazine has published an extract from the book of another Afghan woman fiction writer, Wagma Saba Amir.

Besides short stories, the literary magazine also shares some valuable general literary information, jokes and anecdotes with readers. The editor told this scribe that in most Pashto literary magazines, fiction writers were not given due space. He added that only poetic pieces found sufficient place on its pages while instead fiction writing should be given more space.

Printed by Amir Print and Publishers, Mohalla Jangi, Peshawar, the fresh issue of Tasweer for the months April, May and June is being sold at Rs50.

Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2015

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