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Iftikhar Arif

Updated December 27, 2015


Iftikhar Arif
Iftikhar Arif

PABLO Neruda's protégé, the Chilean poet Nicanor Parra, once told the younger poets of his region not to write poems if they're not able to "improve the blank page". Unfortunately, the present literary scene in Pakistan is not encouraging. A lot is been written these days, but it pains me to say, it is not interesting. Neither have the senior writers produced anything extraordinary in fiction or poetry which could be called noticeable or even different from their already available pieces of writing, nor are there any hopeful voices coming from the new generation. One sees a spark here and there, but generally the situation is alarming. Compared to Urdu, some over-projected voices of those are heard who write in English, but they don't make any difference in the overall scenario of the world of English writings. Praise for them is mere tokenism.

Nobody expects that every year poets would create Naqsh-i Faryadi or Zindan Nama (Faiz), Guman Ka Mumkin (Rashed), Shabe Rafta (Majeed Amjad), Nayaft (Faraz), Shayed (Jaun Elia), Badan Dareeda (Fahmida Riaz), Khushboo (Parveen Shakir), Chiryon Ka Shor (Zeeshan Sahil) or that Awaz-i Dost (Mukhtar Masood), Zarguzasht and Aab-i-Gum (Yousufi), Labbaik (Mumtaz Mufti), Chakiwarha Mein Visaal (Khalid Akhtar), Khuda ki Basti (Shaukat Siddiqui), Udas Naslain (Abdullah Husain), Basti and Aagey Samundar Hai (Intizar Husain), Raja Gidh (Bano Qudsia), Dhain Baksh Ke Betay (Hasan Manzar), and Buri Aurat ki Katha (Kishwar Naheed) would be produced by prose writers. But nothing noticeable from the new generation is coming up, despite the fact that there is a fairly very rich variety of styles, issues and forms that their seniors have produced and worked on. There could be many reasons for this bleak picture.

That being said, one can expect that poets like Azra Abbas, Yasmeen Hameed, Abbas Tabish, Raza Shehzad, Afzal Syed, Abrar Ahmed, Harris Khalique and fiction writers like Farhat Parveen, Mubin Mirza, Hameed Shahid, Asif Farrukhi, Nilofer Iqbal, and Ali Akbar Natiq will give us some worthwhile creations to improve the above-mentioned bleak situation. They have all the potential to do so, so let's hope they will do it.