Hassan Abbas Raza — poet
Hassan Abbas Raza — poet

Q: What books are you currently reading?

A: I am reading Sham-i-Shair-i-Yaaran by Mushtaq Ahmed Yusufi. He is one of the best humorists and I really enjoy his works.

His writing style is very captivating and readers cannot put his books down before finishing them. This book is a collection of speeches he has delivered on various occasions and he has conveyed himself very well in his speeches. These are also very humorous. His writings are very easy to understand.

Q: What was the last book you particularly enjoyed reading?

A: Not recently, but I always enjoyed reading short stories by Saadat Hasan Manto, who was one of the greatest authors of this country. I had read many of his stories in the past and I have started reading his works again.

Manto was a bold writer and all his characters are very real. He presented the harsh realities of society and all his books are page turners. The writing style and presentation of Manto’s stories are very different to that of other story writers. He has used the language and expressions of the common man when writing dialogues between his characters.

Q: Are there any classics you couldn’t get through?

A: I have read poetry more, but I like reading fiction as well. I have read the works of many great writers. I have not been able to read the Divan-i-Sauda by Mirza Mohammad Rafi Sauda. He wrote the best poetry and wrote the expressions used by the people in Delhi. His poetry is not difficult to understand and he has produced a lot of work in Persian and Urdu.

Q: Do you think there is a great Pakistani novel?

A: For me, Raja Gidh written by Bano Qudsia is a great novel. The writer has presented social realities in her work. Asadullah Khan Ghalib, Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Noon Meem Rashid are my favourite writers and poets. Ghalib’s works are not easy to understand for everyone and require a lot of attention. Faiz has given a voice to the emotions of the common man.

Q: What are you planning to read next?

A: There are many books which I want to read next. I have made a list of the books I want to read. For many years, I have been searching for the Dasht-i-Soos by Jamila Hashmi and I have only recently found the book.

Published in Dawn, October 4th, 2017