FAISALABAD: Journalist Ghazi Salahuddin has stressed the pivotal role of bookshops, libraries, education and environment role in promotion of literature.

Giving examples of Orhan Pamuk of Turkey and Haruki Murakami of Japan, he said they were read a lot in their own countries before getting popular in the world.

“Ismail Kadare is popular and people read his novels globally although he writes in Albanian language. Our Karachi is equal to six Albanias,” he said on Saturday in a session on the second day of 8th Faisalabad Literary Festival being held virtually.

The session, titled, Our Literature in Comparison with the World Literature, had Ghazi Salahuddin, fiction writer and critic Nasir Abbas Nayyar and Saeed Naqvi as panelists while it was moderated by Asghar Nadeem Syed.

Salahuddin said it was imperative to note the environment in which literature was being produced rather to first look at the quality of literature. He raised the question of the number of readers in the country and what change a new book could bring about in society. He said we had treasure of novels and literature requiring attention but they could not get attention like those written in other countries.

Ghazi Salahuddin said Oprah Winfrey used to show a book in her show and it would become a best seller but on the contrary, Masood Ashar wrote about four novels in his columns in a reliable Urdu newspaper but nothing happened. Similarly, he added, reviews of books in New York Times also made books the best sellers but situation was different in Pakistan.

Asghar Nadeem said he had asked the committee selecting the vice chancellors to ask the candidates which book they had read and which film they had watched recently. With these two questions, he added, the committee could determine how the candidates’ sensibility had been developed.

Nasir Abbas Nayyar said we lacked the reading habit and discussion on the books being written.

“We have no standing at the international level as our writers are not being appreciated here and that’s why their books are not being translated.”

Mr Nayyar said that the governments in other countries would promote literature internationally but here the governments did not give the same treatment to literature.

Saeed Naqvi termed literature a dialogue between the writer and the readers. He said being reader we want to read the pieces which appealed to us rather than those which contradicted our thoughts.

He lamented that among the population of 200 million people, sale of 500 books of first edition was considered a success.

Four sessions were also held in the festival on Saturday while the same number of sessions would be held on Sunday (today).

Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2021

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