PESHAWAR: The outgoing year witnessed a steep rise in the publication of Pashto prose books covering topics of research and literary criticism despite slump in the market.

The experts said that Pashto books market faced a serious blow following a change of government in Kabul in mid August in the outgoing year.

“The sale of Pashto books considerably went down in Peshawar and Quetta after change of government in Kabul but still the trend is encouraging because printers continue to bring out new titles on research, history, culture, art and literary criticism which saw a spiral 50 per cent increase compared to the previous year,” Prof Abaseen Yousafzai told this scribe.

Publishers in Peshawar claimed to have printed more than 20,000 titles in Pashto, Hindko, Urdu and English, featuring poetry, prose, fiction, history, politics, sociology, women and youth issues during the outgoing year.

Poet terms the trend a sign of maturity of readers, printers

The local booksellers also claimed good profit out of shipping Pashto books aboard.

Ayazullah Tarakzai, a local publisher, told this scribe that Afghanistan used to be the potential market for Pashto books but sudden change in Kabul stopped flow of the trend causing damage to book industry.

He added that the change coupled with pandemic was unwelcoming; however, sale and publication at no point showed a trend of fiasco as increase of prose books on research, literary criticism, history and culture besides poetry drew potential Pakhtun buyers abroad.

Yar Akbar Shinwari, who runs a bookstore, said that Pashto books on various aspects of life and traditions of Pakhtuns were in great demand in Gulf States and European countries. He said that he had shipped more than 1,000 titles to Pakhtuns abroad during the last few months.

He said that trend of reprint of classic editions in Pashto continued as before but demand for poetry books in the market was declined.

Prof Nasir Ali Syed, noted Urdu poet, remarked that poets and writers of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa brought out several titles in Urdu. He said that pouring of prose and fiction books in the market was an emblem of maturity and awareness of the readers as well as of printers. He added that young research scholars in large number published their theses for fast market consumption.

The much awaited titles including Fazal Naama of Khushal Khan Khattak by Mushtaq Majrooh, and Pashto translation of Macbeth by late Qalandar Momand were brought out under the sponsorship of Qalandar Momand Research Cell and Mafkoora, a private organisation. Several printers and individual publication houses brought out valuable titles on a wide range of topics during the departing year.

The fourth edition of Qalandar Momand celebrated short stories collection titled ‘Gajray’, reprint of late Mushtaq Majrooh’s ‘Zarkanrray’ and US-based writer Dr Amjad Hussain’s book ‘Hasdy Basdy Log’ also hit book stands towards the end of the year.

Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2021

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