KARACHI, June 14: Dil hai dagh dagh – a collection of short stories by Dr Shershah Syed – was launched on Friday at the PMA House.

An energetic person, who is just as vocal about various problems of the medical profession as he is about the existing social injustices, Dr Shershah’s stories are based on his personal and professional experiences.

Author of seven books, Dr Shershah’s latest book contains 17 stories focused on topics such as abusive husbands, infertility, double standards and exploitation of humans. After going through some of the stories, one can conclude that the writings are basically aimed at bringing about public awareness of different medical and public issues and the social stigma attached to them.

The book includes a moving story of a Swati woman, who suffered for 40 years due to fistula (a hole in the bladder) which occurred during the birth of her baby who died shortly after. A foreign surgeon visiting the area operated on her and gave her a new lease of life.

Belonging to a family of doctors that includes his seven siblings and mother, it is not difficult to understand the author’s love for the profession and regard for life.

“I have seen infant deaths, expectant mothers dying and fistula problems, which can all be prevented,” Dr Shershah said.

Poet Shahida Hasan, who was one of the speakers at the programme, said Dr Shershah’s stories bring about an awareness of the existing problems of society. Through his story on fistula, she said, she came to know that women could get infected with such a terrible problem. She said the author’s language was not very literary though his stories touched some of the very important issues of society.

Zahida Hina commented on the issues selected by the author. Her description of the stories won her a lot of applause from the audience.

She said that she loved the stories of Dr Shershah, though it seemed that he wrote those in a hurry. Giving the example of ‘a qalmi mango,’ she said had he put in a bit more time into his writing, the result would have been far better.

The next to speak was the author himself, who said he dedicated the book to his aunt, who was also present. He read out one of his favourite stories, Unthwalay, before the audience and won a lot of applause.

Amar Jalil, who was the chief guest, said he had not read the books of Dr Shershah Syed previously. To talk about him and his writings, Mr Jalil said, he had to go through all his books quickly within two days. As the books had the word ‘heart’ in most of the titles, he thought that the author was a cardiologist and that at his age it would be good to know one personally. But, he said, the feeling didn’t last long as he discovered on arrival at the book launch that the author was a gynaecologist.

Amar Jalil said that after a lot of research by scholars it was discovered that there were 36 stories in the world on which all the stories were based. Dr Shershah weaves his story in a wonderful way, he remarked.

“When you write or talk about your country and its problems it is because you love your country,” the chief guest said, advising the author to take care of the gift of narration he was blessed with.

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