As the last episode of Mused by Daastan aired last week, we experienced a plethora of emotions. On one hand we are sad to pause this journey of learning – while on the other, hopeful for the future. The response we gathered is inspiring and motivating enough to push us further. Have a look at what our host Ms. Summaiya Naveed had to say about this.
We started Mused with the vision to help creatives—a vision we will take forward as the series advances. For now, I hope the first season has helped aspiring writers and given them a nudge towards achieving their dreams. I’ve had a great time creating such content for you and an even better time having conversations with the viewers. You’re an inspiring lot and you give our team the motivation we need to keep putting in our part in the development of the Pakistani Literary industry. What is needed most now is work. Work to distinguish ourselves as a people of superior intellect and an awe-inspiring amount of talent. The first season of Mused leaves me hopeful that we’re talking a step towards achieving that very goal.
Ms Summaiya Naveed expressing her feelings on the last episode of Mused
A Recap of Season 1 – Mused
This season, Summaiya discussed in great detail, the issues related to writing and publishing. We started off with learning the common writing mistakes, Do’s and Don’ts of writing and errors that most writers and publishers make. Then we moved on to the state of our Publishing industry,scope for writers and the condition as well as future of the writers’ community of Pakistan. We were joined by two guests who shared their own experiences and gave useful tips along the way. We had a special episode on writing poetry– on account of the proliferation of poetry writers in our community.
What We Discused In Episode 6
1. Issues With English Language
Firstly, Summaiya shared her opinion on the use of the global lingua franca – English Language. According to her, Languages have socio-political importance. In South Asia, specifically the areas affected by colonization, English language became a symbol of status. The higher classes who merged well with the British and learned the language, associated an attitude of pride with English. We have perhaps inherited the same behaviour. Summaiya condemned this attitude and explained how languages are primarily a means of communication only. Language should not be used to claim superiority or make someone else feel belittled.
According to Summaiya, the role of English in dividing social classes has created a hindrance for those who wish to improve their language. The fear of being ridiculed for pronouncing something incorrectly keeps people away from actually learning the language. Summaiya advised us to change this behaviour towards the language and encourage people to learn in a healthy way.
Secondly, Summaiya discussed the issue of plagiarism in great detail. First and foremost, she explained how plagiarism is a serious crime. In simple words, it refers to the act of copying someone else’s work and putting it as your own consequently, giving no due credit to the owner. This is plainly cheating on someone. It is morally incorrect and demotivating for creatives to work. Summaiya expressed her concern over the absence of laws to protect creatives from plagiarism. There needs to be a certain amount of accountability to avoid crimes like plagiarism. Publishing companies should regulate the content brought by authors to make sure it is not plagiarised.
Daastan is proud to have shared this journey with you all. It is our mission to promote literary activities and discussions through such platforms like Mused. We hope that writers benefited from these Lives sessions and we aim to keep bringing informative content for our followers. Sign Up at Daastan and keep yourself engaged in similar content!
The month of April is national poetry writing month (NaPoWriMo). Writers from all around the world join together to celebrate the art of poetry writing. We at Daastan took this opportunity to engage our followers in a poetry chain contest. Every day, we shared a prompt verse and asked our followers to continue the verse. The next person to comment would continue thereby making a chain of poetry as a combined effort.
Selected Poetry From #NaPoWriMo
We shared prompts, both in English and Urdu language on alternate days. This activity was thoroughly enjoyed by the participants. The talent and zeal showcased everyday was commendable. The standard of poetry was beyond our expectation, leaving us in a difficult position to choose the best ones. However, we selected 2 poems from English and 3 from Urdu to feature in our blog. The selected English poems are:
English Poem #1
This crimson house with its crimson walls
Set on fire with the love calls
Is this love or just another bloodied stain?
Etched with rivers while the calm moon gazes
And the night whispers softly, lyrical phrases
Though it was bygone – forgotten
The secrets it holds, remained unspoken
Hold a prisoner inside with dusky eyes.
& me with my poems
Engulfed by unheard echoing calls
English Poem #2
The city is alight, with hope it’s bright
The light of its sunrise, envelopes
the darkness and fills everyone with delight
Its air is rich in music and it’s
echoed with the sound of dancing feet
Go to your window and inhale this treat
The darkest hours will pass by,
with resilience you and I will fight
Similarly, response on our Urdu prompts was equally energetic and competitive. We chose the following 3 poems:
1 نظم / Urdu Poem #1
سرحد کے اس پار
جی چاہے اک بار میں جاؤں
جہاں زندگی ہماری طرح ہنستی تو کبھی روتی
کچھ لوگوں سے شناسائی لگتی ہے
کچھ قصے پریت کے، کچھ وعدے من میت کے
جو اب بن کے رہ گئے کتاب کی کہانی میں
وہاں جلترنگ ہواؤں کا ہے نگر
جو یادوں کی داستاں لیے
ہم جیسے انسانوں کی ایک بستی ہے جہاں ملتے ہیں زمیں و آسمان
نظم 2 / Urdu Poem # 2
میں نئی امید ہوں
جیون کی تمہید ہوں
فرحت بخش دید ہوں
اک سریلا گیت ہوں
ہوا میں بکھری بادِ نسیم ہوں
اور تم اس مین ایک استعارہ ہو
تاریک دنیا میں سحر کی دلیل ہو!
قوسِ وقزح کے رنگوں سی
اک نئی صبح کی نوید ہو
نظم 3 / Urdu Poem # 3
میری سوچوں کی پرواز کہاں تک
پنپتے خوابوں کی آواز کہاں تک
ہے میرے خوابوں کی اڑان کہاں تک
تیرے نغموں کى آواز جہاں تک نیلے آسماں سے دور کہیں
اونچا اڑتے ہیں جہاں الفاظ میرے
مگر یہ بھی سچ ہے اس خاک کی اڑان کہاں تک
Honorary Mentions For Our Poetry Campaign
We have selected Mr Obien Mayo and Ms. Amna Shah as active participants and we acknowledge their contribution to our campaign. Their active participation speaks for the love for poetry and Literature that they possess. We thank all our participants for showing interest and contributing to our effort.
Are you excited for our next month’s campaign? Well, we surely are! We have another interesting theme to follow in the month of May. So follow us on our Facebook and Instagram pages and Sign Up at Daastan to catch up on our monthly Literary activities!
The Pakistani writers community has long been under-appreciated. A lack of recognition, funds and opportunities have resulted in a stunted growth of our literary activities. Despite showing promise, attaining Government funds has been out of question. This episode of Mused looked at this aspect of the writers community in Pakistan. Two special guests joined our host Summaiya, in a discussion over writers in Pakistan. Their main concern was the unfortunate fact that pursuing a career in arts is still not accepted as a viable option in Pakistan.
Guests From Writers Community
We were joined by two immensely talented writers and founders of Rhizomatic Literaties, Ms Anum Sajid and Ms. Fuzeela Zubair. Anam Sajid is the Initiator and Creative Head of Rhizomatic Literaties. She is an educationist who believes in building an egalitarian book culture in Pakistan. She moreover promotes and celebrates amateur literary diversity. Fuzeela Zubair is the Project Manager of Rhizomatic Literaties. She is a book blogger. With Rhizomatic Literaties, she hopes to take a step towards expanding the reading culture in Pakistan.
Anum and Fuzeela shared their experience of publishing their first book with Daastan. The writers expressed how Rhizomatic Literatiesis more than a book for them. Their book is a movement towards building a literary community and empowering young writers. Anum and Fuzeela talked about the barriers that our writers’ community has to go through. The biggest barrier, according to them, are writers themselves who shy away from publishing due to a fear of rejection. Giving the example of instagram writers, Fuzeela explained that Pakistani writers need confidence the most. Even if we are not producing good content, we should keep putting up our work to improve the standard. She believes that fear of being judged overpowers a writer. She therefore advised us to not look at writers only with the intention of criticising them.
Advice For Young Writers
Anum and Fuzeela talked about fear in writers while publishing their work. They pointed out a progress in Pakistan’s literature in terms of exploring genres like fantasy. This progress itself highlights the acceptance on part of the reading community. Anum also mentioned that our writers community does not require facilities rather opportunities. They suggested writers to write consistently. Anum explained the contribution of self-publishers in our literary space. Platforms like Qissa have played a huge role in promoting literature in Pakistan.
Rhizomatic Literaties and Women Empowerment
Anum and Fuzeela now await the second volume of Rhizomatic Literaties. This volume carries a basic theme of Female Empowerment. Their main aim behind choosing this subject is to normalize discussion on women. The book will explore how women are independent and unique in their own way. This volume will also break all stereotypes related to women and showcase their diversity. We hope that their book receives all the love and attention it deserves. Anum and Fuzeela have without doubt inspired many young authors and we thank them for their struggle in our cause.
We thank our viewers for supporting and liking our Live sessions. It gives us hope to see your positive feedback. Share your own suggestions for future discussions and write to us at email@example.com. If you like our content, Sign Up with us at Daastan!
What is a writer’s dream? Is writing an ultimate goal for a writer? Well, typically speaking, writing does fulfill a writer. But the dream is always way bigger and higher. Rhizomatic Literaties’ book launch, for example, is one one such dream. Becoming a published author, receiving acclaim for your talent and being known for your book is the actual dream. Similarly, our three talented leads of Rhizomatic Literaties did not settle for less.Rhizomatic Literaties is a special book for Daastan because it is composed of numerous entirely diverse minds that take you into a journey of exploration. You can read the book at meraqissa.com. Have a look at Rhizomatic Literaties Book Launch here.
On 7th March 2020, Daastan arranged Rhizomatic Literaties‘ book launch at Plan 9 Tech Incubator Arfa Towers, Lahore. Literary enthusiasts from all fields joined us to celebrate this milestone in our journey. Our panel of discussion engaged the visitors in a healthy talk over struggle and most importantly, literature and publishing in Pakistan by sharing their own stories. Ms. Amanda from Australia was our guest of honor who moderated the panel discussion.
About Rhizomatic Literaties
We take immense pride in Rhizomatic Literaties which is one of our masterpieces as per the unique and outstanding nature of the book. The idea behind this book was to bring together the hidden talent of Pakistan’s literary industry to put them on the forefront. Secondly, this book also speaks for the nature of our publishing industry that is inclusive and non-discriminatory. We promote writers from all sections of society. The 12 different narratives that make up this out-of-the-box book, showcase the diversity and celebrate the power and beauty of women in Pakistan.
Have Your Own Book Launch With Daastan
It is our mission to bring together writers, literary enthusiasts and all people who are eager to act as an agent in order to push forward, the wheel of our publishing industry. Start writing now and launch your book with Daastan. We believe you can! Sign up at Daastan and begin your journey today.
The wait is now over! We are back with our weekly review of ‘Mused’ as promised. For those joining us now, Mused is Daastan’s first Live show hosted by our editor Ms. Summaiya Naveed. Every week, Summaiya shares important and useful tips for writers to help them write and publish their work. Summaiya has been inspiring our viewers who send us positive feedback every week. This week’s show was based on 3 pertinent issues, following a general theme of Publishing in Pakistan.
1. Scope of Publishing In Pakistan
Although Pakistan’s publishing industry has been active since we came into being, the number of publishers, readers and writers have always been limited. From the get go, most of our publishing industry revolved around Urdu literature. There has been significant development of Urdu language but low literacy rates always meant fewer readers. With a lack of readers, comes a lack of buyers. Consequently, there are very few incentives for writers to publish their work. All of these reasons combined hindered the development of our publishing industry.
As of now, Pakistan’s publishing industry is, as Summaiya puts it, in a ‘transitory‘ phase. With increased focus on English language, there is a greater number of English readers and consequently, more English writers. However, this shift towards increased English readership is quite limited. Most of us do not read books beyond our school/college curriculum. Even if we do read English books, we mostly prefer reading foreign books and writers. According to Summaiya, the greatest challenge that our publishing industry is facing right now, is the need for loyal readers. One reason for this lag is insufficient support and funding for creative fields like fine art, creative writing etc. Neither the government nor our public is ready to accept the need and benefit of creatives in our society. In such circumstances, it is hard for writers to pursue writing as a full-time profession.
2. Future of Publishing in Pakistan
A lot of work is being done to upgrade the literary industry of Pakistan. Qissa has digitized the literary space to make publishing in Pakistan easier. Online publishing platforms are becoming the hub for readers and writers. A lot of young emerging Pakistani authors are now writing and publishing their work with greater frequency. However, as Summaiya pointed out, there still remains a need for experimentation and exploration. Readers look forward to unique stories, relevant characters and different genres like sci-fi, thriller, horror etc. Most writers cling to classic genres like romance or tragedy. We need to innovate and step outside our comfort zone to attract a local and global readership.
3. How can we improve Pakistan’s Publishing Industry?
Role of Self Publishers
Self publishers are those publishers who help edit, format, design, and publish your book for you. They only charge you for their services and the earnings you earn from royalties are transparent. Some self-publishers, like Daastan, also help market your book to increase sales. Recently, Daastan generated over 1 lac PKR in sales for Lareb Soomro’s “Autumn’s Curse”. Lareb Soomro is Sindh’s youngest writer who has taken over the hearts of our readers with her out-of-the-box creativity and imagination in writing.
The role of self publishers is very important in accelerating the publishing industry because this industry runs solely on readers and writers. By empowering writers, we inspire them to write and publish more. This generates a smooth cycle of writing and publishing which broadens our literary space. We unfortunately have very few publishing options available to us which limits our growth.
Role of Readers and Writers
While many Pakistani writers are making their name in the literary space of Pakistan, they still have to work hard to establish themselves, globally. As much as it is the writer’s job to produce quality work, so is the reader responsible – by supporting local writers and their books. There are very few acclaimed writers like Mohsin Hamid, who have made a name for Pakistani literature in the global market. Still, most well-known “Pakistani” writers spend either all or half their time residing outside of Pakistan. Since the publishing industry depends on reader’s demands, the more readers indulge in buying local books, the more our writers will write and as a result, the scope of Publishing in Pakistan will flourish.
Summaiya also emphasized on the need to revolutionize the concept of “Pakistani writers”. Up until now, any renowned author who is remotely connected to Pakistan has been considered a Pakistani writer. However, a true Pakistani writer is one who has lived in this country, been a part of its culture and grown up among its people. A writer who writes with Pakistani characters in Pakistani settings. This is the criteria we need to use to define a “Pakistani” writer.
This sums up our third Episode of Mused. We promise to return next week with yet another interesting live session. Do give us your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you like our show, sign up with us at Daastan to keep enjoying similar content. See you next week!
One of the key roles of Daastan, apart from Publishing, is marketing, advertising ,distribution and promoting Literary activities in Pakistan. Bleed, Breath, Sing is a book from a young author. We at Daastan believe in empowering young authors. Through a smooth transparent system, we establish a direct link between authors and buyers with the help of Literati Choice consequently, benefitting the writers.
On 21st Februrary 2020, Daastan arranged a book launch for Ms Komal Salman’s latest Book “Bleed, Breathe, Sing”. The event was held at National Incubation Center, Islamabad. To our surprise, more than a 100 people turned up to support and congratulate the young author on achieving this milestone. Students, teachers, social activists, researchers and even families were eager to be a part of such Literary activities, who joined us to celebrate local talent and the future leadership of Pakistan.
‘Bleed, Breath, Sing’ – At the Book Launch
The event started off with an energetic and optimistic discussion on Pakistani Society and the importance of such Literary activities in our community. Our panel included Ms Anum, the design lead at Daastan, Ms. KomalSalman, author at Qissa, Mr. Ayub a social activist and Mr Ommer Amer the founder of Daastan. These panelists discussed ways of bringing social change in light of their own unique experiences. The significance of social change in our community and its impact was their key focus.
Activities at the Book Launch
The best part about Literary activities is the audience. When literary enthusiasts meet, creativity, talent and art is bound to emerge. Our guests were no less artistic themselves. Performances and recitals by local artists were also arranged. Through these activities, we realize that it is not the lack of talent or hard-work but a lack of avenues and platforms that hinder our youth to excel in their respective fields. At Daastan, we do our best to ensure that our local artists are provided with every opportunity.
The book launch concluded with a one-on-one meetup with the author Ms. Komal Salman, herself. She gave out signed copies to our guests as a token of appreciation.
To sum up, we are proud to have helped our talented writer Ms. Komal Salman in achieving her dream. We hope to keep connecting these emerging authors to readers and buyers in an attempt to upgrade the literary industry of Pakistan. If yousupport our vision and wish to be a part of our literary activities, join us by signing up at Daastan to build our community!