Rawish Ali Tirmizi and Her Enchanting Love Story

Rawish Ali Tirmizi and Her Enchanting Love Story

This is an unconventional Love Story that you’re about to read. You might have read hundreds of stories that unite lovers under old oak trees. Oak trees that have survived multiple seasons, from centuries and witnessed love of all sorts. But have you read about a lover who creates two lovers and make you fall in love with them? Rawish Ali Tirmizi is that fine lover. She has defined love for her craft through a candid, un-filtered conversation with Daastan.

Rawish – A Love Story

At Daastan, we come across so many different authors who inspire us everyday. After a long day at work, editing stories, getting the designs approved, shipping books to your door steps – it is the success of our authors that we take our energy from. So we thought why not introduce these wonderful people to you too.

Q. What drove you forward to write and publish your first book?

Writing came to me as an instinct. I have a habit of creating stories from childhood. In a group of friends or family, everyone wanted to listen to what I had next to share. From social issues to personal problems, it always came to me without any effort, which I think many writers can relate to. And that’s what I believe is the beauty of “thinking” all the time about random stuff. You see a couple and think, “Let’s imagine what their story would be!” You hear the talk-of-the-town and imagine, “Wow! It can be successful!” or you observe a social issue and feel to pen down for a social cause. It all comes to me naturally.

Q. How has your experience with publishing been so far?

Well, publishing a novel was something I had never thought of. Though I always aimed to become a writer, I never had guts to make this dream come true. I thought it was difficult as I did not have resources. I called a few publishing houses but their package was as high as the sky, and to be honest, I did not know what else to do. Thanks to my mentor who guided me about Daastan and here I am, holding my dream in my hands.

Q. Tell us a little about the feedback you’ve received on your book?

The feedback on my book has been really overwhelming. I still remember when I accidently sent my friend a chunk of Love Lucknow aur Lahore and she called me saying, “Rawish? I need this full book. Damn! Who is the writer?” Ayishm’s reaction was priceless. Other than my friends and family, I think my biggest achievement was getting appreciated from a City-42’s senior Urdu editor. His words moved me greatly. Right from the day people started reading my book and its excerpts, my inbox is filled with wishes and compliments. A few months before I did not know I would have fans other than those in my home (pun intended). They text me on Instagram and Facebook flooding my DMs with love and respect. I never knew becoming a writer would bring stardom in such a beautiful way.

Q. How has becoming a published writer affected you as a person?

To be honest, its feels like I’m living in another world. At the point where I thought, “would I be able to become something other than what I am doing for living?” becoming a ‘published writer’ happened to me by chance. My family was always proud of me and now more so. My friends always uplifted me, now they do more. Zainab, one of my biggest support systems, always told me there is something in me people need to see, now she winks at me for the credit. In short, life has become more beautiful and welcoming.

What message do you have for budding authors?

Those who know me personally would second my opinion that “supporting” someone for a cause is one of my hobbies. People don’t do it usually, they rant about it but when it comes to actually helping, they run away. So for all the beginners, if you are writing something and thinking of publishing it, I am only one text away.

For now, remember my unpopular opinions: Never let anyone dictate you. What you are writing is what you are. Don’t let anyone tell what you should be. Write whatever you want to. Don’t hesitate that a Love Story would be too cliché or who would read a horror fiction? Just hold the pen and write it down. Do learn from your mistakes. Receive the criticism in a kind way (if you don’t feel it worth your learning then ignore it like a boss that you are).

If you’re an avid Urdu reader, looking for fresh and interesting content to keep you gripped, Love Lucknow Aur Lahore is what you need. Hop over to meraqissa and order the book today!

Daastan X Stories To Action Facebook Live Show

Daastan X Stories To Action Facebook Live Show

Daastan announced its thematic campaign on June 1st, 2020. Two days later, our Facebook was thrilled at the news of a Facebook Live in collaboration with the founders of Stories to Action. The show was hosted by our Cheif Editor Ms Summaiya Naveed and Content Manager Ms Samin Alam Qureshi. Our guests Ms Iris Pi and Ms Sanne thijssen joined and contributed to the talk on SRHR and #WeToo story writing competition.

Recap Of The Facebook Live

Based on the theme of our writing competition, the Facebook Live was aimed at educating our viewers on Sexual and Reproductive health and rights. (Read more about SRHR on our blog here) Our guests emphasized on the importance of vocalizing stories to spread awareness and tackle injustice from its roots. They also spoke about how a lot of people shy away from telling their personal stories. Our hosts suggested writers may use their pen names instead. The main idea is to bring forward these stories in order to engage in a useful and healthy conversation to overcome the issue.

Our Guests From Stories to Action

Ms Iris Pi is the Co-founder of Stories To Action. Being a global citizen, Iris has work, training and volunteer experience in the Philippines, Egypt, the United States of America, Thailand and Vietnam. Iris’ research and work focuses on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women.

Facebook Live Guests Ms Iris Pi
Ms. Iris Pi

Ms Sanne Thijssen, Co-founder Stories to Action, is also the founder of Shake The Dust, an independent consultancy working on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), and meaningful youth participation. Sanne’s work within the field of SRHR has led to her nomination as a Women Deliver Young Leader (2018-2020 Class).

Sanne Thijssen guest-Facebook live
Ms. Sanne Thijssen

Have you submitted your story yet? Hurry up the last date to submit your story is 20th June, 2020. Sign Up with Daastan for more updates!

Daastan’s Struggle for Tolerance

Daastan’s Struggle for Tolerance

The Need for Tolerance

In our times, where tolerance and freedom of speech has become obsolete, a few hardworking individuals and organizations work hard to promote peace in society. Recently, a project titled Azm-e-Pakistan was taken up by an international company DAI. DAI (Development Alternatives Inc.) is working towards global economic and social prosperity.

About Azm-e-Pakistan

The project Azm-e-Pakistan aims to increase understanding and encourage co-existence between communities that follow different faiths. This peace-building project branches out to all niches in the pursuit of ideas that can be utilized to promote brotherhood. As a propagator of social change, DAI understands the need for action on an official level and has thus started this campaign to achieve inter and intra-faith harmony.

Daastan takes Part in a Consultative Meeting

As part of a consultative meeting, Daastan was invited to Lahore to participate in a debate where the biggest industrial thinkers of Pakistan had gathered to talk about peace building solutions. The main aim of the meeting was to utilize the social media space by connecting influencers and experts to resources. These resources would then be utilized to create programs that promoted peace and harmony on grass root level and build a strong society.

Cyber laws were also discussed and their implications for peace were pondered upon. All participants gave their valued opinions. Daastan’s CEO, Ommer Amer deemed the whole experience to be one full of learning. Experts shared their experiences and case studies centered around promotion of tolerance and acceptance in communities.

Want to help us change the world, one book at a time? Become part of the Daastan community through our Facebook page or visit our website to learn more.

Daastan Invited to Speak at A Youth Leadership Conference

Daastan Invited to Speak at A Youth Leadership Conference

The Importance of Leadership

The best way to equip ourselves for future endeavors is training our youth so that they understand the importance of innovation and leadership. Team Daastan has always believed that opportunities for growth and exposure bring out the best in people. And we love being able to put in our part in shaping the future.

When our youth has a firm knowledge of the needs of their people and are equipped with talent and skills, they can find workable solutions to social problems. By doing so, they bring about change and betterment in society. Fortunately, in the last few years we have witnessed an increase in opportunities for learning—taking the shape of competitions, conferences and workshops. These youth empowerment ventures are doing some great work and creating social entrepreneurs out of promising individuals.

Markhor—a Youth Leadership Conference

At the forefront of this youth empowerment movement are organizations like Markhor hosted by Youth Impact. They enable individuals to learn and grow by putting them in the middle of real-life situations. Markhor is Pakistan’s “premium wilderness-based youth leadership conference” which combines various learning experiences to offer a wholesome and holistic experience.

At the 5-day conference, you spend your days learning about social entrepreneurship and then applying those teachings to solve real-life problems. Right there, at the spot! What better way to learn then to put your learnings into practice and internalize the experience? The conference aims towards self-exploration, social activism, instilling the Markhor spirit, creating sustainable change through social entrepreneurship and encouraging creative thinking.

Daastan’s Role in Training the Youth

In an adventure-packed wilderness experience at the beautiful Makra Peak, Shogran, Markhor provides its participants with a board of keynote speakers, successful social entrepreneurs, international CEO’s and philanthropists. These professionals share their experiences, recount their hardships and impart snippets of useful knowledge that will help the leaders of tomorrow succeed in their future ventures.

Daastan’s CEO, Syed Ommer Amer was invited as one of the speakers of the panel to talk about story telling. We all have a story to tell but most of the time, we do not articulate it well-enough. The words that form so beautifully in our mind, come out incoherent when we’re speaking in front of large groups of people. Add to that the usual time limit that is imposed to speak and the pressure builds exponentially!

Syed Ommer Amer, who is an award-winning social entrepreneur and an excellent public speaker, told participants how to master the art of telling your story. He has spoken at various national and international public forums and is a staunch supporter of youth activism and empowerment. Through Daastan, he has been able to provide opportunities for more than 5000 writers. He has helped writers get their word across borders, monetize their work and create a fan base for their future works. 

For this event, Daastan collaborated with Youth Impact, which is a non-profit organization combining various forms of learning such as Outdoor Education and Society Programs to bring out the best in youngsters and shape them into purposeful leaders.

Want to know more about our adventures? Keep watching our Facebook space for updates on Markhor’s Youth Leadership Conference!

South Asian Award for Micro Fiction–Literati

South Asian Award for Micro Fiction–Literati

How Literati Took Birth

Daastan has organized some of Pakistan’s most exciting writing competitions, offering prizes and opportunities for growth to the winners. Our competitions have helped us gather an army of talented writers. We have also had the honor of publishing the best works, especially from the winning submissions of The Stories Untold.

One of our competitions that we organized in the summer of 2018 was in collaboration with White Falcon Publishing and Outcast Magazine. The competition was titled the ‘South Asian Award for Micro Fiction, Literati‘. The themes of this competition were ‘The Fifth Rivulet‘ and ‘Mosaiked Souls‘. After receiving hundreds of submissions the first time, we decided to hold another season of the same competition again!

Your Response

This time around, we received an even more overwhelming number of submissions from all over South Asia, on the themes of ‘Folklore Retold’ and ‘Apocalypse-The End of Humans’. The pool of South Asia’s most creative and daring writers came up with jaw-droppingly brilliant ideas that awed our judges. Daastan was happy to see submissions from some of its veteran writers and even more thrilled to spot new faces.

From over a hundred submissions, we chose our Top 20 finalists and set out to interview them! We wanted to know what the most innovative and imaginative minds in South Asia were like. The interviews included questions about their likes and dislikes, the hardships they had faced and their very first reads. We also took suggestions from them regarding opportunities for writers in South Asia. It was great getting to know our writers in person.

How Writing Competitions Help Writers Grow

One constant that we noticed in these interviews was that all of them had, at one point, suffered from the lack of opportunities in the writing industry. This ever-expanding void stunted their growth in the field of writings and became a big hindrance in their path to becoming professionals.

Team Daastan recognizes the need to help writers realize their dream and monetize their work. To convert a simple hobby into a way of earning and growing. We believe that earning recognition and appreciation for their works helps encourage writers to go forward and become strong-minded individuals who influence society positively through writing.

Want to get published by us? Upload your manuscript on Qissa! For more information, we are always ready to listen at merasawal@daastan.com

Our Vision of Putting Books in Every Hand

Our Vision of Putting Books in Every Hand

Books are better teachers than any school curriculum. They let us peek into lives– real and unreal—go to places we’ve never been, face situations we’ve never encountered and come out stronger and wiser. 5 years ago, Daastan took its first step towards realizing its goal of educating the masses through books. We wanted to make a book lover out of every individual whose life we touched and see a book in every hand. Today, Daastan has progressed with leaps and bounds and continues to expand its mission.

One such instance of furthering our vision was when we partnered with Books and Beyond in what turned out to be a highly successful series of book club events.

Daastan Chasing their Vision by Partnering with Books and Beyond

To develop interest and increase membership of Books and Beyond- a literary club from Hyderabad- Daastan decided to sponsor their second of many book club meets held at Khanabadosh Writers’ Café in Hyderabad. The book club discussed Manto, Dostoevsky, Existentialism and Socialism.

Daastan provided the attendees with literary souvenirs such as bookmarks and tote bags with phrases like “Books not bombs” and “Knowledge is power!”. The purpose of the freebies was to impart positive vibes to the members and encourage them to attend even more book clubs, thereby increasing their love for literature and reading. The gifts from Daastan were well-received and all in all, the book club was a smashing success.

About Books and Beyond

Taking birth in the soulful city of Hyderabad, Books and Beyond is a literary club that started in 2016. Its goal is to bring both amateur and seasoned readers together in a single space and break through reading barriers in Hyderabad. They are also expanding into bigger cities like Karachi. Run by a hardworking team of bibliophiles, Books and Beyond works to promote reading culture among students, revive the lost interest in reading, hold in-depth discussions between like-minded people and encourage writers to share their writings.

Under the leadership of Huda Bhurgri and Khushbakht Memon, this literary club has organized various successful events. The events include book club meetups, open mic sessions and digital discussion groups.

The Founder of Books and Beyond, Huda Bhurgri

Our very own #Oneof50, Ms. Huda Bhurgri is a power woman! She is the founder of Books and Beyond and a social enterprise Soormi, that works towards women empowerment. Her love for literature and a dream of equality drives her to hustle harder every day and amaze us with her achievements.

Ms. Huda, along with her friend, Ms. Khushbakht Memon, founded Books and Beyond in 2016 when both of them felt a void in Hyderabad’s literary space. They believed that Hyderabad was home to a number of book lovers but the diminishing reader body of Hyderabad left little room for them to openly talk about books with like-minded people. With a solution in mind, these ambitious ladies started holding book club meets in a safe and healthy environment and made a special space for Hyderabad’s literati. And thus, Books and Beyond was formed. Daastan is proud to have been a partner of such an innovative literary initiative. We love putting in our share in literary and social enterprises and increase book love all across Pakistan!

If you’re an enterprise looking to partner with us, drop us an email at merasawal@daastan.com and Sign Up with us!