After having read the entries of The Stories Untold Season 2 on the theme of “A War Within”, the team of Daastan found themselves incredibly moved because of each of the stories. They wanted to help further market these snippets of reality, to bring bits and pieces of it served as hors d’oeuvres to the readers so as to build their appetite for the main course of the meal – the book – that was to follow. The idea was to make the story penned down more relatable, to humanize the words, and build the audience’s relationship with their writers, helping the readers sense the emotions that ran through the authors as the phrases were put to paper.
The resulting movement that ensued, an innovative and ahead of its time podcast series, was named Nashist. Nashist, an Urdu word, literally translates to a ‘gathering’ or a ‘seated assembly’, and that is the exact effect we wanted to produce. We wanted our readers to come together as one and listen with their hearts while one of their own quoted the books, heavily focusing on the sentiments each word entailed. Each week, one of the top five finalists of The Stories Untold from each language was chosen, and a selection made from among its pages that would draw the listener’s breath away. One of our literary fellows of the debut batch would then narrate the appointed lines, over heavenly music produced by Moonlight Studios. The storytelling was done in such a brilliant manner that it shook the listener’s mind, helping them associate with the writer and empowering the writers by helping them communicate in a much more personal manner with their readers.
A few of the books chosen for the podcast included Across the Line by Abhirun Das, A War Within by Aaina Batool, as well Urdu books like Jahan Ara by Saba Ahmad and Ye Bande Tere Albele Se by Fatima Ambereen. The series was powered by PeaceTech Lab, PeaceTech Pakistan, and Technology for People Initiative, in partnership with The Ancient Souls and Young Women Writers’ Forum.