Intellectual theft is the act of using someone else’s work without giving them credit. While it may not seem as big an issue in a country like Pakistan, it does affect us in many ways. Recently, a National Award winning Science WriterMr. Muneeb Ali raised his voice on the issue. The sad part about his effort was the absence of any response from the media, journalists or the government, who would otherwise happily use his content for their own means. Have a look at what he had to say :
He even took his message to more heated social media platforms like Twitter but found no luck.
Next, he made a video on YouTube, providing the video of Mr. Mubashir Lucman as proof of his claim. In the video, Mr. Mubashir Lucman was reading out the exact words from Syed Muneeb Ali’s article – portraying them as his own. Have a look at the video:
Fighting Issues of Intellectual Theft
In Conversation with Syed Muneeb Ali
Why do journalists feel entitled to own any content for their show? Why, in your opinion, are people not concerned with giving credit to the content creator?
Well, this is a long debate but in my opinion, the reason behind this is ‘insult’. We feel ashamed in saying “I don’t know” about things we actually don’t know. Let’s suppose if the piracy scandals of mainstream journalists got exposed and they’re entitled as the ‘content narrator’ then their audience will be in the condition of doubt and will try to seek the original content creator for a more authentic information, consequently affecting their viewership. To escape from public embarrassment, they don’t mention the author’s name and present the content as if it’s their own property.
As a writer, how do you plan on safeguarding your content in future?
Being a writer, it’s more difficult and painful for me to see my content freely distributed without my name than to make a blog story on any topic. I’m aware of the fact that media piracy happens worldwide, but the system of law enforcement is what makes a difference between the world and Pakistan. I can’t do anything to safeguard my content except creating awareness through social media. However, it’s a fact that when the source is out of reach, then you can make consumers aware of the fact and this will automatically affect the so-called reputation of the source.
What measures should law enforcement agencies/government take to ensure protection of intellectual property?
If we want to see the originality or authenticity of the content being generated by some company or a country, we’ll first research about the intellectual property protection in it. In Pakistan, where we see the content being stolen, we need to make the National Response Center for Cybercrime active in not only catching the harassment or bullying cases on social media but also in responding the piracy reports. Interestingly, in copying content both senior and junior writers are equally active in Pakistan (Here is the Equality! Ah!) but only seniors are caught because they are popular among the audience. Back in 2019, 50+ articles written by me which are originally published at DAWN news were copied to about 200+ websites which includes the websites of Hassan Nisar, Javed Chaudhary and newspaper ‘Nai Baat’ etc.
Legal Opinion On The Scandal
We discussed the issue of Intellectual theft with a Lawyer, Mr Omer Imran. Mr Omer has been an active lawyer in advocating social issues in Pakistan. Here is what he had to say on Syed Muneeb’s issue:
There are laws in Pakistan protecting IP and copyright. Under the law of Pakistan, all cases related to IP infringement (an act which carries civil and criminal liabilities) lie towards specialized IP Tribunals. Under our copyright laws, you cannot blatantly copy any original work of an author and reproduce it without credit and make a profit. (You cannot in many cases even reproduce it with credit to the original author if you are making money from the reproduction) unless you have the permission of the copyright owner.
This clearly shows how journalists, as mentioned and proven by Mr Muneeb Ali, are commiting a crime by openly using content that does not belong to them. However, neither writers nor the targeted individuals know how and when to take action.
Is Intellectual Theft Really That Harmful?
Well, yes! It is rather more harmful than stealing a material possession. A material possession will eventually run out and probably only benefit the thief. However, stealing an idea will discourage the content creator from sharing his content any further. This will consequently slow down intellectual development of an entire society. It is time for us to learn as a society, what should matter more and why. Daastan has been promoting intellectual development from the get go. It is in these collective priorities that we define ourselves. We thank Mr Muneeb Ali for raising his voice on such an important issue. We hope that our priorities and attitudes towards scholarship, ethics and morals will change.
If you have any similar experiences then write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and Sign Up to receive updates on similar issues. Together, we must change!
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!
English poetry in Pakistan has only recently become the ‘talk of the town’. A number of social media accounts are dedicated to writing and sharing poetry from within Pakistan. In the latest episode of Mused by Daastan, our host, Ms. Summaiya Naveed talks about the scope, status and popularity of poetry as well as issues relating to its publishing in Pakistan. Summaiya began the show with a positive note on how English poetry in Pakistan is getting better by the day. Let us look at what was discussed on the show.
1. Issues Of Publishing English Poetry
In Pakistan, publishing has become common in the past few years. Publishing English poetry, however, is a lot different than publishing prose. While editors look at prose in terms of the plot, flow of the story, characterization etc., poetry has a completely different criteria. Since the idea is expressed in very limited words, it should appeal to the reader and make a statement. There is a general misconception that anything which rhymes is poetry. This is not true. Poetry is complicated and beautiful way of expression and it has evolved as as art. But even then, it observes a few basic rules. Poetry is composed of a rhythm in units of feet— a pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables combined together in a meter— the number of feet per line. A lot of editors in Pakistan do not look at these technicalities of poetry because they don’t even know about them!
2. What Is Lacking In Pakistan’s English Poetry?
Pakistan’s publishing industry is growing at a fast pace. English poetry is one area that we have explored greatly (and yet much is left unexplored). Among the upcoming young writers, there is increasing competition when is comes to English poetry publication. Since a lot of people are writing English poetry now, editors see more and more poetry book submissions. The bar is being raised and poets have to work that much more to be able to get accepted for publishing.
Having said that, a lot of poetry writers are young adults with who do not have comprehensive knowledge of poetry. This produces immature work. On top of that, an excessive use of free-verse poetry has also limited the variety of poetry being written in Pakistan.
3. How Can We Improve Our English Poetry?
To improve English Poetry, Summaiya suggested we experiment more with different poetic forms and styles. Free verse is one style of poetry that is excessively used in Pakistani English poetry. It is important that writers try new styles like Haiku, narrative poetry, sonnets etc. Summaiya pointed out that a lot of poetry writers frequently write couplets mostly. She explained that in order to reach a mark in our poetry, we need to write serious, well-designed poetry that narrates a substantial idea in a unique style. Summaiya stressed on learning the technicalities of poetry. She gave examples of poetry forms:
And explained these technical terms:
Verse : A rhythmic line arranged in a meter
Rhythm : A Combination of stresses in a verse
Feet : Units of rhythm
Meter : Number of feet in a verse
With this she wrapped the 4th episode of Mused. We hope that you enjoyed and learned from this amazing discussion on poetry in Pakistan. If you wish to learn more or take our mentoring services where we help you improve your writing skills, you can sign up with us at Daastan and polish your talent. See you next week with another episode of Mused. Stay Tuned!
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!