It is true that political, social or religious differences must be accommodated. Borders are drawn to avoid conflict and allow people to live in a peace. Geographical divisions may seem like a progressive idea today. However, decision makers do not and can not speak for all people. Amidst these divisions, ties of love, friendship and generational attachments have to be torn. These barbed wires that mark borders, scratch and wound those who have to cross them over.
We can’t possibly mend the 73 year old political enmity, but we can surely rise above these institutional differences and talk about our narrative. The narrative of the marginalized ones. Perhaps the most marginalized in the division of sub-continent were all those whocould not cease to love and feel for their lost comrades.
An Attempt at making Peace Across Borders
To establish and spread the narrative of the literati in both countries, Daastan from Pakistan and White Falcon Publishing from India, initiated a Letter writing movement. We invited writers to send in their letters to express their concerns for regional peace. Writers could write in prose or poetry. Daastan received letters in Urdu, English and Hindi, following the main theme: regional peace.
We, atDaastan, received letters from all across Pakistan. We were amazed by the energetic response by the talent in our country. All these letters were extremely emotional and beautiful. Our team was deeply touched by the effort put in by the talented writers from all around Pakistan. The aim behind this movement was to simply acknowledge the fact that no matter how these divisions have shaped our history and geography, love and friendship can break all walls. These letters and their writers are legitimaterepresentatives of peace from both countries. The powerful voices that echo from our television screens, can not mute the narrative of peaceful co-existence.
We aim to keep connecting readers and writers in an attempt to grow and engage in literary activities. If you share our love and passion of literature, sign up with us at Daastan and let us grow together!
Among the most fearless, most resilient creatures on earth are the soldiers of a country that fight and bleed for the protection of their beloved homeland. Over the course of 72 years, Pakistan has been no stranger to war. Today our history books are filled with countless sombre and often gruesome yet heroic accounts of our brave soldiers. We hear about them from our grandparents, watch and read through their lives, priding in their bravery; basking in their glory. One such story is that of Maj. Aziz Bhatti.
The Tale of Maj. Aziz Bhatti
One such life story is of the receiver of the Nishaan-e-Haider, Major Raja Aziz Bhatti Shaheed. His is a name familiar to every man, woman and child of Pakistan. He is a national hero; an awe-inspiring leader who led a limited number of soldiers to carry out a fiercedefense of the Burki area of the Lahore sector in the 1965 war with India. Despite being outnumbered and under unceasing fire from the enemy, Maj. Aziz Bhatti launched a strong, impenetrable defense against the Indian Army. Dismissing offers to rest or even see his family members in Lahore, our hero soldiered on. During an intense exchange of artillery fires between the two armies, he was hit by an enemy tank shell and embraced Shahadat.
The valiant soldier stood undaunted in the face of the raging enemy and laid down his own life to protect countless others.
Bringing his Story Back to Life
This is the aspect of his courageous story that we are familiar with. But what most don’t know is who Maj. Aziz Bhatti was, without the title. Who he was as a person, a son, a friend. When, earlier this year, his brotherSardar Ahmed Bhatti reached out to Daastan with the intention of publishing a biography he had written about his brother, we were honored to be chosen for the task. Written from the perspective of a loving brother, the book gives an insight into previously unknown events of Maj. Aziz Bhatti’s life, his relationship and closeness with his brother, his life in Hong Kong as a boy before and during World War II and several unpublished, memorable pictures.
As a platform bent towards literary revival, Daastan strives to bring lost stories to life; stories that are worth being told and preserved. We are proud to be the means of bringing forth this heart-warming account of Maj. Aziz Bhatti’s life away from the border, to the public. The book titled “Raja Aziz Bhatti Shaheed: My Brother, My Hero” is available on Qissa’s website and has received over-whelming responses and appreciation from all over the country on our social media.
To honor the story of Pakistan’s son, a book launch ceremony is being held on the 12th of September from 14:30-17:30 at the Pakistan Academy of Letters, hosted by Daastan. On this Defence Day, as we look back to the lives of our warriors, let us seek inspiration from their courage and glean wisdom from their actions. Join us on the 12th to remember the sacrifices Maj. Aziz Bhatti has made for the protection of this beloved homeland. As we stand with the Shaheed’s family, we stand united under the slogan that kept him standing for so long, holding his own– unbroken, relentless–in front of the enemy: Pakistan Zindabad!
You can order your copy of Raja Aziz Bhatti Shaheed: My Brother, My Herohere.
During the mid-summer of 2018, before Daastan Naama app was made available to the public through Google Play Store, an extensive marketing campaign was conducted on social media websites. The campaign, recorded under the hashtag of #OneOftheFifty, gained so much popularity and garnered an astonishing amount of traffic. People from all around the world wanted to be featured on Daastan Naama. Our team was constantly being asked questions to find out what it is that needed to be done to become a part of #OneOftheFifty. Speculations bloomed about who these celebrated authors were, how they were selected, and what is it that they were a part of.
Creative posters were designed which had the picture and name of the author, along with the title of their work which was to appear in Daastan Naama. The posters were titled with hashtags of #Top50AuthorsYouDontKnowAbout and #OneofFifty, which created a buzz in the whole community of Daastan over what was coming. Eventually it would become clear that the work of these authors would be uploaded to the app in the style of poetry recitals and podcasts. This innovative twist on sharing their work brought it to life, and that too in their very own voice.
Each author in the spotlight had something unique to add to the app. The very first one was Ms. Kayenaat Hameed Khattak, an English poetess whose poem “God is Great” was chosen for the app. The next author was Ms. Dania Shah, whose Urdu humorous prose “Muhabbat ki Shadi” found its way up, followed by Urdu prose of Ms. Durre Shahwar Ali. Other English poets featured included Ms. Waneeza Zia, Ms. Momina Latif, Ms. MaryamMr. Hassan Naqvi, Mr. Saad Ahmad, Ms. Maryam Arshad, etc. Mr. Morgan Melhuish, from the United Kingdoms, also contributed an English poem. Another very curious and pleasant feature was the addition of two Pashto poems by Ms. Spugmai Alee Khattak, and also a poetry piece in Punjabi by Mr. Abrar Nadeem, an award-winning author and script writer for PTV. A Punjabi play was also contributed by Ali Usman Bajwa.
Want to have a trove of literary goodness on your phones? Download the app now! Sign up with Daastan and get updates on all our upcoming literary activities.
Daastan’s vision for the revival of literature was never limited to the widely used language English or Urdu. Qissa, a self-publishing portal, is was one of the first forums to recognize the need for an online tool that allows users to write inPunjabi language. Our team then worked hard to bring on board specialists that helped us realize the dream of thousands of writers. Revival of these dying languages became our mission. And so, Daastan finally upgraded its tool into one that accepted most of the regional languages of Pakistan.
To further this idea, Daastan in collaboration with Punjabi Parchar, launched its very firstregional languageWriting Competition, “Likh Punjabi”. Punjabi Parchar is a hub of intellectuals working exclusively for the preservation and promotion of Punjabi literature, art and culture. The editor of Punjabi at Daastan, Ali Usman Bajwa, helped bring them on board with us – and became project manager for the module. Such a competition being held in the language which is very dear to his heart was his lifelong dream. At Daastan the team is willing to work day and night to bring the dreams of their family to reality.
Dream Turned Reality:
Our writing competition became an excellent initiative to revive and rebrand Punjabi literature. It helped us reach the legendary authors who refused to part with their ancestral language. Due to this movement, we got the opportunity to work with local authors. Byhelping them digitize their stories and preserve their work, we laid a new hope for the revival of these languages.
If you are a writer writing in local language and are looking to publish your work, Daastan is the perfect place for you. Sign Up with us and fulfill your dreams today!
Daastan has had the honor of knowing, providing services to, and publishing various distinguished personalities from all across Pakistan. All of them have been working in one or another innovative way to help our country summit mountains. To be trusted by these individuals and to be able to fulfill their criteria of an effective service is the reason that Daastan has grown exponentially. The latest in the list of such personages was Hassan Mueez – a business man who is also graduated from a prestigious institution.
Hassan Mueez’s Journey:
Belonging to an otherwise underdeveloped area of Punjab, Burewala, Hassan had the extraordinary passion of reading and writing. From the start, it seems, he knew how to get ahead. It was this quality of his which eventually lead him to pursue and complete his master’s degree from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). After his graduation, he moved back to his hometown and started his very own business, launching a rice factory by the name of Al Majeed Rice Factory.
His Secret to Success:
The book that he chose to publish digitally through Daastan, on our Qissa portal, fell in the genre of self-help, titled “Fear Management”. A strong believer in the word of God, Hassan introduced a way to get the most out of our fears, proving that we cannot be held back by something that resides only in our minds. The book approaches the topic with a practical mindset, providing accurate explanations regarding where these feelings stem from and how to outsmart them. Hassan’s book was later also published on Amazon Kindle.
Are you a writer looking to publish your work? Join us today and earn the fame you deserve!
Come the summer of 2018, having just successfully conducted a ground breaking season of The Stories Untold, Daastan teamed up with a few others who were also in the race to bring quality literature to their readers. Since its inception, Daastan and Qissa have scaled, and eventually launched a writing competition which was dubbed “Literati”. The team was once again taking not only Pakistan by storm, but also slowly but surely taking over the world too. And so, to bring another round of thought-provoking stories that made one bite their nails with the anticipation of what was coming next, we opened the award for participants from all over South Asia.
Literati Micro Fiction:
Literati was brought to the public in collaboration with White Falcon Publishing, a company that provided the services of self-publishing much the same way as us and encouraged quality literature to find its way to the surface, but across the border in India. Another collaborator of the micro story writing competition was Outcast, a queer lit magazine which was founded by a graduated Literary Fellow of Daastan. The authors of the micro fiction award were given a time period of one month, in which they were to write short stories with no more than 2500 words on the themes of “The Fifth Rivulet” and “Mosaiced Souls”. The themes themselves were enough to get any true storyteller thinking and dreaming in their world of imagination, spinning and weaving tales which would eventually find their way to our screens.
The award was closed a month after its launch, and all the partners were delighted to received more than a hundred submissions of gripping and awe-inspiring literature. The submissions were all carefully reviewed, and the top 20 were selected. These finalists would receive the exciting prize of seeing their work go into print, along with exclusive opportunities to further their career as a writer.
Ours is a mission to put a book in every hand, join us now to to become a part of our community of readers and writers.