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!
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.
Stories Untold made rounds over social media recently. Our story writing competition was based on the tragedy of Zainab. Writers poured their hearts out to express their feelings on the incident in order to spread awareness regarding the issue.
Following the horrific misfortune that befell the beautiful little six-year-old Zainab Ansari belonging to Kasur, Punjab, a wave of fright and panic went through all of Pakistan. Each person was recounting the report of that tragedy the family of the little girl had gone through. The trauma they must endure for the rest of their lives is unimaginable. The horrendous act of the perpetrator shattered the happiness of a sound family. It wasn’t one life we lost that day, rather a part of the whole nation seemed to have died along with her.
The Stories Untold : I Am Zainab
At that time, many of the organizations stepped forward to improve the situation and all they could to help. Daastan, after careful consideration decided to launch the fourth season of its signature writing competition, The Stories Untold. The theme of “I am Zainab” was chosen to honor the life that was lost.
Through Stories Untold, we wanted our writers to address the grave issue of child abuse. Moreover, we encouraged them to write about any form of abuse – physical, sexual or emotional. We wanted storytellers to highlight effective ways in order to educate children and protect them from such experiences. Another purpose of this theme was to encourage our community to write stories which would serve as guidance and educational material for their children, helping them learn about this social evil and ways they could protect themselves against them.
The Response to our Competition:
Despite the social stigma surrounding the topic, we received a lot of entries, out of which we selected a dozen as finalists. The authors of these stories were put into contact with a professional psychologists. We made sure that the message of their stories would spread and be followed. Daastan went through various such screenings to make sure the stories would be child friendly and could serve as a genuine guide for both parents and children.
The finalists selected were all published digitally through Daastan. Top 5 stories are to be printed with Qissa so as to help spread this message as far and wide as possible.
We, at Daastan, recognized that abuse was an issue that transcended gender, religion, social, and traditional bounds, and so had its roots present in all kinds of society everywhere around the globe. Through this, both the team of Daastan and Outcast wanted to encourage stories of abuse to come forth from the LGBTQ community. The people who identified as any of these have, more often than not, been ostracized enough, and are at the brunt of many incidents of abuse that are enforced upon them as a way of punishment. The social stigma attached to such cases is even higher than the one attached to cases of child abuse, with people choosing to hush it up rather than talk about it so that the wrongdoers can be held responsible.
The magazine encouraged its writers to challenge the norms and break through the socially imposed boundary of remaining silent in the face of such evil, by raising their voice and penning down thoughtful, and inspiring work, between the word limit of 4000-6000. The competition received numerous entries from across the globe, and was a huge success. Being powered by Daastan, the finalists selected would be published in a print anthology, and the authors would receive a free copy of the published work. Along with this, they would also be awarded with a certificate and their names displayed on both the website as well as the Facebook page to help them gain publicity for their work.
In the wake of the success of the first two seasons of Daastan’s signature story writing competition “The Stories Untold”, one of which landed the team a fund of significant enough amount to bring the shortlisted authors of the competition to print, Daastan launched the third magical (pun intended) season of The Stories Untold sponsored by Aurochs, in collaboration with Words and Metaphors, during the summer of 2017. It was the team’s plan to continue fueling the fire of literature and encourage the creative ones among the public to squeeze out all they had and a bit more, and spin it into a tale. By continuing to hold the contest biannually, Daastan had uncovered a whole trove of creative writers and word magicians, who kept coming back to participate in the subsequent seasons and dazzled us with their unbounded potential.
Having addressed the serious and thought-provoking side of literature in the theme of the previous two seasons, the founders of Daastan decided to lighten the mood with a bit of fairy dust and themed the third season of the recurring competition, “Magical Pursuits”. This theme was picked to challenge the wildly imaginative among us, who have the creativity to step out from the door of reality into a world of magic, driven by the author’s self-made laws of the creation present there-in. Daastan made the perfect choice in the selection of the theme, as the literature of Pakistan was severely lacking in this genre, and so the entries poured in.
As proven by the previous competitions, hundreds of authors toiled to be a part of our family. Stories of 4000-6000 words were submitted to us in both English as well as Urdu, and all of them were screened very carefully to filter out the top few. The stories were judged mostly on the basis on the impact they created on the reader, on the writer’s ability to whip up whole plot lines and characters without loopholes, and how closely they stuck to the theme of fantasy. It was a battle of mythical levels, and the results were finally posted a couple weeks after the deadline closed.