Over the years, Daastan has had the pleasant opportunity of involving with us individuals from all walks of life, to help us rework and rebrand the literary industry of Pakistan. We have had intellectuals of the highest order, those seeking Masters and PhD degrees and on the forefront of the pack who will change the world, and also those who carried a dream in their eyes and a fiery passion in their heart, but due to lack of opportunities were not able to put their ideas to work. It was people like these, who rose from the bottom and shot for the skies, that inspired us the most. And so, we decided to showcase their talent to the world.
We at Daastan coined a product by the name of “Trailblazers”, to exhibit the life, the struggle, and the consequent successes of those who we had seen grow. These were the people who we believed walked a road previously not taken, lighting a fire to help all that would follow in their wake. We wanted our community to see how these people’s efforts landed them in a place where they were socially impactful, and empowering not only themselves but also all those who were connected to them.
One such person, who challenged the status quo and rose above the rest, is Sameen Aziz. Though raised in Balochistan, considered the land that offers the least opportunities, she found a passion in her soul for the arts, that started from photography. Over the years, that hobby lead her to learn design, and she caught a lucky break and started working with literary platforms like Zanjabeel – A bookstore by Nemrah Ahmed and The Ancient Souls. Eventually, she joined Daastan as a Literary Fellow of the second batch, and worked on opportunities related to design, and that which was to become the basis for her profession later – digitizing. During the fellowship, she along with four literary activists digitized a beautiful but forgotten masterpiece by an Urdu legend, Hazrat Zaka.
The Formation of Harf Nagar:
Upon her graduation, having found a niche for herself which she excelled, she took the step of forming a company which would help authors in digitizing their content, and making it print ready, naming it “Harf Nagar”.
After serving as CEO for half a year, she turned her operations over to Ms. Qudsia Jamali – another one of the graduates of Daastan’s Literary Fellowship and an Urdu Editor at Daastan. Ms. Qudsia then served an Urdu legend Asrar Jamyee, and digitized his manuscript “Tanz Paaray”. They were Daastan’s company of choice, when we secured the rights to republish Kashmir’s first monthly print magazine “Shahadat”, so as to digitize and bring to the public all that literature which was on the verge of extinction.