Renowned Kashmiri author laments lack of creative writers in valley

Written by: IANS
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New Delhi, Jan 2: Award winning Kashmiri journalist, Shahnaz Bashir, has lamented the fact that there is no institutionalised set-up in the state for aspiring creative writers. 

Bashir said Kashmir has been a home to sveral renowned writers such as Amin Kamil, Hari Krishan Koul, Ratan Lal Shant, Somnath Zutshi and Dina Nath Nadim, but the valley has been unable to groom new ones.

The journalist-turned-author is, however, hopeful, that coming years may see new writers emerging. He said aspiring writers must be motivated enough to work hard and self train.

Shahnaz Bashir

"There undoubtedly isn't. But I think in the next five years or so we could have it. Apart from that, it is each aspiring writer's personal, individual responsibility to self-teach himself or herself; to read, to work hard and become institutions unto themselves in a culture that is hell-bent not to entertain institutionalisation of creative writing," Bashir told IANS in an interview after the launch of his second book.

Apart from this, he said, Kashmiri writers also don't find publishers very easily. He admitted he himself faced difficulties initially in getting his debut novel.

"The subject is so sensitive. We don't get publishers so easily. I also faced a lot of difficulties in finding a publisher like many other Kashmiris do. Kashmiri writers feel under-confident because of this reason."

Asked why it took so long for Kashmir literature to be part of the political struggle, Bashir said it was because the Valley has seen "a boom in writing in English" only after the 1990s -- incidentally when the armed insurgency began in the state.

And does it mean that all modern Kashmir literature is about suffering? What about love stories from the land that evinces romance?

"That is true. I wish there were an alternative to suffering. There isn't," he said, remembering Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky's wife Anna Snitkina once asking him whether he would ever write happy stories.

(With IANS inputs)

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