Feeling scared is essential for health, says novelist Hanif.


HYDERABAD -- Celebrated writer Mohammed Hanif says that he often tries to write 'love stories' instead of violent ones, but whenever he does it, someone goes 'missing' and things get disturbed.

He concedes that he gets frightened and in a lighter vein puts it that one should be feeling scared as it is essential for health.

Mr Hanif was sharing his thoughts at a session in Ayaz Melo that witnessed a larger number of attendees on Tuesday night.

Novelist Syed Kashif Raza, who has translated his novel A Case of Exploding Mangoes in Urdu, was the moderator.

Putting crisp questions in a lighter vein, Raza asked him how he started writing in multiple languages. Hanif explained that language had unique dynamics in Pakistan. He hailed from a Punjabi family, studied Urdu in government school and while he was working in Urdu journalism he switched over to English.

'And when we die we have to answer questions in Arabic,' he said.

He said he wrote drama and one for his wife. 'I still write drama though occasionally,' he remarked and said conditions of writers were not good these days in ours and the neighbouring country.

He told the moderator that he did try to write 'love stories' but someone often went missing when he completed 20th page of a novel so everything gets disturbed.

Hanif also asked Raza why he had translated his book in Urdu.

'Because [Gen] Zia shared our love and because it was a desi novel to show conditions of Zia's era in fiction,' he said and added that Hanif's novel had adequately covered that period of time, including famous 'jokes of rural population that used to be common'.

'Masses lack arms to fight dictator, therefore they turn to jokes to give vent to their feelings and this has been truly reflected in your book,' Raza replied.

The author disclosed that he had started writing a new novel and also had written an opera Bhutto to be presented in the US next year whose composition was being finalised.

He said that Ijazul Haq [Zia's son] had called him to threaten him that if his father had been alive, he would see how he could write this book.

'I told him, 'you are absolutely right, I wouldn't have written that,' Hanif said.

'Every new dictator appears more handsome than his predecessor,' he told the moderator.

He said Hyderabad city was always a shelter for him and whenever he felt broken or dejected he used arrive here to share company with late poet Hasan Dars.

Answering a few questions, he told Farooq Soomro, a journalist...

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