Articulating views and opinions through words is not that easy and simple as most people think.
Very often writing is described as an intellectual skill of placing ideas and opinions in black and white but personally I find writing as an inborn trait of representing oneself and his societal and environmental vicinities. Anyways, whatever the description, writers are ear and eyes of the society and creative interpreters of all sort of happenings within the social system. When writers put in extra efforts and turn more creative they are named as over enthusiastic narcissists with ulterior motives and when they become selective and measured they are termed as sulking and selfish apostates. Articulating views and opinions through words is not that easy and simple as most people think. Particularly, in a place like Kashmir where the situation has not been conducive for any creative work for last more than two decades and writers are the worst victims of surliness and subjected to virtual bullying by anyone facing the heat of their pen. Kashmir politics (particularly prevailing unrest), societal matters and environmental concerns require honest and objective manifestation and most of the writers in Kashmir true to the ethics of writing do justice to the best of their ability sometimes even at the huge cost of extreme pressure. It is not necessary that all writers may have faced the wrath but most of them had to experience hostility at any point of time in one or the other form. While writing without fear or favor one cannot please everyone and thus anger from people who get annoyed is obvious. In the contemporary era of fast and consistent electronic feedback mechanism, every writer is just a click away from his or her followers and adversaries so every writer is under the radar and more vulnerable to all sorts of criticism. Interestingly, most of the writers don’t disclose or mention about their experience of hostility or criticism in public unless the situation becomes nastily harming. During my writing experience spread over more than a decade along with a lot of love and appreciation I have faced a considerable amount of healthy and offensive criticism on several occasions. Appreciative feedback acknowledging meaningful articulation of different issues and situations related to society, politics, economy and environment would give me more energy to chase my writing passion but unfortunately certain mail and open criticism casting aspersions on my writing skills, motives, and associations were not in good taste and would most of the time push me and my ideas to the wall. Interestingly, at occasions I was dubbed as a communist, others branded me as myopic communalist and some called me a cynic not at peace with anyone. Nonetheless in every instance I acknowledged and thanked everyone with kind words. Some made me laugh at their imprecise criticism and others very shrewdly cornered and coerced me to trigger tears in my eyes. Animosity and acrimony haunt the writers time and again and I am no exception! But I explore opportunities for creativity out of these hostilities. My detractors to browbeat me and chase me out of the writing passion tried everything. They ridiculed me, put me on notice to be silent, and lured me to pastures of status and stature. However, I stand rock solid in favor of whatever little writing traits I possess and profess. Much of our society weighed down by intolerance are very often apprehensive about the objectives of our writers—creative people otherwise holding a mirror to people with authority on behalf of the society.
Like all other creative people gray and bright patches are valuable assets of writer’s visionary pursuit and have to be taken in stride, however, when the criticism becomes more personal and intimidating there is no other option left but to go beyond self-defense and writers aggression is nothing but more fire out of his pen. Well, I wish to conclude the experience of love and pain faced by most of the writers in Kashmir with few selected lines of subcontinent’s prominent revolutionary poet late Ahmad Faraz’s most widely acclaimed poem ‘Mahasara’(The siege).
“mirā qalam nahīñ kaasa kisī subuk-sar kā
jo ġhāsiboñ ko qasīdoñ se sarfarāz kare
mirā qalam nahīñ tasbīh us maballiġh kī
jo bandagī kā bhī har dam hisāb rakhtā hai
mirā qalam to amānat hai mere logoñ kī
mirā qalam to adālat mire zamīr kī hai
isī liye to jo likkhā tapāk-e-jāñ se likhā
jabhī to loch kamāñ kā zabān tiir kī hai
tamām umr kī īzā-nasībiyoñ kī qasam
mire qalam kā safar rā.egāñ na jā.egā”