In defence of Dr Mir Khalid: Why truth gets our goat?

  • Imtiyaz Assad
  • Publish Date: Dec 13 2017 8:25PM
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  • Updated Date: Dec 13 2017 8:39PM
In defence of Dr Mir Khalid: Why truth gets our goat?File Photo

Close on the heels of an interview by Gowher Geelani with Mir Khalid, the author of Jaffna Street, published in Kashmir Ink Magazine, some guys rolled up their sleeves, pulled up their socks and started hauling Mir Khalid over the coals for calling "native writers" as "Wannabes" and many other things which they took umbrage at, as if the author had committed a blasphemy by calling a spade a spade.

 I wonder, why a massive tide of anger overtakes us when someone speaks an unsavoury truth that we find hard to swallow? Mir Khalid is right in his conclusions. What great corpus of literature have we produced that we can seek inspiration from? Can any of the works churned out by our lionised authors and that of Camus, Kafka or for that matter Dostoevsky - be put in the same scabbard?

 I don't deny the fact that in a conflict-torn state, if someone raises a voice of protest through the medium of pen , he ought to be patted on his back, but glorifying their half-baked stuff is stupid at best and unpalatable at worst.

Well, I happened to see a particular self-styled Gabriel Garcia Marquez picking holes with the stylistic facet of Khalid's writing. This is classical example of: Grapes are sour. Man, to reach the writing skills of Khalid, it will take you decades and yet you will be still languishing at the margins cursing your fate. Another guy has tried to pour ridicule upon Gowher Geelani despite the fact he is just an interviewer and states what interviewee puts across; so what is the point of aiming your impotent weapons at him?

 Well, coming back to my point. Sympathy with our local writers is good but it must not make us blithely overlook the great literature French, Russian or British or American writers have produced. Khalid is right when he says had "brilliant tour de force works" been written, our aspiring young writers could have drawn inspiration from them. Why should it get on our nerves when it is purely in our better interest and likely to act an impetus to the active breed of writers to give birth to something great? We celebrate mediocrity, and make holy cows of our local authors who are yet to step out of their narrow orbits and shed their goddamned hubris.

 However I do disagree with Mir Khalid when he accuses our "poetry dabblers" and prose "afficiandos" of not having ever heard of Emily Dickinson, David Remnick and Kazuo Ishiguro. This is purely underestimating the literary tastes of our young poets and prose writers and should not have come from writer of Khalid's stature. I know a lot of local poets and prose writers who have read a plenty of serious stuff - more profound and sublime than David Remnick and Kazuo Ishiguro, so this accusation by Mir Khalid carries no substance.

 To end with, I must say, we have a young lot of writers who are endowed with tremendous potential and are capable of producing good stuff.They need to set sights high and aim higher, as suggested by Mir Khalid. So long as we are unable to produce Dostoevsky and his ilk, Khalid's seemingly blunt and bitter assertions will continue to rankle our nerves.


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