Literati recognise Fehmida Riaz’s contribution to children’s literature

Abidi says writing for children is like ‘feeling of prayers’

Our Correspondent November 25, 2018

KARACHI: Renowned broadcaster, columnist and literati, Raza Ali Abidi, said that whoever is writing children’s literature must possess angelic attributes because the ones reading their books are angels.

This he said on the third day of the 11th International Urdu Conference in the session “Children’s Literature”. Saleem Mughal, Ibn-e-Aas, Farzana Roohi Aslam and Ameena Saiyid also spoke in the session, which was moderated by Rizwan Zaidi.

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Abidi said, “I have written 19 books for adults while for children I have written 20 books, and that is something I am quite proud of. I feel happy when I write for children as it is the kind of happiness that refreshes the soul.” He added that the language of children was untouched and pure, and when he writes children’s literature, he gets the “feeling of prayers”. He further said that the writer of children’s books should be one who sits in the mother’s scented lap, reads the thoughts of a child and writes about them. It is polished literature.

Saiyid said that late Fehmida Riaz did a lot of work for children’s literature. Riaz contributed in many translations of Japanese books in English to Urdu. One of the books was titles “Barf Nagar ka Shehzada” which gained a lot of popularity amongst children. She also translated many of Hamida Khuhro’s children’s books into Urdu.

Aslam said that children want page-turning books where they stay eager to read about what happened next. “Often children like stories of animals,” she said adding that children’s stories have lots of essential life morals that even we have learnt growing up. “It is the responsibility of the parents to ensure that children develop a habit of reading.”

Ibn-e-Aas said that often we are given the idea that living in the era of technology, children have gotten farther from literature, but this is not true. “We still have up to 56 children’s magazines in the country, and some of their sales are over 100,000 copies.” Children like reading stories of fairies, ghosts and Tarzan; the stories on these characters are still largely being printed and sold.

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Mughal contributed to the session saying that stories are meant for children as they love them.

“Children read stories, expand the scope of their imagination and often take inspirations from them. They read about the characters and start thinking over them.” According to Mughal, often writers think that adding children’s names to stories makes an impact on them but this is not true. “The writer should know how to write a children’s story to make an impact on them.”

Published in The Express Tribune, November 25th, 2018.


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