Literary chat: First inspiration was Mirza Saheban: Akbar

Writer speaks about his inspirations and influences

Writers, readers and literary experts gathered to hear about the writer and interact with him. PHOTO: HAFSAH SARFRAZ

ISLAMABAD: It is indeed a great honour and pleasure for a writer when his or her work is analysed and evaluated by another writer. This was said by Dr Ehsan Akbar, an acclaimed writer and recipient of Pride of Performance Award, on Thursday. Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) organised a literary sitting with him, where writers, readers and literary experts gathered to hear about the writer and interact with him.

He narrated stories from his childhood and youth and spoke about his inspirations and influences as a writer. “I moved here from Bhopal and was initially located in a small town Noshera near Gujrat. My father and grandfather stayed back while me and my brother came with our uncles and we faced several difficulties. However, it was amid challenges and difficulties that I got attracted to literature. The small town where we located to, had libraries where reading was a general trend and that is how I developed a fondness for reading and literature,” he said.

Speaking about his interests, the writer mentioned that at a certain point in life, he was really fond of Lata’s music and that also influenced his work. The first time he got inspired to write was when he heard ‘Mirza Saheban,’ he mentioned while speaking about his influences. “Mirza Saheban ignited a sudden passion in me to write and then onwards I started writing prose and poetry,” he added.

Dr Akbar also remembered Allama Iqbal and said that his work has been inspired and influenced by Iqbal too. “I read Iqbal’s work while I was in Chakwal, working as a lecturer,” he added. He further said that as a writer, he felt very deeply about the Kashmir issue and that it has impacted his writing.

PAL Chairman Dr Muhammad Qasim Bhugio told The Express Tribune that the academy has launched a small café at one of its corner, which welcomes people from all walks of life to come with their friends and colleagues and enjoy a cup of tea. “Restaurants have become so expensive that we thought it was integral to have a place where people can come in to have conversations and discussions without spending a fortune. A cup of tea here costs a mere Rs25,” he said.

He further said that he encourages people to come and use the library, read books and continue the legacy of Pakistani literature. He encouraged people to come and use the place as a public area for meaningful discourse.

“Such sessions with literary experts and writers are not just a great way to honour their efforts but a very inspiring session for junior writers, who gain knowledge and inspiration from them,” said Farah Deeba.

The session was attended by literary experts including Jaleel Ali, Hassan Abbas Raza, Hameed Shahid, Masood Mufti and Deeba.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 23rd, 2015.


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