Recently published books by five young Muslim authors reveal a representative voice of a community that no longer takes refuge in indecisive anxieties
Narrative relocation and creative unbinding of oneself can easily wipe out the miasma of isolation, persecution, and discrimination in a tension-fraught world. This is what that five talented young writers — Areeba Nasir, Syed Yusuf Ali, Sara Sartaj, Abdul Saboor Kidwai and Samiya Khan — set forth in their novels that were released recently. Not confining themselves to their mother tongue, they turn to English to prove their prowess globally and also acquaint the readers with a new awakening on all fronts — social, economic, religious and political — that is gaining currency among Indians Muslims.
Not capitulating to reality comprehensible fiction structure, “Mac Guffian” that narrates stories of action, adventure, sex and violence poignantly, these writers are imbued with a strong urge to chew the fat of a series of issues for which there is no easy solution. Their protagonists are not cowed down but continuously try to carve out a niche in the complex mosaic of ethnic culture with their unostentatious simplicity. They conquer despair and angst with hope and faith.
Areeba Nasir’s debut novel “No Exit “ incorporates within its texture a discourse on Kashmir, an oft- repeated topic, but Areeba’s tantalising narration goes well beyond the dross. The protagonist Ruslan, undeterred by discrimination, does not curse the darkness but searches for light within. His story poignantly depicts wanton destruction perpetrated by the militants and powers-that-be with equal vigour. It is a tale of his homeland once considered a paradise on the earth. His tale has an epic sweep as it presents a world view which is unique and universal at the same time. Areeba does not work around a mushy plot, but brings together the diverse stands of culture, religion and regional affiliations that shape one’s personality.
How does one reclaim his legitimate rights? The author’s take on this count is worth mentioning:
“They did what they thought to be appropriate to gain back the lost rights and freedom. But my way was different from theirs, the difference was in our weapons. They had a stone I had a pen.”
Sara Sartaj, a first year student of MBBS, weaves a gripping narrative of magical exactitude and the ways of thwarting the supernatural quandary. Her novel, “The Terrace of Joy” betrays an insightful characterisation of two children, caught in a magical web; their defying all odds and their awe-inspiring sacrifice offer much more in the riff-raff of our life. Sara’s passion, anxieties observations and doubts add verisimilitude to the narrative and open up an illuminating debate on checkmating what looks inevitable.
“The Enigma of Life” by Syed Yusuf Ali offers an intense and vivid glimpse into the cultural sensitivity of Muslim middle class teenagers. Not connected to typical romantic plots, the young author gives a graphic account of joys, disappointment, worries, confusion, defection, daring as well as the most remarkable never-say-die spirit of the lead characters. The first part of the novel, “A New Friend”, reveals a longing for stitching up a warm rapport with even non-human beings, and Yusuf’s latent sensitivity finds solace beyond human surroundings. His novel centres around Imran whose tale has been explored from multiple points of view and ends on a positive note.
After the success of her first mystery novel “Gurlz Club”, Samiya Khan, a student of class IX, has written another novel, “show Fun” that showcases the cherished dreams of childhood that are fast disappearing in the mundane life. Her characters unfailingly display their commitment to human values. One can also see the image of an ambitious and talented writer in the making, communicated in and through her novel.
Abdul Suboor Kidwai’s novel, “The Threesome, Troublesome”, goes well beyond the teenagers’ curiosity. It encompasses all that sums up a formative personality. The story abundantly portrays that the childhood experience is inseparable in our collective psyche.
A careful sifting of the books authored by young Muslim minds makes it clear that their creative outpourings replete with positive disposition are very much a voice of a community that no longer takes refuge in indecisive anxieties.