December 6, 2023

By Nasim Ashk

Short story has over the time been defined in different ways across the world. Maugham is different in describing the genre of short story to Anton chekov and others are too different in their opinion of short stories.In a nut shell a short story is a piece of prose which can be read in one sitting. We must remember that it is not a micro fiction . To me it is not binding upon the writers to clear all the doubts and confusions of the readers rather the writer depicts just one crucial moment or an idea in minimum words.It has its golden history in the literature.Undoubtedly from English it came into Urdu , an Indian language.In Urdu short stories have been written on a large scale.There is a long list of short story writers.It has its own charm. with advancement of the society it changed its shape and were used for telling just one feeling or emotion of the author or of another’s life. One more point that I think would clear to you the true nature of short stories is the belief that it began with the first day of human existence on this planet but there was none to tell those stories of lonely earth.with change of civilization it kept the pace up and always walked along with the changing culture and human civilization.It is not exaggeration that it keeps the record of every changes the world has witnessed.From my point of view it is a sliced piece of giant shaped life.
Rendering a piece of literature into another language is not a child’s play.Translating the feelings that put into that particular piece of writing in that very language is a walk on rope and Dr Md Ali Hussain Shaiq,a very renowned name in Urdu Literature, has walked on that rope.The great and wonderful thing that he did it was that he took his original stories which are taken from his different books and reshaped those stories afresh.From my point of view it is a matter of praise for him to perform such an excellent work.Alhaj Dr Md Ali Hussain Shaiq has shown a new way to serve literature. He finds stories on his way absolutely a peculiar thing to believe but at the same time he also thinks of his senses.He has seen the cruel face of life and has a first hand experience with all these happenings.My out look is that creating stories out of imaginary world materials should be discarded.Here there is a huge stock of stories __,look around you ,the stories are scattered and are meant to be written down.Dr Shaiq preferred such stories which are based on the real life of a common man but his common man is more sensible than any other man.He weeps ,he laughs,he sings,he observes and it gives an earthly touch to his master pieces.When he glorifies the blue firmament, he does not fail to express the sufferings and sea changes in our daily lives. The stories infact are the master pieces and they must be applauded with warm hearts.Special thing about his translated book “The Funeral”is the selection of stories, considering the importance of those stories in the present scenario.Using lucid language is another master stroke that he executed in the book.This is a different and rare thing and it should be welcomed.A translated version of same author will definitely give us a sublime feeling.
The Funeral is a collection of short stories by Dr Md.Ali Hussain Shaiq.Dr Shaiq is a renowned fiction writer in Urdu literature and his two books of short stories have garnered a grand appreciation from the the laureates of the specific literature.Being a lover of English language and literature he had a long desire to bring his short stories in English language for the non Urdu readers.
Here a point must be kept in mind that a writer of any language must have a set of eyes in his heart so that he can see and feel what can’t be seen or felt by common people.The book consists of fourteen short stories, I would like to shed my views on a few just to make a brief encounter between you and the stories.
Shaiq has a very close observation of life and its happenings may it be of happiness or sadness.His stories are the presentation of his feelings.Romanticism is not found in his stories,his aim is to disclose the reality of life and so called standard society.
Some times we failed to believe that only education is the key to success.With the advancement of human civilization men have become very inhuman.Having all the requirements of being a successful person deserving all the qualifications one didn’t get a place to stand in his life.who is not aware of the present widely spreaded disease of unemployment?Employment is what makes the beginning of a happy generation with all-round development of a person in a society but when a prefix of” un ” is added to the word employment it has the darkest face of troubles in life.”The Funeral” depicts the dark face of unemployment in the country and leaves a shock to the readers “can it be uprooted from the country ?”The end of Rabindra raises a question which is yet to be answered.
Shaiq’s short stories shows reality of life but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have any thing to do with the fictions.the stories must have a genuine source from where it comes out and strikes a writer’s mind.There are stories with reality even scenography has been drawn but blended with truth.It has an open window from where the writer makes us see the reality and the base of his story building.
“The Anguished call” is a protest against bribery.The writer has seen the cruelties of bribe and he make it regret ful at the end of the story.The confession made by the corrupt soul is quite shocking.Look the confession.
“I have committed so many crimes that I am unable to face the almighty.To end my existence would be better for human being.The poor have suffered much in this world because of my presence”
( The Anguished call )
Some stories are so close to one’s life that he or she takes it as their own.This is called Art and Shaiq proved himself as a master of this art.His stories bring all the fabricated bitter truth out before the readers and pose questions.Ruskin Bond in his story “The eyes have it” says” Well, it often happens that people with good eyesight fail to see what is right in front of them. “
Shaiq just wanted to draw those eyes with a motto to build a better society, a beautiful place to live in.
“The Search” an extremely painful story of an old man searching ,not his grandsons but their souls.This is the story which has no end but a beginning has quite all the things to bring tears in a human eyes.It has become a regular affair .Shame on us to be known as civilised and developed community of living beings, such barbarism is not found in animals,think of our grade in their contrast.
Here is the painful paragraph for you.
“Suddenly the crying sound of a little child in the train startled him and it seemed to him that it would be the soul of his grand sons.The old man once again stared outside the train compartment.suddenly he threw his bundle outside the train and he himself threw outside the train crying that he got the souls of his grandsons.” (The Search)
Shaiq has worked on symbolism in Urdu short stories so it is not beyond expectation that he would fail to produce symbolism in his story.”The Sun” is such kind of story ,there is a huge number of ill fated people who are looking for the rising of their sun of life , here sun has been used as a symbol of prosperity and happiness.The man lying under the shed only managed to attract the attention of the poor and middle class people but could not get the attention of the officials but he survived in search of the sun.Till the end of the story his sun did not rise but the rays of hope in his eyes continued to shine.
A sense of failure of relationships has overshadowed our life.people of present era don’t have enough time to think.They have lost the art of feeling and understanding, they take decisions whether it be right or wrong.
Roshni the Central character of the story “Devi” made a great sacrifice to save a life of innocent child ,brought him to be a successful person but at the end she met opposition from the same child who was thrown away on the road side.Undoubtedly woman is a symbol of sacrifice, love and commitment.End of the story gave reader a lesson not to suspect our pure relationship without rhyme and reason.
“The Statue’s crow” presents a scene of the so called developed society.It is an allegorical story.The statue is a metaphor for power and position.Obviously crowing of such crows that sit around it destroy the peace but it can’t be stopped at any rate, finally it is accepted with heavy heart.
There are so many stories “Wait for the morning ” ,”The Sleeping man” , “The Anguished life” , “The peculiar bird” ,”Smouldering moment,Extinguihing year” etc which will attract your attention and I’m certain you can’t stop yourself to praise the art of the writer and this is what a writer needs.
I appreciate him and rise to give him a huge round of applause for bringing such a wonder ful gift.Seeing the Shaiq’s passion I conclude with John Masefield’s line,
“And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when
the long trick’s over”
God bless his courage and spirit۔
Nasim Ashk
Jagatdal, 24 parganas, West Bengal

Nasim Ashk
Nasim Ashk

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