By Dr Amjad Parvez
Muhammad Hameed Shahid is an established name in the domain of short story writing.
As he reached fifty Dr Tauseef Tabasum thought it pertinent to select fifty of his short stories and compile them in the form of a book titled “Pachas Afsaney”.
It includes author”s established short stories like “Band Ankhon Sey Parey” (1994), “Janam Jahanum” (1998) and “Marg Zaar” (2004). Other short stories are also the ones that invite attention of the readers. The book explains how difficult it is to give voice to a song. One has to burn all his energies to create a couplet “Zakhm-e-Mizrab Sey Rista Hey Luhu Poron Ka/ Kitna Dushwar Hey, Awaz Ko Naghma Karna”.
Similarly developing a story based on what one observes in the environment one lives in and the conflicts one undergoes to express his/her emotions and that too in a limited space, is not an easy task. Hameed shot into fame when his short story “Marg Zaar” was printed in India”s journal “Naya Warq” and was noticed by famous critic Waris Alvi. If that was not enough Shams-ur-Rahaman Farooqui informed him that his short story “Luth” was being included in the syllabus of Urdu literature.
To write stories such as “Maut Ka Bosa”, “Maut Mandi Mein Akeli Maut Ka Qisa” and “Dukh Kaisey Marta Hei” it takes a lot of pain.
A story should be definitely and minutely outlined before it is written. Generally, the average story breaks itself into three parts, namely: Introduction, Development of Plot, and Climax or Conclusion. Into these three portions must be sifted character portrayals, settings, explanation of relative positions of characters, situations and the final achievement of an end toward which the complete story has been progressing.
Muhammad Hameed Shahid seems to do justice with these pre-requisites of writing a short story. The short stories titled “Janam Jahanum” is a story of inner conflicts of two bodies meeting and then ending up in psychological chaos. Rather it should be mentioned that the feeling of existence that when treads the path of life, faces bewildering truths. Then the characters try to find meanings of life, the loneliness, and that of helplessness in the end. India”s editor of literary journal “Intekhab” observes that Hameed”s short stories give more emphasis to the ethics. He opens many vistas for the readers to ponder upon. The short story “Luth” (page 129) is based upon the neglect of the doctors as a patients” body is cut from lower limbs. It also is a depiction of the gap between father and son; gap between the two generations!
The short story “Wapsi” is based on a different theme where the central character a bank officer whose job is to extract money from the defaulters. One such case is that of an old man Fazal Din whose son ditches his old parents and runs away with the money that both had borrowed from the bank. Upon one such visit by the banker to an old house showing all the poverty when the son visits on his mother”s death that everyone is astonished at the strength shown by the old man when he resists the arrest of his son. In this story too, the five requisites of writing a short story have been fulfilled which are introduction of the principal characters, establishing the setting or background as to time and place, inviting the curiosity enough to force the reader to go on to the succeeding development of plot, getting the story under way.
Famous critic Professor Fateh Muhammad Malik observes that despite that Hameed Shahid has spent all his life in the urban areas, there lies somewhere a simple villager hidden in him that equates him to the songs of the birds as part of the family of human beings. The awareness of existence develops elements of surprise and curiosity that has made Hameed Shahid understand tyrannies of the Indian and Greek mythologies and come out with all innocence within him. Abrar Ahmad observes that Hameed Shahid has qualities of being surrealistic and expressive at the same time.
The fifty short stories thus selected by Dr Tauseef Tabasum are reflective of the author”s deep insight to what goes around him and the affect it produces on human psyche.