M. Hameed Shahid
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Reliving the past|Reviewed by Jonaid Iqbal

50The world still remembers the horrors of 9/11 and the global impact of this tragedy. It altered the structure of society and effected a change in the psychology and behaviour of human beings.

Literary critic and author of six short story collections, Hameed Shahid has closely observed these changes in people’s attitude over the past eight years and written about it in his latest collection of 50 Urdu short stories, Pachas Afsaney.

Dr Tauseef Tabassum’s long essay, which appears as a preface should convince Hameed Shahid that he already has a place among the important short story writers of Pakistan.

The author has been labelled as a writer who has largely followed in the footsteps of Manto’s technique. Manto was famous for attracting the attention of the readers and exposing his characters’ psychology.

Shahid’s stories make your heart sink with sentimentalism. Consider the story, Marg Zar, included in the collection.

It records the transformation in the subcontinent’s social behaviour after 9/11, even though the story is ostensibly about a soldier’s attachment to his country, and how his death plunges his family in woe and sorrow. The tears that well up in the eyes of the mother cease abruptly. Iftikhar Arif, former chairman, Pakistan Academy of Letters, has called this story as a portrayal of the after-effects of 9/11 on our social structure.

The story Sworg main Suuar (Pigs found in paradise) is replete with references to peanuts, stray dogs and deaths of goats; all these words having found currency in every day lingo after Sept. 11. Thus there are quite a few things to be said in favour of the lingo and similes the writer has used, ‘We often felt the trick of the use of stylistic language throughout the book.’

The prominent short story writer Mansha Yad says that Hameed Shahid has experimented with diction and technique and in this way given something new to Urdu fiction.

— Jonaid Iqbal

Pachas Afsaney
By Muhammad Hameed Shahid
Selection by
Dr Tauseef Tabassum
Poorab Academy, Islamabad
Curtsy : Books & Authors / Dawn 25.10.2009


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