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Self-help literature: 4 young writers explore ‘Textual healing’

Post by on Tuesday, August 3, 2021

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Self-help books are written and read for the purpose of helping people to live and die better. While the genre received an overwhelming attention from the greatest philosophers including Aristotle, Seneca, Plato etc, many scholars have dismissed the idea of self-help books. Some people even claim self-help books to be the most derided genres of the literary world. Amidst all the dismissal, authors across the globe continue to write and readers continue to read self-help books with great enthusiasm, and our part of the world is no exception.
In the recent past, Kashmir has witnessed a surge in the number of young authors who have published books in all genres and self-help is one of them. Here are few young authors who have come up with their work in the self-help genre.
1.  Musaib Malik- “Civilized Terrorist”
Musaib Malik, 18, is one of the youngest humanitarian, entrepreneur and a United Nations Volunteer (UNV) of the valley. Born in a philanthropic environment, Musaib grew up with the passion of helping others. Musaib at a young age has started many initiatives which are aimed at providing succor to the needy and raising awareness among youth regarding various social issues by conducting drives and awareness programs.
 Musaib also hosts a podcast titled ‘Sets of change’, where people share their ideas, stories of success and failure and reformative theories. “The podcast is diverse in its content as it covers different topics ranging from self-help, business to entertainment and music. ‘Sets of Change’ has an audience in Kashmir and across the globe. The podcast also spreads awareness among people about Kashmiri culture,” said Musaib Malik.
In order to further proliferate his reach, Musaib has authored a self-help book titled, ‘Civilized Terrorist- How to discover yourself, internal peace and live a happy life unbothered by society.’
The book is a guide to self-discovery, true happiness, and a care-free attitude towards negativity. Self-awareness and knowledge about oneself forms the very foundation of the book. An unpopular yet accurate idea about positivity is given in the book, that most may be uncomfortable with, asserting that positivity isn’t feeling right and high all the time but having the right kind of attitude towards life, mainly the low-moments that one tries to avoid through quick fixes. The book also gives a clear idea about the importance of a strong character, by citing to the qualities that elderly people had; effective communication skills, honesty, concern towards their neighbors, valued small things, and a strong character. The author then points out the big problem in today's generation doing majors in minors, explains how it is distracting people from the big picture. Musaib Malik then writes about how to know more and have a receptive mind. He also puts light on the topics that the school has failed to teach us and the importance of personal values, accepting the failures, and having the right kind of attitude towards the failures.
2.  Owais Shafi- “Hard Dreams”
An Engineer by Profession, Owais is a budding entrepreneur whose ambitions boil down to a single purpose of serving people in the best possible way be it as a writer or a businessman. Owais Shafi, after publishing many journals and articles, was insisted by his friends and family to write his full-length book, although hesitant at first he put it on the backburner, but being home ridden because of the three back to back lockdowns in Kashmir, Owais finally decided to document his years long writings and experience, and came up with "Hard Dreams" as his debut book. The book is a retelling of Owais’ life. “In the book, I have tried to present how I felt at different milestones of my life; from an elementary scholar who was up to no good, to a weird nerdy college guy. I have tried to present how I felt at those times to emulate a sense of how I as a person changed with time,” says Owais Shafi.
3.  Sheba Sharief- “Sailing through Darkness”
A post graduate in English language and psychology and currently pursuing her Ph.D in psychology, Sheba started her journey of the literary world in 2019, when she published her first book ‘Unheard Cries’, which fetched her an overwhelming response.
In an attempt to address many morally reprehensible orthodox beliefs prevalent in our society, Sheba has recently came up with another book titled ‘Sailing through darkness’. The book is an amalgam of themes with feminism and self discovery at its thematic core. The book describes the journey of the protagonist Muskaan from being   a naïve and juvenile girl to an independent individual. Amid this transition, she makes many realizations which change her worldview dramatically.
4.  Gousia Ajaz Khan- “Thorn in your throat”
Gousia Ajaz Khan has completed her bachelor’s degree in electronics and communication engineering. She loves expressing her thoughts in the form of writing while trying to inspire and motivate people through her words. According to her, many people share the same story and in silence they are fighting their battles. “Words carry the divine power of healing that can change a person’s life and penning down the thoughts is my way of spreading positive vibes among the readers. I firmly accept and believe that life is a beautiful struggle and one should deal with it patiently and with fierce determination,” says Gousia Ajaz
Referring to her writing journey as her lockdown venture, Gousia authored the book “Thorn in your throat” and began her journey as a writer two years back and then published her work on various social media platforms where she received good response for her writings.  Watching people suffer silently and suppressing their feelings and ultimately ruining even the beautiful things around them, stimulated the author to write about things that people usually hide because of the obvious stigmas that control our minds, even if many of us deny such beliefs but still those societal fears reside somewhere in the back of our mind. The book ‘Thorn in your throat’ is about motivation and inspiration. The author neither tries to put all the scenarios under the same umbrella nor tries to weigh every other person’s miseries in the same scales, the words woven into this book are an effort to broaden the reader’s vision while helping them to have deeper recognition and realization of the mess and muddle that everyone of us underwent but somehow survived.
 

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