A young breed of authors is coming up in Kashmir, who have impressed one and all with their multi-faceted writing skills. We have writers as young as 12-year-old carving out a niche for themselves in the literary world. Some are writing about the pain of their land, while others are enlightening people about hope and peace. Today, we gathered four young authors to trace out their journey into the contemporary world of literature.
Who is Nida Noor?Â
I'm a mechanical engineer plus a writer. I have done my schooling at Mallinson girlsâ€™ school and I am a book person.Â
How did you start your journey of writing?Â
Instead of toys and TV, I and my sister always would have a book in hand. My father is an avid reader and he inculcated the same habits in us. When kids would be playing with toys, I would be immersed in my storybooks, I had my own world, my own fascinations.Â
How did you think of writing a book?Â
In 2019, I started an Instagram account 'bookievibe' to share the producive information with people. I began uploading pictures of books I have read and wanted to read. I would read a book and review it and post it on my account. Eventually, I developed contact with like-minded people and we began discussing our favourite authors. I got connected to book lovers all over the world and our network broadened up. We would read a book for a month and then review it. I joined many online book communities over social media and got to know more about books. It was then I thought that I had to write a book. There were many topics but I desired to write about my homeland.Â
What's your book about?Â
My book â€˜Two and a Half -- The Knock of Chillai Kalanâ€™ is a fantasy fiction. It's inspired by the folktale of waiwoff - an evil, mysterious creature.Â
When did you start writing the book?Â
Pandemic helped me a lot, it was a blessing in disguise for me. I began in June 2020 and was over with my first draft by December. The book has a total of 28 chapters. I designed the book cover myself.Â
How easy or difficult was it for you to get it published?Â
It wasn't much difficult, through a friend I got to know about Lieper Publications and after sending them five chapters of the book they found it worth and were ready to publish. Book is also available on Amazon.Â
How has been the feedback?Â
We did a book reading session in one of the cafes and the response received was overwhelming. People who have read it often call me and praise the writing. Due to good response I am planning to write a sequel to the book.Â
Faheem ul IslamÂ
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
As I remember I was studying in class 11th at Sayyid Hamid Senior Secondary School, Aligarh Muslim University, and once I was just scrolling through my facebook profile and I came through an article written by an Islamic scholar under the title â€œDegradation of morality among Youthâ€. This article pinched my inner self and I thought I have to be among those reformers who want to save this sunken ship and lead it to the bright sunshine, as I was well known about the role of youth in the future of nations. That was the time when I started pondering on the things and thought of contributing towards society.Â
What do you do apart from writing?
Presently I am pursuing my bachelorâ€™s honours degree in political science from Aligarh Muslim University. And apart from writing, I do public speaking on different issues through my Facebook page and YouTube channel. I also work as RJ at Kashmir Online Radio as it is my hobby, I do anchoring and work with different national and international organisations for the betterment of youth.Â
What was your first book about and when did you pen it down?
My first debut book is 'The Midnight Silenceâ€™ which I wrote in the year 2020 and also got published in the same year. The book talks about different dimensions of societal issues. Being a Kashmiri, the book contains glimpses of Kashmir valley, nature, hope and youth.The book is a collection of 30 poems that marks almost 77 pages and has been published by Wular Publication House. The book mainly focuses on youth.Â
How long does it take you to write this book?
It took me only 20 days to complete the book. As I start writing the book in the lockdown period so it was a bonus point for me to focus completely on my book. But being immature in the ways of publication, it took me a couple of months to showcase the book in the market.
How did you get it published? Was it easy going or a difficult task?
As we know writing a book is very hard, as it takes your time, money, and the most important thing is patience. You have to be very patient regarding this. So initially it seemed very difficult for me as well, as I was a novice in this field. The question that always stuck in my mind was, how will readers react to my thoughts? But later on when I got appreciation and positive feedback from readers then I thought of going through publication. It was a rewarding experience rather than being a difficult one. But, yes it tests your determination. The publication staff was also cooperative enough which made it easy for me.
Tell us something about your book.
My book â€˜The Midnight Silenceâ€™ is a multidimensional book about societal issues and mostly focuses on the young generation. In our valley right now many youths are involved in drugs and other substance abuse which is very dangerous for our culture and future. So I choose different themes where I can address youth to overcome these situations and be the falcons to rise above all these kind of things. Kashmir and its beauty is another theme that has been described in the book and the things which need to be dealt with in our society to make peace, love, and harmony perpetual in the valley.
How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?
Right now I have one debut book to my credit and I have been the co-author of more than 20 books which have been published nationally and internationally. Some of them have received acclaims internationally. Like, Women Your Strength Or Weakness, Magical Verses, Give Me A Break, Sheen, Inked Gems, Knitting Words, Words Of Worth etc. These all books are on different themes but the most I like is â€˜Women Your Strength Or Weaknessâ€™ as this book contains different replies to the unanswered questions about women. My second book will hit stands soon. It is in the process of publication and will be also a poetry collection. Presently, I am compiling a book â€˜Concealed Chinarsâ€™ which also is under the publication process. The book contains literary works of 20 budding writers who are unable to get the platform and are running out of money to publish their solo book. So I tried to provide them with a platform especially for Kashmiri young writers to showcase their talent to the whole world.
How has been the feedback?
Well, if I will talk about the feedback regarding my writings, my work has been acknowledged and appreciated much. For the last 3 years, I have been writing in the local, national and international newspapers and magazines on different topics. The feedback was and is very encouraging. I have been awarded national award â€˜Rashtra Prerna Award 2020â€™ from World Book Of Star Records as being a best youngest writer from Jammu and Kashmir and also have been awarded Indian Book Of Records with two awards Indian Excellency award for my book as best multidimensional one and Indian Humanitarian award for my writings over spreading awareness on coronavirus. I have been also awarded more than 80 certificates throughout the country and beyond. The feedback for my book in different newspapers was a bonus point and a stepping stone towards writing the second one.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
In my childhood days, the trend was either to opt for the medical or engineering stream. Same in my case, I was in love with medical science and a white apron and even I studied it till my secondary school. But, later on, my ways diverged as I grew up, I fell in love with political science as I wanted to fly above all these kinds of social phobias. I wanted to be open-minded and well-wisher to all. I opted for political science to get know to about the relationships between the countries, and also about the glorious past of Islamic politics.
Tell us something about yourself?Â
I am a 17-year-old learner hailing from Bemina, Srinagar and have recently authored a book â€˜Divulgence OfÂ The Mysterious Fateâ€™.
What has been your journey like and what's book based upon?Â
As this book is based on true events, it was an uphill task for me to complete this. But, somehow I prepared this book, turning the section of oneâ€™s views and perceptions above itself in emotions so that it can connect with the people. The book â€˜Divulgence Of The Mysterious Fateâ€™ is based on true events about a family which is being penalized for unknown reasons, whose voices were suppressed, whose words were erased, whose souls were degraded, humiliated, blamed, cursed, manipulated, controlled, which encounters a lot of obstacles and barriers throughout their journey.Â
How long did it take you to complete the book?Â
I have written this book in just 6 months when Covid-19 pandemic hit the world and got the time to covert this disadvantage into an advantage to make the most of it.
What's your inspiration?Â
I'm inspired by the author Anne Frank who has written â€˜Dairy of a young girlâ€™. One of the quotes of the author has changed my way of thinking and that is â€œpaper has more patience than people.â€ So it was the moment when I chose to jot down the stories that are hidden from the world. The stories that are unfelt, unexpressed, unsaid, unheard, whose utterances were erased, whose beliefs were suppressed, whose lives are ruined. Yet they kept silent to no sounds except that of deep and low moans at night.
What did you want to do when you were a child?Â
I yearned to become a voice of the people who are tight-lipped and to bring an encouraging revolution around the world so that no one could persecute the inferior and the modest one. As in my book, it is all about a dominant woman, she addresses that men are believed to behave as inherently aggressive and violent. They are not allowed to be flexible; they are compelled into the narrow definition of a male who canâ€™t convey their full range of emotions. Actually, within a scenario, it denies the existence of basic rights to men. Women are taking advantage of feminism.Â But it seems incredibly unfortunate if feminists are serious about challenging the stereotype of stoic pain suppressing males, dismissing wrongful accusations on men. Basically, we live in a country where women are always innocent until proven guilty and men are always guilty until proven innocent. Apart from writing, I also yearn to become a gynaecologist in future and want to serve the people.Â
How has been the publishing process?Â
It took almost one month to decide which publishing house should I prefer, as I wanted to make my work talk of the town, and am glad I choseÂ my publisher wisely â€œWulur Publishing Houseâ€ for prioritising authors rather than the business.
How has been reaction of people to your writing?Â
It doesnâ€™t matter for me that how many books of mine sold out, the thing that matters is how many people realized what I wanted to convey through my book. And by the blessings of the Almighty, I received a lot of reviews and people insisted that I should write another book. Most of the readers said after they finished reading the book, they would immediately start to think about what they are going to read next as it felt like reading their own story.
Had you ever thought to publish your work?Â
I never thought am going to be a published author. I was just making diary entries as I was totally not in a position to share it with anyone due to my introverted nature, but I did it somehow by preparing this book so that what I believed people could see the reality.Â
You got published at 14, which means you are still in school, so how did you find the time to write two books?Â
Writing for me is a passion, I have been an ardent reader since my childhood. I always wanted to write. I would write poetry, short stories when I was still in my 4th class. It comes very easily to me, after finishing school and homework, I would devote time to writing and since pandemic, I got a lot of time to write.Â
Tell us something about your books?Â
I have written two books: 'The magical piece of poetry' and 'In the wake of 30 years- A long Timeâ€™.Â The first one is all about poetry and the latter one is a fiction adventure.Â
How long did it take you to publish the book?Â
Every day, I would spent three hours in writing, since these are not lengthy reads so I completed one in a month and the other in just 20-days.Â
Does writing come naturally to you?Â
Writing is my passion; I had to write because I wanted to write. I'm only following my passion and would continue to do so.Â
Was publishing your book an easy process?Â
Initially, I had to look for publishers and I had little idea about it. But then I got to know about an online platform that publishes books, so that's how I got in touch with notionpress.com and they published my work. I am now planning to publish the hard copies and that would be done very soon.Â
How do your peers react to this part of yourself?Â
My friends have always encouraged me. My teachers have honed my writing skills.Â My friends come with varied suggestions and advices about my writing and I follow them with all my heart.Â