'S Asian women writers brutally scrutinised'

Women writers in South Asia face resistance if they take up bold issues, says novelist Shobhaa De.

india Updated: Dec 02, 2006 15:20 IST

South Asian women writers are "brutally scrutinised" and face resistance if they take up bold issues, says Indian novelist Shobhaa De.

In such cases, support from the writer's family is crucial, De said at a launch in Karachi of Kolachi Dreams, the second novel by Pakistani woman writer Nadya AR.

De said she was "deeply grateful" to her husband Dilip for standing by her side. Her husband was also at the function.

De said she saw much similarity between India and Pakistan, between Mumbai, her city, and the port city of Karachi, and the family support Nadya was receiving, just as she had received.

De called for making cultural exchanges an integral part of India-Pakistan relations.

That would help in making the two countries realise that they really weren't "all that different once they embrace each other wholeheartedly".

De said she was in Karachi "to prove that we, the people of the two countries, should live the lives that we want rather than the ones that have been thrust upon us."

Nadya's protagonist BK turns into a terrorist to avenge his sister's rape and murder by the landlord of his village.

It is the story of BK's escapades with political leaders, spiritual healers, clairvoyants and comrades in Karachi in a thorny journey for justice.

According to De, writing on such a theme was bold, considering the situation in South Asia.

She congratulated Nadya for writing such a vibrant novel. "I found this book emotionally charged and a combination of factors that can make any book a wonderful read.

"I read the first few chapters of the book when I received the manuscript, I didn't even have to complete it and I knew she had done it.

When I talked to Nadya about her book, I told her that each book has its own taqdir (fate) and I am sure Kolachi Dreams will find its readership both within Pakistan and worldwide."

Talking about how she felt about being in Pakistan, De said: "It seems to me that Mumbai and Karachi are twin cities in terms of people, culture and environment! I wish we lived in a borderless world.

"I can't believe that Nadya and I had never met before because she seems like a younger sister to me. This is how much at home I feel here."

First Published: Dec 02, 2006 15:16 IST