Telling the Kashmir Story
Meet Towfeeq Wani,17-year-old novelist from Kashmir
IRFAN AHMAD MIR
At the young age of seventeen, Towfeeq Wani has written a novel, The Graveyard, based on the mass uprisings of 2008, 2009 and 2010. It took Towfeeq nearly seven months to write the novel.
He started writing it in September 2012 and finished it in April this year. He would bunk his classes to work on the book. “My classmates at AMU would go out to watch movies, but I used to take time off so that I could write,” says Towfeeq with a glint of pride in his eyes.
Towfeeq, a 12th standard student, is studying Political science, Economics and English literature at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). He passed his 10th standard examination last year from Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya (JNV), Shahkote, Uri. Towfeeq was born in an educated family of Baramulla town in 1996. His father, Abdullah Wani, a lecturer by profession and his mother, Shagufta Wani, a teacher, supported his passion for writing from the very beginning. Apart from writing, Towfeeq is a prolific public speaker and debater.
Towfeeq had a vague plot in his mind when he began writing. “As I went on writing, the plot started to develop in my head and I had to make a lot of changes in my earlier chapters,” he says.
Some parts of the book have been written by Towfeeq by imagining himself as a stone-pelter. Sahil, the main protagonist of the novel, is a teenager from Baramulla town who lives with his half-widow mother, grandfather and younger sister. Inspired by Afghan-American novelist Khaled Hosseini’s book ‘The Kite Runner’, Towfeeq has accentuated the emotional aspects of the family members and has portrayed the relationship between them.
Towfeeq has also discussed the relationship between two sides of Kashmir. Calling Aman Setu as the bridge that separates us, Towfeeq says, “worldwide bridges are made to unite people; to help us travel from one side of the river or gorge to the other but ‘Aman Setu’ is unique in its character. It is perhaps the only bridge in world that separates two lands both known by the same name: Kashmir. It is a bridge that marks the line of control and denies people of this land to freely travel across. It is a bridge which is meant to separate us.’’
Sahil, after the death of his friend in 2008 in Muzafarabad Chalo March, wants to find the true motive of his life. People who don’t know much about Kashmir conflict can easily grasp the setting of the novel as Towfeeq has added some brief but very useful nuggets of knowledge and information about the causes that forced people to come out on the streets during 2008, 2009 and 2010 civil uprisings. “As I could not go out on the streets and pelt stones, I wanted to contribute in a different way,” he says.
“Many people ringed me after reading the book and said—you are seventeen and you write well,” says Towfeeq. “It makes me angry when they compare my writing to my age," he says. "Age shouldn’t be a barrier. I just want them to say – you write well."
Towfeeq wants to study law after passing his 12th standard examination. He is presently writing his second novel which is also set in Kashmir. "I write because I love to write,” he says.
The Graveyard, published by Power Publishers, Kolkata will be officially released today by the Vice Chancellor of Central University.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 13 Jul 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 13 Jul 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 14 Jul 2013 00:00:00 IST
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