This is work of Mr. Manzoor Kohiar. He wrote columns in various newspapers and journals in early nineties of twentieth century. These were viewed with admiration by the readers.
Kohyar, the storyteller
Story-telling, perhaps is as old as the oldest spoken language itself. Ever since humans started using language to share their life experiences, these communications often took the form of stories.
Stories emanate from personal experiences and observations. Needless to say, that a story-teller is an ardent observer of the daily life.
Storytelling has gone through different themes, ever since it took the form of published literature. From Romanticism to Realism, the writers have kept the tradition going. Nathaniel Hawthorne, an early Romanticist, had history as an important theme in his tales of love. Hiding away, lessons for the readers in such writings. Authors such as Henry James, Nikolai Gogol, Anton Chekhov and Herman Melville paved the way for Realism through their writings. Forced to ‘get real’, since creativity and imagination were less than appreciated, they still managed to create masterpieces out of the boring, everyday life.
The twentieth century in its early years, gave birth to many a factors that were to change the face of the world. Industrialization, rapid transportation, First World War, mass communication, the studies of Sigmund Freud, Darwin and Marx and the rapid advancement of science and technology, created the most confusing periods of human history. This is what brought to us, what we call today the modern history or the trend of modernism. The modern short story reflected the tensions and transformations of this confusing period. Writers began to experiment with the traditional form of writing and challenged the readers’ preconceived notions of value and order. Ernest Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner and Djuna Barnes were a few of the modernist writers.
After the Second World War, a general sense of depression and hopelessness prevailed. Having witnessed the cruelty, the destruction and inhumanity, writings too became estranged. Post-modern fiction tends to use irony, contradiction, surrealism and absurdity, reflecting reality in a disjointed and dangerous manner, if at all.
Come the 1970’s and 1980’s, a new mode of writing known as minimalism became very popular. Minimalism presents a bare, simplified version of some event, insisting that the reader imagine the rest of the circumstances and their probable impact. It is characterized by ordinary subject matter and straightforward narratives. It is, in a way, an attempt to reflect upon the growing complexities of the world without trying to explain the presented reality to the reader.
Over the past decade, short stories have taken many forms and no longer follow a general theme as opposed to early times. Writing styles such as Micro Fiction, Flash Fiction, the Short Short-Story, Sudden Fiction and Fast Fiction have come into existence.
Sindhi Short Story too has been affected by most if not all of the above factors. Writers have embraced the different styles, whether consciously or not.
Manzoor Kohyar’s stories span from the traditional diction to minimalism and everything in between. This book in particular is an amalgamation of his life experiences and observations. He shows the cultural objectivity in stories, ‘Sachaa koorra Rishta’ (So called Relations), ‘Maal e Ghaneemat’ (Booty), ‘Saadh’ (Saint) and ‘tyon subub’ (the 3rd reason).
He goes on to show the subjectivity of life, the human emotions, and paints nostalgia in ‘Sachi aen Lajawab Kahanni’ (the true story), ‘Dojhiran men phaathal zindagi’ (life of misery) and more.
His commentary on the prevailing socio-political condition comes to life in ‘Raj-karth’ (the kingmakers) and others.
He has also included in this book some of his Sufi Stories, presenting collective wisdom and pluralism.
He ventures into satire and social and technological realism in ‘Doctrate’ (Doctorate), ‘Syaasat’ (Politics), ‘Showbiz jo maanho’ (the show-man) to name a few.
His unique style of writing is unmistakable in all of his stories. He uses it to successfully convey the story, making the user experience the situation rather than just read through.
This being his third book of short stories, is a roaring reply to the fraction of the literary community that believes the short story to be dead. While the oral storytelling will never die as long as humans continue to communicate, Kohyar’s stories are a proof that the written Sindhi short story lives on.
– Balach Hussain
Thursday, January 08, 2009.