Photo Credits: Hussain Afzal/Dawn.com
Ibn Insha once said that he did not dare open Yousfi’s newly published book for it would be over and he would not write another for a decade. Well, Hanif may not take as long to write another but surely I shared Insha ji’s sentiments before opening his new book.
Its a pleasure reading Hanif’s writings. Its even a greater pleasure listening him in person. He is not larger than life. He appears like you and me. He does not construct philosophies in the air. He does not think reading novel is a noble task. He admits he is not productive at times. He admits that he does not have big blue print before starting a novel. He looks at things from a common man’s lens but with a sensitivity and vocabulary which distinguishes him from the rest. He is one of few writers who could express themselves equally well in English and Urdu, perhaps Punjabi as well. He said that he has made no political statement in this satirical piece. ‘Waisay bhi tanz-o-mizah se kisi ki islaah ho jaati tu barood aijaad na karna parta’, said Yousfi sometime ago on the impact of his own book.
He is no Chetan Bhagat but he has a way with youth who were the most active group at the book signing, asking questions and taking pictures. The audience at Liberty Books BBQ Branch included 7th graders and oldies. All of them had questions for him. All of them queued up to get their copy signed.
His ideas on faith sounded little reactionary. Which is fine. ‘No one ever gets it right anyways’. Hanif did not mention it here but ‘Mangoes’ is being translated in Urdu and Sindhi. His current book is dedicated to his friend, Hassan Darus, A famous Sindhi Poet.
It was a beautiful evening. Thank you Liberty. Thank you Hanif.