Friday, February 28, 2014

Legend in Lifetime: Magical Urdu storyteller Mohiuddin Nawab wants his stories to be translated in English and Hindi


Mohiuddin Nawab, who rules over Urdu story world, is a true legend.

He is the man who has authored Devta, the most voluminous and longest running novel ever written in any language, and that runs into more than 50 volumes.

He is also the man whose stories are published in almost every monthly [digests] in Urdu and are awaited by millions of readers, in India & Pakistan.

Also, publishers in India, print and sell his novels, of course, without copyright [and no royalty]. His novels and stories are awaited by a large number of readers. On blogs the entire novels are copied and uploaded by fans.

The octogenarian writer who is known for his unique writing style, finds tales from the people around us and then writes extraordinary stories about ordinary men. He is a cult following. While his stories exhilarate you, at the same time they also have a social message and expose the hollowness of our society.

Nawab sahab lives in Karachi in Pakistan. There is little doubt that he is an inimitable writer and generations have loved him. Still, there is a very sad aspect. Perhaps, it can happen only in the East, that such a major writer hasn’t got the due regard from so-called ‘literary world’.

Is it because his writings—though no less incisive than the leading litterateurs, mostly got published in popular magazines [digests] that have huge circulation, and not to literary magazines. Isn’t it an irony? It is an honour to be able to have a brief chat with the famous author who has been writing for the last 55 years.

Interview with Mohiuddin Nawab

*Nawab Sahab, first tell us about your childhood and how you were drawn towards writing stories?

Mohiuddin Nawab: I was born in Kharagpur in West Bengal. The year was 1930. I was interested in listening to stories when I was a kid. I also enjoyed narrating tales. Rest, it is life that has taught me. I consider me a student till date. I guess it was my destiny to become a writer.

*How many stories you have written so far?

Mohinuddin Nawab: Frankly, I never kept an account of the number of stories wrote. But I believe that I had more stories to tell than most authors. Devta is undoubtedly the longest story written in any language in the world.

*We wonder, how you can write so much. Once it was commonly known that you dictated and recorded your stories.

Mohinuddin Nawab: It depends on the mood. Sometimes I write and t here are times when I use the tape-recorder. These days, I am also using computer.

*Your stories show your deep insight about the society. There is also a message in them. How do you get so many experiences about people and their lives, which help you form such strong characters?

Mohiuddin Nawab: From books, I gather information about the world around. I study people and try to understand their psychology, their actions. The effort to get into the person’s mind, helps me create the stories.

*How did you plan writing ‘Devta’?

Mohiuddin Nawab: Every person’s brain works differently. I thought that it would make the diverse kind of human minds play through my pen. Emotions like love, hate, treachery and all other passions come out of human mind. I successfully wrote this long story for a period of 33 years.

*Who inspired you as a writer?

Mohiuddin Nawab: I learnt from my predecessors. Learning is a constant process. Sometimes, a child says something that astonishes you and makes you ponder over it.

*Do you write poetry also?
Mohiuddin Nawab: Sometimes I do write couplets.

*Any message for young generation?
Mohiuddin Nawab: I wish that youth would devote more time towards reading. Excessive use of mobile phone hampers their creativity. I hope that the youngsters would read  books as they are a true friend and have a treasure of knowledge.

[These are excerpts from a long interview, which is soon going to be published.]