1. Name: Humra Quraishi. I love my name Humra.Its short and offbeat comes from an Arabic word which means redness.
2. Signature Mark/ Style: My writing is more along the ‘conversation’ informal format and less the traditional or conservative style…. I write as though I’m conversing with the reader; offloading all that I see and sense .Nah , I don’t want to hold back a single detail from the reader .Also , I make it very clear that thankfully I am not an ‘expert’ on any given topic. I’m just a writer baring out /writing all that I ‘m seeing and sensing and experiencing and going through …flowing along with destiny and along those destined turns. Also , I don’t dilute my thoughts or views or expressions, so its all rather stark.
3. First brush with Literature:I have been writing since my school days. I wrote myfirst short story when I wasin school. My first story was published in the PioneerLucknow. The poem revolved around the plight and pain of the Palestinians. Now when Ilook backat my life, the onlyconstant has remained writing.
4. Role and opportunity of a Story-teller: Stories and story tellers have a huge role to play. It’s about time the storytellers spread out from the fashionable circuits and reach out via their story telling sessions to slums and bastis, hospitals and hospices and even to the prisons where hundreds of under-trials wait languishing for something good to happen. Not to be overlooked the basic fact that almost 75% of our jailed population is that of under-trials who, are technically innocent as they are not convicted ,yet they sit imprisoned for years. They are the people who need these stories the most. They are the ones who need to be reached and heard to.In fact, years back a Delhi based social activist , Saroj Vashisht used to read out stories to under-trials lodged in Delhi’s Tihar jail and she would tell us how story telling / interactive sessions helped lessen the agony of those inmates.
5. Future of Literature in our country:It is rightly said that turbulent times brings out a whole range of writing material – the so called ‘best possible’ Literature from a writer.Yes, we Indians are going through tough times in our country and with that in the foreground or backdrop, Literature is bound to be stark. Needless to say, Literature will continue to be out there as long as thinking heads are around!The more the provocations in the world around, the harder hitting will be the stories.
6. Impact of Literature in society:I am of the opinion that it is the society that impacts the writer and also Literature. After all, the writer is not sitting and writing in a vacuum. If she or he is seeing and sensing surcharged build- ups and sorrow spreading around, it is bound to get reflected in the writer’s work.Also, there is nothing called as ‘pure fiction.’ Writer’s own personal life along with the reflection of the society gets manifested in their stories.
About Literature leaving an impact on society, I am not too sure of that now. Gone are those golden old days of the likes of Sadat Hasan Manto and Munshi Premchand. Today there are much more writers and even more books but I’m not too sure whether they impact or not. They could be a fine read but not impactful enough! None of the literature today is potent enough to force you to introspect, or propel one to rebel or chase a question in ablatantly forceful way.
Humra Quraishi — Kashmir: The Untold Story