A writer’s responsibility Good writing will always find its readers

Zia Darakshan
Writing is such a skill that all of us want to own it like a Rolls Royace. But as is rightly said everything comes with a price. For owning Rolls Royace one must be damn rich and for having writing skills one must be super rich with nuances of language, power of observation etc. Although writing can be learnt with rigorous hard work, unlike poetry which is natural and essentially innate. No one can teach it to you if you don’t already have it.
Writing is a craft, while poetry is an art. This means writing can be learnt like carpentry and poetry is an art like painting etc. One has to be extraordinarily talented to be able to achieve both. As both require imagination, language flow, observation skills and most importantly one must know the tricks of playing with the words.
Writing is not a cup of everybody. Some think they are born writers and can write masterpiece, if given a chance, while some naysayer’s don’t lose a single opportunity to bog down a writer by commenting in a negative way. But in the quest of lambasting the work of a writer these alleged writers forget one thing that writing flows like a stream only when it comes naturally from the heart and not the dictionary.
Writing is different from learning a language also. One can master a language, but still can’t acquire the art of writing despite several years of toil. It won’t be exaggerating to say that, writing can either be inherited because of the good genes or one can work hard by inculcating the art of reading right from ones childhood. But then there is no guarantee of becoming a great writer either.
A writers job is crucial and it puts a heavy responsibility on the shoulders of a writer.
Nowadays, we are witnessing great number of writers coming up with fresh ideas, especially our young generation has been showing inclination towards writing. Young writers are breaking the old clich√© and are surprising readers with their intellect and knowledge. It’s the digital revolution which has been grooming the passion of writing among the youngsters as it’s incredibly providing host of platforms for them to have access to information, analyst it in the given context and then distribute to a vast audience across the geographies.
As Ruskin Bond rightly puts it, ”India could soon be facing a predicament of having more writers than readers. Publishing has become very easy nowadays and writers are making good living out of it.” But the danger of having more writers than readers, as per Ruskin Bond, should not happen.
This is alarming indeed. But as far as writing is concerned, good writers will always be read and appreciated . A drop of scent is enough to scent a room. Likewise good writing will always find its readers. Precisely, if it’s good, you’ll find it out.
However, our young writers who really want to write and pursue it as their career must understand their responsibility towards writing. In recent years we are witnessing a pool of budding writers penning down their books. At 10 or 11th standard they have already published their solo books. To share an incident I recently got an opportunity to meet one such writer. While sharing the details of the book authored at a tender age, the writer’s face clearly expressed the frustration of the baffled. It became quite obvious, during the discussion that writer could hardly assimilate the ladles of teachings engorged in the book.
No matter, whether the writer is blessed with natural talent, genius and skilled, the question is whether a writer is ready to own what he’s writing?
A writer must know what he is writing and must thoroughly research before conveying his or her thought to readers. He or she should have something to say and not write for the sake of writing. Whatever topic he/she chooses to write about, he/she should be highly knowledgeable about, skilled in, and familiar with it.
Let me quote Dr (Prof) Mohammad Mujeeb (1902-1985) – an Indian writer of English and Urdu literature, educationist, scholar and the vice chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi. While explaining the relationship between writer and literature, Prof. Mujeeeb says “There are pool of writers who think whatever comes to their mind they can pen it down and there is no restriction on them in expressing their ideas . However, they forget one thing that nature has not put any restriction on them, rather they are gifted to have this quality of which they can make best use of to benefit the society. Therefore they should work harder and research and research and not think that their knowledge is sufficient, instead they should always try to improve and seek knowledge. On the contrary our writers think their knowledge is sufficient and don’t work hard ,neither research before writing anything. In fact ,if they find few like minded writers who can agree to their dictum they would consider it boon and move on without even re-evaluating the facts.”
Meanwhile, our budding writers need to have hold on the language in which they are penning down their thoughts. They should be skilled like a craftsman and should have appetite to add to their knowledge bank. They should have a deep insight and an eye on world affairs. Respect, honour, truth, integrity and courage should be ornaments of a true writer. As put by Prof. Mujeeb, “When a writer has to express his personality he should not efface his craft while doing so, he should respect his craft. Our writers should be trained on these basic principles.”
So, writers should never consider themselves above this craft. They should not experiment things for which they are not apt and should entertain people only if they know the art of entertaining. Again quoting Prof. Mujeeb, “Writers’ aim in writing should not be romanticism, moreover they should not let their emotions and feelings go stray.”
To conclude, I fervently believe that God has made every human intelligent, but it’s the matter of opportunity one gets to explore his intelligence. All of us can’t be Woody Allen or Anna Kareina. But after reading them, one can be a better writer if not great, hopefully.
(The author is a Srinagar based journalist)