Didactic stories with inquisitive endings

Rayaz Ahmed Malik

The book “Qabar mein Zinda Aadmi” is the latest collection of short stories written by Dr. Mushtaq Ahmed Wani, a renowned short story writer, researcher, critic and philosopher of Urdu literature among his contemporaries. The book is published by the Meezan Publishers, Srinagar in the year 2019. He has given colorful title and themes to all these stories and subject matter is embellished like the crystal clear flowing Chenab river which gives a sense of original dwelling of the author i.e. Distt. Doda of Chenab Valley. Few more collection of short stories by the author are Tadaptay Punchhi, Meetha Zehr, Hazurun Ghum and Ander ki Batein published in the shape of books. The author has command over other genres as well and has published books like Taqseem kay baad Urdu Novel main Tehzibi Bohraan, Aaiina dar Aaiina, Aatbar o Meyaar, Urdu Adab mein Tanisyat, Shaaur -e- Baseerat and Afhaam-o-Tafheem Zuban-o-Adab. Few of his books which are under publication are Kharastan ka Musafir (Autobiography), Kya Haal he Janna, etc.
The present book “Qabar mein Zinda AAdmi” comprises of thirteen stories which are lucid and comprehensible even by the children. These stories tell us a way of living life; have lesson and moral for humanity. Dr. Wani’s stories have different ideas depicted by him and deep underlying meaning. The stories have simple narrative and lucid characters. The different virtues like conscience, honesty, truthfulness, transparency, patience, God fearing, God loving etc. are seen in all his stories which are directly reflected in the life of Dr. Wani.
The various short stories in this collection are as under:-
Mujhe Ek din Ghar Jana he: The underlying theme of the story as expounded by the author is that everybody who has come to this world has to leave it and return towards his Creator, the God. The man here experiences and lives a worldly and hectic life after marrying and having children, getting job, constructing a big house in a city and having all luxuries in his life. But here the main character Mohsin Mian, a village boy who had migrated to city for his studies, marries there and had kids. He is very curious to return to his native village as he asks his wife. He is very down to earth and God fearing and always gives a lesson of truth and righteousness.
Intezaar-e-Marg: Intezaar-e-Marg or waiting for death is an interesting social story of an old Salam Din who is God fearing, always prayed to God give a lesson of goodness and honesty. His son and daughter-in-law are fed up by his coughing during nights. Their nights go sleepless and cannot watch TV as Salam Din doesn’t want them to make noise. They both are waiting for his death so that they can take a sigh of relief and watch TV without any fear in their home. Finally Salam Din dies as his grandson also taunts him when to die. Instead of helping the old man in his illness and support him they want him to die to get rid of him which is a social and religious taboo in the society.
Wapsi: Wapsi or Home Coming, the latest social issue relates to casteism and untouchabilities. There are differences in upper and lower castes, between religions and social status which should not come in a modernized society. Here Dayaram wants to convert to Islam but when he sees different sects there he becomes confused what to do and where to go. So sects and status difference is a hindrance in the development of a society and country as a whole.
Aourat: It is a story of Ram Dulari, a well qualified and middle class woman. The story tells us various women related issues and challenges pertaining to dowry, physical and sexual assault, kidnapping, suicide and divorce etc.
Qabar mein Zinda Aadmi: The title short story of the author has its main character as Yaar Khan, a contractor with Australian Company. Once, he alongwith with his family is invited to a marriage party. Yaar Khan stepped into a nearby toilet there for easing himself. But incidentally the door gets locked after it is closed from inside. Mr. Khan tried his level best to open it but all in vain. He remained there inside for hours long and cried but nobody was there to listen to him. He then made mobile calls to his wife and other family members but could not connect to them. Then by chance his wife was there towards the toilet complex and listened cries from inside and recognized her husband. He then called many people for opening the door but lastly heavy equipments of iron were used to break the door and Yaar Khan came out shivering with sweat flowing all over his body. He was happy to see his wife and children. Yaar Khan says that inside the closed-door toilet he is reminded of dark nights of a grave, seclusion and frightening image of angels’ there. He advises all his family members to be ready for ever for death and do always good. He intended for ever to become a refined and religious man for his future life.
Other short stories of this collection are Hazar Jawab, Intiqaam, Sab ki Maan, Haath Mei Danda Munh Mein Gali, Maawza, Kaar-e- Khaeir, Chaar Chehre, Saat number ka Paposh. These stories depict various morals like Sab ki Maan symbolizes common culture of a society where all should be treated equal. Saat number ka Paposh tells us to respect and honor the women and secure their rights. So, different moralistic lessons are seen in the stories by the author.
Dr. Mushtaq Wani has been a teacher for more than thirty years in School Education and presently he is working as Assistant Professor of Urdu in the prestigious Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University. By his tireless and laborious work of literature Dr. Wani has proved his mettle in the University. He got the Best Researcher award for the year 2017-18 which includes a grant of rupees two lacs in the field of Arts and Social Sciences on 15th December, 2018 i.e. the Foundation Day celebration of University. Because of his dedication and writing and composing skills, he is designated as Media Incharge for coverage of news in various local and state level Urdu Newspapers for the events conducted in the University.