Published in Dawn, Karachi, Pakistan in March 2000
Though I had read his books hundreds of times and looked at his picture at the jackets as many times, the only time I met him was in the summer of 1980 at his Westridge, Rawalpindi, residence. I had translated two of his humorous pieces and sent him the published clippings. Now I wanted to translate his most celebrated work—the long short story Barsaati. I had already started work on it. But I knew in my heart that I must seek his permission this time.
This research report written for Shirkatgah, Karachi was published in The News, Pakistan on 21 May, 2000.
According to media reports, an average of 630 violent deaths (95 per cent male) per year was recorded in the city of Karachi during the ten-year period from 1990-99. No accumulated figures were released or studied–by any quarter–of men arrested/tried/incarcerated by criminal courts or gone underground. Yet media reports and unofficial estimates indicate that these figures ran in thousands. Armed conflict/ethnic strife in Karachi, thus, has left innumerable (middle and lower-middle income) families without male wage earners, leaving thousands of women and children survivors to cope with psychological trauma and economic hardships.
The following story presents in a microcosm the turbulent life of women affected by forces beyond their control, and attempts to document, courtsey Shirkatgah, the sheer grit and courage of women, and their struggle for survival.
Click the link below to view the full report:
Karachi’s Ethnic Violence – Women and Crisis Management: A Study in Microcosm