‘The Half Mother’ released: Author urges Kashmiri youth to be their own storytellers

IQBAL KIRMANI
Srinagar: Author Shahnaz Bashir’s debut novel “The Half Mother” was released here Saturday.
The book published by  Hachette India was released at a local hotel here, where the author in conversation with writer Feroz Rather talked about the novel and its contents. “This novel goes back to a time when Kashmir was erupting in revolution. I wanted to go as far as I could to document that experience,” Shahnaz said.
A former journalist, Shahnaz teaches at the Convergent Journalism department of Central University-Kashmir
“I wrote this novel gradually,” said Shahnaz when asked how much time it took him to complete the book. “I didn’t focus on theory of novel as a genre but I gathered notes slowly. It was like an instrument which I learned to play slowly,” said he.
Interacting with the audience Shahnaz urged Kashmiri youth to come forward with their experiences, “write and be your own storytellers”.
“Memories and experiences have a greater impact than anything else. So more and more people should write about their own experience of the past 20 years in Kashmir,” said author.
Shahnaz said the first novel he read was ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ by Ernest Hemmingway. “In later years, I was very much influenced by the works of Leo Tolstoy, J. M. Coetzee, Anton Chekhov and Arundhati Roy,” said Shahnaz to the audience that comprised journalists, writers academics, students and members of civil society.
In his message to youth, Shahnaz said, “We should encourage each other in what they do.”
Shahnaz’s wife, a lawyer by profession, said she was proud of her husband.
‘The Half Mother’ is the story of a mother, Haleema, whose son, Imran, has disappeared.
“While she battles for answers and seeks out torture camps, jails and morgues for any signs of Imran, Kashmir burns in a war that will haunt it for years to come.”