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MY LOVE LETTERS TO HUMANITY

 

Amongst all of my possible identities based on my race or class, gender or religion, profession or culture, the one that is closest to my heart is that of a writer. It is unique to me, reflecting my creative personality and my authentic self. When I am inspired and I pick up my pen, I feel connected to my most honest and intimate self. That is where all my affection and love resides. That is why I call my writings my love letters to humanity.

        All my life I had an a concern reflected in my poem

APPREHENSION

I am afraid

The noise of the outside world

Will drown one day

The music inside 

I feel fortunate that my inner music is still alive, expressing my creative self. My writings are reflections of my dreams, dreams of inner peace and a just and a peaceful world. I feel so fortunate that life gave me a gift of creativity and I enjoy sharing that gift with humanity.

        When I reflect on my life as a writer I can see all the way back to my childhood. I was very fond of story books and loved to read them in my spare time. I was lucky that my dad had a small library at home that had my uncle’s poetry books and he regularly borrowed books from the school library. I might have inherited my love for books from my dad. I felt proud that my uncle was a poet.

        I started writing regularly as a teenager when I was in medical school. I used to entertain my class fellows with my poems and their appreciation inspired me to write more. As time passed I became serious about my writings and developed my identity as a writer. That identity strengthened when I became the editor of the Urdu magazine in the university.

        Being a writer always made me feel special. I realized that I had a special gift that others lacked. When I became a short story writer I started challenging the hypocrisies of my social and cultural environment. I wanted to lead an honest life and be in touch with my truth and share it with others with my creative writing hoping that it would inspire others to get in touch with their truth and not be embarrassed about it. My writings helped me remain honest with myself. It was like my own self-therapy. Maybe that is why I use writing diaries, journals and letters as part of my creative psychotherapy practice.

        I find it interesting that of all the languages I learnt Punjabi, Pushto, English and Urdu as a child, the one that attracted me the most was Urdu as a medium of my creative expression. I used to go to local libraries and borrow books from the sections of poetry, fiction, psychology, religion and philosophy. I must have read hundreds of books as a teenager. Those were the years I was fascinated with

…poetry of Meer and Ghalib, Faiz and Faraz

….fiction of Manto and Ismat

…philosophy of Socrates and Plato

…politics of Marx and Lenin

…theology of Maududi and Pervaiz, Iqbal and Azad

and

…psychology of Freud and Jung.

It was strange that I felt more connected with the dead writers than living people all around me. That was the time I felt I was a member of a Writer’s Club, a club that only existed in my mind.

        After entering medical school, I got deeply involved in medicine and psychiatry and had less time for my creative writings. But after my graduation from Memorial University of Newfoundland I came back to my creative poems, stories and essays. But I realized that I had changed as a writer.

        I had started writing professional essays in English rather than poems in Urdu. Gradually my comfort and confidence in English increased and I started writing poems and stories directly in English. In the last decade I am realizing that there has been another metamorphosis in me as a writer.

A, After my book From Islam to Secular Humanism was published and I was interviewed on radio and television and invited to seminars and conferences, I started writing more and more as a humanist.

B, After starting my clinic and developing Green Zone Philosophy, I also started writing as a psychotherapist.

C, After I was invited to write regularly for a column Mindspace for an internet website www.chowk.com I have written on the subjects of social and political psychology in the last few years.

        It seems as if the writer in me has been expressing himself as a humanist and a psychotherapist. English seems the preferred medium. I want to write in a language and style that a grade ten person can read and understand as I want to share my ideas not to impress readers. I am a great admirer of folklore that is simple and profound and full of wisdom. That is why it is remembered and cherished by the masses rather than a few academics.

        My hope is that my writings will decrease human suffering and increase quality of life of others. As a therapist I know that when people become aware of the factors that contribute to their suffering they feel more empowered to change their lifestyles and create a peaceful lifestyle for themselves.

        I am neither a politician nor a political activist, I am a writer. But I believe that writers can play a significant role in creating social changes. They can inspire people to challenge oppressive systems and dream of a better future. They can bring an inner change and prepare people for social and political changes. Writers can play a role in human liberation and give people the courage to be free, emotionally as well as socially, politically as well as culturally. The way other writers’ books helped me in liberating myself and getting in touch with my truth, I hope that my books will help others to get in touch with their truth and inspire them to liberate themselves. I want to be a part of human evolution. I get great pleasure with the idea that those books will stay even after me death. It is my humble attempt to serve humanity and I hope my books can keep on serving humanity when I am not around. It is my creative link with my own and future generations. One evening in my diary I wrote.

WRITING

The more I write, the more I discover myself,

The more I discover myself, the more I share,

The more I share, the more I connect with others in a meaningful way,

The more I connect with others in a meaningful way,

        the more I discover the secrets of making creative friends,

The more I discover the secrets of making creative friends,

        the more I learn the art of growing together,

The more I learn the art of growing together,

        the more I feel optimistic that our tomorrows

 will be more meaningful and productive than our yesterdays

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