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
of the outside world
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
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.
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
Meer and Ghalib, Faiz and Faraz
of Manto and Ismat
…philosophy of Socrates and Plato
of Marx and Lenin
of Maududi and Pervaiz, Iqbal and Azad
…psychology of Freud and Jung.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I write, the more I discover myself,
I discover myself, the more I share,
I share, the more I connect with others in a meaningful way,
I connect with others in a meaningful way,
the more I discover the secrets of making creative friends,
I discover the secrets of making creative friends,
the more I learn the art of growing together,
I learn the art of growing together,
the more I feel optimistic that our tomorrows
more meaningful and productive than our yesterdays