Faiqa Mansab’s debutant novel highlights inequality in South Asia

Faiqa Mansab’s debutant novel highlights inequality in South Asia


LAHORE: Inequality is at its peak with its fangs spread out across the world, including Pakistan, where certain sections of the society are subjected to inhumane behaviour, said Faiqa Mansab, the author of novel titled This House of Clay and Water.

In an exclusive interview with Daily Times, Faiqa said she had tried to unveil sufferings of religious and societal minorities at the hands of the majority in the novel.

Faiqa is an MFA creative writing graduate. Her short stories and an excerpt from her novel were published in The Missing Slate, an international literature magazine, in 2013. She had been a teacher and a school administrator for ten years.

Talking about her literature piece, she said that the novel unveils a tragic love story of a politician's wife and a hermaphrodite. "The story is subversion of Heer Ranjah. I have played with some of the archetypes that Waris Shah had so beautifully rendered in his epic poem. I chose to write about hermaphrodites and women for similar reasons. I feel strongly about human rights and human dignity and I feel outraged when human beings are mistreated," she said, adding: "The apotheosis of humanity is when we love each another. That is Islam, Sufism and humanity."

She went on to say that there had been many attack on eunuchs, women and members of religious communities in Pakistan in the recent past, which is contradictory to Islamic teachings.

She added, "I always write stories that matter to me. Those who have read my novel have loved it." Elif Shafak - the famous Turkish author of The Forty Rules of Love - she said, was her supervisor at the Kingston University, London.

She said that as story was rooted in South Asian culture, so she didn't tried much to find an agent abroad to get it published. "I tried India and wrote to a couple of agents. Mita Kapur of Siyahi signed me on and soon she found the best possible home she could've for my book - Penguin Random House. It's a dream for any new writer to be launched by Penguin, and I'm so grateful to Allah for this opportunity."

When asked about future of novel writing in Pakistan, she said it was not right to say that Pakistan was lagging behind in the art of novel writing. "Pakistan has produced some of the best novelists in the world. I think Pakistan has a very bright future in the arts. Even in countries with the highest literacy rate, readers and writers are a minority and it's same here but that doesn't mean that there's a dearth of readers and writers," she said.

She said that there were many platforms promoting reading and writing such as Desi Writer's Lounge, The Last Word, T2F, Books and Beans, Readings and LLF, and people who wish to write should take advantage of them.