The doyen of Urdu literature in India, S R Faruqi, strikes a conversation with Mahmood Farooqi about the role Urdu writers and literature can play
As a leading man of Urdu letters in the subcontinent, what role do you think Urdu writers can play in bringing the two countries together?
Literature is not a political or military force that can bring about change immediately, but it's a very strong moral force. It can create affinity, which should not be coercive and can only happen when you are creative. No activity can be effective as an agent of intellectual change unless it is enhanced by a creative interaction between individuals representing different streams of thought. Although we belong to the same civilisation, yet history and politics leave their impact differently in the short run. So we must understand what are those forces that separate us.
What has been the interaction between the Urdu literary world in India and Pakistan?
Barring certain times of conflict, interactions have always been there. Both sides see Urdu as an important inheritance. It not only brings them together, but can also keep them together. They discuss literature, politics, life and worldviews. I have never seen any bitterness.
Full interview here Times of India