Sunday, April 18, 2010

‘Why should a writer not be happy?'

He's an award-wininng writer and a farmer in Pakistan. During a visit to Delhi, author Daniyal Mueenuddin talks about how he balances farmwork with writing and being a writer in Pakistan.

Pardon my ignorance, but I have not come across a more eloquent farmer; or a man who grows mangoes and wheat but has better skills with the pen; somebody who speaks Urdu with a Punjabi accent one moment and switches to impeccable English the next. A writer in the morning, a farmer by day, a reader by evening; welcome to the world of Daniyal Mueenuddin, the Los Angeles-born, Ivy League-educated man who divides his time between Pakistan, the U.S. and the U.K. Feted the world over — he was recently among the finalists for the Commonwealth Writer's Prize for the Best Book, where he lost to Rana Dasgupta — Daniyal is an outsider everywhere: in the U.S. where he can never be a typical American; in Pakistan, despite his impeccable Urdu and colourful Punjabi, he is never “one of us”.

Outsider everywhere
“Yes, that is true. I am half-American so it is more complicated for me. I feel like an outsider everywhere. But I regard Pakistan to be my country. I belong to it. For a certain period I can stay in the U.S. but after a while I hunger for the vibrancy of colours of Lahore,” he says.

Daniyal, with none of the airs of a seasoned writer, is a cheerful man and generates an energetic air. Happy to pose for the camera, he even shares a few candid moments. “You cannot talk with aap-janab on the farm. I learnt it the hard way,” he says, breaking into an expletive to show how to get the work done in the fields.

Full report here Hindu

No comments:

Post a Comment