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Dateline

Published Date: Mar 4, 2012

TOUCHING THE UNTAPPED AND UNTOUCHED

Over 80 per cent people experience sexual abuse at some stage in their life but most victims do not speak up as the abuser in most cases happens to be some relative or ‘respected’ elderly figure.
Likewise, very few writers in Pakistan have written on the subject or described the sufferings of the victims.
Ayesha Salman, a young writer, has dared to touch the untouched by writing her debut novel Blue Dust. The 200-page book, in the writer’s own words, is all about those millions of people who suffer in silence.
“The novel is about those who were subjected to physical abuse and wanted people to know about their woes; those were addicted and neglected lot of society and needed succour but were refused,” said Ayesha who is currently English Editor at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).
The book launch at Kuch Khaas Saturday was addressed by Harris Khalique poet, columnist and governance and social policy adviser and Iffit Idris, a freelance development practitioner.
Ayesha said it was a personal journey of love and sorrow as she went under an emotional trauma while writing the book. However, it was because of the support of her family and friends that she was able to complete the book.
Commending the book, Harris Khalique said it is a green breeze that sweeps us up with blue dust that comes from Ayesha Salman’s world of imagination.
“It is amazing the writer in her debut novel has successfully kneaded together fantasy and reality,” he said. The story is about an affluent upper class woman told in an extraordinary way. “Throughout the book, Ayesha Salman never lets go of compassion as the story emanates from her personal experience,” he further said.
Khalique expressed his pleasure that English was becoming a popular language for fiction writers. “It is not only because of the large market, it is also because of the comfort a writer finds while writing the story,” he said. Here is another voice on our literary scene and one hopes she will keep delighting readers with more such work, he said.
Iffit Idris highlighting various aspects of the book said Ayesha’s characters could be described in one word i.e. compassion. She speaks out her mind candidly. She also lauded Ayesha’s spirit of resilience as it took seven years to materialise the book.
The Rs495 book has been published by Roli Books, New Delhi.
Ayesha Salman is a writer and poet. Her poems have been published in several literary journals in the UK including Smoke and Splizz.
She is currently working on two more works of fiction and remains committed to experimental fiction and the complex relationship between private and public domains in terms of meaning and comprehension. She writes poetry too.