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The Song in the Night – Qazi Fasih

The Song in the Night – Qazi Fasih

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The Song in the Night – Qazi Fasih

Nidhi Moulik

You are a practicing surgeon; what inspired you to pen down your thoughts in the form of this book? And how did you manage the time? 

I love literature and have been trying to create some. One can always find time for his or her passion.


Do any of the characters in your book resonate with any person familiar to you, or event that you’ve witnessed, or would you say it is all fictional?

This book is fiction based on fact. The wetlands, the sweet water lakes, the canal bringing poisonous water to the lands are all there. The characters I created don’t exist per se, but numerous real-life characters resembling them do. 


The strife faced by villagers holds true even today, where their knowledge and culture is sidelined by the developmental narrative. What steps do you suggest can or should be taken to reform the situation?

Education. Beat the devil at his own game.


The contrast between Rizvi and Jannu is emblematic of the larger conflicts of interest between developmentalists/industrialists and common people who have the knowledge of their local resources and ecosystems. Can you tell us a bit about how The Song in the Night plays on this theme?

The book highlights and, at places, directly points out the perfidy of those who somehow hold sway over the lives of the less fortunate. This era is the era of the market economy initially propounded by ‘The Chicago Boys’ who played the game par excellence in Pinochet’s copper rich country. 


You’ve brought in socio-economic and political realities amidst a love story. What was the process of interspersing fact with fiction like while writing this book?

The process was interesting. The story of the barter trade of a daughter in exchange for a tractor had to be knitted into a situation of mass migration due to a natural disaster. This mass migration of fishermen from the wetlands received wide coverage in the press when it happened. Infusing yet another human tragedy into the larger, more pressing tragedy was an interesting challenge.


Are you planning on writing a sequel or working on another book?

No, and yes. While I am not working on a sequel to this book, I am writing another book about the miseries of war in our region. 


Lastly, what was the publication process for The Song in the Night like, and who were the people who’ve supported you in this journey?

The book was submitted to Rupa, India by the C.E.O of Liberty Books, Pakistan. Mr. Salim Hussain to whom I remain indebted. My editor at Rupa, Anurupa Sen, was greatly helpful and encouraging. She is a diligent worker and I remain indebted to her too. Lastly, my children and wife were a tremendous source of support, and I would have been unable to complete this novel without them,

About the Interviewee:

Qazi Fasih was born in 1952 in the small town of Kohat in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. He studied medicine at Khyber Medical College where he was elected literary Secretary of the College Student’s Union. He went on to specialize in surgery and is a practicing urologist. He has written over twenty stories for Pakistani national television that focus on the country’s social issues.