How can you expect creative minds to emerge from a country with no science fiction or fantasy magazines, no comic books and Spider, the only IT magazines that once was, discontinued two years ago. It’s not that are no people interested in this genera, it’s just more people care about politics so that’s what they get. Not that anyone is bringing a revolution or anything, we just like cursing and blaming others to no end. People are just as politically illiterate today as they were a generation ago and an awakening doesn’t show any sign on the horizon. Few short story competitions like Desi Writers Longue’s Dastaan Award, started allowing South Asian writers because there was not enough quality or quantity for biannual competitions. Ever since it started in 2013, solely Indian writers have won all the prizes. Even if we look at our short story competitions at university level, the given topics are always about terrorism, social issues or any other depressing subject.
Lack of readership is not the problem. There is a reason new newspaper companies are opening even today. Only problem is that people are not interested in creative or imaginative thinking. Spider was not discontinued by Dawn Group for lack of readership but to be replaced with Aurora, an advertisement magazine that apparently has more demand and thus more profitable, coz ads. I have seen Cinepax Rawalpindi sold out days in advance for Fast and Furious 7 but on the premier of Star Wars The Force Awakens, it was a deserted little place. I don’t blame anyone. How can you develop creative thinking when even at university level you are taught from power point slides that you have to memorize by heart to gain marks in exams. My love for reading was only because we HAD to study classical English novels in school and submit a writing on a given creative writing topic every week. It was a slow romance and it inspired many but still there is a greater part of our class that turned out to be just another addition to the herd. The stories in our Matric and FSc English books too are highly inspiring but they again fall victim to our teacher’s teaching style. Rather than telling us to write something similar or what we think might have happen next, they just tell us the meanings of difficult words in Urdu and mark the lines that make up the answers to the exercise questions. Mr. Chips, a novel most people oppose has a greeting literary style to it but again we are only taught the passages about his wife and conflict with the new headmaster and other parts we just gloss over through. Because these are the questions that get repeated in every exam. It’s like academic and examination departments are in an agreement to make it easier for the students to pass English by consistently repeating the same questions, yet many fail in spite of it.
If we want to grow as a nation, we have to let creative minds grow. We need to develop creative thinking in our kids and for that we need a kids and young adult magazine for science fiction, fantasy and latest technology news. However small, there sure is an audience for that and it will grow if someone dares to stand for it. Laters 🙂