Sunday, September 19, 2010

Did Ibn-e-Safe read George Orwell?

“Why I write” (1946) is an essay by “George Orwell” detailing his personal journey to becoming a writer.

In the article George Orwell basically pointed out the basic motives for any writer to write.

He categorized them four in number and told that they exist in different degrees in every writer…and in any one writer the proportions will vary from time to time, according to the atmosphere in which he is living.

I am quite surprised to learn that the hand out which Ahmed Safi (son of Ibn-e-Safi) gave me in today’s workshop was an article by Ibn-e-Safi… “How I start writing?”

I was astonished to read the resemblance one can point out in both the articles…

Of George Orwell’s “Why I write” and Ibn-e-Safi’s article “How I start writing”

Although their lives were in many ways different but the reason they both put forward which intrigued them to write are almost same.

But before going to the main points George Orwell and Ibn-e-Safi put forward to write I would say more on the construction of both the articles.

While Orwell wrote about how he has developed the unpopular mannerisms in his school days due to his father absence on the other hand Ibn-e-Safi told us about his interest in books which made him quite different from other children who used to spent whole day outside and thus both the writers were left alone to themselves and they kind a like their solitude.

Both the writers had the same way of taking inspiration from other writers while young and both had a good way of escaping from reality into their dreams where they found them as a quite different person which shows how strong imaginative power both the writers had.

With the growth of mind and defining of concepts they recovered from so many different stages of literature and art and kept going on.

As Orwell write “the writers subject matter will be determined by the age he lives in but before he ever begins to write he will have acquired an emotional attitude from which he will never completely escapes. It is his job to discipline his temperament and avoid getting stuck at some immature stage.”

Orwell..tried poetry as his first writing art….became an editor to a school news magazine….

Ibn-e-Safi…too…tried poetry…criticism…before he finally started writing suspense novels.

Both our writers went through the same series of realizing what they should do and what form of writing is most suitable for them.

Orwell’s four great motives for any writer to write are the same which intrigued Ibn-e-Safi to write….

1: Sheer Egoism: Desire to seem clever…to be talked about….to be remembered after death….

Ibn-e-Safi was with his friends and had a strong conversation on suspense literature…his friends believed that the suspense literature is accepted only with vulgarity and that intrigued Ibn-e-Safi to show them that people can accept literature without unnecessary luridness.

2: Aesthetic enthusiasm: Perception of beauty in the external world, or, on the other hand, in words and right arrangement. Pleasure in the impact of one sound on another. Desire to share an experience which one feels is valuable and ought not to be missed.

Ibn-e-Safi…in the same article said that “people think that I am not writing good stuff for people and thus not generating art…literature…they don’t think that my writings are constructive and I should start writing something constructive….but I believed that I never forget to write about contemporary problems…in my novels one can find one way or other the basic concepts of getting rid of them…but my main aim is to promote happiness and joy…and I don’t think it’s bad either…I want people to find chance to forget all about their problems while they read me and I think if they do…this is my biggest achievement”.

3: Historical Impulse: Desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity.

1947…when people were dying due to the partition of India and Pakistan and killing was seems to be righteous in both the parts…Ibn-e-Safi was looking into the matters and was busy in finding out what went wrong….he was captured by the unfair manners people were in to and looking to find a way of cure…

And thus he concluded that due to the weak law enforcement everyone was free to kill and rob. He believed that prosperity of any country depends on their citizens understanding and respecting of state law.

4: Political Purpose: Using the word “political” in the widest possible sense. Desire to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other peoples’ idea of the kind of society that they should strive after. Once again, no book is genuinely free from political bias. The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude.

No one, ever had read Ibn-e-Safi can’t say that his novels didn’t contain any political issues or impulses. Matter of fact his novels were rich in politics and state affairs.

I believed that this realization of similarity between the two writers have given me so much insight that increased my belief and faith on Ibn-e-Safi being a great writer.


  1. Thinking, you have put forward a very informative research which would be helpful to know Ibne-Safi in a more detailed manner. Thank you for this beautiful post.

  2. Very interesting T, you've certainly done your "homework" Girl :-)

  3. Dear Urooj....thank you for your encouragement...

    Dear Agnes....thanks.

    I am honored.