Despite the occasional clash, the Pakistani-Indian literary exchange has been flourishing in most periods from the beginning of the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947 to the present time;
Readers of India have seen the best Pakistani writings in English.
Indian authors found interested Pakistani readers in their books, which created a virtual space for the exchange of ideas and a vibrant literary interface, which allowed both sides to follow the thinking of the other and explore his world.
The Indian newspaper "The Hindu" reported in a report that the tension in recent years in trade relations between India and Pakistan and the escalation between the two nuclear neighbors had changed the old equations between Indian publishers and Pakistani writers as a result of the continuing political stalemate between the two countries.
From Manto to Zacharias
On the authority of Munizah Shamsi, the famous Pakistani literary critic and author of “Hybrid Tapestry: The Evolution of Pakistani Literature” in English: “In Pakistan, publishing did not develop in the same way it had in India, as Pakistani publishers were hit hard by the high costs of paper in the 1980s, And they were never given the incentives that Indian publishers got in India."
Two participants in the Karachi Literature Festival in Pakistan 2013 (Shutterstock)
As a result, Indian readers are exposed to Pakistani works, ranging from the classics of Sadat Hassan Manto, Fayez Ahmed Faiz, Intzar Hussain and Fahmidah Riaz, to the works of younger authors such as Anam Zakaria and her book Imprints of Partition, Sabine Zfiri in Nobody Killed Her and Osama Siddiq in his book "Breath of the Moon";
Also, Fayqa Munsib in "This House of Mud and Water", Omar Shahid Hamid in "The Prisoner" and Saba Imtiaz in "Karachi, You Are Killing Me", to name a few.
The newspaper adds that in this way, Indian editions of novels by Pakistani authors who gained international fame, including Mohsin Hamid, Camila Shamsi, Muhammad Hanif, Fatima Bhutto, Daniel Moinuddin, Moni Mohsen, Nadeem Aslam, and others, were issued.
Also, books by lesser-known authors were published, though they were published and gained a readership and acclaim in India and Pakistan alike.
In the opinion of the newspaper, it can be said that there was a large movement of writers between India and Pakistan in the field of publishing and promoting books.
With the advent of literary festivals, this movement increased in the cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Lahore and Karachi.
The newspaper notes that the books are now selling well in both countries.
Vijesh Kumar, general manager of sales at Penguin Random India Publishing, estimates that 50% of book sales by Pakistani authors were in Pakistan and the other half in India, while Indian books were freely available in Pakistani public libraries and read. It is widely reviewed there.
The newspaper stresses that despite the occasional escalations that cause visa delays or denials, the Pakistani-Indian literary front has flourished in the past two decades;
Where the number of novelists exceeded the number of non-specialist authors in the field of fiction, a large number of whom preferred to be published in "Oxford University Press", which is based in Karachi.
Library selling Oxford University Publications in Karachi, Pakistan (Shutterstock)
In this context, the newspaper notes cross-border works jointly written by Pakistanis and Indians such as "Records of a Spy" by A. S. Dolat, "Asad Durrani" from Pakistan and "Aditya Sinha" from India, as well as "Begum" (which means the title of Aristocrat in South Asia) written by Deepa Agarwal from India and Tahmina Aziz Ayub from Pakistan.
The recent publications included - as the newspaper says - important comments on the system of government and history, but the recent tension between the two countries came to suddenly cause an interruption in this flow.
According to Amina Saeed - in her statements quoted by the newspaper - the old business model is starting to crack, and in order to bridge this gap - as Monisa Shamsi says in her interview with the newspaper - Pakistan has witnessed in recent years an increasing - albeit limited - number of independent publishers, such as " Readings, Mongrel Books, and Ushba Publications, which provide an important platform for Pakistani fiction in English.
According to Amina Saeed, for previously published books, some Indian publishers are giving the right to Pakistani publishers or authors to address the issue of their unavailability in Pakistan, while Lightstone Books seeks to be a new platform for Pakistani writing.
In this regard, Amina Saeed says, "I have received requests from Pakistani novelists and poets who have published their works in India, to publish it here."
The newspaper concluded its report by saying that as the political dispute continues, readers from both countries are missing out on mutually interesting writing and a common literary platform between the two sides.