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Salma Awan
Poet/Writer
--: Biography of Salma Awan :--

Salma Awan

My birthplace was Jalandhar, India, but soon after due to partition my family migrated to Pakistan. So I was bred in Lahore and got early education from a school in Lahore Cantt. I was keenly interested in reading stories from my early childhood. I developed a habit of getting books from libraries and reading in the light of kerosene lamp. I always tried to finish a book in a single day and next day, I got a new book issued in lieu of just an Aana (1/16th of One Rupee). I never realized that I have potential of writing stories myself but I certainly had such ambitions. My family members always used to say, she has an inherent aptitude of fabricating stories, she can exaggerate a minor issue into a lengthy tell-tale. After completing my education I started teaching in a school of Pakistan Air Force, at Lahore Base. Later I served as a principal for two years. I also worked as a reporter in monthly ‘Urdu Digest’ and weekly ‘Zindagi’. Still my articles are randomly published in daily ‘The Jang’.

I did not start with writing short stories; but it was novel by the title, ‘Shiba’. After one year of first publication, the outburst of 1965’s Indo-Pak War resulted into the creation of another novel; ‘Saqib’ (the name of that pilot)… the main pilot of the novel was woven around an air force pilot who laid his life defending the mother land. My third book was also a novel which was written on ‘Zarghoona’ (the name of the main character of novel); a daughter of a courtesan from Lahore, who had revolted against her social customs. It was 1969, which was a period of great social turbulence and political unrest. There was a sort of turmoil in the former East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), so I decided not to indulge myself in fictitious stories; rather I should reflect the real perspective of the life in my writings.

I took admission in Dhaka University. I spent almost a complete year there in establishing interactions with salient figures of East Pakistan and I exerted my best efforts to inform common Pakistanis about the thoughts prevailing then, through the weekly, ‘Akhbaar-e-Khawateen’ (The periodical of women). For this purpose I travelled almost everywhere in East Pakistan up to the frontiers of Asam, Bhutan and Barma (now Mayanmar). It was my aim to write a novel with a large perspective but unfortunately, meanwhile, the East Pakistan was separated from Pakistan and hence Bangladesh emerged as an independent country. After two years of tragic fall of Dhaka, I completed my novel with the title, ‘Tanha’ (The Solitary); which was a metaphor of aloneness of West Pakistan after separation of East Pakistan as Bangladesh.

The next book I composed was ‘Gharonda Ik Rait Ka’ (A house made up of sand). Meanwhile I was gifted with three kids, one daughter and two sons. When my kids grew a little, I joined the monthly, ‘Urdu Digest’ and weekly, ‘Zindagi’ (The Life) where I started political reporting but after three years, I also resigned from this job. Probably it was 1983; I felt a strong inspiration to explore the enchanting beauty of northern areas of Pakistan. Then a new phase in my literary career started with tours across the country and putting their details down in the form of travelogues.

Despite inappropriate transportation, communication & messing/lodging facilities; I personally was very much impressed by splendor on Baltistan because it is an astounding collage of various cultures & civilizations like; Tibet, Iran & Kashmir. I was especially, fascinated the music, poetry & wood carving which resulted in my first travelogue about Baltistan, by the title, ‘Yeh Mera Baltistan’… (This is my Baltistan), which appeared in 1986. Another collection of short stories, ‘Beech Bacholan’… (The intermediately) was published in 1987. The eminent critics like Dr. Waheed Qureshi and Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi appreciated this book. Just after two months I camped right below the freezing cold Siachen Glacier. Later on a travelogue of Gilgit & Hunza, ‘Yeh Mera Gilgit O Hunza’ got published in 1990. In 1996 I visited Chitral and wrote a travelogue named, ‘Sudnar Chitral’. This travelogue reveals my visit to Chitral which is famous all over the world for its enticing Shandoor Lake and polo matches being played at the height of 12000 feet.

Meanwhile my children had grown up, my daughter got married after completing her masters in English Literature. I started a school by the name of Lahore Garrison Grammar School in Lahore. My elder son went to Australia for his MBA and the younger one in studying the law after his Masters. In 2008, I went to the land of Pharaohs, the Egypt. The outcome of this trip was another travelogue by the title ‘Misr Mera Khawab’ (The Egypt, My Dream). This book encompasses the history, current social issues with from a visitors perspective, who is simultaneously fascinated the pyramids and splendors of bazaars of Cairo. The launching ceremony of this was held on 6th July, 2008, in Serena Hotel, Islamabad by Egyptian Embassy. At the same occasion, the hourable ambassador of Palestine demanded me to write a book on Palestine as well. I promised there and then; by the grace of GOD, Subject to my health, I shall definitely try to visit Palestine to accomplish my promise. The Book about Palastine has been published named, ‘Laho Rang Falasteen’.

A book about Russia has also attracted the attention of the public and critics as well in 2010 by the name of ‘Roos Ki Aik Jhalak’… (A Glimpse of Russia). A book about Iraq has also attracted the attention of the public and critics as well in 2015 by the name of ‘Iraq Ashq Bar Hain Hum’… (Iraq we are Sorrow). Srilankan travelogue has been published and travelogue of Syria is still under process.

Moreover while travelling around the world, I composed several short stories pertaining to those countries. These short stories have been published under the title, ‘Kahanian Dunya Ki’ (Stories of the world).

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