bio

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My name is Riffat Murtaza. I was born and raised in Pakistan and I received my Masters Degree in Urdu Literature from Punjab University. I was married in 1970 and soon after that my husband and I migrated from Pakistan.

Now I reside in sunny Florida enjoying life with my husband, my two kids and their families.

My oldest memory, relating to my writing, dates from when I was in the 5th grade. My mother had decided that Lucy Harrison was not a good school for her young impressionable daughter. She then sent me to a government school on Ferozepur Road, Lahore. At that school, my urdu teacher gave us an assignment to write about a family picnic that was held on a moonlit night in a boat on the river Ravi. My heart was so sad and heavy because of my uprooting from one school to the other that although I wrote about that fictitious picnic, it turned out to be all about a sad girl who could not enjoy it.

I received 97 out of 100 on that article, after which I promptly forgot about my misery and enjoyed my new found celebrity status in my urdu class. I had discovered the healing powers of the pen. After that, I continued writing on and off.

When I was in 9th grade, I had my first story published. “Saher hone tak” was very well received. However I realized that my story showed a little of the style of Quratul Ain Haider, who at the time was being universally read. And, she was indeed one of my favorites too. At that time I decided that I would no longer read the works of contemporary writers for fear of being influenced by their styles.

I kept writing after that and developed my own sense of style. The pile of stories was getting bigger and bigger, but I was a little intimidated and unwilling to have any more published. Finally I decided it was time for me to share my art with others and I sent one of my stories to Sufi Tabassum Sahib who at that time was the editor of “Lail-o-Nahar”. I still have his letter where he wrote to me and asked, “Bibi, where were you hiding yourself?”

Finally my writing career was launched and my stories appeared in Pakistani magazines such as, “Lail-o-Nahar”, “Adab-e-Lateef”, “Nusrat”, “Qindeel”, “Seep”, “Mah-e-nau”, “Adabyat” and my favorite “Funoon”. My stories also appeared in Indian magazines such as, “Aaj Kal”, “Naya Safar” and “Shama” and were translated into hindi for the magazine “Sushma”.

In 1989 my first book “Bees Saal Ke Baad”, a compilation of several of my stories, was published by Sang-e-Meel publications. Then in 1993, Sang-e-Meel publications published another one of my books, this time a novel named “Adam Ki Paslee”.

These days my stories are still published in “Funoon”, “Adabyat” and “Shama”. I will try my best to put as many as I can online so you can enjoy some of my work. If you are interested in more, I am sure you will be able to find some in the magazines I have mentioned earlier.

Before I end this, I must pay tribute to one of my favorite urdu personalities, Ahmad Nadeem Qasimi. He has helped me along the years and has always been there for me. Obviously he needs no introduction, for he is well-known throughout the urdu literature world.

Rememberance is a form of meeting
-excerpt from Sand and Foam, by Kahlil Gibra

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Thanks a lot  for appreciating my afsanae. I know I write well and I have my own style of writing. I have never wanted anyone to think that I write like so and so. Once Mohammad Khalid Akhtar commented on one of my stories like  ” …… agar Minto zinda hota tou be-ikhtiyar wah wah kehta …” I did not like even that. Value my writing but value it on its own merit.

Both these stories (gunah – saeye) were written here, right here in the US.  I have lived in Abu Dhabi and I have lived in Skardu for a year.  And both those places now live in me. In my college/ university years I also experimented in writing tjreedi afsane and I remember once Anis Nagi telling me what Enver Sajjad thought about my story writing.  All of them , as usual were in Pak Tea House, pro-ing their own writings and styles. Whatever he said about my story writing was nice and it made me happy because he did not compare it to any other writer or style.  My last tajreedi afsana was published in Aaj Kal (India)
After that I went back to writing  with a proper story line.

I love people, faces, mannerism and how they interact with others. This stuff fascinates me.  Everyone has his/her own individual style. No two people are similar. So I note these with interest and sometimes use them.

There isn’t any other source of information. I use the places I had lived in, for the background. Other than that, its all my creation. – My thinking, my imagination, my observation. I cannot explain it more. Either you have it in you or you don’t.

We shall talk about this some more, some other time.

میں لکھتی ھوں ۔۔۔۔

مین زندگی سے کچھ لوگ ، ایسے لوگ جو کہانی کا کردار بننے کی صلاحیت رکھتے ھوں ، جنہوں نے اپنی کسی بات سے چونکا دیا ھو ، جو میری ” آنکھھ ” کو ایک کہانی کی طرح نظر آتے ھوں ، اکساتے ھوں ، ایک چیلنج کی طرح ھوں ‘ ان کو لے کر ، ان کے گرد کہانی بنتی ھوں ۔ کردار حقیقی مگر ان کی زندگی سراسر میں بناتی ھوں ۔ مگر اس میں ایک قباحت ھے ۔ اگر تو وہ کردار قریبی حلقے سے ھوا تو پہچانا جاۓ گا اور لوگ پھر اس کو سرگزشت سمجھنے لگتے ھیں۔ ایسا میرے ساتھھ ھو چکا ھے ۔ میرے بہت قریبی جاننے والوں کے ہاتھوں بہت پریشانی اٹھائ ۔ اب ایسا نہیں کرتی – کرتی بھی ھوں تو وہ آس پاس کی دنیا کے نھیں ھوتے ۔

لکھنے والا اپنی ھر تحر یر میں کچھھ تھوڑا سا خود بھی موجود ھوتا ھے ۔ مگر تمام کا تمام
ا سی کو سمجھھ لینا ناپختہ ذہن کی طرف اشارہ کرتا ھے۔ ناپختہ ھی کیوں کچھ تھوڑا سا

افواہ پھیلانے اور، گمان اور بہتان سے حظ اٹھانے والا بھی ۔ ادب میں ذاتیات ڈھونڈھنے کی قبیح عادت کا شکار، بیمار ذ ہن ہی کہا جاۓ گا

اس غلطی کا احساس ” آدم کی پسلی ” کے بعد ھوا۔ یہ کتاب میں نے 1979 – 80 کے درمیان شروع کی تھی اور وہ بھی کبھی کبھار چھوٹے چھوٹے نوٹ لکھنے اور اٹھا رکھنے سے شروع ھوئ ۔ جب میں ایسا کر رھی تھی تو میرے ذھن میں کوئ کتاب نہیں تھی ۔ بس ایک عادت ھے خیالات کو لکھھ کر اٹھا رکھنے کی اور کبھی کبھار ان کو پڑھنے کی ۔ ان سے اکثر ، کوئ کہانی لکھتے ھوۓ مدد بھی لے لیتی ھوں۔ بہر حال یہ پرزے بہت جمع ھو گۓ تو انہی دنوں ھمارا امریکہ کا پروگرام بھی بن گیا ۔ لاھور میں میرے استاد  ِ محترم ، مرحوم انیس ناگی سے ملاقات ھوئ تو حسب  ِ معمول میرا ادبی احوال دریافت کیا ۔ اس وقت اچانک میرے ذھن میں کیا بات آئ کہ ان پرزوں کو ناول کہ دیا۔ شائد ان سے شرمندہ نہیں ھونا چاھتی تھی کہ کہاں کا لکھنا کیسا لکھنا ؟ مدّت سے تو قلم کی طرف دیکھا بھی نہیں۔

ان کی ایک عادت تھی کہ اپنا حق ، اپنا پیار ڈانٹ ڈپٹ کر جتاتے تھے۔ فورا” حکم نامہ جاری ھوا کہ امریکہ پہنچنے کے بعد ، پہلا کام اس کو تیار کروں اور ان کے پاس بھیج دوں۔ اس کے بعد کیا کرنا ھے ، وہ خود ھی دیکھھ لیں گے۔ سو میں نے یہی کیا۔ یہ 1988 کی بات ھے ۔ اب وہ بھی ہاتھھ پر ہاتھھ ر کھھ کر اسی کے انتظار میں تو بیٹھے نہیں تھے ۔ بہرحال یہ کتاب – شائد – 1994 میں میرے پاس پہنچی ۔ ان پرزوں کو کتاب کی شکل میں دیکھنا اچھا تو لگا مگر ان کو ایک صورت دینے میں محنت بھی ضرور کرنی پڑی ۔

اس کتاب کے بعد سے تا حال میں نے کسی کتاب کا سو چا نہیں، اب البتہ اپنی شائع شدہ کہانیوں کو ایک جگہ جمع کرنا چاہتی ھوں اور پبلشر ڈھونڈھ رھی ھوں ۔



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