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Ishq Manjdhaar: Rebelling against patriarchy

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A story, plot, setting, and characters’ journey are of significance in the development of a novel. The author’s passion to carve a story out of their thoughts is another feat indeed. Karachi-based debutant novelist, Anila Razzaq, creates a compelling story embedded in emotions. IshqManjdhaar is a saga and tends to become a series. However, Anila rejected it when she commented that, “I don’t have any plans to write its sequel. I believe it’s a complete story.” When Anila was asked where she got the inspiration to write this story, she said, “Our society and societal norms inspired me to write this story. Where parents claim to be right for every stand they take regardless of its consequences. Sometimes their arrogance ruin lives.”
Writing a novel requires persistence and perseverance. It also requires the author to focus on the development of the plot and the characters so they can blend smoothly. Anila shared that she focuses on developing both the plot and the lead characters simultaneously. Perhaps this is why IshqManjdhaar doesn’t have any loose ends during the story progression.
The title of the novel is also unique. According to Anila, the title IshqManjdhaar comprises of two words. “Ishq” is pure love even if it is one-sided. “Manjdhaar” means tornado. The meaning that comes out by joining these two words in the novel’s context is that “love is trying to sail in the tornado of false traditions”.
While writing a book is a tedious, focused activity, it nevertheless requires one to be a champion in multitasking. Anila is just that. She is a housewife, a mother of three adorable kids, and the Founder of a Facebook group, Smart Parents of Pakistan. She considers that she inherited a love for Urdu literature from her elders. For Anila, as mentioned in the book’s back cover, writing is not just a passion but it allows her to share her opinion, thoughts, feelings, and observations with the readers. Anila’s literary journey gained pace when she joined an online writing forum, Pakistan’s Artists, Bloggers, Writers, Readers & Poets (PABWRP). She began sharing her prose on this group that gained admiration and recognition from the members of the group who themselves are literary enthusiasts. This gave Anila the confidence and the vision to move one step ahead and come out with her novel.
The story of IshqManjdhaar revolves around a Nawaab family settled in Bahawalpur. Their life becomes a challenge when they are compelled to live in modern times while following age-old norms and traditions. Behram Malik, the head of the family, makes all the decisions in the family. No other member of the family could counter argument with him. However, her daughter, RoshaneyBehram Malik (Roshi), looks at life from a different angle. She wishes to follow her heart even it means going against the family traditions.
Other family members include Kishwari Begum (DaadiHuzoor), Jahan Ara Begum (Roshi’s mother), and her brothers, Shehroz, Shahzaib, and Shahmeer. Apart from Roshi, Shehroz is also going against the tide for he fell in love with a Christian girl whom he met abroad while pursuing higher studies. Roshi too is having an affair with Rohaan, the eldest son of her parental aunt.
The twists and turns not only keep the readers glued to the novel but also creates a ruckus in the Nawaab family household. Behram Malik views that he is losing his command of his family members for Shehroz and Roshi were openly going against the traditions and defying his orders. What happens next must be read for it is the twists that keep the story moving forward.