Pakistani author Kanza Javed, denied a visa to take part in the Kumaon literary festival, will release her book over a Skype session on Sunday.
The author’s debut book is “Ashes, Wine and Dust”. Javed was denied an Indian visa she sought to take part in the five-day festival that was inaugurated on Friday.
Talking to IANS, festival director Sumant Batra said the book will be released through Skype.
“It’s not about scoring a point. From the festival point of view, we cannot deprive an author of taking part in the book’s release,” said Batra, adding that he did his best to secure the visa for the author.
“However, it’s the discretion of the government and the Indian high commission to grant the visa,” he said.
However, the author’s father and brother were given visas.
The 24-year-old Javed’s book is already shortlisted for prestigious Tabor Jones South Asian prize.
Aanchal Malhotra of Tara, publisher of the book, said the Kumaon festival would have been the perfect platform to launch the young author’s book which questions the norms of society.
“It’s sad that she couldn’t come for the launch. The book is all about how to grow up as a young woman in Pakistan. The book is dedicated to free thinking women in Pakistan,” said Malhotra.
Meanwhile, other participants from Pakistan — journalist Asif Noorani and Ameena Zaidi, founder of Karachi and Islamabad literary festivals — got visas.
Terming visa denial to Javed unfortunate, Noorani said he had never faced any hurdles in his 24 visits to India.
“I was always welcomed with great warmth in India. It’s the fringe elements who create trouble,” he said.
Noorani said artists in Pakistan were upset over the cancellation of ghazal singer Ghulam Ali’s concerts in Mumbai and Pune and the attack on Sudheendra Kulkarni ahead of a book release function of former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri.
Preetha Nair / IANS