Snuffed Out by Sana Alvi // Review by Iqra Aziz // The Meraki Magazine

The Life of the writer

Sana Alvi – is an emerging writer, a gleaming luster and a sagacity booster in the glitterati of Pakistani literary orbit. Born and bred in Karachi, she is a true Karachi by the soul. She pens her ideas with enthusiastic fervency. Writing is her passion and a source of inner satisfaction. Moreover, she is most bright, a very talented and a position holder student of the country, majoring in BBA from CBM, IoBM. She possesses the entrepreneurial mind of a businesswoman. Reading is her obsession. She is a creative writer at Pakistan Speaks and Wattpad. She is an author of two mystery fiction novels published online.

Losing any loved one terribly or unexpectedly makes a person fearful. Don’t repeat that mistake again.

Sana Alvi

About her Book

Snuffed Out” is her first official printed novel, a realistic fiction based on true stories from Kashmir. The book contains twenty-three chapters on one hundred and eighty-nine pages and is published by Gulzar Ahmed Alvi in September 2019.

The novel is wholeheartedly dedicated to the martyrs and freedom fighters of Kashmir. This book is a humble attempt to show concordance and solidarity with Kashmir.                                                                                                                                           IShe addresses the sufferings, struggles, and hardships of Kashmiri denizens. It is a heart-wrenching portrayal of human lives in Kashmir that have been destroyed and brought to a sudden end by the cruel authority of troops. The writer has justly depicted the meaning, grief, pain, and suffering of “snuffing Out” of all the hopes of worldly life for the people of Kashmir.

Snuffing Out of all the hopes of worldly life for the people of Kashmir.

The Story

 The story opens with the stream of consciousness of Zahid who has left Kimber, a village in Srinagar district, Kashmir,   some fifteen years ago in order to live a good life, free from the daily burden of humiliation and fear of death that haunts the Kashmiri people and land, every day and night. The author has presented the dilemma of every Kashmiri through the family of  Mr. Kamil Zargar. In 1949, during the first Indo-Pak war and the mass revolt against Maharaja Hari Singh, many Kashmiris have migrated to Pakistan. During this migration, the family of Kamil  Zargar has also migrated to Pakistan but  Kamil, the then boy of fifteen years old is left-back with his uncle in Jammu Kashmir.

I can forgive you from my tongue but what about my heart ? I have lost control over my heart.it has become as hard as a graphite and as feeling less as a dried leaf.

SANA ALVI

Kamil, a tender youth has suffered much the pangs of blood separation and has lived a life of loneliness until his marriage with Mr. Nazeer’s daughter North. In 1965, during the second Indo-Pak war, North is pregnant with her first child and under the strict curfew, she has been taken to the healthcare center via boat. Amidst such uncongenial circumstances, she has given birth to a baby boy named Fakhir.In the 1970’s war scenario, the second child of Mr. Kamil has born and named Mahek.

In the meanwhile, Mr.Nazeer handovers the responsibility of  Zahid to Mr. Kamil, whose father- Mr. Amin Sheikh has moved to India for a  new business. Zahid is three months elder than fakir. and from that day he has spent 17 good years of his life with Mr.Kamil’s family.

Snuffed Out: In the streets of Kashmir

One day while coming back from fishing, Fakhir and Zahid have felt throbbing agony to see their household objects thrown outside ruthlessly in the name of search operation conducted by policemen. Meanwhile, Mr. Nazeer has been given a  brutal slap on his face by one of the policemen, just for expressing his inconvenience for resettling the house.

The loneliness,the injustice ,the torture which he bore alone flickered like a clock.

In 1980, after Mr. Nazeer’s opprobrium, Mr. Kamil has met the same fate.  The armed personals have blown to Kamil’s pride by puffing smoke on his face and have discredited his honor in the name of checking orders. Kamil has given such brutal treatment because, amidst all Hindu farmers, he is the sole Muslim Kashmiri farmer. After that, Fakhir, Zahid and Mahek have become victims in the hands of armed troops.

Snuffed Out: In the streets of Kashmir

Struggle

Once again, in the guise of search, Zahid and Fakhir have been kicked, assaulted, whacked and beaten while Mahek has lost her honor to save her brothers. This incident has become a  time turner for Kamil’s family. On that very day, in 1982, Zahid has left Kashmir and has moved to live a fearless life with his father Sheikh Amin. Now, in 1997, after a gap of fifteen years, Zahid has come back to meet with Kamil’s family but everything has changed now. These fifteen years have brought a catastrophe to this family.

I can forgive you from my tongue but what about my heart ? I have lost control over my heart.it has become as hard as a graphite and as feeling less as a dried leaf.

Sane Alvi

During the chaos of the 1988 elections, Kamil has been burnt alive with six other farmers in a planned conspiracy. Bilal, an innocent classmate of  Zahid has shot to deaD in the university search operation, Mehak has been gang-raped in the bogus scheme of scholarship and all these incidents have turned Fakhir into a militant more accurately a freedom fighter.

Surkh phoolun se lahu phoot raha hai shyad 
Aaj Jannat ma jahanunum k nazare dekho

Sana alvi

Fakhir has sent Noreeh and Mahek to Pakistan and no one knows about fakhir whether he is alive or not. Zahid is left with his feelings of remorse and regrets for losing his beloved ones.No, doubt fate has a different story in Kashmir where everyone dies before their death because of life snuff outs all reasons of living from Kashmiris. Moreover, the writer has brilliantly depicted the Kashmiri culture, freedom movement, politics, language, smell, and taste of Kashmiri dishes. In this sense, she can be called as Pakistan’s Elif Shafak.

Snuffed Out: In the streets of Kashmir

Most notable lines from books are as follows:

  • You consider any militant a stupid, always remember that there is a painful story behind every Kashmiri.
  • No one picks a gun with excitement. The people who are living in independent states cannot realize the meaning of freedom until they find their lives controlled by others or their dignities played and respect torn by others or their loved ones dragged to death by others.
  • Death with nobility is better than the life of ignominy.

Opinion about the book

In my personal opinion, it is a must-read because it is a tremendous admixture of politics, cultural values and family feelings that shape the fate of every individual in Kashmir.

Rating out of 5

I give it the Ratings 5/5.

Snuffed Out: In the streets of Kashmir

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