Salman Rashid

Travel writer, Fellow of Royal Geographical Society

Who reads travel literature

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My writing is for a very, very miniscule part of the nearly 200 million Pakistanis. I think I am not known to more than a couple of thousand people and all of them have followed my work for a long time. Travel writing is actually not understood or perhaps even not appreciated in Pakistan.

Except for The News on Sunday, there is no journal with a dedicated travel writing section. I continue to write, I suppose, for the thousand or so who continue to read. If you look at my books, Gujranwala: The Glory That Was and that was sold more than a thousand copies in 23 years; The Salt Range and the Potohar Plateau, sold a little over a thousand copies in nearly 15 years. No other book made this mark! Most readers complain of the high prices which is not my fault but my publishers. But then, I know, that these same people having refused to buy a Rs 1500 book will turn around and spend twice as much on fast food!

I continue to write because my publisher M/s Sang e Meel very kindly keep goading me on. I have been asked more times than I remember how I make a living being a travel writer. This is what people think of this line of work!

But it will be unfair to say there is no appreciation. I have had my share of it. Item: When we built our home and moved in here thirteen years ago, my TV documentaries were being aired and even though there were about ten houses in this locality, children would recognise me and say hello. But now, I am just a very anonymous person - not that I mind that. Meanwhile, this residential society became infested with mostly uneducated, ncultured yahoos who had the means to purchase these rather cheap plots. I one day told this to a friend of mine who has a sharp sense of humour and he said, 'So, you must be a highly revered person being the only one with any class.'

I had to tell him that all my neighbours were so very, very ignorant and unread that they did not even see someone who was otherwise. Incidentally, my paper walla tells me that we are the only household in this residential society that gets an English language paper daily, and several on the weekends. Urdu journalism being what it is, we cannot blame my neighbours for being what they are when this is all they ever read.

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posted by Salman Rashid @ 12:00 AM,

7 Comments:

At May 31, 2013 at 9:51 PM, Anonymous Saima Ashraf said...

''But it will be unfair to say there is no appreciation'' Yes, I am one of those insane who are fond of travel guides in any form. Mentally I am Ibn e Batoota and want others to substitute me. I love reading you and in facting stealing your ideas esp. on Nature

 
At June 1, 2013 at 9:47 AM, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Good to know that, Saima. Please steal all my ideas on Nature and make a paradise for yourself.

 
At June 1, 2013 at 1:45 PM, Anonymous Kausar Bilal said...

I understand, I also experienced it in my life, though I am not a high profile scholarly person, but different from political housewives who find happiness in the family politics and polishing the doors and windows, though I believe in a prim and proper home. I think, it is illiteracy that we couldn't fight in all these years after our national independence. Urdu journalism, unfortunately, appeal less educated or narrower minds. So, obviously, they cannot value and acknowledge a gem like yourself. But now, with your blog, don't you think you have drawn a lot of educated attention to yourself?

 
At June 1, 2013 at 2:06 PM, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

The blog may have drawn some attention as you say, Kausar. But I am surprised that without being here, so few knew of my work even after three decades of it. I am a reader, I search for books. Strange that people even interested in history, lore, geography etc did not know where to find it until it hit the social media. But, as they say, better late than never. And the less said of the Urdu press, the better.

 
At June 4, 2013 at 5:36 PM, Anonymous Sadia Noor said...

It isn't an easy time to be a traveler in Pakistan, but it is a great one. I came here by a chance. But I think I have to linger on here.

 
At June 5, 2013 at 12:32 PM, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

You know, Sadia, this is the time of anxiety making travels in Pakistan. That, as you note, is a great time to travel. Nice to have you with us here.

 
At May 29, 2017 at 5:32 PM, Blogger Adriana Rylee said...

thank you

 

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My Books

Deosai: Land of the Gaint - New

The Apricot Road to Yarkand


Jhelum: City of the Vitasta

Sea Monsters and the Sun God: Travels in Pakistan

Salt Range and Potohar Plateau

Prisoner on a Bus: Travel Through Pakistan

Between Two Burrs on the Map: Travels in Northern Pakistan

Gujranwala: The Glory That Was

Riders on the Wind

Books at Sang-e-Meel

Books of Days