“In contrast to academic fashions, great 

works of literature are rarely, if ever, created in 

isolation. They are a reflection of life within a 

social, political and historical environment.”

–Cervantes in His Time and Ours, Tariq Ali

Ghulam Abbas, along with Manto and Bedi, is one 

of the pillars of short story tradition in Urdu.

Critics say that even one literary creation, if a masterpiece, can place a writer amongst the list of the greatest writers. If this is the criterion for determining literary genius then Ghulam Abbas, born in Lahore, is amongst the grandmasters. To his credit, there is more than one literary masterpiece that informs the readers of his insight into our society and the path it would embark on in future. His story, Dhanak, is perhaps one of the most prescient short stories ever written in any language. The tale was an early warning against those who would see anything different from their version of religion as heresy.

Especially, ever since the 1980s, the religious fundamentalists have tried to discard and reject every progressive thought or element from society. Over time these fundamentalists have become so bold that right under the state’s nose they take to streets in largest possible numbers trying to impose their myopic worldview on the society. The ugly scenes that we saw a few days ago on the streets where one sect openly chanted slogan declaring another sect “infidel” reaffirms the prophecy of Abbas about the society we have become today.