Thanks to rampant piracy, zero funding, zero literary agents, there isn’t much of a publishing industry in Pakistan, so it really surprises me when people talk of the Pakistani literary establishment. Umm, what exactly is this evil Establishment that has been discussed widely?
Sorry to burst your bubble, but there is no literary establishment in this country. It’s every person for themselves. A very small band of authors may support one another, but for the most part, Pakistan can be very very tough on an aspiring author. In this inhospitable environment, it takes a lot of guts to put one’s work out there. Criticise the writing all you like, but please don’t say that some sort of nonexistent establishment is helping certain writers along. Nothing like that exists here in Pakistan.
The elite. The bourgeois. That’s it really. You’re right that the industry doesn’t exist but Pakistan is hardly alone in the respect that writers of English fiction know each other, interact with each other at panels & parties. The existence of class creates an establishment. I feel like the question that’s really being posed is “how far does privilege get you?” But the fact that privilege *exists* and is sufficient for an elite literati is the sole contention being made.
Ofc aspiring writers have it tough. But who can deny how much tougher it is for writers who write in dialects or even Urdu? Who can deny that writers in English tend to be middle class/upper class? Who can deny that such circles tend to be…small?
Irony is that even I pirated this blog from a tweet made by Awais Khan @awaiskhanauthor and his commentors without their permission. Why did I do that? Because I could. Well on a serious note, just due to plain laziness.