by Haris Qadee
The people of Pakistan did not unanimously recognize their two Nobel laureates as heroes. Dr. Salam is constantly facing state and social indifference due to his being an Ahmadi, then hearing the name of Malala, the right-wing body is on fire.
Right wing of Egypt and Turkey never tolerated Najib Mahfouz and Arhan Pamak. Three writers from the Muslim world have received the literature prize. First, this honor was first given to the greatest writer of the Arab world, Najeeb Mahfouz.
Najeeb Mahfouz of Egypt
Najeeb Mahfouz was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1988. He was born in Egypt in 1911 and is the only Egyptian writer who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He wrote 35 novels, more than 350 short stories, 26 film scripts, numerous columns and 7 plays from 1930 to 2004. He received death threats over his novel ‘Children of the Gablawi’ and in 1994 an extremist even managed to attack him outside his home, leaving him crippled and paralyzed for more than a few minutes. After the attack he couldn’t write and died in 2006. The religious fanatic who assassinated him had never even read Children of the Gablawy.
Erhan Pamuk of Turkey
Erhan Pamuk is a Turkish novelist, screenwriter and academic who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006. He is one of the most prominent Turkish novelists. His work has been translated into more than 63 languages and sold more than 13 million books. He is the first Turkish writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. However, they are also not safe from extremists. Apart from threats by nationalist extremists, there have also been incidents of burning his books.
During an interview in 2005, Erhan Pak made a comment about the mass killing of Armenians and Kurds, which did not go down well with the Turkish right-wing and he is still forced to live under the watch of guards. In a recent interview with ‘Guardian’, he said that earlier he had to be guarded by three bodyguards, but now he has one bodyguard with him. He also said that the threat to his life is not from Muslim fundamentalists but from Turkish nationalists. According to him, ‘these two groups are not different from each other, at the moment there is a government of Islamic nationalist unity in Turkey.’
After the publication of his new novel in Turkey, he has already been investigated twice for insulting the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and for inciting hatred and enmity by mocking the Turkish flag.
Whatever ideology, sect, group or school of thought extremists belong to, they have some commonalities. Two examples of Nobel prize winning writers from Turkey and Egypt are being presented just to understand this process. In fact, this monster of extremism is spreading rapidly in the most developed countries, including backward countries like Pakistan and India.
Most of the extremist elements have not even read the works that the extremist elements object to and do not hesitate to go to any extent to kill the authors. Even those who incite people to such a campaign often rely on hearsay about the concerned department or authorship. A prime example of this is that one of the first people to issue death threats to Najib Mahfouz was Egyptian-born Omar Abdul Rahman, who was blind.
Arhan Pamuk also told the Guardian about the trial against him that when he asked the public prosecutor on which page the insults and mockery were mentioned, the public prosecutor had no page to point to. The investigation has reached its end, but he has not yet been cleared of this charge.
Another problem is that due to insufficient knowledge of the objected writing, statement, point of view or theory, its arbitrary meaning is declared. Just as there is an uproar in recent times regarding the Transgender Protection Bill.
There is also an element of going to extremism in accepting the fictional characters of history as truth to the extent of arbitrary interpretation of history and devotion. Recently, a Turkish drama about Ertugrul Ghazi, an obscure character in history, has been promoted at the official level to such an extent that any kind of historical explanation beyond the events presented in the play about the character named Ertugrul Ghazi is now impossible. Minimal social media trolling of the presenter is done anyway.
Abdul Razzaq Gurnah of Tanzania
Abdul Razzaq Gurnah is the third Muslim novelist and academic to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was born in Tanzania, but moved to Britain as a refugee in the 1960s. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2021. Perhaps because they live in the UK, they are protected from any conflict and extremists.