Interviewer: Mujeeb Wali and Ghani Abdal
Dr. Naguman is a prominent name in the world of Balochi fiction, literature and linguistics. So far, he has published a collection of his short stories under the title Dar ay Aps (The Wooden Horse) and five other books. He has worked on terminologies of Balochi and is a satirist.
Q: When did you start writing short stories and what was your first short story?
Dr. Naguman: I think 1988 or 1989 I started writing short stories.I have forgotten the name of my first short story but the short story that fascinated me most was “Manzil” (The Floor) which was published in the monthly Balochi paper and it has now also been published in my book, “Dar e Aps”.
Q: You have coined many new Baluchi words. Is there any need of more Baluchi words with passage of time?
Dr. Naguman: Well, I have not coined that many words myself. The words which are in “Nokaaz”, I gathered those from many Baluchi writers and books. I think Baluchi is in intense need of an increased vocabulary.
Q: According to many people, some new words coined by you do not give the true sense of the meaning? what do you say to those?
Dr. Naguman: Yes, many words are the same as “Danchop” (the traditional manual grinder), which is used for grinding spices etc. but still the name is Danchop (which means rice grinder in Baluchi). It is not mandatory that the term must fit with its literal meaning.
Q: Baluchi short stories are given less exposure than other works literature. Whao you think could be the reason?
Dr. Naguman: Baluchi short stories are indeed somewhat backward in terms of style sometimes. The main reason is that our short story writers lack the right techniques of short story writing. This can be addressed with more trainings and more platforms.
Q: What is you favourite short story in Baluchi and who is your favourite Baluchi writer?
Dr. Naguman: My favourite short story writer is Munir Badini but picking a single favorite in terms short stories is difficult!
Q: What is the difference between a novel and a short story?
Dr. Naguman: Both are methods of story writing. One is short and the other one is long in length. But both are complete in their form. Both pomegranate and watermelon have different colour and taste, as well as size. But both are complete in their form and eager to be consumed. It is the same for short stories and novels.
Q: Which method of story telling do you prefer ?
Dr. Naguman: Short stories.
Q: What do you think, is Balochi short story writing is moving forward or is it regressing?
Dr. Naguman: It is moving forward but slowly.
Q: According to many people, Baluchi writing has not yet been standarised, what do you say in this regard?
Dr. Naguman: As of now, no standard of Baluchi writing is available in its complete form. It still needs a lot of work especially to distinguish the sounds of vowels.
Q: The Persians write in Arabic script but today we increasingly see that their linguists regret taking the script. Baluchi writers still insist that foreign letters must be included in Baluchi script. What is your opinion on this?
Dr. Naguman: This decision should be taken by phonologists and phoneticians who decide which letters must be included in Baluchi script. Whatever their decision be, we should accept it.
Q: Baluchi sound requires twenty five letters but if we include non-pronouncing foreign letters in Baluchi writing, will that not be deceiving?
Dr. Naguman: It will not be deceiving but it may create confusion because writing is dependent on orthography.
Q: Which Baluchi script do you follow, the script which includes all Baluchi sounding letters or the one which has ‘only’ conventional Baluchi letters?
Dr. Naguman: According to the linguists, the only letters that should be taken in the script are those that are easily pronounced by its speakers. Baluch should follow the standards that linguists have set and move on from there.
Q: Some people are of opinion that the Baluchi script must be completely changed. What do you say?
Dr. Naguman: The Sayad Hashemi’s (Baluchi) script is the alternative of the Arabic script. The Arabic script is insufficient for Baluchi vowels. This problem can be sorted with Roman script. The script change is necessary in my opinion to accommodate all the vowels of Baluchi language.
Q: How hopeful are you in the proposed change of the script?
Dr. Naguman: The change of script is inevitable to include all the Baluchi vowels, either change the script or start making signs!
Q: How many of your books have been published so far and what were the subject matters?
Dr. Naguman: I have had six books published. These include : Dar e Aps – Wooden Horse (short story) Nagdank – Criticism (literary review), Juthgaal – the words of language (collection of Baluchi words), Nokaaz – terminologies of Balochi (collection of Baluchi words), Baluch Raaji Juhd – Baluch National Struggle (politics), Gwachin – Reality (politics)
Q: How do you coin new words in Baluchi language?
Dr. Naguman: I use many methods, like in the the existing and common word “tap” (temperature) I add a suffix “sind” (break) to make it a “tap-sind”. Likewise, zind (life) and daab (form) are both existing words, so by using them both I have coined “zindaab”.
Q: Who is your favourite foreign language short story writer?
Dr. Naguman: Manto, an Urdu writer
Q: What message do you want to give to the Baluchi readers?
Dr. Naguman: Love your language! Speak Baluchi. Read Baluchi. Write in Baluchi.
Interviewers: Respected Dr. Naguman, thank you for giving us your precious time.
Dr. Naguman: Thank you