What inspired you to become a writer?
I can remember, I wrote my first poem when I was in 7th grade. I wrote it for my friend. He was in love with a girl and wanted me to validate his feelings in the form of a poem. The taste for writing was sown in my heart out of some inspirations. Initially, I developed my reading habit when I was in 3rd grade. In fact, all of my siblings were bookworms and in our village, our house was famous as kitaabon wala ghar. My elder brother and I used to save our pocket money to buy story books and then we read them secretly in the moonlight together. Even our school teachers used to borrow books from us. After that, my elder brother, he would write poems, but very carelessly, never tried to keep them safe. I was the one who would arrange and edit his poems, this was very insightful for me. Lastly, it was my failure to get admission in medical college. This failure took me away from science subjects to literature and I took admission in BA English literature. It was a turning point in my life. I am very thankful to Prof. Dr. Muhammad Azeem Farooqi, my mentor and my guide, he put me on the right track that touched my soul and a new Imran took birth out of me.
You are a teacher by profession, to what extent your profession has helped you in writing?
My job as a teacher of language and literature improved my skills. I spend much of my time reading, and it has helped me to develop my style and diction. My profession has played a vital role in making me a writer. I started my profession as a lecturer at Dyal Singh college Lahore; it was the college from where the culture of stage drama got developed during the colonial period. During the same period l, being a student of GCU Lahore, got a chance to see closely the dramatic performances and productions of GCDC. It also sharpened my skill to write drama.
How much reading contributes in becoming a writer?
Reading is the most important factor that can make someone a good writer. It is said when Maulana Rum's father migrated from his native country to Turkey, they were having 90 camels which were loaded with books only. Maulana Rum was there to surprise the world with his inspiring Love and Sufic poetry. Moreover, I have internalized my uncle's values; he always says,'' homes which have libraries are lively homes."
We have heard when artists work; they go in their special zones. What is your process of writing anything?
I consider, zone is that environment, which you conceive before you create an artistic piece. And, the environment depends upon the kind of work you do or ought to do. Well, my "zone" depends upon the point from where the inspiration is coming, either it is from my personal experience, social instructions, reading, or how my life is going. As a writer you can't write well, until you don't live the life of your characters. I live the life of my characters when I am penning down a story. I would like to say that it's not an easy process; sometimes, while working on a tragedy I am passing through agony to live my character; however, in case of comedy or romance it is a kind of relief for me. Sometimes, I wish to live the life of my created characters too (laughs).
Does your personal life and experiences affect your work?
Yes, it does! It is stated, "there is always a mind behind a book." See, it becomes impossible for an artist to keep himself detached from what he is writing. Art most of the time remains subjective and portrays whatever is in the writer's mind. So, the same does happen to me. There are certain inspirations which, most of the time, start dictating my pen and it becomes helpless to follow that dictation.
Where do you see yourself in future?
In the near future, I intend to write some historical fiction, and want to establish my career as a research student. My heartiest desire is to revive the resistance history of the Punjab, specifically literary resistance in Punjab.
What message would you like to give to the young lot who aspires to be a writer?
I would suggest to the aspiring writers to read as much as they can and most importantly the classical masterpieces and the best works of the day. Read a lot, and your pen will start speaking by itself.
Monthly "Azeem English Magazine", launched in 2000, records the information about diverse fields like mental health, literature, research, science, and art. The magazine's objective is to impart social, cultural, and literary values to society.