Saraiki literature is the literature of the Saraiki dialect of Westren Punjabi Language, which is mostly spoken in central Pakistan. The main Saraiki-speaking areas are Multan, Bahawalpur, Dera Ghazi Khan and Dera Ismail Khan. Saraiki is also spoken widely in the Sindh and Baluchistan provinces of Pakistan. Before the formation of Pakistan, Saraiki was written in Devanagari script by Hindus while Muslims always used Persian-Arabic script.
Since the start of consciousness-raising efforts about common ethnic dialect in the 1960s, the number of Saraiki publications has increased. Most of the writings from the 1960s to the 1980s were political in nature and are coloured by the ethnopolitical aims of the writers. Even though the number of publications has increased in the last and present decade, the Saraiki intellectuals themselves admit that there is not much readership, except perhaps for the works of some renowned contemporary poets, especially of the revolutionary poet Shakir Shujaabadi. Although writings in all the regional dialects are suffering from lack of readership for similar reasons, in the case of Saraiki there are two additional reasons. Firstly, most of the writers bring in colloquial phraseology (which varies from one variety to the other) in their writings and secondly, many writers, in their zeal to prove the antiquity of Saraiki and to promote its Indo-Aryan feature, tend to use more Sanskrit words instead of the more common Arabic-Persian words in order to distinguish it from Punjabi and Urdu, thus blocking the understanding of their general readers.
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“It is the nature of the artist to mind excessively what is said about him. Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others.”
—Virginia Woolf (18821941)