Jasbir Singh is an author who hails from our very own Jammu. Presently pursuing a degree in BBA from Lovely Professional University, he is also a social activist who wants to create awareness amongst people about complex societal issues and bring a change in the society. He has founded two NGOs –Youth Foundation and Vigilante. He wrote his first novel “Forever: A Promise” at the age of nineteen years. He has written his second book “I am also a human: The voice of inner soul” which is inspired from social issues involving transgenders. In a candid chat with Chirdeep Malhotra, he talks about his latest book and the reader’s response to it, social activism, his inspiring writing journey and his favourite books.
Tell us more about Jasbir Singh as a person. How did you get inclined towards writing?
I am from the city of Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir. Right now, I’m pursuing final year of graduation from Lovely Professional University, Jalandhar, Punjab. I’m also running an NGO in Kathmandu, Nepal. This is my second novel which is based on the struggle-stories of transgender people. This book is very close to my heart because I personally saw all the worst situations in which they are living. I was inclined towards writing since my school time. I participated in almost every writing competition, and pleasantly won a majority of them. Everyone around me at that time- my parents, friends, and teachers appreciated me and asked me to work hard on this and I did that, and I am dedicated even more to improve myself in writing. So, this thing was always at the back of my mind. And since I was travelling a lot, it also helped me in my writing pursuits.
Can you provide a brief overview of your book “I am also a Human”?
The book ‘I am also a Human’ is based on the struggle-stories of transgender people. You can also say that it is one of the most controversial love stories of transgender people. The title of the book itself means a lot of things. Zeenat, the protagonist of this story is a transgender, but she is a ‘Human’ first. She is struggling to live a life like a normal human being, but she isn’t aware of the biases in the society. Her parents sent her to an orphanage when she was just twelve years old. She spent her childhood at that orphanage. When she came to understand about the different faces of the society, she realised that a few people on the other side are trying to kill her. She ran from the orphanage and started working at Benz cafe, where she met Rajveer, a rich and handsome guy from Delhi. Her simplicity made him fall in love with her but she runs from him because she knew her destiny. She lost everyone whom she loved. A few people were against their friendship too. They were planning the worst things for her. Things got all the more worse for her in her life when they both met with an accident and she lost him, even before telling him about her feelings. She lost every reason to live. She tried to commit suicide many times, but failed. One fine day, when she opened her eyes, she found herself at the brothel.
But this is not the end of her story. She still has so many things to say. This book is divided into two parts. I’m working on the second part and it will be published by next year.
What kind of research went into writing this book?
The research was very challenging and sensitive. As this book is based on transgender people so, I researched a lot about them. I talked to them and listened to different stories about their life and the discrimination that they face. I came to know about how people treat them just because of their gender. The time spent with them helped me to bring different perspectives in the story.
What are your favourite books? Can you share with our esteemed readers about the genres that you like to delve into and your favourite authors?
Well, I do read but not as much as I would have liked to. And I think this is the negative part in me. Because as an author I know I should read maximum number of books so that I can explore more and I’m working on this part. Talking about my favourite books, ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho and ‘The monk who sold his Ferrari’ by Robin Sharma come at the top.
The author blurb mentions that you are actively involved in social work and have founded some NGOs. Can you tell us more about the social activism pursuits of yours?
There is a very long story behind the opening the NGOs at the tender age of 19. When I was in 8th class, I had decided to open an NGO. This was my dream and I finally opened an NGO in 2016. Again in 2017, I opened another NGO in Kathmandu, Nepal. I simply believe in the words “Live for others and Live for others happiness”. I’m also planning to open an old age home and an orphanage in the future.
What are your other interests apart from writing?
I love to cook food. I started cooking when I was twelve years old. In the weekends, I personally cook food. I love to travel to different places and explore the history and cultural vibes of the places that I travel to.
Are there any other literary projects in the pipeline?
Yes, I have three projects in the pipeline. Right now, I’m working on the second part of the story and one book of the non-fiction genre. I will be completing graduation within two months, and then I’ll fully concentrate on these projects.
Writers many a times talk about experiencing writer’s block. Do you also experience writer’s block sometimes, and how do you get over it?
No, I don’t think that I have faced writer’s block because before starting work on the book, I plot the summary and tend to write on a daily basis. And every time before writing, I think at least for one hour in which I decide what I should write about. This technique helps me every time.
What advice would you like to give for budding authors, especially those who want to write about complex societal issues?
Right now, I’m not much capable of giving advice to others. As, I’m also new and am myself learning, but these are the words that I say every time someone asks me to guide them- ‘Writing a book is not challenging. Everyone can write but writing a story that directly touches the heart of the readers is challenging.’ So always write with the heart. And try to write on the social issues because we need awareness about them and I feel that books are the best source for creating awareness and change.
Would you like to give some message for our esteemed readers?
Firstly I would like to thank every reader who read my book and sent beautiful messages to me. Dear readers, I’m nothing without all of you. Your love and support is priceless for me.
By Chirdeep Malhotra