This novel set a new dimension in Ms. Awan’s literary career, a shift from social romanticism to realism broaching subjects of national import. “TANHA” (The Solitary) signifies the alienation and the consequent separation of East Pakistan. The writer’s one year’s stay at Dhaka University provided the raw material for this novel. During this period, she became the first-hand witness of the events and circumstances that lead to the separation of East Pakistan. It is a highly thought-provoking novel dealing with a period of great social turbulence and political unrest. The various factors that led to this debacle such as the political deprivation of East Wing, unjustified division of national resources, differences of language and culture, all have been handled very deftly. This novel was very highly rated by the likes of Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi, Dr. Anwar Sadeed, Ashfaq Ahmed and Bano Qudsia.
An interesting fact about “TANHA” is that it was completed after two years of the separation of our Eastern Pakistan. At that time no publisher was willing to publish it because it presented a hard-nosed critical analysis of the factors which lead to the creation of Bangladesh.