Event Reviews

Multan Book Club: A breath of fresh literary air

July 28, 2015

Saadia Farooq — A few months ago I joined a group of people in a local restaurant of Multan, where, according to the Facebook page of Multan Book Club, the monthly Book Club meeting was expected to be held. Like most college students, I was expecting fun, fiction, love books to be read out. If not, Sidney Sheldon and Jeffrey Archer, popular literature like the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Mayer and Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Well, I was taken off-guard by the dose of classic literature: the meeting covered the most heavy and deep book, To the Lighthouse by Virginia ۔۔۔

اسم بامسمّٰی: الخدمت فاﺅنڈیشن

June 15, 2015

سعد اللہ شاہ — بعض مرتبہ آپ ایسے لوگوں سے ملتے ہیں کہ بے اختیار زبان پر یہ مصرع یاد آ جاتا ہے ”ابھی کچھ لوگ باقی ہیں جہاں میں“ اللہ کی زمین کبھی خیر سے خالی نہیں رہی اور خوش قسمت ہیں وہ لوگ جو نیک کاموں کیلئے چن لئے جاتے ہیں۔ یقینا اس میں کچھ بڑوں کی دعائیں اور کچھ اپنی ادائیں ہوتی ہیں جو قدرت کو بھا جاتی ہیں۔ مجھے جماعت اسلامی کے ڈپٹی سیکرٹری انفارمیشن قیصر شریف کا فون آیا کہ الخدمت فاﺅنڈیشن کی تقریب میں شرکت کرنا ہے۔ یہ نوجوان انتہائی باادب اور باصلاحیت ہے۔ میں انکار نہ کرسکا۔ تقریب کے روز میں نے اخلاقاً اسے فون کیا کہ مجھے چونکہ کل کیلئے کالم بھیجنا ہے اس لئے آنے سے معذور ہوں۔ اس نے یوں اصرار کیا کہ بن جائے چارہ نہ تھا۔ مگر جب میں پروگرام میں پہنچا تو دنگ رہ گیا اور خیال آیا کہ اگر میں نہ آتا تو اس سعادت سے محروم رہ جاتا۔ یہ محفل یتیم بچوں کو احساس محبت اور یگانگت سے سرشا ر کرنے کی سعی جمیلہ ۔۔۔

IRC’s 14th Theatre Festival

June 14, 2015

Sarwat Ali — Following swiftly on the heels of the 8th Vasakh Film Festival, the same organisation held its 14th Interactive Theatre Festival last week. If anything, it brought in a dramatised manner the differences between the two mediums, theatre and film, and the effectiveness of ۔۔۔

Begum beckons

May 21, 2015

Manjari Sinha — The birth centenary celebration of the legendary Begum Akhtar, organised by the National Centre of Performing Arts (NCPA), Mumbai, and supported by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, was held recently at NCPA’s Experimental Theatre. Thoughtfully conceived, curated and conducted by the well-known vocalist Shubha Mudgal and the tabla exponent and composer Aneesh Pradhan, the event brought out some significant aspects of Begum Akhtar’s musical personality and ۔۔۔

ILF: Finding flair in verse

May 3, 2015

Umair Khan — In the last several years, literature buffs in Pakistan have been able to enjoy not just English prose, but also poetry by local writers. Understanding and appreciating poetry in any language requires an emotional association with that particular language at a subconscious level. The number of sessions at ILF on English poetry and the enthusiasm of the listeners pointed towards the fact that Eng-lish poetry by local writers is gaining audience at a remarkable pace. English poetry by Pakistanis is a bold experiment in the use of a language that is particular to the local speakers. It is an amalgamation of regular English with Urdu diction used, unassumingly, here and there, which is representative of cultural mores and values of Pakistani ۔۔۔

ILF: Searching for identity

May 3, 2015

Salman Latif — Pakistan’s creation and Partition are critical parts of the identity of a nation that is still trying to configure a post-Partition national philosophy. The Partition generation of literary figures lives on and new authors continue to look back into time and draw from those themes. This was manifest in sessions held at the ۔۔۔

A welcome evolution

May 3, 2015

Aasim Akhtar — As a student of modernism in the 1980s and 1990s, I was taught that the genre of manifesto literature, rich in declarative sentences and visionary ambitions, had petered out before my time; I was reading great prose in a dead language. Then came the culture of literary festivals, spawned by Oxford University Press in Karachi, and followed by the one in Lahore (a private undertaking cleverly feminised, corporatised, and may be pluralised, reviving modernist keywords) and subsequently the one in Islamabad — an OUP enterprise ۔۔۔

ILF: More news and views

May 3, 2015

Saba Ijaz — Keeping alive the tradition of holding a number of sessions on politics, the ILF hosted the session ‘Full of Sound and Fury: Elections in Pakistan’ on the first day. Moderated by Rashed Rehman, the panel included Anatol Lieven, the Orwell Prize-winning journalist and author of Pakistan: A Hard Country, the politician Syeda Abida Hussain, and Sahar Shafqat, an Associate Professor of Political Science at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, ۔۔۔

ILF: On both sides of Wagah

May 3, 2015

Rubab Karrar — Nostalgia mixed with some robust optimism in the two discussions on Pakistani and Indian cinema at the ILF. Of course, any discussion on our film industry must carry a lot of laments for what was, and the session, ‘Pakistani Cinema: Kal Aur Aaj’ remained true to that expectation. But luckily, it went a step ahead, even going as far as to say that in a few more years, our film industry will be at par with the Indian ۔۔۔

ILF: Hijra to jirga

May 3, 2015

Shiza Malik — The third ILF became a battleground for conflicting perspectives on gender issues with heated debate taking place in the sessions, sometimes even between panellists and audience members. The sessions brought together various voices, from the most marginalised to the privileged, such as veteran politician Syeda Abida Hussain who narrated her experiences of traversing the patriarchal world of Pakistani politics. The daughter of one of the country’s most prominent landlords, Hussain was pushed into the feudal society of rural Jhang at the age of 25 when she lost her father. There was not a dull moment as Hussain narrated colourful anecdotes from her book Power Failure: The Political Odyssey of a Pakistani Woman with her signature charm and ۔۔۔