Karachi Literature Festival in London, Celebrated 70 years of Pakistan

 

Heard about Karachi Literature Festival and then Islamabad Literature Festival, was an appreciable efforts by the founders of these literature festivals in the country with superb recipe of literate people under one roof for 3 days each at Karachi and Islamabad.

This year they (Karachi Literature Festival) go beyond boundaries of Pakistan and went over LONDON. Celebrating contemporary Pakistan and its rich history and culture in the context of the 70th anniversary of the country’s foundation, the Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) held at the Royal Festival Hall of the Southbank Centre, as a part of their annual festival Alchemy, was a resounding success. Dubbed as Pakistan’s biggest literary event, the KLF brought together writers, scholars, and artists from diverse backgrounds, creative traditions, and academic disciplines to showcase contemporary Pakistani literature and writers. Produced by Oxford University Press (OUP) Pakistan, KLF was organized in collaboration with the Southbank Centre, Bloomsbury Pakistan (a research collective based in London), and Rukhsana Ahmed.

In Karachi and Islamabad it was jam packed sessions for all three days, but response of audience at KLF London was surprisingly superb as tickets were sold out way before the event dates. The audiences at the KLF were treated to a medley of around 20 parallel sessions encompassing talks, panel discussions, poetry readings, mushaira, and performances. A stellar cast of around 70 leading Pakistani-origin and international writers, scholars, critics, journalists, and artists participated in stimulating sessions covering a broad range of themes, ideas, and subjects pertaining to Pakistan’s literature, arts, and culture. A separate strand for children which included an immersive theatre piece by Jungly Jadoogars; an animated film by the artist Fauzia Minallah; storytelling by the children’s author, Shahbano Bilgrami; and sing-along songs by the veteran Pakistani musician, Khaled Anam, were also a part of the festival.

KLF London started off with the renowned novelist and journalist, Mohammed Hanif’s keynote address giving unique insights into Pakistan’s history, hopes, and dilemmas.

During festival opening, Ameena Saiyid (KLF & Islamabad Literature Festival Founder and Director), Asif Farrukhi (KLF and Islamabad Literature Festival Founder), and Adrian Mellor (Managing Director, Asia Education, OUP) welcomed the guests and speakers. Pakistan’s High Commissioner to UK, Syed Ibn Abbas also spoke on the occasion.

Some of the sessions held early on in the day included ‘Transphobia and Misogyny’, a discussion on legislations around transgender and women in Pakistan; ‘Reluctant Returners: Migrants, Refugees and Memories of the Homeland’ in which Kamila Shamsie, Qaisra Shahraz, and Mirza Waheed explored characters and fictions inspired by exile and displacement; and ‘Pakistani Renaissance?

The Best in Cinema, Reportage, Theatre and Fashion’ with the television actor Atiqa Odho, filmmaker Faris Kermani, designer Maheen Khan, and journalist Cyril Almeida as speakers of the session.

Taimur Rahman, Moni Mohsin, and H. M. Naqvi weighed up the challenge of portraying Pakistan’s gender and class divide in the session ‘Blaming the Elite: Class, Greed, and Gender in Contemporary Pakistan’. Educationists, entrepreneurs, and experts including Farid Panjwani, Ahmereen Reza, Mona Kasuri, and Ameena Saiyid were part of a stimulating panel discussion titled ‘Madrassas and Montessoris: Are Private Schools Keeping Madrassas at Bay?’ moderated by Nigham Shahid.

In a panel discussion titled ‘Against All Odds: The Price of Prosperity in Pakistan Today’ held later in the day, Shuja Nawaz, Maleeha Lodhi, Ishrat Husain, and Victoria Schofield analyzed geopolitical and internal challenges facing Pakistan. In the session ‘Urdu ki Zid Mai: At Loggerheads: Urdu vs English vs Regional Languages’ Basir Kazmi, Ishrat Afreen, and Harris Khalique, and Asif Farrukhi discussed if Urdu in Pakistan is under threat from English or the regional languages.

The evening sessions comprised thought-provoking discourses on ‘Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: Diaspora Pakistanis Caught in Post Brexit Hate-Storm’, with Ziauddin Sardar, Farooq Bajwa, and Iftikhar Malik debating the challenges faced by Pakistani diaspora in Europe; ‘Karachi: City of Lights and Gangs’ with Laurent Gayer, Nichola Khan, Mohammed Hanif, Sobia Ahmad Kaker, Omar Shahid Hamid, and Kamran Asdar Ali talking about the battle for Karachi and its resilience despite political conflicts; and ‘Tweeting for Social Change: How Social Media is Influencing the Political Scene’ in which Huma Yusuf,  Umber Khairi, and Umair Javed discussed the impact of social media on Pakistan’s political scene.

The highlight of the festival was the ‘Satrangi Mushaira’, which was an open mic session for Pakistan’s regional language poets to recite their latest offerings. Another session ‘In Their Own Words: Writers and Poets from Pakistan’, moderated by Muneeza Shamsie, featured poetry and prose readings by writers of Pakistani origin including Imtiaz Dharker, Aamer Hussein, and Zaffar Kunial. In ‘Partition Stories’ Nimra Bucha, Vayu Naidu, Shayma Saiyid, Amrit Kaur Lohia, and Sarah Ansari presented a medley of readings, film clips, recitals, dance and poetry about the Partition of India.

The evening came to a close by a kathak dance performance by Shayma Saiyid and a music concert by Khumariyaan, a Peshawar-based music band known for their fusion brand of Pashtun folk music.

Sponsorship support to the KLF London was provided by Bestway, Arts Council England, Third World Quarterly magazine, Salt n Pepper restaurant, High Commission of Pakistan in London, South Asia Institute of the University of Texas at Austin, and The Pakistan Society.

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Pics Courtesy-Oxford University Press/KLF-London

Karachi Literature Festival 2017 a huge success

Karachi Literature Festival 2017 comes to an end, after having a successful inauguration and closing ceremonies of event.  8th Karachi Literature Festival earned a huge response from Karachiates.

Around 20 books were launched during these three days in Karachi Literature Festival along with several sessions on different topics. 2017 witnessed first literature festival in City (Karachi) organized from 10 to 12 February 2017 at Beach Luxury Hotel. In which famous personalities from different countries related to literature and fun attended the event. American and Indian diplomats also attended the event along with other guests at the opening ceremony. Event was attended by around 2 lac people of Karachi; they participated in 75 different sessions.

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Mustafa Qureshi, Bushra Ansari, Nadeem Baig, and Shabnam (Who came from Bangladesh) are amongst, who had different sessions during the event. Furthermore Mushtaq Ahmed Yousufi, Mustansar Hussain Tarar, Zia Muhiuyudin, Ayesha Jalal, Munazza Shamsi and many other names included in the list of presenters and panelists.

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Little Baby is having some books from Kids-Corner at Karachi Literature Festival 2017.

I should mention one of the interesting session, which happened on second day of the event, It was a Mushaira (Poetry session). This was a great thing to promote poetry among common man, and these types of initiative definitely will help to achieve it.

Book lovers had too many things to watch and buy during Karachi Literature Festival, I believe they bought many books during the event. Many publications were available on discounted prices. Publications from around the world with many different languages were available for books lovers under one roof.

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On third day of the event, a musical concert was organized which includes mesmerizing dance performances by Sohaee Ali Abro and Shaima Sayyad, and a concert by Saif Samejo. Live performances of above artists add more colors to success of Karachi Literature Festival.

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I am Karachi day adds colors to Karachi

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I Am Karachi presented, the first ever I AM KARACHI Awards to honor the contribution of the city’s dedicated and unrecognized heroes at Frere Hall on the occasion of the second official I AM Karachi Day on March 26th 2016.

The inaugural I AM KARACHI AWARDS have established themselves as the only civic responsibility and diversity awards exclusively for residents of the city. I AM KARACHI Awards recognize visionary individuals who have shown inspirational resilience, hope, pride and determination.

The award function was headlined by a spell binding rock-symphonic version of the national anthem by Sounds of Kolachi with the talented youth of Karachi. Award winning pop stars Sara Haider, Zoe Viccaji and traditional singers were also showcased at the event.

President of IAMKARACHI Jameel Yusuf S.St, described IAM KARACHI DAY as a “celebration of the success of the city’s resilient spirit” and announced that the awards will be given out throughout the course of the year.

I AM KARACHI DAY ceremonies were hosted by Karachi icons Deepak Perwani and Atiya Khan who discussed the necessity of a diverse culture in a mega-city like Karachi. This was followed by Vice President of Society for I AM KARACHI, Mr. Amin Hashwani who announced the official launch ofa city wide I AM KARACHI Sports Festival that will begin next month. Founding member Ms. Rumana Hussain also announced the launch of a new wave of I AM KARACHI ‘Walls of Peace’ – where young artists cover hateful graffiti with their artistic creations to reclaim public space.

In an unprecedented display of support academics, business leaders and celebrities attended the function to show their love to the city and those honored. Awards were distributed by notable figures including: Ronak Lakhani, Zubaida Mustafa, Talat Hussain, Ishrat Hussain and Fuzon.

The event was a grand equalizer with citizens from all areas and strata uniting to mark the occasion, as could be seen in a visualization activity where residents of Karachi could mark their homes on a giant map.

Commissioner Karachi Asif Hyder Shah praised spirit of citizenship and said only if the citizens of Karachi will stand united, only then there is there hope for a prosperous Sindh and eventually a flourishing Pakistan.

The celebration follows a ‘Karachi Matters Week’ drive to boost citizen participation conducted across the city. Partners of IAK and volunteer groups had conducted over thirty workshops, art projects, and social innovation activities to encourage thoughtful dialogue for a unified social outlook in various neighborhoods.

IAMKARACHIDAY is a celebration of the city and part of a larger city-wide movement that aims to inculcate hope, pride and ownership in the citizens of Karachi by reclaiming public spaces through sports, arts, culture and dialogues.

The event was managed and executed by Polaris with PR & Social Media by Mindmap Communications.

HOPE AWARD – KAIFI Khalil

Kaifi’s story is one of overcoming adversity through hope and passion. Hailing from Lyari, Kaifi used his passion for music to block out the negativity surrounding him. He grew up taking care of himself and found solace in music.Along the way he was introduced to Nida Butt and Hamza Jaffri’s MAD School, where he received formal musical training free of cost from renowned musicians.

OWNERSHIP AWARD – SOHAIL Khan

Sohail Khan is a young change maker from Bengali Para in Korangi who founded a school in his neighborhood after noticing a lack of access to quality education for children in the area. Upon realizing that most people in his area were sending their children to work for daily wages he took matters into his own hands. His school now enrolls over 100 children from Bengali Para. He runs the institution along with continuing his own studies.

INCLUSIVITY AWARD – IMRAN Ghanchi

Having contracted polio as a young boy, Imran felt his exclusion acutely. He was unable to study past elementary school because there were no provisions to make movement easier for disabled students. In 2007 Imran bought a rickshaw and made modifications to it in order to be able to drive it commercially. His work led him to get in touch with the Network of Organizations Working with People with Disabilities, where he is now part of The Rickshaw Project as a supervisor. With The Rickshaw Project Imran became part of a team that trained individuals with disabilities as rickshaw drivers, helping them apply for commercial licenses.

RESILIENCE AWARD – MAHIRA

Mahira is well known throughout Lyari for her courage and resilience. She began to provide tuitions to girls in her community, tutoring them until they were ready to enroll in formal schools. She spent four years of savings, to set up a tuition center for girls and then went on to her next goal: a café for women in an area where community spaces for women were mostly unheard of. Her efforts resulted in her receiving threats from various gangs and political parties in Lyari, but Mahira refused to cow down in the face of intimidation. She not only created a community space for women, but also ensured that it thrives. In 2013,Mahira founded Woman is a Nation, an organization which focuses on women’s education with the larger aim of providing civic knowledge, skills and opportunities for women to become positive influencers in their community.

DIVERSITY AWARD – ATIF bin ARIF

The man behind Super Savari Express is Atif bin Arif, who noticed the city’s residents had become woefully unaware of the rich and diverse cultural heritage it possesses. He began the guided tour which aims to display the city’s diversity, stopping at temples, churches, and mosques belonging to minority groups in the city, as well as other historical sites and cultural institutions. Gaining access to these, however, was not easy. In this climate of fear and insecurity, Atif had to knock on various doors to in order to get the necessary permissions required for the citizens of Karachi to experience their own city.

PRIDE AWARD — SABINA Khatri

She isn’t just a teacher for the children who attend the Kiran School in Lyari, but also a mentor and a parent figure for these children, championing their potential to be high achievers. Established in 2006, the Kiran School enrolls bright young minds from Lyari, preparing them for admission to prestigious schools in the city. Her work is not limited to just educating the children. While the mornings are reserved for children, in the evenings Sabina conducts classes for their mothers, going through material their children will be taught so that they are able to help with homework. Her philosophy is that if the children of Lyari are able to gain access to better opportunities and education, they will be able to improve their own circumstances.

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Karachi Tea festival

 

Karachi Tea Festival 

A cup of tea is a must for me ! The first ever Tea festival is being held at Karachi from 4th to 6th March 2016 ! It aims to celebrate the culture of Tea, a hot beverage most of the Karachiites cannot function without. With the objective of inspiring people to discover, experience and connect with the adventure of tea, the Tea festival would allow the revival of Karachi and its rich culture.

What Karachi Tea Festival will offer ?

Filled with fun family activities, it promises delight for both the public and the stallholders. All stalls will be prime displaying all the products at their best. Karachi Tea Festival is an ideal platform to showcase your products; the public can tantalize their taste buds with free samples making them come back for more. It provides a forum where tea lovers can come together and celebrate their mutual craze for the traditional hot beverage.

Tea talks will be held with senior journalists and intellectuals promoting how tea has always been a vital part of our lives and how it can bring people together. Not only are there going to be media partners for entertainment but separate media partners  for news will also be there. The official radio partner and print partners are yet to be disclosed.

Karachi Tea Festival will be enriched with desi touch. Don’t forget to join it on upcoming weekend.

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