Literary activity expected to thrive in 2009
Karachi, Jan 09: The vibrant activity in literary circles in Karachi in 2008, despite an insecure latter half of the year, has encouraged many to think that 2009 would be equally, if not more, dynamic. In literary terms, 2008 was a combination of both the good and the bad. Whilst the year was filled with conferences on literary themes and the launch of new books, poetry, and short stories by old and emerging writers, it has also been marred with the tragic deaths of eminent personalities.
The Arts Council witnessed a hub of activity with plays being staged, musical sittings being organised and book launches being held. A week-long Urdu Conference was held in memory of Joan Eilya, and attended by Dr Gopi Chand Narang, Dr Shamim Hanafi, Dr Ziaul Hasan, Ali Ahmed Fatimi, Zahid Ali Khan and other Indian writers and journalists, who reviewed all major aspects of language and literature. Despite the Mumbai attacks and the prevailing violence in the city, the conference proved to be successful.
The decline in book readership in the country was also addressed in a function held at the Arts Council that was organised by Professor Mumtaz Hussain Adabi Committee in collaboration with Irtiqa Adabi Forum and Anjuman Tarraqi Passand Musanifeen.
Despite the trend, the Council still witnessed the launching of many books, such as the four books on prose and poetry by Ahfazur Rehman leader of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ). The books discuss the exploitation of down-trodden classes, and were well-received. Jamiluddin Aali launched his poem 'Insaan' and was praised by a number of critics. Dr Farman Fatehpuri presided over the function, where City Nazim, Mustafa Kamal was chief guest. Anwar Shaoor also launched his poetry collection Endokhta and received glowing tributes. In addition, poetry collections and prose books by Rasa Chughtai, Dr Naim Qureshi, Syed Sarwat Zoha, Dr Fatima Hasan, Farhat Parveen, Ubaira Aamir, Rauf Niazi and many others were launched by the Arts Council Literary Committee.
The Arts Council held a lecture on the work and role of Allama Rasheed Turrabi, and honoured writers Himayyat Ali Shaer, Mushtaq Yousufi, and musicians Ustad Hamid Ali Khan and Salman Alvi.
Literary sittings were also held at Goethe Institut, Karachi Press Club, Pakistan American Culture Centre, Muhammad Ali Jinnah University Auditorium, and the arts auditorium at the University of Karachi. Canadian-Pakistani writer Ashfaq Hussain launched his book 'Ahmed Faraz-Yadoon Ka Aik Sunhera Warq' at Karachi Club. Dr Muhammad Ali Siddiqui, who presided over the function, and prominent writer Mehmood Shaam, chief guest, commended Hussain's literary services. President Irtiqa Institute of Social Sciences, Dr Jaffer Ahmed, journalist, Mujahid Barelavi, critic Shahida Hasan representative of National Councils of Academics, Hasan Zaheer, also praised Hussain's efforts. Ahmed Faraz, on whom the book is based, died on August 25.
As well as those launched at the Arts Council, the year also saw the arrival of several new books, such as the unique Urdu 'Tasveer-khana' on 'Khaka Nigari' (pen-sketches) Mumtaz Rafique. Earlier, a poetry collection in Sindhi 'Rat Ji Raani' by Mumtaz Soomro was also launched by Karachi Press Club Literary Committee. The illustrations for the collections were made by Wasi Haider and Wali Haider Zakir. Wasi Haider also put his work on display Citi Art Gallery run by art critic, Saleem Ahmed.
A quarterly humorous Urdu magazine, 'Mizah Plus' was also brought out by Anwar Ahmed Alvi and Muhammad Asghar Khan. Nasri Daira Pakistan also launched 'Qura'atul Ain Haider Number' published by Urdu quarterly 'Roshnayee' and edited by short story writer and journalist Ahmed Zainuddin.
Meanwhile, short story writer and critic, Dr Anwaar Ahmed, presented a study on the depiction of social realities in contemporary literature, stressing that the portrayal of social facts and the common man should be done creatively. Dr Fahmeeda Hussain was chief guest on the occasion whereas Professor Dr Farman Fatehpuri presided over the function.
In addition, before being evicted from the Hindu Gymkhana, NAPA actors staged famous Urdu short stories written by Ghulab Abbas, Usmat Chughtai and other writers.
Such noted events, however, were dampened by the demise of several poets and artistes. Renowned Urdu poet, Khaitar Ghaznavi, died in July, just a month before Ahmed Faraz. Noted journalists Muhammad Ali, Athar Hashmi and Shujjauddin and actor Badar Muneer also passed away, while the alleged murder of fashion designer Shaikh Aamir Hasan also rocked the city.Your Comments
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Beginning of the Urdu renaissance?
Karachi: The Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science & Technology (FUUAST) has decided to launch the 'Implementation Urdu Programme' to highlight the negligence of Urdu and to emphasise the need to adopt Urdu for everyday use while trying to envisage a methodological solution to the problem.
FUUAST Vice Chancellor, Dr Muhammad Qaisar, said "The university has arrived at this decision because no concrete steps were being taken to adopt Urdu in offices, schools, colleges and in our everyday life." The FUUAST now teaches arts, science, pharmacy among other subject in Urdu, while it has also published text books in Urdu to facilitate students who want to adopt the language as their medium of instruction. "Now we want to create awareness about the importance of the national language to the country; we have to prioritise and learn to love our language," he said.
Expressing surprise over scepticism of the programme, the VC cited the successful examples of Usmania University, Hyderabad (Deccan), which was established in the 19th century and the Maulana Azad National Urdu University which was set up in 1998, also in Hyderabad (Deccan). Maulana Azad National Urdu University has been a great success and it has opened its regional offices (for distance learning) in every major city of India. "Though it is located in Andhra Pradesh where majority of people speak Telugu, still the university is flooded with students who want to learn through the medium of Urdu," he added.
Dr Tariq Rahman, a distinguished national professor at the Quaid-e-Azam University, said: "Urdu, presently the national language of Pakistan and a symbol of identity for Indian Muslims, is also associated with Islam in South Asia. This association was forged during the British colonial rule. During this time, Urdu was disseminated by networks of education and communication in colonial India. It became the medium of instruction in Islamic seminaries (Madrassahs) and the language of religious writings. It also became part of the Muslim identity and contributed, next only to Islam, in mobilising the Muslim community to demand Pakistan, which was carved out of British India in 1947."
The language is also a source of communication in the wider region, as it is also associated with the Muslim community in India. Urdu is not considered sacrosanct in itself because it is not Arabic, even though it is written in the script of Persian (Nastaliq), which in turn, is based on Arabic (Naskh). It also has a number of words of Arabic origin though, for that matter, it has even more words of Persian and some of Turkish. For all these importations of Muslim lexicons, it is a derivative of Hindvi or Hindavi, the parent of both modern Hindi and Urdu.
Dr Aslam Farrukhi, noted Urdu author, critic, poet, linguist, scholar and broadcaster appreciated the programme and hoped that Urdu would soon be adopted as a tool for education, business, poetical expressions and of course as a language of communication. "The main reason, as I understand, is the capitulation of the society to English. The Western civilisation – English being its tool in Pakistan, is spreading its tentacles while our society is in the final stages of losing its own identity including, our beautiful language. We have to provide protection to our civilisation that has been forced upon us from outside along with a miniscule section of our society."
University of Karachi (KU) Registrar, Prof. Rais Alvi, a distinguished poet and writer himself, appreciated the idea and said that it is time for all those who love the language to step forward and help the FUUAST in its endeavours.
"Urdu is the language of communication in the subcontinent. Even in those countries where Urdu Diaspora has reached, the language is the lingua franca among immigrants from various countries. The language should get the recognition it deserves," he added. The News
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