The 5th Sindh Literature Festival (SLF) began at the Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi, on Friday evening. The tone for the three-day event was set with a nice little video, a song, about Mohenjo Daro, which is the theme of this year’s edition.
In his welcome address, the founder of the festival, Naseer Gopang, said it was in 2016 that he and some of his friends got together and came up with the idea for a festival. He pointed out that the event was for all of Pakistan because those who arrange it believe in the unity of the country.
The co-founder of the event, Zohaib Kaka, informed the audience about the different sessions that are going to take place during the course of three days. He started off by talking about a discussion on Mohenjo Daro — 100 years of exploration — then touched upon a session on Pakistan’s foreign policy and a conversation with Amar Jaleel on Sunday.
Arts Council’s president Ahmed Shah said when he started to work for the council he made sure that the programmes arranged here did not smell of ethnic issues. Today, the council is collaborating with all parts of the world.
“It is an honour for us to be associated with the SLF. I was born here in Karachi. I’m a Sindhi. In the 1960s and ‘70s there used to be intellectual leadership for Sindhis with individuals such as G M Syed and Sheikh Ayaz at the helm. They showed the way to the Sindhi nation. As a result, a big number of intellectuals came to the fore. Unfortunately, today the youngsters of the province focus more on their careers. There’s an intellectual disconnection. The interest in books has dwindled. I think there should be study circles etc [to revive that practice].”
Shamsul Haq Memon, who was representing the Endowment Fund Trust (EFT), congratulated the organisers for putting up a good show and then told the attendees that he’d briefly talk about the work that the trust has undertaken over the years.
He mentioned that the EFT is a non-profit organisation. It supports research and publishes books and other material on history, art, archaeology etc. He also talked about the restoration projects that the EFT has done.
Commissioner Karachi M Iqbal Memon said the festival has a welcoming spirit just like the province of Sindh. “Sindhis are a nation with a rich heritage.”
Writer Noor Ul Huda Shah said it was the youngsters who have put in a great deal of hard work to make the festival a reality. It has always been a dream and a wish of all that Sindhi youngsters express themselves and share their ideas on a platform in Karachi. She said the credit for the success of the event goes to the young organisers.
Naseer Memon said we should always talk about hope. He commented that he’s extremely hopeful about Sindhi society because never has it been so good [in all aspects].
Mahtab Akbar Rashdi first spoke on the difficult period that everyone had to endure because of the pandemic, after which she focused on the festival and said the different sessions that have been lined up will open doors for thought and intellect.
Sindh Cultural Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah was the chief guest on the occasion. He was all praise for the organisers of the festival, who he claimed had worked with consistency to make it a success.
The minister said the theme of the festival in 2022 is important because in 1922 Sir John Marshall and Dr Benerjee in their archaeological survey discovered humanity’s greatest legacy. It was Mohenjo Daro. Sindhis feel proud that their history’s biggest symbol is Mohanjo Daro. And Sindh’s ideological towering figure is Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai.
“Five thousand years ago, a great civilisation came into being, which was a civilisation of peace. It didn’t belong to kings. It belonged to fakirs. No weapons were found from the historic site, rather what was discovered were things such as pieces of cloth. The foundation for the first industry was laid in Mohenjo Daro.” (thanks dawn)
Reported by: Shahid Mehmood Shahid