Karachi Literature Festival lures large number of visitors
By: Ahtesham Azhar
KARACHI: Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) is an effort to promote reading habit among people, connect ourselves with cultures of others through books, make relationship among writers, share narratives, build relationship among readers and writers and make strong link of readers with books.
These views were shared by the Oxford University Press (OUP), Managing Director, Ameena Saiyid and Cofounder of the KLF, at the inauguration ceremony of 4th KLF, held here at the Beach Luxury Hotel, on Friday morning.
On the day, a large number of people, of all ages, including foreigners, prominent personalities, diplomats, writers, speakers and many others visited the festival.
Cofounder KLF informed the audience that KLF has grown rapidly since its beginning, as visitors of last year were more than 15,000, however, at first time visitors were only 5,000 in 2010. The remarkable increased in guests at the festival expressed its popularity and picture among citizen, she added. Saiyid asserted that the premier festival had 34 sessions with 37 speakers, which have been extended up to 129 sessions with 214 speakers at the 4th KLF with representation from 10 countries including Pakistan.
Nadeem Aslam, a prize-winning British Pakistani writer who has to launch his fourth novel ‘The Blind Man’s Garden’ was also keynote speaker of the inauguration ceremony.
He in his speech expressed complications of life and while delicately sharing his childhood memories in which he informed that he had left for the UK at the age of 14 and did not return back till two decades due to shortage of enough money and when he finally arrived, a visit to the art gallery in Lahore overwhelmed him with a strange sense of uneasiness till he finally realised on his returning back that the people in those pictures were all like him.
Another keynote speaker of the ceremony, Intizar Hussain who is among the finalists for the Man Booker International Prize, told the story of Scheherazade that famed the famous Alf Laylah.
Hussain termed the story as a sign to oppose the continuing wave of violence, which has covered the beloved country. Hussain while telling the story that every day a cruel Persian king Shahryar would marry a new girl, and then would send yesterday’s wife to be behead. He had killed one thousand such women by the time he was introduced to Scheherazade, the daughter of his courtier. A well read and well bred Scheherazade would keep the cruel king lay awake and in awe for one thousand and one nights through her story-telling until his mind and heart transforms to shun cruelty and becomes wiser and kinder man.
“We could find a remedy in reviving the Eastern tradition of story-telling that was abandoned and vilified around 150 years ago after the defeat in India’s First War of Independence in 1857,” said Hussain, as he recalled Mir Baqir Ali, the last among the story-tellers, who ended up selling beetle nuts at the streets of Delhi.