Writers advocate official patronage of culture
By Jonaid Iqbal
ISLAMABAD: Writers and intellectuals here Thursday advocated official patronage of culture as democracy demands pro-people politics and said the intelligentsia and thinkers can awaken the people against injustices and lead society to the right direction.
Culture and art have always been the first target of the dictators to suppress voices of dissent and struggles against despotism and exploitative forces, they reminded the rulers speaking at a reception hosted for writers from Balochistan, Sindh and NWFP attending the Waris Shah national literary seminar at the Pakistan Academy of Letters.
PAL Chairman Fakhar Zaman in his presidential remarks at the seminar stressed the close proximity between culture and politics as well as the need for exchange of writersÂ’ delegations. “Inter-provincial tour is a journey of love and it will continue to promote national unity and literature,” he said.
The purpose of these tours is to promote the literature written in Pakistani languages which helps understand the literature of one another. “All provincial languages are national languages with equal esteem.”
PAL has launched several projects for the promotion of literature and inter-provincial tours are part of them, he said.
“Dictators, generals, hypocrites and drug mafia all are valued except writers and poets,” he regretted.
Dictators who ruled Pakistan for about 30 years neither tolerated dissent nor talked about culture. They rather destroyed or distorted all culture. Some writers received awards from them.
“If any writer wants to play a positive and significant role in the society he should return the awards,” he said. The hatred in Pakistan is a bane of dictatorship. “We should try to find out the solution of problems together and change this situation that has suffocated the society through dialogue and conversation.”
After these tours the committee will present suggestions which will be forwarded to Prime Minister and President who will have a dialogue with these writers who had raised their voice against the dictators.
The reception was attended by a delegation of 16 writers from Balochistan, NWFP and Sindh who have been visiting Bahawalpur, Faisalabad, Gujrat, Lahore and Multan in the Punjab, during their seven days tour.
The writers during their visit and after discussing several ideas with their counterparts in the Punjab province have prepared a plan of action which they would submit to the Academy of Letters chairman on Friday morning.
The document has been prepared by a committee consisting of Prof Sehar Ansari (leader), prominent Sindhi poet Syed Imdad Hussaini, intellectual Rahat Saeed, Mohammad Ali Pathan, Dr Ayaz Gul, Dr Yousuf Memon and Prof Nasir Ali Syed.
A number of guest writers spoke on the outcome of the visit during which they met common people as well as thinkers in Punjab. The writers and intellectual from Punjab they met are convinced that the small provinces were getting a raw deal.
The head of delegation Imdad Hussaini said that the new generation in Multan and Gujrat impressed him a lot. In a cultural show in Gujrat University the portrayal of vice and virtue was very impressive. He called for inclusion of young writers in these tours. The inter-provincial tours of writers will yield significant results. He read a poem in which a cloth spinner had taught him the virtue of joining things together and a labourer who had no home of his own but was building it for the other people.
Dr Fatima Hassan said she felt during the visit that the feminist movement she had worked for had permeated the thoughts of new generation. She described the tour very successful and exhorted on the exchange of ideas with women writers. She expressed her satisfaction over the fact that the new generation of writers was aware of the issues of women.
Sarwat Mohyuddin in her article on Waris Shah said that the situation for women has not changed much. She called upon the writers to highlight the sufferings and exploitation of women.
Dr Shah Mohammed Marri from Balochistan called upon the writers and intellectuals from Punjab to protect the weaker section of the smaller provinces. He said we cannot take on two jobs, of speaking to the discordant elements in their own provinces as well as engaging with the oppressing elements; the job must be left to Punjab intellectuals, he said.
Dr Marri highlighted the importance of literature in solving the conflicts and misunderstandings. He urged the writers and intellectuals of Punjab and Balochistan to think about each other. He blamed the exploitative forces for the current sorry state of affairs.
Prof Nasir Ali said many of the problems might be overcome after the frank discussions they had held both among themselves as well as with opinion leaders of the Punjab; because the people now had inkling of these problems.
Sehar Ansari said that the tour helped understand the writers of four provinces and reduced many bitter and tense feelings. He said that the tours of intellectuals and writers will bring about change.
In Altaf Ahmed Qureshi’s words, the writers have felt the futility of formulating national policies without inputs from intellectuals, writers and thinkers, and such policies if made without due consultation from the thinkers was bound to fail.
Mr Qureshi said that the members of the delegation have approved many suggestions in a committee which will be presented to PAL chairman.
Agha Noor Mohammad Pathan introduced the delegation members.
Senator Abdul Malik, Senator Abdul Rahim Mandokhel, Prof Khwaja Masud, Shabnam Shakeel, Haleem Qureshi, Mohammad Mansha Yad, Jaleel Aali, Bashir Hussain Nazim, Sarfraz Shahid, Dr Ayub Sabir, Shamim Ikramul Haq, Parto Rohela, Anjum Khaleeq from literary organization Imkaan, Manzar Naqvi from Halqa-i-Arbab-i-Zauq, Iqbal Hussain Ifkar from Pashto Adbi Society, Aal-i-Imran from Potohari Adbi Council and Ghazanfar Hashmi from Ahbab presented bouquet of flowers to the members of the delegation — Dr S.M. Moeen Qureshi, Imdad Hussaini, Dr Saher Imdad, Nasir Ali Syed, Rahat Saeed, Sehr Ansari, Murtaza Khan Shaheen, Dr Fatima Hussain, Yousuf Memon Sindhi, Ayaz Gul, Taj Joyo, Agha Noor Mohammed Pathan, Dr Shah Mohammad Marri, Dur Mohammed Pathan Altaf Ahmed Qureshi and Waheed Zuher.