More books, more authors
KARACHI: The last day of the fifth Karachi Literature Festival, like the previous two days, saw some quality books launched in the presence of some learned writers and critics. The day began with a heartfelt session in which Shah Mohammad Pirzada’s book ‘Soonha Joon Sau Souraton’ was celebrated.
Pirzada read out some of his poems which struck a chord with the audience. His poems were marked by gentleness and serenity.
Renowned poet Imdad Hussaini then read out a very eloquent piece on Pirzada’s work, commenting on the technical and contextual aspects of his poetry. Asif Farrukhi said Pirzada’s verses were gentle and unfussy. The poet also read out some of his Urdu poems.
German artist Peter Pannke’s book ‘Saints and Singers’ was next. Masood Lohar, who had also moderated the previous session, conducted the programme. Pannke said he discovered Sufi music in 1969, to which Lohar responded that he was barely one year old at the time. Pannke said since 1997, with the deaths of legendary musicians such as Alan Faqir and Pathane Khan, Sufi music had changed and shrines were being bombed. So what was left of Sufi music interested him, which was why his book started with the sentence “Where have all the Sufis gone?”
Anwer Sen Roy moderated the launch of ‘Zahid Aur Dau Kahanian’ by Julien Columeau. Poet Afzal Ahmed Syed was the fellow panelist.
Syed lauded one of Columeau’s stories in which he had used the second person to narrate the tale. A member of the audience commented that while the author came across as a soft-spoken, mellow kind of a person, he told stories with brutal honesty (saffaki), much like Manto. Columeau replied that like an actor prepared to play a character, wore his garb and improvised, a writer too improvised with words. Throwing light on his technique, he said to make a difference in his narrative, it was important for him to change the tense (for example, the second person singular).
The launch of Nida Kirmani’s book ‘Questioning the Muslim Woman: Identity and Insecurity in an Urban Indian Locality’ was conducted by Nazish Brohi. Ms Kirmani said the book talked about effects of partition that Muslims in India were still experiencing because of the rise of Hindu nationalism. For her, Muslim women became a symbolic marker in the city of Delhi.
She chose a locality called Zakir Nagar in the Muslim belt of the city for her research. Zakir Nagar was one of the many mini Pakistans that had sprung up in India. When frequently visiting the area the question that came to her mind was whether they were forced to live there or had chosen so. She noticed the element of fear in Muslim women largely because of the violent events that had taken place in some parts of India (Gujarat, Mumbai etc).
The book ‘Who am I?’ by Moneeza Hashmi was launched in the second half of the day. It was moderated by Adeel Hashmi in the presence of Asma Jahangir and Zehra Nigah. Ms Hashmi said the book comprised interviews of great women of Pakistan who were her role models.
She affectionately addressed Zehra Nigah and told the audience that once when she was leaving for London she called up Zehra Nigah’s husband to know if she could stay at their home. He said the house was part of their common legacy. She said her father, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, in moments of despair found comfort in the presence of Zehra aapa.
Asma Jahangir said the book was about women who didn’t know each other but shared a common goal of not giving in to oppression.