National, regional languages on the (LLF) cards | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

National, regional languages on the (LLF) cards

Pakistan Press Foundation

LAHORE: The Lahore Literary Festival 2016 has come up with a diversified schedule for its upcoming edition starting on Feb 19.

There will be 16 sessions on the national and regional languages and literature, making it an attraction for the audiences from Urdu and Punjabi readers.

The LLF will miss Intizar Husain who was a regular at the festival. Right at the start of the day one, a tribute ‘The World of Intizar Husain’ will be paid to one of the greatest fiction writers the Urdu fiction lost recently. There will be two sessions on Ghalib, including one featuring Zia Mohyeddin. Another notable session will be Meer Ka Husn-e-Tahgazul on Mir Taqi Mir, featuring American scholar C.M. Naim.

Other sessions on Urdu literature will spread across three days of the LLF. They include those on Urdu journals, history of Urdu poem, emerging trends of fiction written in the national language, humour, mystery literature and poetry in translation. The famous writers and men of letter who are going to be a part of these sessions include Kishwar Nahid, Ali Akbar Natiq, Masood Ashar, Asif Farrukhi, Asghar Nadeem Syed, Arfa Syeda Zehra, Zehra Nigah and Irfan Ahmed Urfi.

For any literary activity happening in Lahore, it’s impossible to leave the language of Lahorites and the region, i.e. Punjabi. There will be two sessions on Punjabi literature. The first will be Punjab’s Literature: Tabqati Shaoor and the second will be Punjab’s Literature: Zuban aur Shanakht. Punjabi scholars Mushtaq Soofi, Saeed Bhutta, Majeed Sheikh, Sughra Sadaf, Ahmad Salim and others will discuss various aspects of the Punjabi literature and language.

A session on Seraiki literature and music is also part of the festival, where Mussarat Kalanchvi, Asghar Nadeem Syed, Rahat Multanikar, Basit Bhatti and Hafeez Khan will have a discussion on music and literature from Seraiki Wasaib. Not only this, Sindhi poet, writer and activist Attiya Dawood’s autobiography Ainay Kay Samnay will also be launched and Asif Farrukhi will have a talk with the author on the launch.

Urdu fiction writer and poet Ali Akbar Natiq welcomed the increased number of Urdu sessions in the LLF 2016, saying Urdu represented 18 million people of the country and the more sessions mean they are also being given representation in the literary festival. “The festivals like the LLF also prove helpful in bringing back the Urdu readers who had left reading due to various reasons,” he says, adding that even the readers of English literature in Pakistan have started reading good Urdu fiction.

Natiq says there are great writers in Urdu and it has a great tradition of writings and the new generation should be made aware of them.

“Only the writers can’t increase readership and such festivals are a must to increase the number of Urdu readers.”

Punjabi scholar and poet Mushtaq Soofi says if a festival is being held in Lahore and Punjab, it must give space to the language of the city and the region. He also welcomes the inclusion of sessions on Punjab and Seraiki in the LLF, saying any literary festival cannot leave the language of the people out and organisers have done well by giving some space to Punjabi.

However, he says there is more to be done yet, hoping that there will be more sessions on the language in the future editions.