Readings by Faryal Gauhar: Author and rights activist shares her thoughts on social issues
A television personality of yesteryear, Faryal Gauhar, read portions from books authored by her to an enraptured audience at the Majmua Art Gallery on Saturday.
The subject of the readings extended over a vast canvas. In her inimitable style and impeccable English, she read portions on a number of social issues, extending from the bordello of Lahore, normally referred to as the Shahi Mohallah, most profoundly outlining the silent emotional sufferings of the women cast away by society as virtual untouchables, to the sufferings that common citizens undergo as the aftermath of a war.
She read from her book, “Scent of wet earth in August”, in which she reflects on the lives and the emotional sufferings of the inmates of bordellos.
Then she also read from another book outlining the initial years of the US-manipulated Afghan “Jihad” which the US stage-managed to bleed the erstwhile Soviet Union white.
In a very profound manner, Faryal talks of amputees in Afghan hospitals, the influx of three million Afghan refugees into Pakistan, which exerted such a load on our staggering economy. It was a really gripping reading of a little over an hour which added so much to the knowledge of those who were there and woke people up to events that may have begun to gradually be erased from the nation’s memory, given that two generations have come up after the end of the “Jihad”.
Her highly theatrical presentation made it all the more profound and drove home the message far more effectively.
She talks of the Afghan war in her own sceptical manner through the diary of an American student who’s been captured by the militants there.
In her introductory remarks, Mehreen Elahi, owner of the art gallery, thanked Faryal for taking the time off to come. Talking about her gallery, she said that it was not only a platform for art exhibitions but was also a forum for literary activity and performances.
Faryal’s talk was preceded by an exhibition of works by three artists, Ashkal, Maqbool and Ali Shah. There were twelve of their paintings adorning the walls of the gallery. The three works by Ashkal were figurative or abstract art. It was the same with the works of Maqbool.
Ali Shah seemed to have specialised in pigeons and women. Ashkal, it may be mentioned, is a graduate of the St. Martin’s Academy of Art in London.