Three luminaries honoured as Urdu Conference closes
Three respected literary personalities were presented life-time achievement awards on the last day of the 12th International Urdu Conference on Sunday.
The award recipients, who were chosen by the office-bearers of the Arts Council, were Iftikhar Arif, Asad Muhammad Khan and Amar Jalil. Arif is considered one of the most important living poets of Urdu, Asad has been a revered fiction writer of Urdu who has also composed some fine poetry and Jalil is a prolific writer whose creative output in Sindhi, English and Urdu languages have inspired many.
Sindh Culture Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah, Arts Council President Ahmed Shah and various literary personalities were present when the life-time achievement awards were presented.
Addressing the closing ceremony, Shah said 2019 had been another successful year for the Arts Council. He promised more exciting events for the people of Karachi during 2020.
Last day sessions
A session, titled ‘Pakistan Mein Izhar-e-Fun Ki Azadi [Freedom of expressing art in Pakistan]’, featured a talk moderated by Huma Mir, involving artists Shahid Rassam and Muhammad Zeeshan, filmmaker Abid Mirchant and drama writer Samina Nazir.
The speakers agreed that the issue of restrictions on artistic expression was not only specific to Pakistan as artistes in all the countries faced this problem.
Rassam said every government in Pakistan tried to place restrictions on art and artistes. He said the more we allowed ourselves to be enslaved, the more the oppressive forces would chain us.
He recalled that the legendary artist Sadequain was once beaten up in Lahore by some people affiliated with a religious party, while he was working on a mural.
Nazir said the truth has to be told in the era of oppression and the artistes must not be afraid in presenting their truth.
Zeeshan said every country had its censor board which showed that there were restrictions on art everywhere. He said the artiste community should react to the restrictions with wisdom, otherwise it aggravates the situation.
Merchant asserted that artistic freedom was everyone’s right. He also read out an excerpt from a UN report that called for ensuring no restrictions on artistic expressions.
Actor, television host and playwright Anwar Maqsood enthralled the audience as he read a humourous piece at the penultimate session at the lawn of the Arts Council.
In a session on Kashmir, journalist Sohail Warraich said we all needed to support the Kashmiris in their struggle. He also called for a review on our Kashmir. The journalist was of the view that due to the armed conflict in Kashmir, we could not see its political face.
Writer and poet Amjad Islam Amjad said our literature is rich in the narrative on Kashmir and much has been written on the problems of Kashmiri people.
Journalist Ghazi Salahuddin said the narrative on Kashmir has been the same since the last 73 years. The war between two countries on Kashmir cost much to the both countries, he remarked.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan leader Faisal Subzwari said expecting anything good from the Modi government was absurd. People on the both sides of international bounders want peace now, he maintained.
The use of Urdu on social media was also a theme of one the sessions on the conference’s last day. Journalist Wusatullah Khan said every individual had their own way of using social media.
The session was moderated by Uzma Alkarim who sought comments from Wusatullah and other journalists Ovais Toheed and Nadeem Farooq Paracha.
It was said that though social media had enabled everyone to put their viewpoint across, it was still difficult to ensure healthy dialogue on it. It was also discussed that social media helped propagate false information and create confusion. The speakers said it was almost impossible to control social media.
Humourous works in Urdu literature was also the subject of a session on Sunday. It was chaired by Shahzad Sharjeel.