Urdu Conference discusses state of Sindhi and Punjabi literature
A number of sessions were held on the third day of the 12th International Urdu Conference on Saturday, including talks on Sindhi and Punjabi literature.
Speakers in the session on Sindhi literature included Mumtaz Bukhari, Mazhar Jamil, Noorul Huda Shah and others. Dr Qasim Rajpar moderated the session.
The speakers were of the view that there was no major threat to Sindhi literature in the current era; however, there were some challenges that needed to be overcome. It was said that Sindhi literature had left a great impact on society.
The writers talked about changes in the style and genres of Sindhi literature with time. It was said that novels and dramas were being written in Sindhi and many literary works of other languages, including English and Urdu, had also been translated into Sindhi.
The session on Punjabi literature was hosted by journalist Asma Shirazi who conversed with Mohammed Hanif and Sarwat Mohiuddin.
Hanif said Urdu thrived in Pakistan over the years. He recalled that in school, they were taught in Punjabi language and even their teachers used Punjabi as the medium of instruction while teaching Urdu. He remarked that our younger generations are not aware of their old customs and language.
Sarwat said there was a great treasure of literary works in Punjabi, in which great writers like we Baba Fareed, Bulleh Shah, Waris Shah, Guru Nanik, and Mian Muhammad presented their ideas. The moderator called for preserving all the languages of Pakistan.
A special session on the state of Urdu in Japan was also held, in which scholars So Yamane Yasir and Heroji Kataoka shared their views.
Kataoka has translated Ghalib, Faiz, Iqbal, and Manto into Japanese. Nowadays, he is working on Iqbal’s Persian book Javed Nama. He said a lot of work is being done on Urdu in Japanese.
Yasir said more than 350 books in Urdu had been translated into Japanese. Japan is a new hub for Urdu literature and language, he said.
The complete poetical works by the late poet Suroor Barabankvi under the title of Kulliyat-e-Urdu was also launched during the Urdu Conference’s third day. Iftikhar Arif, Zakia Sarwar, Ashfaq Hussain and Hoori Noorani participated in the talk, which was moderated by Asif Farrukhi.
A special film on Suroor was also screened on the occasion which was created by the Arts Council. Arif said that Suroor was a major poet of his time who inspired those who came after him. Hussain said the late poet was always concerned for Pakistan and he was a great human being. We cannot find such people in today’s world, he said. Zakia said Suroor was like a family member to her as her family had a close relationship with him.
A one-to-one talk with lawyer and television personality Naeem Bokhari was also held. Bokhari was interviewed by composer and actor Arshad Mehmood.
The lawyer talked about his close relationship with writer Munni Bhai whom he lauded as a great storyteller. He also criticised Gen Ziaul Haq during the talk.
Bokhari said Munnu Bhai had criticised Nawaz Sharif for his accountability drive and his criticism was proved true later.
Earlier in the day, the first session featured a discussion on the Urdu fiction. It was chaired by Asad Muhammad Khan, Hassan Manzar, and Masood Ashar, and the discussants were Saba Ikram, Najeeba Arif, So Yamane Yasir, Khalid Mahmood Sanjarani, Akhtar Raza Saleemi, Akhlaq Ahmed, Irfan Javed and Najma Usman.
Najma presented her paper on ‘Urdu fiction in the light of English fiction’ in which she said the first short story in the Indian subcontinent was written by Munshi Prem Chand. Before the partition, Rashidul Khairi also write some short stories based on social themes, she added.
She also discussed the art of Quratul Ain Haider, Ismat Chughtai, and Rajendra Singh Bedi who presented local situations in their short stories.
Irfan said if someone wanted to live longer, they should read Urdu fiction. A fiction writer creates a whole new world for its reader, he remarked, adding that reading fiction opened the mind. The title of his paper was ‘Why to read fiction?’.
Ikhlaq said literature should not be called literature if it did not reflect society. He criticised the prevailing censorship in Pakistan, saying that one could not create an exciting piece of fiction without freedom.
Sindh Culture Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah spoke at another session where he said a varsity was to be established in the province to preserve a language.
“Pakistan is a federation comprising five nations and all of them have their history of thousands of years with their culture, and art. Therefore, we need to preserve everyone’s [culture],” he said. Amjad Islam Amjad said many invaders had invaded this land and we should accept the decision of history because we cannot change it.
Amjad called for accepting and respecting each other.
Qasim Bhugio remarked that culture belongs to people. “In the past, our people admired the cultures from the other parts of the world and now it is our core responsibility to develop and admire the collective culture of Pakistan,” he said.
Ghazi Salahuddin said we need democratic freedom to reemerge but it unfortunately has been taken away from us.
Abaseen Yousafzai said different people within Pakistan are different in culture, tradition, art, and literature and we all must recognise each other’s individuality. He said the government should establish offices in Islamabad for all the cultures of Pakistan. The session was moderated by Syed Jaffer Ahmed.