Three precious days adorned by an endless array of national and international literati; brought us masses a heartening time out of the humdrum of our daily lives. Nowhere on earth could a lay man interact with authors, academicians, politicians, ambassadors, activists, satirists, artists, comedians and even journalists as closely as provided by the KLF 2013.
Being fourth cycle of its sort, the Oxford University Press Pakistan under the leadership of Amina Sayid (MD) brought an immense variety of abundance to pick up with. Noteworthy to state that Mrs Ameena Saiyid, was awarded the Knighthood of the Order of Arts and Letters on Friday 15th of February 2013 by the Ambassador of France in Pakistan, Philippe Thiebaud.
The audience was literally taken aback by the fact that many sought out sessions were held simultaneously. Additionally the Children’s Literature Festival was another platform to instill noble literary habits in the formative minds.
At the commencement of grand festival; Intizar Hussain, presented a thought provoking tale of Alif Laila wa laila, which rightly re-emphasized the impact of narratives and wordily expressions on human lives.
The anecdote recounts a brutal king who would marry a girl everyday and ended up slaying the young lady next morning. This barbarian act led to the mitigation of girls within the kingdom. Now somebody needed to teach brutal king a tough lesson. So a lady presented herself to the king, unsolicited. She used a witty act as her weapon against the inhuman perpetration. The tool was nothing, but story-telling. Every night she would start a story and leave it unfinished for the next day. This process took weeks, moths and even years. The act of narrative hit the king so profound that all his brutalities drained out with the passage of time. Such a miracle could not take place without an in-depth articulation of literature and the art of story-telling.
Half of two paisas: The Extraordinary Mission of Abdul Sattar Edhi & Bilquis Edhi
Written by Lorenza Raponi an ambassador from Italy. Tehmina Durrani moderated the session. It was an attempt to pay tribute to the extraordinary services of Edhi who is instrumental in presenting humanitarian Islam to the rest of the world. Ambassador Lorenza spoke highly about Edhi and Bilquis Edhi who was quoted saying: Nonetheless Edhi is over 80 years old, but in case of an emergency situation in the country, he drastically turns 20. Such is state of his restlessness to work for humanity.
Political Engagements in a Pakistani novel:
Further highlights of the carnival were the panel discussions of renowned young Pakistani authors like Kamila Shmasie, Mohsin Hamid, Muhammad Hanif, H.M Naqvi and Nadeem Aslam who talked of Political Engagements in a Pakistani Novel.
The Baloch who is Not Missing and others Who Are:
Mohammad Hanif launched his third book: the Baloch who is not missing. It was attended by hundreds of audiences who seek a peaceful solution to the plight of Baloch who are being oppressed and tormented in the biggest province of the country.
Mustansir Tarar’s Niklay teree talash mein
For the urdu literati, Mustansir Tarar’s Niklay teree talash mein and Aaj ka Ghalib were additional major features presented by reputed Urdu scholars like Mahmood Jamal, Shamim Hanfi, Wajid Jawad and Iftikhar Arif.
Confronting the Bomd: Pakistani and Indian Scientists Speak out
Dr Perveiz Hoodbhouy was launching Confronting the Bomb: Pakistani and Indian Scientists Speak out. Dr Perveiz illustrated the purpose, background and the need that led to genesis of a book. An ardent supporter of non-nuclear proliferation Dr Pervez cited that India developed the bomb keeping China in mind not Pakistan. He shunned the notion that carrying hundreds of nukes provides security to a country. The discussion continued with provocative question answers from public.
Social satire Laughing at ourselves:
This slot being the most comical rendered the audience spellbound with feats of laughter supplied by Bushra Ansari and Beau Zafar. Ali Gul Pir, the reknowned self-made singer of the social imbalances, cited that societal conditions in Pakistan have turned so gross that one cannot interpret these menace subtly. One needs to be blunt in professing society’s wrongdoings. Nadeem F Parachi moderated the session with equity asserting that media needs to know the difference between satire and scoffing. All the panelist consented that satire needs to be received positively as it intends to exhibit social distress with tongue-in-cheek. Re-emphasizing Paracha was of the view that media ought to target not only politicians but generals, judges, intelligence agencies and many others in-charge of influencing masses directly or indirectly.
The Prospects of US Pakistan Relations
In a belligerant conversation with US ambassador Cameron Munter, the former ambassador Maliha Lodhi stated that Pakistan is a country that does not respect itself. “You only speak for a few, we are a resilient society and respect ourselves, we have been failed by our own state, Pakistan is not a poor country, more of a poorly managed country.”The panelists then spoke about the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan to which Munter said he was optimistic about the pullout because it would give the US a chance to re-create its relationship with Pakistan. Lodhi retorted to this by saying much would depend on how 2014 plays out, adding that the safe and secure withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan is important. “Pakistan’s role will be critical to reduce American pain while they are withdrawing from Afghanistan,” she added. She presented a set a DO’s and DO NOT’S for better US-Pakistan relationships.
All in all, it is hard to write in length about hundreds of awe-inspiring sessions and speakers at Beach Luxury Hotel, which was filled with unending throng of literature lovers.
For a critic, the overall aura of the festival would have appeared slightly political though, due to a number of talks on topics like Pakistan’s image abroad, Indo pak and US relations etc. However, it is the high time to address themes of such kind, to educating the masses and letting them interact with opinion leaders in real terms.
Amidst escalating social problems in Pakistan, literary habits of reading and writing take us to another realm where there is no violence, where knowledge is free and where it is taught to choose between knowledge and information.
Nadeem Aslam righted pointed: “Such sunlight runs through my veins when I think of attending KLF – I am terribly excited now.”
Well, what makes me more conscious is the elevating and inspiring feeling; no poverty is greater than intellectual poverty. The mega event was truly a manifestation of what poet of the nation, Iqbal aspired : Let my enlightened vision be visible to all – Mera Nur-e Baseerat aam Kerday.
Hats off to OUP for undertaking such a herculean task of enlightening and providing exposure of a erudite merit.
I am restless to attend KLF 2014.