Ever since 2010, start of Febraury for us Karachiites means the arrival of Karachi Literature Festival not Valentines Day, or at least that is the case for me!
The Karachi Literature Festival organized by the Oxford University Press in Pakistan, kicked off on the 5th of February (Friday) till the 7th of February. Sadly I wasn’t able to attend the first day, due to the fact I was house bound (oh well) but apparently I missed some really informative sessions like The Dilemmas of the Transgender with Laxmi Narayan Tripathi and Chap Tilak: Ameer Khushro’s Harvest of Folk Songs which I really wanted to attend. But thank God, KLF records sessions which can viewed at their website.
I got the chance to go on the second day, I went mainly due to work with my colleague to cover the event a bit and let’s say when I reached there it became clear who will be doing most of the event coverage (haha). The sessions I attended were: Transgender Rights: Are there Any? Where Laxmi Narayan Tripathim Khawar Mumtaz, Bindiya Rana and Reema Abbasi spoke about their lifes and experiences living and growing up in India/Pakistan (the group consisted of both nationalities) and what rights they do have right now, Laxmi’s struggle for the transgenders’ community in India, and what can be done to give equal rights to people who don’t identify in one particular sex? This was a very informative session, put light to certain issues and the fact that it is said that in the census to take place this year, the government of Pakistan will be also identitfying the transgender (also known as Khuwaja-siha or Hijras) community as the third gender; but we have to yet see this happen and here is to hoping for the best.
Look at the free stuff I got from KLF ^_^
One of the other sessions I sat in was the KLF German Peace Prize, where the German Ambassador in collaboration with the KLF team (OUP) gave out prizes to the authors and writers who have written for Pakistan in a positive light to spread the message of peace and harmony. Intezaar Hussain who passsed away on Tuesday, two days before the Karachi literature festival an Urdu writer, his book Agay Samandar Hay (The Sea Lies Ahead) and the translation of it in English by Rakhsanda Jalil was also honoured with an award, Mr. Pervez Hoodbhoy read out a beautiful passage from the novel I would had posted a video of it here but I was to engrossed to actually make the video and later realised that I don’t have a recording!
One other fun session was the Laughter is the Best Medicine, where the Pakistani stand up comedian Saad Haroon and the Indian stand up comedian Sanjay Rajoura along with Nadeem F. Paracha made jest about the things that constantly plague the two countries and how the two countries react to each other. It was all in good nature and a very light hearted fun session, the hall was jam packed with hardly even place to stand!
One session I sadly missed was the one on Rumi, the Mystic and Poet; Being someone who absolutely loves his way with words, it was a little disheartening to be not be able ot attend that session. But here is one of my favourite Rumi quotes, enjoy!
silence is the language of god,
all else is poor translation.
There were so many sessions I wanted to go to but I am human and I do get hungry (Oops) and thank God for the Food Court and the lovely food stalls serving freshly baked pizzas and the yummiest icecreams and coffee. Paradise, I tell you this festival was.
The third day, I didn’t attend sadly therefore I missed the screening of the movie Manto ( which I saw when it came out, but still) and the talk with the actors and the man behind all the hardwork in making this movie i.e. one and only Sarmad Khoosat! Of course there were some other amazing sessions that I missed. But maybe next year!