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LAHORE: The second collection of short stories by Punjabi writer Zubair Ahmed -- “Kabootar, Banairay Tay Galian,” was launched at the Punjab Institute of Language, Art and Culture (Pilac) on Thursday.

In his presidential address, Punjabi poet, columnist and critic Mushtaq Soofi said the so-called division of left and right wings ended at a certain point in literature. He was of the view that ideology derived itself from literature and not the vice versa.

Soofi said genre of short story dated back to the oral tradition in ancient history and the Punjabi Qissa was also a type of short story. He rejected the impression that Punjabi writers were using difficult ornate diction, saying that middle and upper classes had lost connection to their language and they found it hard to understand it.

Punjabi short story writer Nadir Ali, quoting James Joyce, said stories could only be written about the people one loved and that’s what Zubair Ahmed had done. He compared Zubair’s stories with those of Indian Punjabi writer Kulwant Singh Virk.

Poet Mahmood Awan talked about the connection of the youth with their mother tongue and why it was important, adding that only two languages survived, those engrained in land or those responsible for economic sustenance of people.

Urdu writer Neelam Ahmed Bashir said it was important for people to communicate with their children in their mother tongue as her father, Ahmed Bashir, did. She talked about Krishan Nagar, the locale she shared with Zubair, during early days of her life, lamenting that many writers, poets and artists left Krishan Nagar after it became Islampura.

Zubair Ahmed read out one of his short stories after explaining his craft to the audience. Pilac Director Sughra Sadaf and Punjabi writer Nain Sukh also spoke.— Irfan Aslam