ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan National College of Arts (PNCA) hosted a dialogue on culture in tandem with the launch of ‘Pakistani Saqafat’, a newly-published book that provides vital insights into the understanding of Pakistani culture.
Addressing key concerns that perplex the Pakistani consciousness about the genesis, history and narratives of cultural identity, the book explores cultural pluralism and philosophical ethos of Pakistan.
The book also attempts to discuss the core issues of cultural identity without becoming bogged down in an academic discourse. The dialogue was moderated by Abida Taqi.
Naeem Khan, the host of the evening, said: “The dialogue today is in the context of Uxi Mufti’s book on Pakistani culture which is the product of his great service to the arts and culture of the past three decades. His book delineates that culture and tradition are vast, encompassing aspects of our lives. While evolution in culture is inevitable, it behooves us to remove the negative influences that damage our culture.”
Najeeba Arif, poet and educationist, speaking on the aspect of language within culture, read an essay which Uxi Mufti had incorporated in one of his books. Sharing an exquisitely written piece on experiences that developed her own love for and understanding of the Urdu language, she spoke about the affection that Punjabis have had for Urdu where one language has never taken away from the other.
She said the future of Urdu lies in its capacity to absorb from a multitude sources with no need to throw out what we have gained from Persian, Arabic and Hindi.
Nadeem Omar Tarar reviewed Uxi Mufti’s book and said: “The book can be read as the memoirs of a cultural philosopher who shares his experiences with the sons and daughters of the soil as a folklorist in the field.”
Renowned author Mohammad Hameed Shahid said: “Uxi grew up in a household which was centered around culture and literature. It is virtually impossible to separate the arts from culture and the arts are not a concern of the uncultured. Culture and arts have also been identified by Uxi as the sole path to redeeming the nation from violence and chaos.”
Uxi Mufti, founder of Lok Virsa and author of the book, said: “I will not give a long speech because I have written an entire book on this topic. Now the next step is yours where you read the book.”
He said, “The irony is that we will not allow trucks into Islamabad, our advanced capital, while museums around the world have placed our trucks in their displays as the finest example of folk art. Pakistanis need to rethink and understand the variations between episodes of history.”
Prof Dr Qasim Bughio, the chairman of Pakistan Academy of Letters, Farooq Qaiser of the Uncle Sargam fame, Dr Fauzia Saeed of Lok Virsa, Jamal Shah of Hunerkada, Zeejah Fazli of Music Mela fame and Zafar Zeeshan were the panelists for the evening.
The programme was followed by a concert of Sufi music by Qurban Niazi, a celebration of an integral part of Pakistani culture.
Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2015