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KARACHI: The three-day Sindh Literature Festival (SLF) kicked off at the Beach Luxury Hotel on Friday with Sufi singer Abida Parveen’s live performance that created euphoric ambience in which many of her fans danced amid rounds of applause.

The festival hosted by Wijdan, an organisation dedicated to promote literature, music, arts and culture, featured stalls of books, paintings, traditional food, quilts, ajrak and Sindhi dresses.

The Sufi singer formally opened the event by cutting the ribbon. It was followed by the recital of Shah Latif’s verses from Sur Hassaini by the Faqirs who sing the Shah jo Risalo every evening at Shah Latif’s shrine.

Speakers at the inaugural session said the Risalo was not less potent and influential than Bhagavad Gita and Ramayana.

The organisers said they had planned to hold the SLF once a year that would basically champion Sindh’s culture and celebrate its literature chiefly in Sindhi language. But literature in other languages, too, including Urdu, English, Balochi and Seraiki, would also be given ample space, as Sindh was a multicultural land – “the land of the givers and not the snatchers”, as one organiser put it.

Educationist and scholar Dr Sulaiman Shaikh said it was time to harmonise different shades of culture and ethnicities in Sindh, particularly by making a concerted effort to encourage every resident of the province to learn its language.

Sardar Shah, provincial minister for culture, said the government would help the organisers with all possible means to make the event even better in its future editions.

SLF patron Abdullah Hussain Haroon also spoke.

The things got livelier when Abida Parveen went on the stage along with music artists Mewa Khan, Shahid Khan and Ustad Amb Jogi amid loud cheers of her fans.

The audience loved her magical performance right from the start till the very end. One of the leading Sufi singers in present times began with ‘Man kunto maula’. As it happens always, the attendees loved every bit of it as her pleasing voice was accompanied with chants of ‘Ya Ali’ from the audience. Another hit ‘Arey Logon Tumhara Kya’ reinvigorated her fans. She frequently switched from Sufi music to ghazal and vice versa it continued to keep the audience engrossed and many realised it after some time that they had begun dancing.

The festival would continue till Sunday during which dozens of sessions vis-a-vis literature, history, fine arts, poetry and drama would be held. A number of singers and bands were also lined up to perform in the coming sessions, the organisers said.

Published in Dawn, November 5th, 2016