SAHIWAL: A five-day cultural festival has been planned to celebrate the upcoming International Mother Language Day that is observed on Feb 21 each year.

The festival will commence tomorrow (Thursday) and end on Feb 21. It is being organised by civil society organisations Sujag and Awaz Society in collaboration with Sahiwal Arts Council, Mahkain Punjabi Adabi Board, Comsats Institute of Information Technology and Government College, Sahiwal.

The cultural event includes a Punjabi mushaira, Punjabi theatre performance, a dialogue on ‘Punjabi language and identity’, folk rally and a Sufi folk musical night. This programme was announced during a media briefing jointly conducted by Amir Shakeel, festival coordinator, and Talat Hanif, president of Awaz Society, at a private hotel.

A cultural rally has been organised for five years on the mother language day, but this year other institutions were also involved in it.

Shakeel further said the mushaira will be held at Comsats University on Friday where more than 1,000 students will listen to Baba Najmi, Afzal Sahir, Sabir Ali Sabir, Murli Chohan, Rai Nasir, Baba Gulam Hussain, Anjum Saleemi, Fida Bokhari, Naseer Baloch, Anjum Saleemi, Anjum Qureshi and others.

On Saturday, a theatre performance will be held at Government College Sahiwal. Sangat Lahore will stage a 55-minute Punjabi play Heer Ranjha directed by Huma Safdar.

Maqsood Saqib, editor of Punjabi magazine Pancham, will deliver a lecture at District Council Hall on Feb 19. A folk cultural procession will be taken out from Saddar Chowk to Jinnah Chowk on Feb 21.

Representatives of traders, professional and farmer bodies, students, women, local office-bearers of political parties and right activists are scheduled to participate in the procession that will be led by Malik Nadeem Kamran, provincial minister for planning and development.

The same day, a folk music performance will be held at Jinnah Hall in the evening. Sher Miandad, Toti Sabri group comprising Israr Ali and Mohsin Ali will perform at the event.

Safdar Ali from Comsats said the purpose of the cultural festival was to take the message of Punjabi language to the younger generation, especially youth.

The city has been decorated with steamers, flexes and hoardings with messages in Punjabi language.

Published in Dawn, February 16th, 2017

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