Literature festival features discussions on women’s empowerment, ethnic politics

Published May 26, 2022
Civil society activist and former MNA Bushra Gohar speaks at the Peshawar Literature Festival in Peshawar on Wednesday. — White Star
Civil society activist and former MNA Bushra Gohar speaks at the Peshawar Literature Festival in Peshawar on Wednesday. — White Star

PESHAWAR: On the second day of the first edition of the Peshawar Literature Festival, 15 sessions were held on different subjects here on Wednesday.

A statement issued here said women’s empowerment in the province, dimensions of ethnic politics in the country, opportunities and challenges of the local literary industry, current Afghan situation, and Pakistani fiction came under discussion during the event, where literati as well as students showed up in large numbers.

The event has been organised by the Institute of Education and Research, Community Service Programme and the Department of History of the University of Peshawar in collaboration of the Dosti Welfare Organisation.

In a first, the PLF also held an English poetry recital with several poets in attendance.

Peshawar event to conclude today

An animated discussion took place among poets with Spogmai Khattak acting as a moderator.

Former chief secretary Sahibzada Riaz Noor, Riaz Hussain, Samra Fakhar, Saira Babar and Noman Bin Saleem took part in the discussions on the impact of violence in the poetry among other issues.

Mr Noor, in response to a question, said he derived inspiration for the title of his anthology, Dragonfly and Other Poems, from drone warfare in the region during the war on terrorism.

He said the people of Waziristan used to equate drones with dragonflies due to their whizzing sound and he drew the name for his collection from it.

The poets also debated the cathartic value of the poetry as well as the challenges and other issues of the writing in another language as well as their own perception of Pashto poetry.

Dr Fazal Rahim Marwat’s book titled ‘Khushal Khan Khattak, the Pioneer of Afghan Nationalism’ and Ihsan Dawar’s book titled ‘Waziristan Ka Saqafati Virsa’ also came under discussion.

Zafarullah Parwaz also spoke about his novel, Angristanu, the first in Khowar language, during a session moderated by Fakhar Alam.

Dr Aamer Raza moderated the session on current perspectives on Afghanistan, where Dr Irfan Ashraf and Dr Khurshid Khan were the panellists.

Syed Hanif Rasool and Dr Samiuddin Arman discussed the Pakistani fiction in Pakistan between Fiction and History: Border, War and Partition in Pakistani Fiction in English.

Dr Darwaish Afridi moderated the session on Class or Ethnicity? A Question of Political Relevance in Pakistan, which was attended by Afrasiab Khattak and Dr Aasim Sajjad Akhtar and attracted a large number of students.

Dr Noreen Naseer moderated the session on Empowering Women in KP, which was attended by provincial Ombudsperson on Harassment of Women Rakhshanda Naz and former MNA Bushra Gohar. The session attracted students and people from other walks of life.

Kayenat Hameed Khan moderated a session on ‘Challenges and Opportunities of the Literary Industry in KP’, while Dr Uzma Dayan moderated a session on education of out-of-school children.

Dr Altaf Qadir moderated a session on ‘Political Economy of Education’ with Prof Ghulam Qasim Marwat as a guest.

Also, Urdu and English handwriting competition were arranged for schoolchildren. An Urdu debate contest will take place on the last day of the event today (Thursday), which will have 15 sessions.

Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2022

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