Urdu Conference concludes with satire on ‘21st century’s Pakistan’

Published December 5, 2022
This image shows speakers at a panel during the 15th International Urdu Conference. — Screenshot courtesy: Arts Council YouTube
This image shows speakers at a panel during the 15th International Urdu Conference. — Screenshot courtesy: Arts Council YouTube

KARACHI: The concluding session of the 15th International Urdu Conference on Sunday evening organised by the Arts Council of Pakistan was attended by a large number of art and book lovers as writer Anwar Maqsood entertained them with his satirical piece on ‘The 21st century’s Pakistan’.

He said in these unliterary times, Ahmed Shah (president of the Arts Council) had been striving to keep literature alive for the last 15 years. “But for me (Maqsood) he instructs that I talk about Pakistan while Pakistan has nothing to do with literature.”

He said for the last 75 years, citizens of this country had been living a life of poverty and other difficulties. Politicians don’t care much about them; they only care about the people during elections. In order to improve lives of the underprivileged the rulers six or seven times had sought assistance from other countries, he said.

“The poor say to them do that for your own selves, not in our name.”

Annual moot calls for granting official status to Urdu, equal treatment to all languages

The council’s president then invited Dr Jaffer Ahmed to present a resolution. Some of the points highlighted in the resolution were:

The conference was organised at a time when the horrific effects of the pandemic and floods are still being felt. Natural catastrophes don’t just have to do with nature, but they also have to do with some measures taken by man, that is, environmental pollution. We demand that environmental pollution should be given importance to prevent such debilitating events in the future.

We condemn the atrocities in Occupied Kashmir.

In order to promote literary and cultural activities, a democratic atmosphere is a must.

More than half of Pakistan’s population is below the age of 30. Efforts should be made to help give a boost to their creative abilities.

All languages spoken in Pakistan should be treated equally and efforts should be made to establish translation departments at educational institutions.

The education budget should be increased and discrimination on the basis of education must be eliminated.

Urdu must be made the official language of the country.

The audience passed the resolution unanimously.

After that, Zubeida Birwani was given an award for best Sindhi novel.

Governor of Sindh Kamran Tessori said all those who resided in Pakistan were good people. He also recited a couplet:

Hamarey ahd ke bachon ko English se muhabbat hai
Hamein yeh fikr mustaqbil mein Urdu kon boley ga

[The children in our times love English
We worry who will speak Urdu in the future]

Published in Dawn, December 5th, 2022

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