IN Pakistan, we can see a wave of various literary festivals, seminars and conferences held in multiple cities. People from different walks of life show their presence either as hosts, guests or participants to get insight on a wide range of topics.

Earlier, such a trend was limited to the big cities of the country, but today we can see literary festivals and seminars in numerous cities. The essence of such events is to discuss matters with the intent to mitigate the issues faced by people on various fronts. These events are usually sponsored by provincial governments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), embassies and profit-oriented companies, including multinational organisations.

Ironically, the entities that sponsor such programmes are the basic exploiters or the ones responsible at least partly for the issues that are discussed on these very platforms. For instance, a fertiliser-producing company sponsors the conference on climate change which should be, in fact, held accountable for the destruction of the environment. There can be many examples added to exhibit this irony.

This paints a positive picture of the capitalist vicious structure that creates financial constraints and shows the hypocritical behaviour of the system. These are the perils of the structural dominance of capitalism that despite damaging society, such multinational companies are presented as entities building a better society.

As a result, the outcome of such events is limited to papers and social media chatter without any productive implications.

Tahir Gadehi
Sehwan Shareef

Published in Dawn, May 1st, 2023

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