CHITRAL: The speakers in a seminar highlighted the contribution of women to the promotion of Chitral’s folk literature and declared it “striking and significant”.

The event titled ‘Reviving the feminine perspective in Khowar (Chitrali language) folk literature’ was jointly organised by the Anjuman-i-Taraqi Khowar and Women Literary Forum with the financial assistance of the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme and attended by literary figures and people from other walks of life in large numbers.

President of a local tourism association Shahzada Maqsoodul Mulk was the chief guest on the occasion, while Dr Inayatullah Faiz, Farida Sultana Fari, Zahurul Haq Danish, Iqbaluddin Sahar, Abdul Wali Khan Abid, Farid Raza, Murad Akbar, Samrina Hussain and others presented their papers.

The speakers said that no one could think that women had contributed so much to Chitrali literature and culture when they didn’t have formal education and illiteracy “enveloped” them.

They said that women’s natural faculties and capabilities were shown by poetry.

The speakers said that Chitrali women produced masterpieces in the realm of folk songs and poetry and that they all fascinated the younger generation of today.

They said that Chitral’s folk stories like Nano Begal, Nan Doshi, Nano Xan and Ashoor Jan dated back to more than 150 years ago but were learnt and sung by hundreds of people in the region.

The speakers said that Chitral’s history was full of women, who exhibited acts of gallantry fighting the enemy.

They said that the role of women in the arena of language and literature should be broadened in the modern age for which a conducive environment could be created through the removal of cultural barriers.

The speakers established a connection between the revival of the folk heritage of Chitral and the promotion of tourism through it and presented the examples of many countries where it helped attract tourists.

A video on Chitral’s famous folk song ‘Lowah’ was also released on the occasion.

Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2023

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