Contestants discuss relevance of Iqbal’s message to present age

Published November 9, 2023
A student speaks during the elocution competition held on Mazar-i-Quaid premises on Wednesday. —Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
A student speaks during the elocution competition held on Mazar-i-Quaid premises on Wednesday. —Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: The audio-visual room on the premises of the Quaid’s mausoleum was filled with enthusiasm with participants ranging from young individuals anxiously waiting for their turn to speak, to older folks, who were there with warm smiles to wholeheartedly support and appreciate the students.

The event, Allama Iqbal Memorial Inter University Elocution Competition, was organised by the Pakistan Women’s Foundation for Peace (PWFFP) on the occasion of birth anniversary of the national poet, which falls on November 9.

Students from various universities in Karachi took part in the competition and shared their interpretation of Iqbal’s poetry and thoughts.

Despite difference in the speeches in relation with form, structure and wordings, the one thing that was common and almost every speaker talked about was the ‘vision’ of enlightenment the great poet of the East wanted to share with the world.

Inter-University Elocution Competition held on the eve of Allama Iqbal’s birth anniversary

The speeches were delivered by the students of the Bahria University, Benazir Bhutto Shaheed University Lyari, Hamdard University, ILMA University, Iqra University, Jinnah University for Women, Karachi University, NED University, Sindh Madarsatul Islam University, S.M. Law College and Ziauddin University.

The event was presided over by retired Supreme Court Justice Wajihuddin Ahmed and the chief guest was Azad Aftab Iqbal, who is also Allama Iqbal’s grandson.

The competition was judged by Dr Shahinda Moonis, Aliya Rahman, Sibtain Naqvi and Rizwan Jaffer.

The speeches were eloquent and delivered amazingly by all participants.

“It gives me immense pleasure to welcome the youth of my country who are not just eager to learn about the poet, but they are also trying to interpret him according to recent times, which proves that our state is in good hands,” Aleem Adil Shaikh, resident engineer of the Quaid-i-Azam Mazar Board said in his opening remarks.

“As someone who’s leading this prestigious organisation, I am nothing but grateful and proud to see the turnout here. Our aim is to make sure that our generations are familiar with our ancestors, especially the ones who’ve played remarkable roles in our struggle for freedom,” Nargis Rahman, chairperson of the PWFFP said in her address.

“I have been participating in debate and declamation contests for several years now and I must say that competitions which are dedicated to the assets of our nation are my favourite. Our generation is very disconnected from history and this is a good way to reconnect. We’re all young and enthusiastic which is a plus point, we just need the right direction,” a student from Jinnah University for Women said.

“Today, there will be those who emerge as champions, but in my heart, anyone who bravely engages in a challenging conversation with confidence and enthusiasm is a tremendous victor, regardless of whether they take home a trophy. You are all winners to me. May you nurture the inner strength of Khudi that will serve as your guiding light, inspiring you to shoulder the responsibilities that await you. You are the bearers of our nation’s future, and I sincerely hope for your success,” Azad Aftab Iqbal said in his closing remarks.

After a tough and nerve-wracking competition, Jahanzaib Ali Khan from Benazir Bhutto Shaheed University Lyari secured first position, while Aysha Rafiq from University of Karachi stood second and Romasha from Jinnah University for Women secured third position.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2023

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