Gala of colours, literature and books conclude

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They say it is always art and culture that unites a community or nation for healthy and peaceful social living conditions. The 4th Karachi Literature Festival, held at a local hotel from 15th to 17th February, was a really great occasion for the masses and people from all walks of life attended the three day non-stop spree of literary, art and intellectual happenings. The event was organised in collaboration with Oxford University Press (OUP) and was termed as better than the one’s organised in the previous years, in so many aspects including public response. Celebrated writers, authors, playwrights, poets, journalists, columnists and other professionals belonging to all corners of the country were present under the same roof to enlighten people with their profound knowledge, talent and intellect. Foreign delegates and literary and media icons also graced the occasion with their presence and made the event more charming.
Keeping the previous years’ traditions alive, this year’s festival, was full of graceful and vibrant ceremonies and events. On the first day, the inauguration proceedings included the appreciable performance by legendary classical dancer Shima Kirmani and her group who enthralled the audience with a special demonstration of poetry of the body. Earlier, in her opening address, Amina Syed, an office bearer of OUP, said that Karachiites would be able to see the world- renowned scholars and literary discussions, workshops and mushairas would galore the festival, adding colours to this multidimensional gala. Co-founder of the literature festival, Asif Farrukh said that the emerging literary figures along with the seniors were also participating in the thoughtful discussions taking place at the festival. Besides, children literature festival would also be part of the show.
Any literary and cultural spree was incomplete without the lyrical as well as poetic melodies, therefore, this segment was beautifully woven into the fabric of the overall grand festivities. The mushaira, an exchange of poetic beauties read out by the poets themselves, enthralled the audience a lot and all the poets including Amjad Islam Amjad, Masood Anwar, Kishwar Naheed, Fahmida Riaz, Anwar Shaoor and others were greatly appreciated by the audience. The unique content and style of Anwar Masood was really the high point of the event and it made the people burst into continuous laughter and applause. His Punjabi poem titled “Kofta” depicted the essence of this simple, otherwise a very complicated phenomenon of life, in a very entertaining and humorous way. This poem would definitely be alive in the minds of people forever. The next day, during a luncheon hosted by the business-cum-literature icon Mohammd Ashhraf Shaheen in the honour of literary friends, including Amjad islam Amjad, Anwar Masood, Attaul Haq Qasmi, Shahid Hasan Siddiqi, Irfan Javed, Javed Iqbal, Muttahir Ahmed Khan and Riaz Maisoori at Karachi Golf Club, the very sight of the dish of “Kofta” again made all the guests mention Anwar Masood’s poem of the same name and the atmosphere suddenly turned more pleasing and energizing.
The British MP, author and media icon George Galloway addressed the audience at the closing ceremony of the festival on the eve of February 17th. His profound knowledge and command over global issues, especially about the United States (US) oppression over other countries, and the witty style and eloquence impressed the audience to a great extent. It was, no doubt, a great speech and a great moment of the three day long festival. Galloway strongly condemned US policies that have pushed the whole world into the hell of terrorism and economic collapse. He further expressed his full moral support and sympathy with the Palestinian people who were the most suppressed and suffering nation in the globe.
Another remarkable aspect of the present event was that the festival attendance increased from around 5,000 in 2010 to 10,000 in 2011 and to 15,000 in 2012. The festival, the first of its kind in Pakistan, had been host to big names in the field of literature, including Anatol Lieven, HM Naqvi, Shobhaa De, Mohsin Hamid, Mohammed Hanif and Vikram. The one saddening thing for the literature and art lovers was the unavailability of the renowned writer, director and poet Gulzar. He had come to Pakistan according to the plans to grace the Karachi Literature Festival, but had to go back to India from Lahore two days before the inauguration of the Festival. His presence was greatly missed by the audience.