“Pakistan and India should resolve conflicts through dialogue”


Artists, activists urge governments to bridge gaps during tribute to Amrita Pritam on death anniversary

LAHORE: Pakistan and India should come forward to resolve all their conflicts through dialogue for the development of both countries. This was expressed in a joint declaration of a one-day “International Conference on Amrita Pritam” which was organised by World Punjabi Congress in Lahore on Tuesday.

The conference was held to pay tribute to the legendary poet, essayist and fiction writer Amrita Pritam in connection with her death anniversary, and was attended by a large number of people including prominent Punjabi writers, poets and activists of the Punjabi language.

In a declaration issued during the events, it was stressed that the governments of Pakistan and India should facilitate the people of both countries so that literary work can be boosted. They demanded leniency in visa process in this regard and asked for visa duration to be extended.

According to the declaration, “Both India and Pakistan should focus on the progress of women and hurdles in this regard should be removed. The universities teaching Punjabi language should introduce at least one paper in Shah Mukhi and Gur Mukhi script. All languages in Pakistan are national languages, so the basic education should be given in mother language. Governments of both countries should assist financially to those working for the promotion of Punjabi language. Name of one road in Gujranwala should be named after Amrita Pritam.”

During conference, different speakers expressed their point of view regarding the eve.

Eminent writer Mustansar Hussain Tarar, while sharing his experience, said that although he never had the opportunity to meet Amrita Pritam, he had good correspondence with her. “Once she objected at one of my writing and said that Muslimism could not be vanished from you, to which I replied that you also cannot vanish Sikhism from you,” he said.

Tarrar was of the view that the partition of India was a vast subject which had created divisions among the people of both sides. He stressed that we should forget the partition and look forward in order to forget all prejudices. “Unless we forget that part of our history, we could not adopt the passion of reconciliation,” he said, adding that Vietnam and United States are now on friendly terms because they were able to look beyond the events of the past.

Historian and political scientist Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad said, “I had found a great deal regarding the partition in fiction but nothing in poetry was as impactful as the work of Amrita”. He added that the state of violence and tyranny that a woman faced during the partition could only be expressed by a woman and Amrita performed that job.

He also stressed on Indian writers to remember the legendary Punjabi writers of Pakistan.

World Punjabi Congress Chairman Fakhar Zaman said that it was shocking that no event in India was held in the honour of the legendary poet. He was of the view that Amrita was not owned by the people of India. Lamenting the India government, Fakhar said that despite declaring the residence of Amrita as a national museum, a builder was allowed to construct plaza after demolishing it.

At least nine documentary films were presented during the conference, highlighting the work life and facets of Amrita’s personality.

Saeed Chaudhary, Neelam Bashir Ahmad, Dr Sughra Sadaf, Bushra Ejaz, Nasir Baloch, Qazi Javed, Professor Muzaffar Abbas, Hussain Majrooh, Hassan Askari Kazmi and other eminent personalities attended the conference.