Sargodha-To explore and promote the literary and cultural aspects of the society, three-day Sargodha Literary Festival has been kick-started at University of Sargodha (UoS).

As part of the festival, a talk on ‘Literature, Culture and Peace’ was held to discuss the possible role of culture and literature in maintaining peace and tranquility.

Renowned academicians, writers and journalists including Dr Tabassam Kashmiri, Dr Nasir Abbas and Wajahat Masood participated in the discussion while Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed Vice Chancellor UOS was also present.

Speaking on the occasion, the vice chancellor stated that power structure always tried to influence the culture and literature produced by a society. War is the expression of power while knowledge, or more correctly, peace is the negation of power, he said. Knowledge, creative and analytical thinking help promote progressive thoughts hence play vital role in social as well as political growth which ultimately leads to the overall development of a society, he added.

He was of the opinion that Pakistani nation faces identity crisis especially its Diaspora in Europe. “We are confused about our identity that who we are? But we should not be confused nor should we be ashamed of our identity. We are beautiful people blessed with diversity and we have to reclaim our past and history to get us out from this confusion,” Dr Ishtiaq added.

In his view, Pakistan is going through a transitional period and there is need to understand that this transition would last longer because of certain factors and would turn Pakistan in a developed state. “One of these factors is youth bulge which can either be a demographical dividend or a ticking bomb and when voices of the youth prevail through literature and art, the society would flourish. Therefore, one can hope prosperous Pakistan as it is changing positively and huge opportunities are there,” the vice chancellor concluded.

Veteran columnist and political analyst Wajahat Masood, while delivering his talk, opined that although religion has significant impressions over culture, yet both terms should not be confused with each other because beliefs and traditions are one of many components of culture.

He expressed that history and geographical facts affect culture of a society but it should be remembered that there is no good or bad, rich or poor culture, therefore, no nation should ever feel ashamed of its culture.

Dr Nasir Abbas contended that culture, peace and literature are interlinked and have equal impact. Literature promotes peace and peace is the thing necessary for any culture to flourish and progress, he said. Dr Tabassam Kashmiri, a veteran academician who served a Japanese university for almost 30 years, stated that ruling power exerts great influence on culture of the subject state and its impacts on the thinking of artists and writers could be ignored.

Later, an art exhibition on the theme of literature and culture was organised by the Department of Fine Arts at Jinnah Hall. Ayesha Ishtiaq, spouse of vice chancellor of UOS, inaugurated the exhibition while MPA Nadia Aziz participated as chief guest.

Moreover, a book fair was also held at the Hockey Ground. Book publishers across the country set up their stalls to provide books to students at subsidised rates. The purpose of the book fair was to promote book reading habit among the youth.

Three books were launched in different languages. Book in English “Pakistan’s Demographical Transition: Change and Persistence” edited by Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed and Adnan Rafique, another book “NeeliBaar” authored by Dr Tahira Iqbal and “TasiDharti” written by Zahid Hasan were launched.

Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed, Adnan Rafique, Dr Liaquat, Dr Manzoor Watto and Dr Munir Bhatti reviewed these books.

In the evening, veteran artists and musicians enthralled audiences with their stunning performance. Zack Group Lahore performed Dance of Whirling Dervishes (Roomi Rung), Bashir Dhamali and his companions from Multan performed Puppet Show while LaluBhel and his companions from Cholistan presented Marvarhi performance.

UoS VC’s spouse Ayesha Ishtiaq, MPA Nadia Aziz and others take keen interest in artwork during an exhibition on the theme of literature and culture organised by the Fine Arts Department.–Staff photo