The International Urdu Conference serves as a fire that rejuvenates the youth among the aging literary figures participating in it.
Urdu novelist and travelogue writer Mustansar Hussain Tarar made this remark as he spoke at the concluding ceremony of the four-day 16th International Urdu Conference at the Arts Council of Pakistan (ACP), Karachi, on Sunday evening.
Referring to the ‘pillar of fire’ in the novel ‘She’ by Henry Rider Haggard, he said that the main character in the novel burnt in the fire to stay young forever and the Urdu Conference played a similar role for the writers.
In a pun intended at Tarar, poet Iftikhar Arif told the audience to be careful of a youthful Tarar. He said that once in their young years, both of them went to Berlin. “It was the month of Ramazan, and both of us were fasting. We went to Turkish restaurant for Halal food. We broke our fast together and I went to offer Maghrib prayers. When I returned, I found Tarar and our host indulging in some other activities,” Arif said, after which the audience burst into laughter.
In his speech, Pashto scholar Abaseen Yousafzai said December was a joyful and romantic month for poets and artists, and now there was another fantasy attached to the month, which was the Urdu Conference.
Referring to the delegates participating in the conference, he said the ACP’s endeavour to bring such beautiful minds, hearts and souls together under one roof was a commendable act.
Sarwat Mohiuddin said the conference had become a platform for promotion of the literature published in all the languages spoken in Pakistan. She remarked that the event allowed opportunities for people belonging to different languages and regions to listen, understand and nurture love for each other — something that was much needed these days.
Author Noorul Huda Shah said that although ACP President Ahmed Shah had become a caretaker minister in the Sindh cabinet, he would always remain the ambassador of love and people would recognise him by this virtue.
She said the ACP’s initiative of the Pakistan Literature Festival that was organised recently in Kashmir and Sukkur unearthed the potential of the country’s youth who wanted to tackle darkness with love.
Quoting a verse from Allama Iqbal’s Bang-e-Dara ‘Tumhari Tehzeeb Apne Khanjar Se Ap Hi Khudkushi Kare Gi (Your civilization will commit suicide with its own dagger)’, poet and former vice chancellor of the University of Karachi Dr Pirzada Qasim said a cultural suicide was happening, but Shah and the ACP stopped it with their efforts like this conference.
He added that it had been delightful to observe during the past four days that the youth were awakening.
In his speech, Shah presented some resolutions before the audience at the closing ceremony, including demands for stopping the Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip and ensuring peace for Palestine, as well as resolution of the Kashmir conflict according to the wishes of its people. The resolutions also urged the Pakistani authorities to establish language centres for translations of foreign literature into local languages and diminishing the costs for printing and sending books to other cities and countries. At the end of the ceremony, the delegates on the stage were presented with Ajrak.