Children Literature Festival (CLF) is one of the largest learning festivals for children and educators in Pakistan, reaching over 1.4 million children and adults since its inception in 2011.
The two-day CLF ’19 was held at Arts Council, Karachi. The sessions included storytelling and theatre shows, art and craft workshops, book launches, panel discussions, musical concerts and film screenings.
Educating to protect the environment
“Ignorance is the root cause of our sufferings. Today, environment, health and education are key areas where people around the world want to invest in. Research is being conducted; funds are being properly distributed and utilized; socio-political adjustments are being made. All these efforts will have a positive impact in the long run.
“As Pakistanis, we must also think of these issues with reference to our local context. First, educate yourself and believe in what matters. Because if you aren’t well informed and don’t firmly believe in the knowledge you have, you can’t deliver messages properly and can’t make any difference in the society. Then, after education comes behavioural change which eventually leads us to our goal of becoming a progressive society.”
- Yasir Qazi, journalist and writer at the panel discussion Heritage and Environment Preservation
The city is yours to explore ...
Literature festivals are incomplete without the stories of our architectural heritage. We can’t be better citizens if we don’t explore our cities and learn about how British colonists and leaders of the freedom movement built and shaped the cities we live in.
The session Know your city! Karachi’s Heritage Buildings at CLF ‘19 was a reminder for us to dig into the history of Karachi and learn lessons from the past.
In the session, Architect Mukhtar Husain, playing as a storyteller, amused the audience with tales of some of the architectural gems of Karachi. Just a few examples to give you an idea ...
Mohatta Palace Museum
Hindu Prince Shivratan Chandraratan Mohatta, in 1927, built Mohatta Palace as a summer home. Special yellow Gizri and red Jodhpur stones were used to built the palace. After Partition, the prince moved to India, leaving behind the palace which the Government of Pakistan used to house the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Today, the palace is a museum and art gallery.
Originally built as a library and hall in 1906, Khaliqdina Hall became a popular historical building when Britishers used it as place to try Maulana Shaukat Ali and Maulana Mohammad Ali Jouhar, the leaders of the Khilafat movement.
Shri Mahadev Temple
It’s a Hindu temple situated at the seaside of Clifton in Karachi. It was constructed more than 300 years ago in a cave in a hill. The entrance to the Shri Mahadev Temple is located near the Jehangir Kothari Parade.
“As children, we were told stories that portrayed girls as subservient individuals. There is no harm in being obedient and humble but one should have inner strength and integrity to progress in life. Your gender shouldn’t stop you from achieving your goals.”
- Haseena Moin, Writer
“One of the decisions I made early in my career was to ask editors and illustrators to portray women and girls in different roles. Instead of showing mothers in kitchen only, they could be shown reading or shopping groceries. I wanted to introduce similar changes slowly and gradually so that would be sustainable in the long run.
“As a woman working in the corporate sector, I had to face opposition from the misogynists around me. They would say rude things like, “Ghar kon sambhalta hai” or “Aap office me bethe rehti hai”. I would listen to them and reply back if needed, but it didn’t shake my resolve.”
- Ameena Saiyid, Co-founder Adab Fest
“Even in Sindhi literature women and girls have been portrayed in a stereotypical way; they are dependent on men to rescue them from their challenging situations. But there are also stories which show mothers and elderly women as active and strong characters.”
- Shabnum Gul, Educationist
“Saying no is easy when you know you’re right. It will have its consequences, but at the end of day, you will feel accomplished.”
- Mahtab Akbar Rashidi, Politician and Media Personality