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Celebrating Urdu adab and culture

Ali Akbar Natiq captivates both young and old with his powerful oratory and deeply contextualized poems and short stories at a recitation hosted by Kuch Khaas

The Friday Times
: Published in August 17-23, 2012 edition under the title It takes a Village…

In the federal capital of Islamabad, the buzzwords one normally gets to hear are ‘terrorism’, ‘extremism’, ‘Taliban’, ‘Afghanistan’, ‘mullah’, ‘bomb blast’, ‘America’, and so on. Politics and security dominate the lives of people who live in this city ensconced in the Margalla hills, serene and beautiful as it always was, but now cursed with brutal incidents of extremism and terrorism that all cities in Pakistan have been suffering from for half a decade now. Rarely does one get to partake in an occasion where a diverse cross-section of Pakistanis sit together and discuss lively, relaxing topics like the arts, culture, and how literature has developed – and is developing – in Pakistan. Kuch Khaas, the only privately-run arts and culture centre in Islamabad, has recently started a series titled “Sudh Budh”, a weekly event hosted every Wednesday, celebrating culture, literature, poetry, prose and other art forms still alive and well in Pakistan.

The first event of the “Sudh Budh” series was a recitation-of-sorts by Ali Akbar Natiq, an Urdu poet and short story writer who hails from Okara in the Punjab, but traces his ancestry to eastern Punjab (now part of India). Ali Akbar Natiq was selected by the acclaimed Granta magazine as a New Voice and published his short story “A Mason’s Hand” in their special edition for Pakistan. Natiq’s book, “Qaeem Deen”, has also been published by Oxford University Press earlier this year. Natiq himself wanted it to be an interactive evening with eminent personalities of the literary circle in Islamabad, the adeebs, and members of the youth and civil society who still drew spiritual nourishment from Urdu adab and Pakistani culture.

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En Route to Critical Mass

  • The Concerned Citizens of Pakistan (CCP) held a protest today against the brutal extrajudicial murder of Pakistani citizen Sarfaraz Shah by troops of the Sindh Rangers. This gruesome act was caught on videotape by a brave journalist who is now in hiding alongwith his family, and it became the center of national attention for two reasons: one, that when Sarfaraz was shot by security forces, he was unarmed and begging for his life, and two, that the security forces let a citizen of their own country die painfully while they watched him bleed. (more…)
  • On Sunday, January 30, 2011, a cross-section of the Pakistani youth gathered at Liberty Chowk, the place where a couple of years ago, a dastardly terrorist attack against the Sri Lankan cricket team occurred. This rally was arranged mainly by the citizens of Lahore, including some civil society organizations who stepped up with the arrangement and local mobilizations, and with gathering people who are not even computer literate. As per the attendance list on Facebook, around 600 people were expected to attend the rally. (more…)
  • Disappointed by the turnout. Must be dismal, no? But we are not about numbers; we are about ideas. You can kill a person, you can bomb a crowd. But you can never kill an idea... (more…)
  • Approximately 2,000 people were in front of the Governor's House, Mall Road, Lahore, at 5pm today to protest the brutal assassination of Salmaan Taseer and to condemn the atrocities the mullahs and far-right politicians have continually committed on peace-loving, progressive Pakistanis. (more…)

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