KARACHI: The second day of the Youth Festival 2010 started off with students reciting Urdu poetry and brandishing Ghalib, Dard, Taqi and Iqbal’s verses as weapons against one another in a bait bazi competition.
Mohsinul Hussain and Ali Raza, students of Government Degree College, were busy preparing for the competition. Holding a thick file of scribbled notes, the young men said they were ready for the battle. When asked if they thought they could win the competition, Mohsin replied confidently with a couplet: “Iraday jin kay pukhta hon nazar jin ki Khuda par ho, talatum khaiz maujon se wo ghabraya nahi kartay.”
The arts council’s halls, theatres and lawns were full to the brim with young men and women of all backgrounds. After delays due to the city’s volatile security issues, the festival is finally in full swing.
The event is being conducted by the Sindh youth affairs department in collaboration with the Arts Council of Pakistan.
Events include diverse competitive activities in different genres such as short films, bait bazi, debates, photography, theatre, battle of the bands, an IQ quiz and calligraphy. The festival has attracted participants and students from Sindh-based universities including Iqra University, NED, Sir Syed Girls College, Central Urdu University, Karachi University and DJ Science College.
First day competitions
On the first day of the festival, singing and debate competitions were the main activities. Participants in both events won the crowd over by their talent
The debate was voted in favour of the debaters supporting the topic, ‘Aman ke liye jang zaroori hai’ (War is essential for peace). The winner was a passionate Najmus Saqalain Laghari from Iqra. Laghari lauded the festival and said it was a good thing such events had started since debates were hardly ever held in the city.
Two special prizes were also awarded to Amna Akber and Maryam Jaffrey.
The singing competition, which attracted an energetic crowd and showcased some amazing young talent, was won by Sajid Abbas, a young man with a rock star look and an attitude to match, said the event was a lot of fun. “It’s a great way to showcase our talent,” he added.
Zara Rasheed received a special prize for her act, which she performed enthusiastically despite her optical disabilities. Another highlight of the night was a performance by four students from a school for visually and hearing impaired people.
Highlights on second day
The quiz competition held on Monday had some trouble taking off because most of the participants were stumped in the initial round, which was about Pakistan’s history. Idrees Ghazi, a former quiz master who was one of the senior guests at the competition, was a little disappointed at the poor performance. He said this was mainly because nobody paid attention to history quizzes anymore. “In the past there used to be only one TV channel and one radio station but still they used to run several quiz shows. Nowadays in the age of the media boom there are hardly any shows that can help people learn about their history,” he said. If events like the festival were held more often, the youth will be able to learn and absorb more, he added.
Pakistan College of Arts’ Sadia Abdul Qadri was one of the exhibitors who displayed hand-painted table runners, clothes and jewelry in the textile and fashion design category. She felt it was a good opportunity to display her work and get some recognition before entering the professional field.
Sanaullah Shoaib, a ‘disco designer’, told The Express Tribune that fashion and textile designing is not just for home décor and apparel but can also be applied in party decorations and have fun themes such as disco.
Highlighting the theme of ‘Dancing Moments’, his flashy and colourful wall mats and stand boards were among the most attractive pieces in the foyer area.
It was not all praise for the young exhibitors but even the criticism was met with enthusiasm and humility. Abrar Hussain, who has a diploma in fashion designing from iACT, said that he learnt from the criticism he had received from the more refined participants. “I learnt how to present my work and how to deal with and attract customers,” he said.
The festival had its share of amateurs and professionals. Shakeel Hussain Chaudhry, a well-established artist who has performed in several short films aired on TV, was busy rehearsing backstage for his drama adapted from a short play by the Russian author Anton Chekov. He believes it is a great opportunity to get recognised.
“I acted in my first play in last year’s festival representing the Arts Council and I have come a long way from then,” he added.
Standing among the selected pieces of art that were to be displayed, Shahrukh Kazmi, a New Ports University graduate of 2006, was ecstatic that his digital calligraphy had been selected. He said he is not working these days and this festival will be something worth mentioning on his CV. “Plus an appreciation certificate from here will boost my confidence,” he added.
“This is the best way to save our youth from irregular activities and channel their energy positively,” said Faizan Khan, an organiser of the event.
With additional input from Sadeed Mirza
Published in The Express Tribune, November 23rd, 2010.