Literary festival: ‘Punjabi’s decline corresponded with marginalisation of women’

Speaker urges women to join hands to work for restoration of Punjabi language and literature


Shamsul Islam February 16, 2016
Artistes performing at the Sulaikh Festival in Faisalabad. PHOTO: ONLINE

FAISALABAD: The decline of Punjabi language and its literature corresponds to the marginalisation of women and their disappearance from the public sphere, Asima Ghulam Rasool said on Tuesday.

She was speaking at the Punjabi Literary Corner session on the concluding day of a two-day Punjabi Literary Festival (Punjabi Sulaikh Mela) on Tuesday.

Various prescriptions were offered by the speakers for the restoration of the language’s place in the society.

Amina Zaman said Punjabi language should be a compulsory subject at school and college levels.

Sara Kazmi urged women in the audience to come together and form an association to work for promotion of Punjabi language.

She said that the exemplary female characters associated with classical Punjabi literature had no parallel in any other literature in the world.

The opening session was on Punjabi Kahanian.

Khalid Dhariwal said the fast pace of modern life and popularity of information technology were responsible for low readership of Punjabi short stories.

Kashif Baloch and Zahid Hussain spoke at a session on Punjabi novels. They said lack of support from the higher ups had led to the decline of Punjabi novels.

Asif Hot said Punjabi theatre had been pioneered by Kali Daas. “He had used theatre as a medium to encourage religious reform and raise political awareness among the public,” he said.

Hot said the role of theatre groups was vital to the movement against General Ziul Haq’s military government.

“Theatre artists got away with banned political speech by using creative expressions. The topics they discussed in their plays could not be discussed at political rallies because of strict censorship,” he said.

Other speakers lamented that Punjabi theatre had declined in substance with its increasing commercial success.

Speakers at other sessions urged the public to encourage their children to speak in Punjabi.

The festival had been jointly organised by the Faisalabad Arts Council (FAC) in collaboration with the Lok Sujag and Qaqanass Foundation.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 17th, 2016.

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