The book launch of ‘Mapping Migrations — Hijrat ki naqsh bandi’ drew crowds of students from multiple schools in Korangi and Baldia Town on Friday at the Children’s Literature Festival (CLF) at Dawood Public School. The book, which has been jointly published by Bachon Se Tabdeeli and Idara-e-Taleem-o-Agahi, is an initiative aimed at the children of immigrant families settled in Korangi.
Through drawings, paintings, maps and vivid artwork, the children of Korangi’s Ali Akbar Shah Goth, Gulzar Colony and Chakra Goth uncovered their own families’ experiences with displacement. “In this initiative, we went to the children of these localities and talked about migration and whether or not they knew where their grandparents came from,” explained Rabeya Jalil, editor of the book.
“We learnt that the inhabitants of Chakra Goth belong to Sindh, while those of Ali Akbar Shah Goth migrated from Burma and those of Gulzar Colony from India,” she explained.
In the book, the children were asked to envision and draw the process of their families’ migration. They were asked to imagine what their families brought here, said Jalil. “Some came up with food, clothes and everyday essentials. Others just drew their family members who migrated,” she said.
The book has a section on ‘Imagining Past Homeland’, in which the children have illustrated how they believe their families lived. In the colourful section on ‘Map Making’ the children showed their geographical prowess, while in the section on oral history the kids interviewed their parents and shared their stories. The oral history section is in Urdu, Sindhi, Burmese and Bangla languages.
The interactive book launch session brought interesting responses from children. On a question on why there were so many types of maps, one student from Baldia Town said that they are teray meray [crooked].
The speakers at the session, co-editor Shahana Rajani, Jalil and book designer Sohail Zuberi shared their own families’ origins and asked the children in the audience where their families were from. Rajani said her family hailed from Gujrat in India, Jalil’s from Lahore and Zuberi’s from Delhi. One child answered his parents were too young to know where they were from, much to the amusement of the participants.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 27th, 2016.