KARACHI: Amid the presence of a large number of writers, poets, intellectuals and readers, the three-day Sindh Literature Festival was inaugrated on Friday at the Beach Luxury Hotel. Open to and free for all, this is the second annual Sindhi-based literary gathering organised by the Sindh Literary Foundation.

The festival was jointly inaugurated by Culture Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah, former culture secretary Hameed Akhund, businessman Jahangir Siddiqui, writer Noorul Huda Shah and poet Fatima Hasan.

According to the schedule, 45 different sessions including book launches and discussions on various topics – the future of Sindhi language,  Sindhi dramas, role of universities in shaping minds, sufism, women rights, democracy, Sheikh Ayaz and the media – have been planned over the course of three days. The festival will conclud with a folk music concert.

Lok Virsa plans cultural fests in schools

Addressing the gathering, the culture minister highlighted his ministry’s efforts to promote the rich and multi-faceted culture of Sindh. Sardar added that his opponents criticised him without any justification for organising cultural events in Sindh and abroad. “Please don’t expect me to build a hospital or road,” he said, adding that his ministry would continue its efforts for the preservation and promotion of Sindhi culture.

Karachi was once a little village of fishermen and its actual name has been derived from ‘Mai Kolachi’ meaning fisherwoman, the culture minister said. He asked the audience whether they would like to have the name of the city reverted to Kolachi from Karachi. The culture minister also offered to move a resolution in the Sindh Assembly to do so if writers and intellectuals demanded it.

Siddiqui was of the view that cultural and literary events needed to be supported in order to create a progressive society.  The entire nation supports cultural and literary programmes, he said, adding that “No one can achieve goals with shortcuts and one should work hard to acquire something”.  Pakistan Peoples Party – Shaheed Bhutto Chairperson Ghinwa Bhutto, Huda and others also spoke on the occasion.  Different sessions at the festival will be held today from 11:30am to 7pm.