The sixth session of the Open Mic event at the Institute of Peace and Secular Studies was held on Thursday.
Umair Vahidy, from IPSS communications, said that the event aimed to encourage the youth to feel confident in expressing their ideas and sharing artistic work with the people. “The reason we have no themes for the open mics is we do not want to restrict the participants in any way. This way they come up with genuine work irrespective of its nature.”
The event started at 5 pm and lasted for more than two hours with a break for iftar, followed by a discussion. The performances included poetry recitation, reading of philosophical essays, monologues and songs.
Ali Khan read an essay describing what it felt like being a Pakhtoon. Sabir recited one of his poems. However, Khurram’s rendition of a Spanish song was most appreciated by the crowd.
Bakht Arif, the moderator, said that the IPSS wanted to develop comfort and confidence in the people so that they could express their opinions and talents. She read one of her poems, A Painless Gain, about a woman’s desires and demands.
This was followed by a performance by Bachay, a musical group consisting of some Beaconhouse National University students. Zeeba Hashmi also recited poetry. Her poem focused on the circumstances surrounding Salman Taseer’s assassination and the society’s take on blasphemy.
Vahidy said that the organisers had tried to keep emphasise openness and encourage an exchange of ideas and not be bothered if they conflicted.
Talking about the sensitivity of topics, he said, that allegiance to a religion often made people defend their faiths and sometimes reject others. “As moderators, we maintain a neutral position and try to keep all participants calm.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2011.
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