Keeping up with tradition and ensuring that all regional languages get prominence and coverage from its literary platform, the Pakistan Academy of Letters(PAL) organised an online Sheena-Balti-Khuwar-Broshiski-Wokhi (Gilgit-Baltistan languages) Hamdiya and Naatiya Mushaira.
Yousaf Hussain Abadi presided over the poetry recital while Sherbaz Ali Barcha, Mohammad Hassan Hasrat and Mohammad Amin Zia were the chief guests.
PAL Chairman Dr Yousuf Khushk delivered the introductory speech and Ehsan Ali Danish was the moderator.
Poets recited Hamdiya and Naatiya poetry in the languages of Gilgit-Baltistan. Dr Khushk, in his address, said that Gilgit-Baltistan is a region in the northern part of Pakistan, which has the highest peaks, infinite glaciers, blue lakes, beautiful waterfalls, streams and beautiful valleys which were a true blessing Almighty Allah.
Spread over 28,000 square kilometres, the region is divided into two major regions, he added.
Named after Gilgit-Baltistan, the Gilgit region includes Hunza, Nagar, Ghizr, Astor and Diamer areas, while Baltistan includes Skardu, Ganchhe, Khurramang, Shigar, Rondo and Gultari areas. Just as Gilgit-Baltistan is geographically diverse, so is its culture, language and literature, he said.
"The five languages spoken in the region include Sheena, Balti Broshiski, Wakhi and Khwar," Dr Khushk said.
He said that these five beautiful languages are also among the national languages of Pakistan. During the holy month of Ramazan, the PAL has organised online poetry recitals in other provincial languages too.
Dr Khushk further said that before early poetry, Persian was prevalent in this region and it was customary to recite the words of Persian poets at conferences. "Gradually when the light of knowledge began to shine in this region, some people turned to poetry to express their devotion."
He thanked the poets for participating in the poetry recital despite the difficult situation of Covid-19. The poets included Abdul Khaliq Taj (Sheena), Akhun Muhammad Hussain Hakeem (Balti), Ismail Nashad (Broshisky), Jamshid Dakhi (Sheena), Yusuf Khassman (Balti), Mir Ahmad Riaz Ahmad Diwani (Wakhi), Zeeshan Mehdi (Balti) and Javed Hayat Kakakhel (Khowar).
Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2021.