Uran Tashtaree, the third edition of the debut publication of Children’s Literature Festival, Asad Mian’s Biloonghra book series and Dr Shahid Siddiqui’s Language, Gender and Power: The Politics of Representation and Hegemony in South Asia were launched on the first day of the Children’s Literature Festival.
Dr Siddiqui, a doctor in linguistics, heads the Centre for Humanities and Social Sciences at the Lahore School of Economics.
He said his book discussed gender in society as communicated through language. “Language is not just a tool of communication, it is also a reflection of the society’s perceptions,” he said.
He said his book examined the topic through the lens of use of language across various disciplines- literature, politics, and sociology and gender studies. He said it had chapters that discussed gender roles in jokes, matrimonial advertisements, nursery rhymes and the media. “The book looks at social aspects of gender perceptions in language,” he said.
Later at a panel discussion at the book launch, Oxford University Press Director Ameena Saiyid said even though the book was a scholarly assessment of the issue it was not a tedious read and the lay reader could easily relate to it.
Journalist Zubaida Mustafa said the book touched upon a very important topic: gender stereotyping in language. She said there had been efforts overtime to make English a gender neutral language, but a lot of work would have to be carried out to take Urdu there.
Idara-i-Taleem-o-Aagahi Programmes Director Baela Raza Jamil said the book was inter-disciplinary and could be used as an academic resource. Sindh Education Foundation Programmes, Operations and Research Director Aziz Kabani said Dr Siddiqui had carried out a thorough survey of literature addressing gender issues across several disciplines to give a holistic image.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 31st, 2013.