Intellectual exchange: ‘Lahore is an ideal place to discuss literature and culture’

An international literature and language conference starts at the GCU.

Our Correspondent April 15, 2014
Famous Badshahi Mosque in Lahore. PHOTO: AFP


“In India, we have an incorrect perception of Pakistan. My family was advising me not to visit Pakistan, fearing terrorism in the country and a hatred towards Indians. But I have found the situation here to be quite the opposite”, Uttam Baburao Parekar, English Department head at Yeshwant Mahavidyalaya, Wardha, India, said on Monday.

He was speaking at a three-day international conference on Modern and Contemporary Language, Literature and Culture at the Government College University.

Parekar said the conference provided an opportunity to foster friendly ties between Pakistani and Indian academics.   He said he greatly appreciated Pakistani hospitality and would never forget the love and respect he had received at the GCU.

Riti Sharma, a post-graduate student from the Department of Comparative Literature, Jadavpur University in Kolkata, India, said direct interaction between young people in Pakistan and India are necessary to dispel stereotypes and misconceptions regarding each other.

Dr Carol Griffiths from Fatih University in Istanbul said there had been an over emphasis on science and technology in the 20th century. She said there was a need to understand each other’s literature and culture to further peace and tolerance.

Lahore is culturally rich, and an ideal location to discuss language, thought and culture through empirical, theoretical or methodological research papers, said Pao Hsiang Wang, associate professor of drama and opera history at the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at National Taiwan University, Taipei.

In his opening remarks, GCU Vice Chancellor Muhammad Khaleequr Rahman said more than 21 foreign delegates, including five from India, were participating in the three-day conference.

He said there would be 27 sessions, intended to generate rigorous debate about issues shaping the discursive practices of contemporary paradigms in literature, language and culture. He said that it was the first such conference to be held in 131 years of the GCU English Department.

Punjab Education Minister Rana Mashood Ahmed Khan said such conferences provided a platform to academics from various backgrounds to interact and exchange ideas.

He added that these interactions could lead to fruitful, long-term collaborations.

He said such conferences also provided an opportunity to young scholars of the GCU English Department to interact with renowned writers and academics, and learn from their knowledge and experiences.

British Council Director Richard Weyers said he had good news for Pakistani academics. He said the British Council was going to reopen its library. He said it would be a state-of-the-art library with various modern facilities for researchers.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 15th, 2014.


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