LAHORE: “There are nearly 10 million people in this city. It is important to hold discussions and debates at public places,” said Nuria Rafique-Iqbal, one of the organisers of Khayaal Festival taking place at Alhamra on The Mall over the weekend.
She said events like Khayaal Festival encouraged discussions at public spaces. “Through the festival we want the common man to get inspiration from the speakers who have done something remarkable in their fields,” she said.
The theme for the festival is Pushing Boundaries.
Iqbal said the organisers had invited speakers who had done something unusual in their fields. “The festival features a range of topics and diverse performances celebrating creativity in various forms,” she said.
The panellists include Rashid Rana, Quddus Mirza and Farida Batool. Jami, Sarmad Khoosat and Nandita Das are featured in music and film sessions. Several politicians and writers, including Hina Rabbani Khar, Ayesha Siddiqa and Andrew Small, will talk about current affair including the refugee crisis.
Indian journalist Shekhar Gupta was also scheduled to attend but has not been issued a visa.
A session, titled Prisoners of War, is about their experience in captivity. “The idea is to help people understand how they can move beyond tragedies in their lives,” Iqbal said.
Documentaries being screened cover subjects from nature to social and political issues. Lubna Dajani’s documentary, titled My Jerusalem, is about the generation that lived in Jerusalem in 1948.
“It gives the narrative of a generation that was present there before the conflict. They talk about how they were forced to leave and how the situation has changed over the past 70 years,” said Dajani, a filmmaker based in Tehran.
This is the second festival organised by the Khayaal Creative Network; the previous one took place in 2013. The festival is open to all. Panel discussions will take place during the day. In the evening, performances will be held for students.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2015.