International Women’s Day: Empowerment of women underline
KARACHI: Intellectuals, writers, poets and human rights activists at a seminar to observe International Women’s Day, on Wednesday underlined the need to empower womenfolk financially, socially and politically so that they play an effective role in the development of the country.
The seminar, ‘Shah Latif and Rights of Women’ was jointly organised by Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) and Surhan Welfare Society at Omer Asghar Khan Hall, PILER Centre.
Noted writer and researcher Prof Dr Sahar Imdad presided whereas Sindhi poet Imdad Hussaini, Executive Director of PILER Karamat Ali, intellectual and writer Hamida Ghanghro, former station director of Radio Pakistan Karachi Nisar Ahmed Memon, Professor of Sindhi department, Federal Urdu University, Dr Kamal Jamro; writer Omar Soomro and Salma Mahar spoke on the occasion.
In her presidential address, Prof Dr Imdad pointed out that women characters were the heroes in the poetry of Shah Abdul Latif. Sohni, Sasui and Marvi were the weaker women, but Shah Bhitai has portrayed them as symbols of courage, steadfastness and patriotism in his poetry, she added.
Without economic empowerment to women our society cannot progress, Dr Imdad said. She underlined the need for sending all girls to schools. “Until women are not economically self-sufficient, the society cannot make progress,” she added.
Dr Imdad said Shah Latif’s character Marvi is a symbol of steadfastness that refused to accept the bounties offered by the king. Marvi was also a courageous woman who said ‘no’ looking the King in the eye, which is a rare quality, she added.
Karamat Ali of PILER said women have equal rights and they are free to make decisions about their lives. However, in education and health, women are not given priorities which is why they do not survive, he said. He deplored that the ratio of women in the overall population is decreasing both in India and Pakistan. In Pakistan also women’s share in the population is decreasing because of declining health facilities particularly for women.
He said poetry of Shah Abdul Latif gives a spiritual strength to survive in an unfavourable society and it gives power to the weaker sections of society.
Writer Hamida Ghanghro, who is widow of communist leader Shaheed Nazeer Abbasi, said, “In our society, only man is not doing atrocities against women, but there are incidents in which women have also committed violence against women.” She said International Women’s Day is observed to remember the workingwomen who lost their lives in the factories they were employed at. She said on this day, women workers particularly peasant women should be remembered.
Veteran Sindhi poet Imdad Hussaini said initially there was matriarchic society in this part of the world in which most of gods were females. However, after invasions by the foreign forces, patriarchic society emerged and now women are subjugated to all types of injustices.
He said Shah Abdul Latif was a feminist poet and all heroic charters in his poetry are women.
Dr Kamal Jamro of the Federal Urdu University said there is a significant mention of women in Shah Latif’s poetry and the International Women’s Day should be dedicated to all the female characters of Shah Jo Risalo. staff report