The tale of Lahore, told : Lahore Literary Festival gets bigger and better

The tale of Lahore, told :  Lahore Literary Festival gets bigger and better
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Last year, the Lahore Literary Festival (LLF) made its debut in the city. The people of Lahore were ecstatic. At least, I know I was. For the first time in a long time perhaps, Lahore felt alive and throbbing with culture, arts and literature. 
The Second Annual Lahore Literary Festival aims to do just the same this year – to not only discuss but engage the public in literary discourse; and initiate ideas and dialogue through literature and art that shape our social, political, economic and cultural realities and frame our thought processes. 
Now that Lahore has had a taste of it once, this year it’s bigger and better, with a hundred and twenty delegates who are going to participate and speak on a diverse range of topics. 
Ahmed Rashid, best-selling author and member of the LLF Advisory Committee said, “We saw the success of the festival last year, so we decided to bring more to the people. This time around there are twice the number of sessions and twice the number of delegates.”
Rashid also told Daily Times, “The interesting thing about this year’s festival is that although there are a lot of foreign delegates that we are bringing to Lahore, there is going to be a great deal of focus on Pakistani artists. Shazia Sikander is coming, Rashid Rana is going to be there too.”
Talking about the driving motives behind the concept of such a festival in Lahore, Nusrat Jamil, president of the LLF 2014 Advisory Committee said, “Lahore has always been a hub of cultural activity. So many of Pakistan’s (and the subcontinent’s) Urdu and Punjabi poets and writers hail from Lahore. For this and for so many other reasons, Lahore as a city has always been an important centre for art and literature. We have a little wish – that we can make the city that centre of arts and culture once again.”
When I told her about how some people were comparing the Karachi Literary Festival (KLF) with the LLF and calling the former a job better done, she said, “We are barely a year old, whereas the KLF has been happening for seven to eight years now. If people are making such comparisons, I think it’s a huge compliment for us to be even compared with the KLF.”
She also added that the LLF was the sole effort of the citizens of Lahore. “It is a simple wish to bring back the Lahore of the days gone by, that drives the organisers of the LLF. History, art, culture, film, these lie at the core of a civilisation. If people do not know their past, and realise its significance, it is very difficult for them to take responsibility for their future. We want people to know this.” 
While talking about the city of Lahore, Rashid Rana added, “It is a chance to publicise Pakistan, and Lahore more importantly, as a city that people ‘must’ visit... because Lahore is one of the most ancient cities in Pakistan, with a past that is both rich and historic. So in that way, we have that benefit that comes with this literary festival.”
This time around, there is also a greater focus on bringing Urdu and Punjabi literature to the fore. “The festival will feature extensive Urdu and Punjabi poetry. At the moment, three languages and their literature are being represented. But we aim to represent other regional languages in the future too,” Jamil added.
Through this, the LLF aims to cater to all the classes of people. In fact, it encourages people from all ages, social and linguistic backgrounds to come and attend the festival. Moreover, there is no entry fee and is open for the public. In the words of Jamil, “There is no reason why a man walking on the road should not attend it if he feels like.” 
Art and literature are not just for a ‘chosen’ few but a right that is extended to all. Because it is through art, literature and film that people can better understand their past, present and the future. 
The Second Annual LLF will official start today (Friday). Take note and make sure you do not miss it!


 


Schedule for the first day : 


 


8 The Suitable Duo
Vikram Seth with Nasreen Rehman
2:30pm to 3:30pm | Hall-I
Lahore, Literature, and Longing
Aitzaz Ahsan, FS Aijazuddin, Intizar Hussain, and Pran Nevile with Majeed Sheikh
2:30pm to 3:30pm | Hall-II


8 Delirium in Karachi
Bilal Tanweer, Omar Shahid Hamid, Saba Imtiaz with HM Naqvi
2:30pm to 3:30pm | Hall-III


8 Deeda-e-Maana Kusha
Dr Amjad Tufail, Dr Mohammad, Asif Awan, Dr Tariq Hashmi with Musharraf Ali Farooqi
2:30pm to 3:30pm | Baithak Hall


8 The World in Miniature
Shahzia Sikander with John Zarobell
3:45pm to 4:45pm | Hall-I


8 Zehra Apa aur Zia Mohyeddin ke Saath
Zia Mohyeddin with Zehra Nigah
3:45pm to 4:45pm | Hall-II


8 Book launch: This Side, That Side: Restorying Partition
Rafay Alam, Vishwajyoti Ghosh with Saba Naqvi
3:45pm to 4:45pm | Hall-III


8 Book launch: Thinner Than Skin
Uzma Aslam Khan with Mahvesh Murad
3:45pm 4:45pm | Baithak Hall


8 Book launch: The Dispensable Nation
Vali Nasr with Ayesha Jalal
5pm to 6pm | Hall-I


8 Amrita Sher-Gil: Lahore’s Lost Daughter
Pran Nevile, Farida Batool, Yashodhara Dalmia with Salima Hashmi
5pm to 6pm | Hall-II


8 Salaam Bombay
Mira Nair with Mira Hashmi
5pm to 6pm | Hall-III


8 Humare Zamaane ki Khahaniyaan
Julien Columeau with Asif Farrukhi
5pm to 6pm | Baithak Hall


8 Performance: Kathak
Nahid Siddiqui
7:30pm to 8:30pm | Hall-I

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