Annual Sargodha Literary Festival begins

SARGODHA: The fourth edition of the annual Sargodha Literary Festival (SLF) began on Wednesday virtually for the first time due to restrictions placed amid the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.

Highlighting the importance of art and literature, Vice Chancellor Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed said: “Life is a race against time and every individual should make his mark in accomplishing goals. The universities have to come forward to engage students in flourishing and preserving art, culture, values and traditions by providing essential critical and technical skills.”

After the inauguration, the proceedings followed a keynote speech in Punjabi by Fayyaz Baqir, an internationally renowned community development practitioner and professor of Development Practice in Ottawa, Canada, in a session titled, ‘Surt di Sui, Prem dy Dhaagy’. He expressed “Sufism is an intimation of pain and a self-control ideology; it’s the doctrine of universality based on tolerance and interfaith harmony”. He urged the youth to promote the diversified cultures of Pakistan and live balanced life by recognizing the difference between truth and lie.

Apart from the opening session, four other sessions were held on the first day.

Adnan Rafique, the Country Director of the United States Institute of Peace for Pakistan chapter, moderated

a session on ‘Unity in Diversity: Religious, Gender and Class Inclusion in Pakistan, ’ in which, Kapil Dev a famous

Minority Rights Activist, Rafiullah Kakar the Director of CPEC Unit in Baluchistan, and Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad participated

as panellists.

The deliberations were made around developing understanding about the unity through discussion on varied social,

economic, religious and political differences.

The venerable panellists including, Asghar Nadeem Syed, Pakistani playwright and poet, Yousaf Khushk the Chairman

of the Pakistan Academy of Letters, Islamabad, Nasir Abbas Nayyer, Urdu prose writer, critic and scholar, Najeeb Jamal

professor of Urdu at Forman Christian College University Lahore, explored the social trends shaping the identity of ‘Self’

embedded in a society with overlapping cultures in a session titled, ‘Pursuit of Identity in a Multicultural Society’.

The session was moderated by Dr Amir Sohail professor of Urdu at Islamia University Bahawalpur.

A session on ‘Literature and Modern Society’ was graced by the famous progressive writer Ravish Nadeem, scholar and

critic Khawar Nawazish and founding member of Sargodha Writers Club Yousaf Khalid, elaborated on understanding

human interactions and its depiction in the literature of modern times.

The well-known humourist, author and writer Gul e Nokhaiz Akhtar reflected on tracing the role of Urdu language in breaking

monotony, boredom, and dullness of life in the contemporary world during a session on ‘Urdu Journalism and Prose Humor’.

The session was moderated by the senior journalist and social media activist Sabookh Syed.

Due to the pandemic, all the sessions were live-streamed through the University’s official social media platforms to broaden

the literary horizon beyond the premises of the campus.