The two-day event has been jointly organised by National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage and Indus Cultural Forum in collaboration with Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO) and USAID-Funded Pakistan Reading Project. More than 150 writers from over 15 mother languages are participating in the event as speakers and moderators.
The objectives of the festival are to promote Pakistan’s linguistic and cultural diversity as an instrument of social harmony, peace and tolerance and encouraging reading culture in other languages. The festival is an occasion to showcase a wide range of literary works in these languages.
The main attractions of the festival include discussions on various topics of languages, literature and culture, book launches, mother languages mushaira, mother languages musical evening, audio visual screening, cultural performances, book stalls, food courts, cultural exhibitions, mobile library, etc.
The personalities who spoke in the opening ceremony included Dr. Fouzia Saeed, Executive Director, Lok Virsa, Niaz Nadeem from Indus Cultural Forum, Naseer Memon from SPO, Dr. Tariq Rehman and others.
In her welcoming address, Lok Virsa Executive Director Dr. Fouzia Saeed said that Lok Virsa is proud to host this important festival. “We want to create a pluralistic society where people should feel proud in practicing their indigenous folk culture and mother languages. Lok Virsa is a national institution dealing with research, collection, documentation, preservation and dissemination of Pakistan’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage. We have the mandate to document and preserve our rich cultural legacy. We are providing platform to all provincial bodies, cultural institutions, literary organizations, local and community based associations to project their culture in an effective manner. This festival is also step forward in this direction”.
Niaz Nadeem from Indus Cultural Forum gave a brief introduction to the festival and different sessions planned for two days. Naseer Memon Chief Executive SPO said that these languages are not the creation of any ordinance, but of historical processes and geography of the country. He stressed the need for “Zarb-e-Saqafat” for protection and promotion of languages and cultures.Dr. Tariq Rehman presented keynote address.
A cultural diversity show was also presented during the opening ceremony focusing on almost all mother languages.
Later, sessions on various mother language topics were held at different locations of Lok Virsa which included ‘One Message – Many Voices’ moderated by Prof. Dr. Rawish Nadeem, Folk Literature of Mother Languages by Dr. Fouzia Saeed, Glimpses of Mother Languages Literature-Prose (English Session) by Ajmal Kamal, Endangered Languages of Pakistan by Dr. Tariq Rehman, Print and Electronic Media in Mother Languages by Niaz Sahito, Why Teach Children in Early Grades to Read in Mother Tongue by Dr. Naazir Mahmood, Contemporary Literary Trends in Mother Languages of Pakistan (Prose) by Kaylaash, Launching of new Books in Mother Languages by Hakim Buriro, Fiction in Mother Languages of Pakistan (Novel and Short Story) by Najeeba Arif and Translation of International Literature in Pakistani Mother Languages by Ajmal Kamal.
A multi-lingual Mushaira (poetry recitations) moderated by Naseer Mirza was also arranged at Lok Virsa Heritage Museum. The poets in Urdu, Kashmiri, Potohari, Balti, Punjabi, Seraiki, Sindhi, Torwali, Hazaragi, Shina, Wakhi, Gojri and Burushaski participated in the mushaira and shared their renderings with the audience.
Lok Virsa Mandwa Film Club screened Balochi Film “Saawad” directed by Waheed Baloch on the occasion.
A large number of people belonging to different walks of life including writers, researchers, linguistics, youth, students and families visited the first day of the festival and appreciated the efforts of the organisers. The youth took part in different sessions attired in colourful traditional costumes