November Issue 2009

By | Arts & Culture | Published 14 years ago

The author of A Case of Exploding Mangoes, Mohammed Hanif, English-language poet Ilona Yousuf, pre-Partition writer and poet Asad Mohammed Khan, Urdu feminist poet Fehmida Riaz, popular Urdu playwright Haseena Moin and Musharraf Ali Farooqi, who has to her credit a several-thousand-page English translation of The Adventures of Ameer Hamza, will all gather before an audience for a literary evening, Chand Sitaray Tallay, on the second day of this year’s Shanaakht festival.

Hosted by Feryal Gauhar, herself a renowned author and actress, each writer will engage in a seven-minute dialogue, speaking about their writing process and inspiration, and read an excerpt from the work of their favourite writer. The floor will then be opened to the audience for a Q&A session.

That language plays a pivotal role in the constitution of one’s identity is something Feryal strongly agrees with.Chand Sitaray Tallay is an attempt to acquaint Pakistanis, especially the country’s youth, with the literary wealth they possess. While English-language writers are known and read, the same is not the case with the Urdu-language writers. “Urdu has been pushed to the realm of obscurity,” says Feryal. Familiarity with Urdu is decreasing with every passing generation. However Feryal, born in a family where her father was Farsi speaking and mother Gujrati speaking, she had to teach herself Urdu, and she did so by reading the newspaper with the aid of a dictionary. The task is not impossible, but an interest needs to be developed and it is with this hope that she looks forward to seeing a younger audience on Tuesday evening.

Shanaakht Festival events mentioned in this interview:

CHAND SITARAY TALLAY | 8:30 November 10
Hosted by Feryal Gauhar
Curated by Still Waters Publishing
(Please note: This performance has limited seating. Please pick up free passes from the venue on Tuesday, 10 November, 2009)

For more information visit CAP’s official website where you can find a full programme for this year’s festival. Go to and click on Shanaakht.
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Farieha Aziz is a Karachi-based journalist and teacher. She joined Newsline in 2007, rising to assistant editor. Farieha was awarded the APNS award for Best Investigative Report (Business/Economic) for the year 2007-2008. She is a co-founder and Director at Bolo Bhi, an advocacy forum of Digital Rights.