A Celebration of Language and Literature!
In an attempt to rekindle the love for literature in the hearts of the youth, NUST Literary Circle presented the National Literary Festival on 5th and 6th May, 2018. The two-day literature extravaganza featured competitions celebrating different aspects of language; panel discussions by poets, writers, novelists and even researchers; workshops; and social events to top it all off!
NLF invited students from across the country to compete in categories including story-writing, elocution, spelling bee, bait bazi, and even calligraphy! Students from institutions including Peshawar University, Air University, Bahria University, IIUI, EME NUST, MCS NUST, AED NUST Risalpur, NUML, FAST, and APCONS Army Public College, registered for the event. While more than three hundred students had registered, the participants on the day of the event was quite less than expected.
Coming to the plethora of talks and panel discussions, the audience at NLF managed to get valuable insights of renowned personalities on topics such as “The Many Languages of Gilgit Baltistan”, “Revisiting the Golden Era of Drama Serials”, On the Literary Contributions of Women Writers”, “The Subtle Melody of Persian Language”; as well as topics pertaining to science including “State of Science Education in Pakistani Schools and Universities” and “The Theory of Everything: A Tribute to Stephen Hawking”.
Parallel to these discussions were interactive workshops to enhance skills of storytelling, theatre and drama, fiction writing, photography, graphic designing, filmmaking, and also public speaking. The festival also included the launch of “Uljhey Suljhey Anwer”, a tribute to Anwar Maqsood by his wife, Imrana Maqsood. The book launch was featured on PTV News too.
Both days of the festival were concluded with exciting social events including a Cultural Night on the first day, followed by Shikwa-e-Qalam – a play by NUST Dramatics Club, Qawwali Night with Fareed Ayaz, and a themed dinner on the second day. Since ticketing for the socials was done separately, a larger audience had shown up, making the segments livelier.
The National Literary Festival ended with mixed emotions; while some had thoroughly enjoyed the festival and were dreading its end, others had expected the festival to be far better than it had turned out, and were disappointed.
Marrium Bilal of the Establishment team said “the biggest setback was that a lot much money was spent in the promotion of the event, whereas the response wasn’t that good”. During the event, she mentioned that the hardest time was faced by the registration team, as they remain seated at Gate 10 even in the rain.
Hareem Fatima, another member of Establishment of NLC, went on to mention that some of the sessions were merged, so that the number of audiences would look decent due to the less number of participants. “The participants weren’t disappointed I guess. A few of the speakers were though, again because not many people showed up.”
On a more positive note, Hareem mentioned that “there weren’t many management issues because almost all of the council of about 150 people was available and on duties, and because of our OBs, JS, and directors supervising them. Everything was under control.” She added that “to pull off an event on a large entirely managed by the student body seemed impossible. But they (the NLF team) made it possible.”
While the NLF team was initially slightly disheartened due to the turnout, the reviews received later from the speakers and guests were positive and encouraging.
Izzah Alvi – a participant from the International Islamic University Islamabad – won first place in the category of elocution. Speaking to PaperCrush, she described the overall event to be amazing. “I’ve never been to an event where there’s a boat-load of learning opportunities.”
She added that the cultural theme of the event made her feel more like at home. Althought there was a lot to be commended, the idea of promoting regional languages was especially worth praise, she expressed.
“All in all, I had the NLF fever ever since I had registered for it and ever since I’ve attended it I still have that fever and I can’t stop thinking about the two days. The fever was totally worth it.”