Posts Tagged ‘Literature’

Who’s KarachiWala?

May 14th 2010, Multi/Interdisciplinary Research Interest Group at AKU-IED hosted a session by Ms. Rumana Hussain which happens to be her birthday as well. The discussion was based on a brief overview and her experiences of writing her book ‘KarachiWala: a sub-continent within a city’. The book celebrates the diversity of the city ranging from ethnicity, religion and occupation; and equally a test of how much familiar are you with your chosen city, at least for me.

Related news stories and reviews: Karachi Metblogs, Dawn Blog, Daily Times

The book captivates the spirit of change by which Karachi breathes. The writer humbly stated that she is neither a sociologist nor an anthropologist but it is only her interest in people and the city which drove the project. The most difficult process was the making contacts and accessibility of people and the most rewarding were the interesting stories that came from the elderly and low-income groups, not due to their misery but of cultural richness. The 330 pages covering various stories accompanied by hundreds of photographs is a testimony of the time and amount of hard work that have gone into this piece of art.

Some interesting features about the book that caught my attention are,
• the inclusion of traditional and progressive families of same ethnicities;
• a contrast in urban landscape with respect to socio-economic groups;
• inclusion of few legends, festivals and customs;
• maps that trace various movements (an amusing example would be route of a person on his cycle for selling fish, population growth or anagrams of ‘what we are and what we speak’ ),
• inclusion of street children, jogis(nomads) and pathans living in deras
• assimilation of intra-diversity in specific religions (I didn’t knew that we have Tamil Christian families in our city though have see people of Goan origin very often but I still thought that the Christian population only comprised of Punjabi converts).

A very relevant question was posed about the sense of belonging with the city because there is a constant influx of migrants who are living in this geography but would choose their villages over Karachi. Does Karachi really belong to someone when most of its dwellers are migrants having multiple-identities? This was very-well reflected by the speaker that whoever lives here and gives back to the city has a claim over city. We all are Karachiwalas at the end of the day.

In my personal opinion, the book can serve as a role-model for issues related to pluralism. It radiates humanistic approach and is sensitive yet non-judgmental in its advocacy. Whenever we talk about diversity of our country in main-stream circles, we always limit our talks to provincial diversities and thus raise voices of different claims and rights of these provinces but what we need to embrace is that we are much more than provinces and each minority needs to be given the due its deserves, most importantly the respect.

The book can be ordered from

Ps: I saw her during an interesting show on state of literature and reading habits in The First Blast on DawnNews channel where she also talked briefly about the book but thanks to AKU-IED, it was an interesting experience to not only know more about the book but also the experiences of the author during the process of documenting it.

Shades of Prey – A Novel Experience

Shades of Prey, a 52-chapter murder mystery set in Karachi, is the culmination of the project, A Novel Experience, which began at Generation’s School, Karachi, in 2005, with the intention of enhancing the writing skills of young people. Its authors are currently at college at a variety of institutions in Karachi, Lahore, and New York. Four of the six authors will be present at the book reading.

“Shades of Prey’s universal appeal lies in its being a gripping page-turner with an intriguing twist in the tale. But Shades of Prey is more than that. The backdrop is recognizably Pakistani. As the action moves across the urban landscape of parks, shopping malls, fun-fairs and suburban communities and enters the workings of newspaper offices, schools, police stations and television channels, it explores the functioning of our society.”

Join them at T2F for an evening of readings and conversation with the authors of Pakistan’s first collaborative novel. The novel will be available for purchase at T2F’s Bookshop. If you already have a copy, bring it along and get it signed!

For more information and to view excerpts from the novel, visit

Date: Saturday, 30th January, 2010
Time: 6:30 pm
Minimum Donation: Anything you like. Please support our vision of intellectual poverty alleviation by donating generously.
Venue: PeaceNiche | T2F [New Location]

The Colonial Present – Weekly Readers Club Meeting on 22nd Jan @ Shah Jehan Auditorium

Weekly Readers Club in Karachi, is a voluntary, non-profit, informal group committed to the promotion of reading culture in Karachi.

The club has been regularly hosting book discussions every week on one book or another, I was introduced to this club by Mubeen Sirhindi back in October and am guilty of not being able to attend any of their weekly meetings but feel this is a great community service for the people of Karachi. If you are interested in being kept updated of the activities of this club join their mailing list which they update regularly every week and be a part of the group activities. I also will hope and promise to keep KMB readers updated of the latest book review on a regular basis as well – Generally all book lovers are welcome

The Colonial Present: Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq - Derek Gregory

The Colonial Present: Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq - Derek Gregory

Book: The Present Colonials: Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq
Author: Derek Gregory
Facilitator: Dr. Abu Bkar Shaikh

Description: In this powerful and passionate critique of the “war on terror” in Afghanistan, Palestine, and Iraq, Derek Gregory traces the long history of British and American involvements in the Middle East. He argues that the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11 activated a series of political and cultural responses that mapped a profoundly colonial perimeter of power. The Colonial Present traces the connections between political, military, and economic power – the grand strategies of geopolitics – and the spatial stories told by the lives of ordinary people. It also shows the intimate connections between events in Afghanistan, Palestine, and Iraq. Packed with empirical detail, and shot through with arresting arguments, The Colonial Present is indispensable reading for anyone seeking to understand a world riven by a war on terror that is also a war of terror. (Quoted from

Date: Friday, 22th January 2010
Time: 18.00 to 19.30 hours
Venue: Shah Jehan Auditorium,
SMF Centre,
ST-3, Block – 4, Clifton, Karachi.
(Foundation Public School Bldg., On 26th Street, DHA,
Near Abdullah Shah Ghazi Mazaar)

In Other Blogs: Karachi ek maa hai, Bambai bichada hua beta.

I came across this blog by Samvartha ‘Sahil’, where he mentions a poem by Nida Fazil. 
 Here is the poem he mentions: 

” Karachi ek maa hai

Bambai bichada hua beta

yeh rishta pyar ka pakeezha rishta hai jise ab tak

na koi tod paaya hai

na koi tod paayega

na meri maa kabhi talwaar taane ran me aayi hai

na maine apni maa ke saamne bandook uthaayi hai

yeh kaisa shor-o-hangaama hai yeh kiski ladaayi hai

Karaachi ek maa hai. ”
                        Nida Fazli, 

Read the rest of his blog here.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.