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Lahore Literary Festival 2013

The Power of Words

For the two days of the inaugural LLF, the city of Lahore came alive with a palpable buzz By Omar Jamil


ahore. If I toss up the word and close my eyes, it conjures up gardens and fragrances… the splendor of thousands of private houses with their riot of spring flowers. The winter and spring air are heady. They make the blood hum.” So writes the legendary Bapsi Sidhwa about Lahore and the debut Lahore Literary Festival (LLF). Indeed, ‘We Lahoris’ have always had a passionate affair with our city. Our feelings about this city are never ambiguous; follow the Facebook or Twitter feed of any Lahori and you will find yourself inundated with posts about the gorgeous weather, the luscious greenery, or the delicious food. Yet perhaps our biggest love affair with Lahore that we unabashedly flaunt is all about celebrating its heritage and culture. Spring in Lahore was traditionally the herald of all things cultural. In days past, the city would be thronged with visitors from across the country – and indeed other parts of the world – to attend the multitude of festivals, from flowers to music to theatre. The banks of the canal would be decorated with installation of artwork, and the azure spring skies would be dotted with myriad colourful kites. It should therefore come as little surprise then that for the two days of the inaugural LLF, the city of Lahore came alive with a palpable buzz. The Festival was an event packed to the brim with literary luminaries. For perhaps the first time in Lahore’s recent history, legends such as Intezar Husain, Ms Sidhwa, the ever-elegant Zehra Nigah, William Dalrymple, and Ahmed Rashid accompanied the likes of Mohsin Hamid, Mohammad Hanif, Daniyal Mueenuddin and Tehmina Durrani on the same platform. As one visitor commented, “This is what the Alhamra was built for.”

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The Festival kicked off on Friday, February 22, 2013 with an inaugural dinner hosted for the delegates by the Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif, during which the CM pledged his support, not only for the Festival, but for the promulgation of more such cultural events. Mr Husain, Ms Sidhwa, and Ms Nigah were honoured for their lifetime contributions to Pakistani literature. After which, Mr Dalrymple read excerpts from his famous ‘Last Mughal’. The evening was then made all the more delightful by an amazing vocal rendition of Faiz and Shahbaz Qalandar by Ali Sethi, followed by a mesmerising flute performance by the exceptionally talented Haider Rahman. Day one of the Festival opened to a cold and dreary day. Yet despite the decidedly wet weather, the Alhamra Arts Centre on the Mall Road opened its arms to over 10,000 Festival attendees. People could be seen darting from session to session, carrying the LLF-branded umbrellas thoughtfully provided by the organisers. The entire venue was festooned with banners and balloons of red and yellow – providing a wonderful contrast to the otherwise grey day. In fact, the weather did not seem to have dampened people’s moods or appetite for learning one bit. The courtyard outside Hall 1 housed the Food Court – where punters could be seen satisfying appetites of a more culinary nature. And day two saw the sun come out to welcome visitors – perhaps tempted to peek from behind the clouds to join in the 20,000 or so visitors in their reverie. However, the highlight of both days remained the sessions and the speakers. Tariq Ali’s opening keynote on day one was described by attendees as ‘electric’, while Hameed Haroon’s session on the ‘Holy Warrior’ was called ‘magnificent’ by others. Day two’s session by Mohammad Hanif had people chatting for hours afterwards, while Mohsin Hamid’s and Tehmina Durrani’s respective sessions saw the Alhamra halls 1 and 2 literally packed to the rafters (in fact, in case of the latter, the organisers actually allowed some people to sit on the stage to accommodate them!). No matter what the session, the halls were packed to capacity and beyond. In many cases, people could be seen crowding the entrances, clamouring to enter. As Mohsin Hamid commented during his session with Quddus Mirza, just seeing Lahore and the Alhamra packed with people of all ages, from all walks of life, was heartening beyond words. And the excitement was not limited to those of a literary incline. Inside Halls 1 and 2 were various stalls from a variety of booksellers and publishers, while Hall 3 and the areas outside hosted exhibitions by the Citizens Archive Pakistan (CAP) and the Office of Conservation and Cultural Outreach (OCCO). And both days ended with explosive performances: day one saw the enigmatic Naheed Siddiqui perform at the Alhamra for the first time in years, while day two closed with musical performances from the socially conscious Laal and super rockers Qayaas.

The Story of Begum Hazrat Mahal,Speaker Kanize Mourad,Moderator Rashid Rahman

How to get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia,Mohsin Hamid in conversation with Quddus Mirza

The Blind Man’s Garden,Nadeem Aslam in conversation with Declan Walsh March 03, 2013 I 37

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Bapsi Sidhwa

Photography by: Murtaza Ali

Lahore. If I toss up the word and close my eyes, it conjures up gardens and fragrances… the splendor of thousands of private houses with their riot of spring flowers. The winter and spring air are heady. They make the blood hum.” So writes the legendary Bapsi Sidhwa about Lahore and the debut Lahore Literary Festival (LLF) However, the highlight of both days remained the sessions and the speakers. Attendees as ‘electric’ described Tariq Ali’s opening keynote on day one, while Hameed Haroon’s session on the ‘Holy Warrior’ was called ‘magnificent’ And both days ended with explosive performances: day one saw the enigmatic Naheed Siddiqui perform at the Alhamra for the first time in years

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The man behind the lawn By Sumeha Khalid


hen Karisma Kapoor endorsed Crescent Lawn–Faraz Manan even the masses took notice of this phenomenon we know as Faraz Manan, the man behind the lawn brand. His affair with Crescent Lawn however is not his initiation in the world of fashion. Manan is one of the most sought after names in Pakistan for couture and bridal wear with his label Rouge. Originally his mother’s business, Faraz took over Rouge with his sister Sundas Manan and with his degree in economics and Sundas as a graduate from the coveted London College of Fashion, Rouge has had the honour of designing couture for Victoria Beckham as well as the Saudi Royal Family. Under Faraz, Rouge

has in addition to Pakistan showcased its creations at a variety of international fashion destinations including New York, Bombay and Dubai. Having achieved so much within such a short span, Manan shifted his attention towards lawn – finally. In 2011, he collaborated with the Crescent brand to introduce the instant sell out, Crescent Lawn-Faraz Manan. In 2012, Faraz along with the Crescent team launched subsequent designer lawn collections in February 2012 and July 2012 also to much acclaim. His lawn is modeled exclusively by Bollywood star, Karisma Kapoor. Faraz is also currently a director at Crescent and heads the newly opened flagship Lahore Crescent Store. Lounge caught up with the designer to find out the latest on his brand of lawn and lots more.

Q: What sets this collection apart from other designer collections? A: The fact, it’s the designer’s own collection and not an inspiration. It’s a signature collection that has evolved with my own inspirations with time. Q: How has your journey with Crescent been like so far? A: Very fulfilling indeed, with great appreciation, creative liberty and complete autonomy from the company. Having come from the couture background, it has been a great learning experience in the textile industry.. Q: What is the inspiration behind your designs for this collection? FM: The Crescent Lawn-Faraz Manan S/S 2013 is inspired from some of the greatest cities of the world. From the princely estates of Jaipur to the majestic coliseums of ancient Rome, this collection trots around the globe, picking up the best. The colours of Florence blend in seamlessly with the reverence of the subcontinent in some pieces, while the vibrancy of Soho pays homage to the decadence and colour of the East. It is the best adornment for a subcontinental woman who represents harmony between the eclecticism of the West and the culture of the East.

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Q: What was the reason behind making Karisma Kapoor your brand ambassador? A: Karisma has the grace to represent the personification of our inspirations. We admire her a lot for her work, experience and professionalism. Q: What is the price range for the collection? Is it affordable to a niche only? A: The collection is priced between PKR4,500 and PKR6,000. There is a great variety of designs ranging from casuals to formals that can even be worn to small dholkis as well. Q: Can you name some trends that are likely to reign in 2013, as far as what’s hot in colours, fabrics and cuts that women should be looking out for? A: Somewhat classic is always in, but it’s majorly coming back now. It would be good to stay away from lots of volume since it’s not too flattering for the subcontinental women. We have put together a fabulous colour palette for the upcoming season with whites and pastels for a preppy morning look and a range of ivories, rose pink, midnight blue and emerald green to look glamorous in the evening. Q: As a fashion designer yourself, do you find it hard to buy clothes designed by other people? A: Being a guy yes, it’s difficult. I mostly wear ethnic wear by myself or Western wear from international designers. However I’m not married to just international brands. There are also good local Western wear brands – like Stoneage Jeans. Q: Who is your biggest competition in fashion industry? A: None. I only respect and get inspired by Sana Safinaz in the lawn industry and Bunto Kazmi and Umar Saeed for couture. Q: What’s your style statement for a well-dressed woman? A: A well-dressed woman makes her own statement. Q: What is your take on the number of designer lawns coming up every year? A: The more the merrier. It’s good for the industry to have more and more experimentation going on. The good ones will stay and help nurture the industry with healthy competition. Q: Problems that you face every day in designing your clothes? A: Electricity, traffic and general work ethic issues especially with the labour. Q: Is there one trend that you will never follow in the future? FM: Shirts with half sleeves and also Patiala shalwars. I never have and never will follow this trend. 42 I March 03, 20130, 2012

Q: So many designers have plunged in this field, has this industry reached its saturation point or is there still room for improvement? A: There is always room for improvement in any field. Q: What are you most comfortable designing: lawn, prêt or couture wear? A: Having done couture for the longest time, three lawns by now and prêt for Crescent store, I think I am comfortable with all three. Q: Where do you see yourself 10 years from now? A: Doing all of this and more lifestyle related things and taking my work all over the globe. Q: Are you daring when it comes to colour schemes or do you prefer to stay neutral? A: Mostly neutral, but also daring at times. Q: What parameters do you keep in mind when designing clothes for women? A: I like to construct aesthetically balanced designs through the right coupling of hue and cut in order for my dresses to compliment the wearer’s body. Q: What were the major challenges you faced while working on the collection for Crescent Lawn–Faraz Manan 2013? A: No major challenges, thankfully!

Quick Singles Q: One thing that shouldn’t be part of anyone’s closet… A: A bandana. Q: Style icon (internationally and locally) A: Queen Rania, Karisma Kapoor and Bunto Kazmi. Q: A city that inspires you… A: Lahore. Q: Your muse… A: Iman Ali. Q: A living legend who inspires you… A: Bill Gates. Q: Name one celebrity that you would want to see wearing this lawn collection? A: Queen Rania. Q: The best thing that has ever happened to you… A: My career.


Toasted Coconut Apple and Carrot Salad

Ingredients: I cup shredded purple cabbage 1 cup shredded carrot 1/3 cup sunflower seeds 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut flakes 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter 2 tablespoons pepper jelly vinaigrette 1 apple, shaved 1 teaspoon dried tarragon 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced Salt to taste

Method: 1.In a medium sauce pan over medium heat toast the coconut and sunflower seeds together. 2.Whisk together peanut butter and pepper jelly vinaigrette. 3.In a medium bowl combine cabbage, carrot, apple, tarragon, parsley and toasted coconut and sunflower seeds. 4.Add peanut butter mixture and toss to coat. Taste and put salt as needed.

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Of military rule in Pakistan In the present book, Ishtiaq Ahmad seeks to explore the historical perspective of the phenomenon in relation to the postpartition role of the Pakistan military

By Syed Afsar Sajid Ishtiaq Ahmed, the author of this book, is a reputed political scientist, presently designated as Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Stockholm University, Sweden and Honorary Senior Fellow, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore. The multifarious fields of his research studies relate to political Islam, ethnicity, nationalism, identity, multiculturalism, human rights, and partition studies. His present work seems to derive its cue from at least three significant publications on the subject viz., Pakistan, the Garrison State by Robert Laporte, Jr. (1982), The Garrison State: The Military, Government and Society in Colonial Punjab (1849-1947) (2005), and Pakistan: A Modern History by Prof. Ian Talbot (2006) besides its reliance on the American political scientist Harold Lasswell’s concept of the garrison state as propounded by him

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Pakistan – The Garrison State (Origins, Evolution, Consequences (1947-2011) By Ishtiaq Ahmed Published by: Oxford University Press, Karachi Pages: 494; Price: Rs1295/-

in 1937 and further explained in his article of the same title i.e., The Garrison State, published in 1941. The first book touches upon the delicate subject of succession in Pakistan amid ‘continuity and change’ in a garrison state whereas in the second book, a prominent historian of the colonial Punjab era, Tan Tai Young propounds the thesis that ‘Pakistan, not India, is the heir to the garrison state legacy of British colonial rule’, and that a garrison state is ‘one which relies heavily on its fortifications and military prowess to ward off internal and external threats’. In the third one, the learned historian has ventured to answer the vexed question: ‘Why democracy has succeeded in India while Pakistan has been subject to long periods of authoritarianism’ during its existence. Earlier on, Lasswell envisaged the garrison state as a ‘developmental construct’ about the future course of world-politics assuming the military state as ‘one of the chief forms of organized society’, in the line of Comte and Spencer, and considered the possibility that the world was moving toward an era of garrison states in which ‘specialists in violence’ would enjoy ascendancy. In the present book, Ishtiaq Ahmad seeks to explore the historical perspective of the phenomenon in relation to the post-partition role of the Pakistan military. The immediate context of this study seems to be the four military regimes in Pakistan spanning an intermittent continuity of some fifty years (F.M. Muhammad Ayub Khan’s regime: 1958-69; Gen. Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan’s regime: 1969-71, Gen. Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq’s regime: 1977-88, and Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s regime: 1999-2008). The author has attempted to resolve the ‘puzzle’ as to how over the years, the military in Pakistan accumulated such power and influence as would make it the

most powerful institution in the state. Besides the preface and other formal insertions, the book has eighteen chapters titled: The fortress of Islam: a metaphor for a garrison state; British, American, and Soviet attitudes towards the Pakistan Scheme; The colonial roots of the Pakistan Army; The first Kashmir War (1947-48); Wooing

The author has attempted to resolve the ‘puzzle’ as to how over the years, the military in Pakistan accumulated such power and influence as would make it the most powerful institution in the state

the Americans, and civil-military relations; The first military takeover; The 1965 war; Alienation between East and West Pakistan; Civil War and Pakistan – India War of 1971; The rise and fall of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto; General Zia braces the fortress of Islam; The Afghan jihad; Civilian governments and the establishment; Vicissitudes of the Musharraf regime; Transition to democracy and proliferation in terrorism; The United States

prepares for exit; The gory end of Osama bin Laden, and Analysis and conclusion. Alluding to Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s argument that ‘as long as the Pakistan military was strong the existence and integrity of Pakistan were assured’, the author speculates that ‘it is doubtful if the strong military imperative must necessarily translate into a culture of militarization of state and society’. It is his considered view however that in order to pre-empt any kind of internal or external threat to its existence, Pakistan ‘can decide to opt out of ideological politics in favour of enlightened pragmatism’. Concluding, the author avers that ‘the problem is not that democracy has been subverted in the country because of military coups’, in effect, the political class too, has been ‘seriously wanting in its commitment to democracy’. In this situation, he is of the opinion that ‘a thorough discussion on democracy, de-radicalization, and the rule of law needs to be conducted, and the search for a constitutional formula that is practical, enlightened, and compatible with the rule of law and international law must be found and instituted’, and that ‘the stakeholders in the Pakistan power equation – especially the military – work out a long-term policy and strategy that can create stability, peace and prosperity within Pakistan as well as help normalize relations with its neighbours – provided they, too nurture similar aspirations’. The book also purports to give the knowledgeable reader enough food for thought to ponder over ‘the relationship between the internal and external factors accounting for the rise of the military as the most powerful institution in Pakistan’, ‘the consequences of such politics for the political and economic development in Pakistan’, and ‘the future prospects for Pakistan’.

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Tough outside, fragile inside


NAND Kumar’s directorial project ‘Zila Ghaziabad’ opens with a sequence in which a train is being successfully robbed by a gang of robbers led by Mahendra Fauji (Arshad Warsi). And if you have seen the `Dabangg` series, it won’t take you long to realise that the ‘victory’ title song that follows the loot scene, is closely inspired by Salman Khan’s money-raking film. But not just the song, you have ‘Zila Ghaziabad’ painted in the shades of ‘Dabangg’ series in every possible way. So here you have ample gravitydefying action stunts, a hulky and bulky policeman to set things straight, a romance element thrown in, raunchy item numbers for cheap thrills, lots of blood bath and you can keep adding other possible paraphernalia. The only

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thing that makes this movie a tad dissimilar from ‘Dabangg’ is that it has some thrilling aspect which perhaps its savior. ‘Zila Ghaziabad’ narrates a real-life gang-war tale of the nineties which involved two powerful gangs led by Satbir Gujjar (Vivek Oberoi) and Mahendra Fauji (Arshad Warsi). Fauji is a right-hand henchman of Ghaziabad’s political figure played by Paresh Rawal who is often referred to as ‘Chairman’. On the other hand, there is Satbir, a school teacher by profession with idealistic views, whom the Chairman equally favours because - a) his education background is helpful in cracking deals that Fauji’s guns can’t b) he is Chairman’s would-be son-in-law. Now, when the Chairman refuses to cough up too much money for the marriage of Fauji’s sister, his greedy and crafty brother-in-law takes advantage of the

opportunity to incite Fauji against Satbir. Why? Because the Chairman kicks the brother-in-law in the butt for usurping a part of his property, thereby, angering the latter. Fauji joins hands with Chairman’s arch rival Rashid (played by Ravi Kishan) to kill Satbir. Sanjay Dutt enters the scene as a cop with shades of grey, Pritam Singh, to play mind games against the warring gangs. Now let us move on and talk about the actors in the roles they have played. Paresh Rawal has been given limited space to perform in the film as are other pros like Ashutosh Rana and smallscreen star Eijaz Khan. But it was a kind of refreshing to see Ravi Kishan in a villainous role. Chandrachur Singh has done a cameo appearance in a film after a long time and even in the short time that he is there on the screen, he switches to and fro to the Haryanvi accent.

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Pakistan Today Lounge Magazine March 03  

Pakistan Today Sunday weekly publication

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