The four-day Book Fair inaugurated in remarkable ceremony in Gwadar. Festivals are now very much an vital part of the cultural calendar of the country metropolitan cities.
Speaking at the inaugural session, Hammal Kalmati said that the identity of Gwadar has a rich historical background and the port city was speedily moving towards a new era of development and progress.
To protect and preserve its cultural status and history, Rs2 billion were suggested in the current year’s provincial budget.
The well-known writers, poets, scholars and book lovers from across the province and the country are participating in the book fair, including Asif Aslam Farrukhi, Dr Fatima Hassan and Waja Khuda Bakhsh Baloch, Kaleem Lashari, Aqil Abbas Jafari, Hassan Sunriay and Nasir Rehim Sorabi.
Sharing his views on the Book Festival in Gwadar Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan said, whenever there were talks on provincial literature the only name comes in our mind is of Makran and I am glad on seeing majority books here on Balochi language.
Such events take place in only in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, where literati gather to discuss the questions of the day and artists display their work for the public. However, Pakistan secondary cities, such cultural activities are less frequent. Moving into the surrounding area, they are practically nonexistent. That is why it was heartening that a four day Book Festival underway in the Balochistan port city.
Usually, With CPEC going ahead at reasonable speed Gwadar is becoming a point of discussion at national, regional and even globally or for the militancy that affects Balochistan in general. To see efforts in this town to promote cultural activities, therefore, is laudable.
The world now obsessed with technology and innovation, little space is left for literature to thrive in fact, to even survive. Nowadays, habits and hobbies are driven by passion for money and wealth.
The Quetta too, saw its very first two-day literature festival in May 2018. Other events in Balochistan include a children’s literary festival in Turbat. Only by holding this kind event on a regular basis will we be able to shoot down that preposterous impression. The Gwadar Book Festival is not about fighting bombs with books. It is about having a good time in an intellectually stimulating setting.
Gwadar City is the centre of attraction owing to the CPEC. But it is sad that the book festival is organised annually but is always ignored by the government. Even by he media covers it inadequately.
Indeed the stories of terrorism and violence cannot be ignored the province should not be viewed through a one dimensional security prism. The Balochistan’s cultural activities, reflecting its people’s view, way of thinking and aspirations, must be encouraged to allow the rest of Pakistan to get a fuller view of what this complex, ancient society is all about. Such as plays by children in Balochi and the screening of films by young film-makers from small province towns also helped showcase the hidden talent of Balochistan. Cultural activities in the province and cultural interactions with other parts of the province can play an important role in ‘normalising’ the situation in the province and building inter-connection between other provincial, at least on the cultural front.
The Provincial government should promote a book-reading culture. The media too should highlight such activities in areas which have been underdeveloped and deprived of basic necessities and an education infrastructure for long.