The 13th International Urdu Conference has kicked off at the Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi in four days.
On the first day of the four-day conference, Provincial Minister for Culture Syed Sardar Ali Shah, who was the chief guest, said he attended the conference not as a minister but as a writer.
Syed Sardar Ali Shah said that the conference “connects” the people. He also spoke about the importance of giving regional languages the status of national languages.
Prominent poet Zahra Negah presided over the ceremony, saying that the coronavirus epidemic is deadly and we should pray for our safety.
He recited some short poems which he wrote during this time.
In his inaugural address, Arts Council President Ahmad Shah spoke, among other things, about the library to be built at the Arts Council, which will be named after Josh Malihabadi.
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The inaugural ceremony on December 3 was hosted by Dr Huma Mir.
A session of the World Urdu Conference paid tribute to author and critic Dr Asif Farooqi, who passed away on June 1 this year.
The three keynote speeches were delivered to the audience in the Council’s main auditorium and to the audience at home via video link.
The first speech in the World Urdu Conference was delivered by Dr Gopi Chand Narang, a renowned critic from India.
He said that the Hindi word Sahitya, which is used in literature, is a compound word meaning society and its development, which indicates that literature has a deep connection with society.
Dr Gopi Chand Narang started his speech with a poem by Iqbal Ashar. Urdu is my name.
He said that Urdu is a mystery to him. Dr Gopi Chand Narang told the participants that he was born in Balochistan in 1930 and his mother tongue is Seraiki.
Dr Gopi Chand Narang said that in the last few decades, attempts were made to suppress the Urdu language in India but to no avail.
He said that 300 languages are spoken in the region and Urdu is spoken from north to Deccan and from Deccan to Mysore.
Dr Gopi Chand Narang said that 90% of the language used in Bollywood and TV dramas is Urdu. For them, Urdu is like a puzzle.
It is pertinent to mention here that this year’s World Urdu Conference is being held online due to the Coronavirus and its sessions will be available on the Council’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.