Lahore ‘ar­rives’ in New York

Pakistan Observer - - NATIONAL -

IS­LAM­ABAD—Pak­istan’s cul­ture de­fines its hu­man­ity and re­flects spirit of a na­tion on the up­surge, Am­bas­sador Maleeha Lodhi said, while call­ing for pro­mot­ing greater en­gage­ment across cul­tures to counter xeno­pho­bia.

‘To­day, the amaz­ing out­pour­ing of art and lit­er­a­ture in Pak­istan is the most force­ful re­sponse to a tiny mi­nor­ity that seeks to im­pose an alien or­tho­doxy,’ she told a large and dis­tin­guished gath­er­ing amidst ap­plause at the start of the fes­ti­val first of its Rind abroad, says a mes­sage re­ceived here from New Yaok.

‘Lahore has ar­rived in New York,’ the Pak­istani en­voy said of the US city known as the one that never sleeps. ‘Nor does Lahore by the way!’ Lahore, she said, has led the na­tional en­gage­ment with moder­nity and it embodies the coun­try’s unique iden­tity as a modern na­tion and an­cient civ­i­liza­tion. ‘We are proud that for the first time a fes­ti­val of ideas from Pak­istan has been taken over­seas. The Am­bas­sador said, Pak­istan has a rich and di­verse cul­tural her­itage and artis­tic tra­di­tion; present cul­tural land­scape is es­pe­cially rich and pro­lific. As for mu­sic, she said, the ex­plo­sion be­ing wit­nessed ranges all the way from tra­di­tional Qawali ren­dered with a modern twist; to a fresh crop of pop artists, all cre­at­ing a di­verse and dis­tinc­tively Pak­istani sound.

Pak­istani cinema was also see­ing re­vival by a new wave of young in­de­pen­dent film­mak­ers who are chart­ing and break­ing new ground by tack­ling bold themes and us­ing dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy. ‘Au­thors, artists, film-mak­ers and mu­si­cians all are pro­duc­ing works that form an ex­tra­or­di­nary panorama of cre­ativ­ity, re­flect­ing the vi­brant cul­tural re­al­ity of to­day’s Pak­istan, ’Am­bas­sador Lodhi said. The creative voices in Pak­istan’s mu­sic, lit­er­a­ture, art and in the me­dia were em­blem­atic of a liv­ing na­tion which was fac­ing many chal­lenges but ne­go­ti­at­ing them with the spirit and re­silience.

Pak­istan’s cul­ture was about at­ti­tudes that value open­ness and dia­logue, the Am­bas­sador said. To­day, we are en­gaged in a bat­tle of ideas and it is cul­ture, which helps us cre­ate space and di­ver­sity to en­able us to forge a nar­ra­tive of tol­er­ance, open­ness and de­bate.

Our re­sponse to those who chal­lenge our cen­turies old tra­di­tion of peace­ful co­ex­is­tence, in­formed by our great Sufi tra­di­tion, is to get back in touch with joy and the free­dom to cre­ate.’ sia So­ci­ety, she said, pro­vided a plat­form and show­cas­ing dif­fer­ent cul­tures from the Asian con­ti­nent to build aware­ness and ad­vance un­der­stand­ing in the US of other cul­tures and civ­i­liza­tions.

‘Art, it is rightly said, tran­scends borders and helps to build bridges across cul­tures and there­fore is an in­valu­able medium to pro­mote in­ter-cul­tural un­der­stand­ing,’ Am­bas­sador Lodhi said.

‘At a time when we see the rise of in­tense xeno­pho­bia, noth­ing is more im­por­tant than the need to lis­ten to each other, build re­spect for the ‘other’ and pro­mote greater en­gage­ment across cul­tures. It is by en­hanc­ing our un­der­stand­ing of the val­ues of cul­tural di­ver­sity that helps us to learn to live to­gether bet­ter.’

LAHORE: Wheat crop be­ing har­vested in the out­strikes of Lahore.

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