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Literature & Art: The Afghan Perspective (Session 2)

Friday, December 03, 2021 | 3:00 PM | Online on Zoom

Literature & Art: The Afghan Perspective

The focus for the Halqa-e-Danish series in Fall 2021 was on the Afghan perspective through the exploration and study of Dari and Pashto literary works. The need for giving a platform to such works is brought by the incessant and over-repetitive biased coverage of the Afghan situation by the western media that caused the native Afghan voice to completely fade in the background.

Session 2: Contemporary Afghan Persian Poetry

Speakers: Dr. Moeenuddin Nizami and Zohra Zahidi

Moderator: Dr. Fatima Fayyaz

This webinar introduces you to the fascinating world of Afghan Persian poetry. The Afghan poet, Zohra Zahidi, shares her personal poetic journey spanning more than two decades, while Dr. Moeenuddin Nizami, an authority on Persian poetry, discusses contemporary Afghan poets in light of the social, cultural and political nuances of their creations. Dr. Fatima Fayyaz, an expert of Persian language and literature at LUMS, moderated the session.

One of the main focuses of The Afghan Perspective Session 1 webinar was to provide a platform that admires the rich Afghan heritage and literature, in contrast to the repetitive image being fabricated on the mainstream media. Following the same trajectory, the esteemed Afghan poetess Zohra Zahidi was invited to discuss and share her career as a poetess spanning over two decades. Through her poetry, which revolves around the themes of migration, war and their effects on the female experience, Zahidi was able to provide first hand insight to the LUMS community as to what it really is like living in Afghanistan.

In the session, Dr Moeen Nizami laid down the different facets of contemporary Afghan poetry and the difficulties of getting published. Zahidi further elaborated on this point by making the viewers understand the effort it takes to even think about anything else except the need to survive. The webinar further explored how Aghan poetry was not given any importance in Pakistan previously and how the Gurmani Centre is the first platform to do so.

Dr. Moeenuddin Nizami is a renowned poet, author, researcher, translator & professor of Persian language & literature. His interests include Sufism, codicology, Rumi and Iqbal studies, folk heritage and classical regional poetry. He has published several books in Pakistan, Iran, India & England and two of his publications have received prestigious awards by the Iranian Government. His upcoming work is an Urdu translation of selected poems by Sohrab Sepehri, a 20th century Persian poet. Prof. Nizami has served as the Head of the Persian Department & Hujveri Chair at the University of the Punjab as well as the Director of the Gurmani Centre for Languages and Literature, LUMS, from 2015-2017. He is currently serving as the Principal of Oriental College, University of the Punjab.

Zohra Zahidi was born in Afghanistan and raised in Iran at a time when society in this region was forced to witness changes of a wide variety. Moved by the conditions around her, she started writing poetry in 1997. Since then, her work has been published in several literary magazines in both Iran and Afghanistan. Her poetry revolves around multiple interrelated themes, including the turmoils of war, the heartaches of exile, the plight of women, and the complexity of love and emotions. Her first poetry collection titled Zamīn Barāyi Man Tang Ast was published in Tehran in 2014 by Irfan Publishers. Zahidi’s work soon received the acclaim it deserves bringing her several honors including the Simurgh Peace Award in 2012 by Arman Shahr Foundation, Kabul. She is a member of various literary societies, including the Khāneh-yi Adabiyat-i Afghanistan and Kanūn-i Adabi-yi Kalimeh.

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