The Citizens Archive of Pakistan [CAP], a not-for-profit organization dedicated to cultural and historic preservation, is launching a unique series of storytelling sessions to commemorate the legacy of Qissa Khwani Bazaar, the fabled Peshwari market renowned for its acclaimed story-tellers of yore. The 3 day event will be undertaken simultaneously at Kuch Khaas, Islamabad and Faiz Ghar, Lahore from 20th – 22nd June 2013 and will feature prominent Pakistan is such as Dr. Mehdi Hasan, Kishwar Naheed, Agha Nasirand Salman Shahid who will share anecdotes and milestones from their lives and careers, which are deeply intertwined with Pakistan’s own rich past and traditions.
With an aim to keep the tradition of storytelling alive, CAP endeavours to recreate the essence of the historic Qissa Khwani Bazaar, which translates literally from Persian to ‘Storytelling Market’. The market, whichunfortunately now solely exists as a physical structure in Peshawar, used to be a commercial hub that attracted travelling merchants of all ethnicities. They would come to this market to trade their wares, frequent local tea houses and exchange stories and experiences over a hot cup of qehwa. This practice elevated Qissa Khwani Bazaar from a simple marketplace into a living, breathing celebration of the traditionof storytelling itself.
The event will cover different aspects of Pakistani history and culture, with the first day dedicated to the theme of Partition and Migration, the second day to early years of PTV and Radio Pakistan and the third day seeking to track the evolution of Pakistani cities. Each day will feature a panel of expert speakers who will share stories relevant to the topic being discussed and a renowned moderator guiding the ensuing discussion. In Lahore, Dr. Furrukh Khan, Mr. Adeel Hashmi and Mr. Rafay Alam will be moderating the different panels. Dr. Ravish Nadeem, Mr. Farrukh Khan Pitafi and Mrs. Parveen Malik will be the moderators for the Islamabad based event. The Express Tribune arecollaborating on the project as official print media partners and Radio 1 FM 91 are participating as official radio partners of the event.
“Pakistan is a land of rich culture and significant history. We feel that there is no better way to learn more about the nation than through the stories and personal accounts of the individuals who have experienced the troubles, tribulations and joys of a nation being created first-hand,” says Swaleha Alam Shahzada, Executive Director of CAP. “By organising these storytelling sessions, we hope to breathe life into the art of storytelling and share the stories of our nation’s momentous history with the next generation of Pakistanis.”
The Qissa Khwani Bazaar project is part of CAP’s Oral History Project,the first-of-its-kind initiative that has developed a fascinating archive of over 45,000 photograph and 1,200 hours of audio stories documenting Pakistan’s history, culture and heritage from the perspective of a citizen. Through diligent care and effort, the project has successfully archived and digitized newspapers, letters, official correspondences, refugee cards, passports, advertisements and other material, each providing a unique snapshot of Pakistan preserved for all time. The project is currently running in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, recording the voices and stories of Pakistanis who have seen the partition of 1947 and the early years of Pakistan.
Indeed, CAP serves as the first ever private Pakistani initiative to collect, archive, study, disseminate and exhibit all aspects of Pakistan’s history – both before and after partition. CAP aspires to become the foremost museum of Pakistani history, art, photography, culture, literature and historical documentation, demonstrating the strength and spirit of Pakistan from the citizen’s perspective.
Dates: 20th – 22nd June 2013
Timings: 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Lahore venue: Faiz Ghar, 126 F, Model Town, Lahore
Islamabad venue: KuchKhaas, House 1, Street 1, F-6/3, Islamabad
Lahore – Day 1 – Thursday, 20th June 2013
Theme: Partition and Migration
Moderator: Dr. Farrukh Khan
Dr. Farrukh Khan is an Associate Professor at Lahore University of Management Sciences. Dr. Khan completed his PhD in Postcolonial Studies from the University of Kent in 2002. He has also produced “Stories of a Broken Self”, a documentary on women’s narratives of the partition of 1947.
1. Brig (R) Salim Zia
3. Dr. Mehdi Hasan
4. Ms.Jameela Zaidi
4Lahore – Day 2 – Friday, 21st June 2013
Theme: PTV and Radio Pakistan
Mr.AdeelHashmi, a Masters in Filmmaking from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco, comes from a family of creative giants in the field of poetry, painting, writing, drama, theatre and documentary filmmaking. Mr.Hashmi has been writing, acting, anchoring and directing for and on television for the past 10 years and has worked with Pakistan Television closely. Mr.Hashmi is also the CEO of Lightstorm Communications.
1. Ms.Navid Shahzad
3. Mr. Salman Shahid
4. Begum KhurshidShahid
5. Ms. Simi Raheal
Lahore – Day 3 – Saturday, 22nd June 2013
Theme: Evolution of Cities
Moderator: Mr. Rafay Alam
As a lawyer, Mr. Rafay Alam focuses on environmental law and regulation with a specialization in energy, water and cities. Mr. Alam has been actively advocating environmental and development issues, particularly concerning Lahore. He also teaches at Lahore University of Management Sciences and contributes to various academic papers. Mr. Alam also serves on the CAP Board of Governors.
1. Dr.Ajaz Anwar
3. Mr.Nayyar Ali Dada
4. Mr.Kamil Khan Mumtaz
5. Mr. Salman Rashid
Islamabad – Day 1 – Thursday, 20th June 2013
Theme: Partition and Migration
Moderator: Dr. Ravish Nadeem
Dr. Ravish Nadeem is currently serving as Assistant Professor of Urdu at International Islamic University, Islamabad. His poetry, literary criticism and analyses of socio-political issues have been included in different publications. Dr. Ravish is also a regular contributor at academic forums and conferences.
2. Mr.Chaudhry Muhammad Aslam
4. Ms.KhajistaFarhat Ghazi
Islamabad – Day 2 – Friday, 21st June 2013
Theme: PTV and Radio Pakistan
Moderator: Mr.Farrukh Khan Pitafi
Mr.Farrukh Khan Pitafi is a renowned Pakistani columnist, blogger and talk show host. His columns on national and international affairs have been appearing regularly in various news dailies for over a decade. He currently hosts a talk show, Capital Circuit, for NewsOne TV.
1. Mr. Agha Nasir
3. Mr. Ahmed Salim
4. Mr. Muhammad Zubair
Islamabad – Day 3 – Saturday, 22nd June 2013
Theme: Evolution of Cities
Moderator: Mrs.Perveen Malik
Mrs.Perveen Malik is currently serving as President of the Asian Study Group, Islamabad. She has been associated with causes of social and cultural development in Pakistan, and has chaired various organisations working on these issues. A lifelong educator, she currently sits on the Board of Directors of the international charity, Developments in Literacy. She has been a resident of Islamabad since 1966.
1. Ms.Ishrat Hyatt
2. Mr.Javaid Kazi
The Citizens Archive of Pakistan is a not-for-profit organization, dedicated to cultural and historic preservation. Established in 2007 with the aim to foster and promote community-wide interest in Pakistani culture and history, CAP believes in giving full rein to the creativity of Pakistanis, allowing them to express and explore their heritage. Indeed, CAP serves as the first ever private initiative to collect, archive, study, disseminate and exhibit all aspects of Pakistan’s history – both before and after partition. CAPaspires to develop a museum of Pakistani history, art, photography, culture, literature and historical documentation, demonstrating the strength and spirit of Pakistan from the citizens’ perspective.
CAP has come to be known for its diverse, ground breaking cultural initiatives some of which are mentioned herewith: The Oral History Project, launched in 2008, lies at the heart of CAP. It has built a first of its kind archive of over 45,000photos documenting Pakistan’s culture and heritage, and 1,200 hours of audio stories.
Further, the CAP Shanaakht Festival, held first in 2007, is the nation’s first only free and open festival of art, photography, music, theatre, storytelling and much more. In 2010, CAP initiated the now highly successful Exchange for Change project, which aims to improve relationships between school students in different countries through a sustained exchange of letters, postcards, pictures, artwork and videos.Through this project, CAP endeavours for students to develop a clearer understanding of their history, culture and lifestyles.
Indeed, CAP believes that such interaction will in turn lead to a positive change in restructuring cultural misconceptions and intergenerational conflict. Currently, this project is running between Pakistan, India and the USA. Further, as part of its Outreach Tours Program, launched in 2010, CAP works with low income schools and colleges, engaging their students through film screenings, puppet shows, debates and other interactive activities. The innovative program works with students to inculcate critical thinking skills, tolerance and peaceful values through an appreciation of history.
Indeed, at its very core CAP strives to build bridges and close gaps while trying to enhance the very perception of Pakistan by use of film, the spoken word and photography. Their vision is to develop CAP as the foremost museum and heritage center of Pakistani history, photography, culture, literature and historical documentation demonstrating the strength and spirit of Pakistan from the perspective of a citizen. Each exhibit tells important stories about the country and provides an engaging and thought-provoking window into the nation’s past, present and future.