Centre Stage, Gender, Politics and Performance in South Asia
Mohammad Salim Khawja (Ahmed Salim) is a well known poet, essayist, journalist and literary figure of Urdu and Punjabi. He has translated numerous fiction and non-fiction texts from Pakistan's other national languages into Urdu. He is also a researcher who has done extensive work documenting the lives of coal miners and brick kiln workers in Punjab. Additionally he has published oral histories on the memories of the 1947 partition of British India within Punjabi villages. Ahmed Salim has been one of the foremost collectors and archivists of political literature on the Pakistani Left and Nationalist movements. His collections make a part of a special section on Pakistan at the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Ahmed Salim's presence at various centers will enhance our understanding of those aspects of Pakistan studies that at are not always at the fore front of our discussions. This primarily entails the bringing forward of literature and politics of Pakistan's various nationalities in their own language and through writings in the languages such as Sindhi, Punjabi, Pushto, Seraiki and Baluchi. His work on translation into Urdu from other National languages is the most salient aspect of this effort. Within this context one of his presentations during his visit he will share his work on the 1971 period and bring forward the issue of Bangla nationalism and its reception within the corridors of Pakistan's state and the public at large. He will additionally speak, in other presentations, about literary production in Pakistan's other languages (besides Urdu) and how intellectuals from these National groups contest the cultural politics of the Pakistani state. These are topics that rarely get aired in discussions of Pakistan in US academia.
Lecture title: "The Minority Status of Pakistan's National Languages" at the University of Texas, Austin in October of 2007, Madison Wisconsin Oct. 11, 2007 (Conference on South Asia ) and University of California, Berkeley, Oct, 21-23, 2007
Asif Aslam Farrukhi is a medical doctor and a public health expert who works for UNICEF Pakistan. He is also one of the most prominent literary figures of his generation. He is a writer of Urdu and English prose and poetry, translator, literary critic, publisher (Scheherazade publications) and editor (foremost Urdu Literary journal, Dunyazad). He is the author of several original literary works and has been responsible for editing and translating selections from literature of other national languages of Pakistan into English and Urdu. As a literary critic and cultural commentator he has an astute understanding of Pakistan's contemporary political and social life. His lectures in the US will consist of his writings on Pakistani culture, literature and politics.
Asif Farrukhi's contribution to ongoing debates in Urdu literature and to the larger field of Pakistani literary trends is very important. Apart from the literary merit of his own fiction, he has been translating world literature from all corners of the globe into Urdu and publishing it either through his publishing house or in his journal Dunyazad. Simultaneously he has translated Pakistani literature into English and also published literary debates. The field of Pakistan studies in the US is still bereft to a large degree from the literary and cultural discussions within Pakistan. Generally the focus has been on the study of politics, history or anthropology. Asif Farrukhi's contribution will seek to fill this gap.
He lectured on "Literary Representations of the 1971 War" at the University of Texas, Austin Oct. of 2007, Madison Wisconsin Oct. 11, 2007 (Conference on South Asia) and at Columbia University, Oct. 14-21, 2007.