Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Experimental Construction in Lahore

The opening ceremony of Institute for Experimental Construction (IEC) was held in the Beaconhouse National University, Raiwind Road, Lahore on April 29, 2011.  The theme of the event was Mud Housing and Appropriate Technology. Other related topics like Natural Disasters and Slums and Upgrading of Housing Experiments also came under lime light. The demonstration and discussion also included not only the construction but also the technical infra-structure (electricity supply, toilets, water filtration) and more.

Gear up & Grab your Camera – FiLUMS 2011 is here

Film, whether amateur, commercial or art, is one of the most powerful media in terms of depicting a society’s values and current thinking. From Hollywood to Bollywood to Iranian cinema, this medium has been used to highlight issues pertinent to a society’s existence while many a time, also used as a tool for propaganda and diplomacy.

With the fall of Pakistani cinema from grace over the years, there have been a few platforms for amateur film-makers to experiment and present their art to a thinking audience. Kara Film Festival was a beacon of hope that, to some extent, brought Pakistani artists, directors and documentary makers into limelight. While an impressive achievement in its own right, Kara is still far off to many amateur artists who cannot afford the budget or time to cope with the frenzy of such a film festival.

Then came FiLUMS; the landmark event of LUMS Media Arts Society, that provided a reachable platform to budding film-makers regardless of their backgrounds, nature of subjects of interest and any budgetary constraints. Since it’s inception in 2006, FiLUMS has been a regular occurrence that grows even bigger and better with each passing year.

This year, FiLUMS is gearing to be the biggest and the best to date with entries from as far as Turkey, Serbia, Abu Dhabi, Ireland and the United States. Along with film premiers and screenings, the three-day festival (February 11 – 13, 2011) will feature workshops and talks judged by the likes of Adeel Hashmi, Ayesha Khan, Omar Khan, Bilal Lashari, Fasi Zaka, Syed Noor, Adil Sher and many more.

Highlight of the event will be the award night at the third and final day of the festival on February 13, 2011.

Participation Procedure:

“Participants can register through the revolutionary submission system, known as Withoutabox (a division of IMDb), which is used by major festivals around the world. Alternatively, they can also register through our Standard Procedure, where participants are required to fill in a brief Online Registration Form available on the website by 15th January 2011. Once your film is ready, download the Submission Details Form and submit it to subform@filums.com.pk. Finally, the submission DVD’s of the participants must reach us before 1st February 2011.”

Categories:

- Short Films

- Animations

- Documentaries

- Feature Length Films

- Any other creative exception

Festival Proceedings:

Refer to the FiLUMS schedule here.

Contacts:

Website: http://www.filums.com.pk

Register for FiLUMS at: http://www.filums.com.pk/register

Email at: info@filums.com.pk

Call for Registrations and Submissions at: +92-347-5189196

Facebook Support Group: http://www.filums.com.pk/facebook

Follow FiLUMS at Twitter: http://twitter.com/filums2011

When Lahore misses Lahoris…

Lahore is a huge metropolis of around 8 to 10 million people today and it keeps on growing by every minute. A vast pie of this population comprises of migrants from other parts of Punjab and Pakistan. There are hundreds of thousands of people who come to ‘Dil walon ka Shehar’ in search of jobs, education, better opportunities and an urban flavor unmatched in the north of the country. All of this gives Lahore a flavor of diversity – all blended into the Lahori way of life as you just have to spend a few years in Lahore to become a Lahori at heart.

The demographic profile of the city’s immigrant population means that a lot of people have families and relatives residing in other parts of the province. Each holiday season, millions of Lahoris flee the city to spend vacations with their families in villages and other cities. Two Eids being the biggest Islamic holidays are the times when you see a mass-exodus of people heading out of the city just to come back a night before the vacation’s over.

If you happen to be a part of that crowd or just visit the railway station, lorry addas or bus terminals, you’ll see happy faces longing to see their loved ones while climbing onto any available and affordable means of transport. There’s a dad who’s carrying presents for his kids in village; there’s a student carrying his meager belongings in a backpack hanging on to the overcrowded entrance of a Bedford bus.  Then, there’s a group of white collar office employees, dressed in white shirts and black trousers with a laptop bag, albeit empty, waiting in queue at the New Khan or Faisal Movers ticket counter. Gourmet lafafas are usually a constant at all places of boarding buses, lorries, trains, rickshaws, APVs or Qingqis.. Babus prefer Daewoo or even better, an aeroplane ride to their hometowns. To take advantage of an improved bargaining position, transporters usually increase the fares handsomely and the passengers have no choice but to comply. Not to mention huge gridlocks of traffic outbound on G.T. Road, Motorway and up/down national railway grid.

In short, it’s an interesting phenomenon to witness so many Lahoris leaving the town they love for places that they originally belong. I still call them Lahoris for the city derives it’s character from everyone that brings his/her own flavor to share with the spirit of this great city. If you happen to drive by a calm Mall Road or lazy Canal Bank on a Saturday night during Eid holidays without having to press brakes, you get a feeling that…

Lahore’s missing its Lahoris… :)

TEDxLahore – collective optimism, over and all!

31st of August, 2010 saw TEDxLahore return to the city with a whole new spirit. From the jam-packed Ali Auditorium to a comprehensive list of speakers, the experience was quite enriching and motivating for almost everyone who attended the talks. One can easily say that TEDxLahore’s second year with the theme of ‘Collective Genius’ was far bigger and better than the first one.

Some 380 people were handpicked from more than a thousand applicants and all of them showed up! There were students, educationists, trainers, professionals, bloggers; people belonging to a very diverse and interesting group of individuals. Although some of the enthusiastic crowd was present at the venue two hours in advance of the planned timing, the event kicked off a bit late due to bad weather. The stage design was sleek and impressive, hats off to the people behind it. Same was the case with audio system provided by Bose, which apart from slight glitches worked pretty fine.

Arif Hasan at TEDxLahore - Photo by TEDxLahore

Before the talks, a minute of silence was observed to honor the lives lost in devastating floods, Airblue plane crash as well as to the victims of terrorism. After that, Arif Hasan, a renowned architect, took to the stage and discussed socio-economic changes in urban planning after Partition. He was followed by the duo of Omar Sheikh and Jabran Rafique, both of whom are super-mappers and the guys behind Attabad Lake markings and mapping on Google Mapmaker.

The only short-film filmed at TEDxLahore was titled ‘Building Pakistan’ with a patriotic theme depicted in a very innovative way. You can watch the video here.

Some other notable talks featured:

Ajmal Kamal – who talked about his dream of seeing everything written in Urdu available to everyone through print and electronic media.

Dr. Tariq Rahman – shed some light on how code-switching (multilingual overlapping e.g. Urdish & Urdi) is not exactly a bad thing in literature or everyday conversations.

Saima Zaidi – provided a visual treat by presenting the rich visual culture of Pakistan. References included a poster for Jhuley Laal, product packaging for Rooh Afza, Tibet Talcum Powder and a Mughal miniature depicting the folk love story of Shirin Farhad. She concluded her presentation with a resolve that we are a diverse and inclusive society as evident in our visual culture.

Beena Raza came next with her introduction to Sangan Nagar Institute of Philosophy & Arts. Apart from very lengthy text on slides, it was interesting to hear about another effort to revive our culture.

The show-stopper in the first half, without a doubt, was Noor Zehra’s mesmerizing performance on Sagar Veena. She played the instrument with so much ease yet captivating the whole audience in its magic. For those who are not aware, Noor Zehra happens to be Ali Noor and Ali Hamza’s mother.

Almost all of these speakers kept the audience glued to their seats despite some of the participants occasionally snoozing off due to tiredness or inspirational overdose. Just before the second half started, refreshments were served which included samosas, rolls, ras malai and rabrri milk by Nirala. Participants also got some time to network, talk and discuss ideas with each other.

The first half of the event was interesting but more on the informational side. Real surprise was packed in the second half of the evening during which each speaker was generously applauded by the audience. And yes, there were at least two standing ovations for Dr. Zeeshan Usmani and Mudassir Zia who honestly deserved it.

Dr. Zeeshan Usmani is a full-bright scholar and an associate professor at GIK Institute who has developed a very comprehensive computer simulation model for tracking the effects of shock waves after suicide bombings. He currently has the largest database of suicide bombings in Pakistan, which has helped him develop an intelligent model very useful for pre-emptive measures, calculating human causalities and identifying the perpetrators. His genius and humor-filled presentation style won him accolade by everyone in the auditorium. If there was an award for man of the match, it would have easily been shared by Dr. Usmani and Mudassir Zia.

Mudassir Zia was the only speaker to conduct his talk in Urdu, our national language, and perhaps the highest on inspirational value as he discussed remarkable achievements of his group of friends. His ideal of ‘first do, dare and then dream’ is very relevant to the current reality of our society where everyone talks big but does nothing. Mudassir and his friends have started a charity school (Ghulam Muhammad Grammar School), arranged patriotic street art competitions and conducted blood donation drives all by themselves without any external help or funding. Every member of their team works in his respective profession and then dedicates personal time and resources to all these noble activities.

In addition to Dr. Usmani and Mudassir Zia, other speakers included:

Dr. Nadeem-ul-Haque – discussed the paradigm of donor projects and production. Being the head of the Planning Commission of Pakistan, he admitted that our development is devoid of creativity and innovation because we give little creative and intellectual space to our youth. He was true is saying that we focus only on hardware (development projects) and do very less about changing the software (mind-set and intellectual skills of the people).

Live on Skype from London, Majid Nawaz discussed the need to develop national consensus to identify our leaders, symbols, alliances and finally a progressive narrative. Relating to different ideologies, Majid mentioned how every idea needs these four elements in order to be effective and strong enough to unite any nation.

Zubair Bhatti – the ex-DCO of Jhang shared his initiative of pre-emptive feedback gathering from common citizens. The idea is being implemented successfully across various districts of the Punjab where senior government officials call individuals to ask if there was any corruption witnessed by them. An automated telephone feedback line is also being started for recording complaints in this regard.

Dr. Asher Hasan – the founder of Naya Jeevan presented his NGO’s work on provision of quality healthcare to the deserving most in our society.

Finally, Dr. Aamir Khan came up with his dream of quality healthcare for all Pakistanis. With an impressive profile of achievements and successes, Dr. Aamir Khan, as the head of IRD, has initiated the use of mobile phone technology for mapping, tracking and curing pneumonia, TB and STDs amongst citizens of major urban areas in Pakistan. He acknowledged the genius behind mobile phones which has helped his system of paperless medical reports and patient data collection in the least developed areas of Pakistan.

Rafay Alam, scheduled to speak about Critical Mass (a campaign to encourage cycling in cities), could not make it from Delhi due to a flight delay but was generously appreciated by everyone present in the audience for his initiative.

Once the talks finished, Asim Fayyaz, Curator TEDxLahore, presented his concluding remarks which thanking everyone including the sponsors. What came later was a total surprise live performance on drums and dhol by Saad Sarfraz Sheikh and his friends.

Adding on to the suggestions given by other fellow bloggers, I would also appreciate the effort put in by everyone from organizers to volunteers. Although, one can say that the talks did not exceed the TED caliber, still, they were pretty decent; some of them quite innovative and even inspiring around the idea of ‘Collective Genius’. Since, TEDx phenomenon has just started with at least three chapters in Lahore alone, one can easily hope that we will see a marked improvement in the quality and inspirational quotient of talks in successive future events.

Hats off and two thumbs up for the organizers, speakers and audience at TEDxLahore!

Favorite sayings from TEDxLahore 2010:

- ‘Chinese curse: May you get what you wish for!’ – Dr. Nadeem-ul-Haque
- ‘The only helping hand is at the end of your arm’ – Mudassir Zia
- ‘The problem with problems: solve one, get one free – so we need to keep working’ – Dr.Aamir Khan

Takeaway:

- Lots of positivity, optimism, patriotism and loads of ideas to bring a change for the better
- A goody-bag with TEDxLahore soundtrack, WWF Natura magazine, discount vouchers on books from ‘…the last word’ Qadaffi Stadium and a cute little plant gifted by the Horticulture Society.

Sir, we can’t control this. “Then ban it”

Basant was a thing of beauty and was one of those rare events where a truly cultural event gathered people from all over the world. Yes, the world. Lahore owned basant, regardless where it came from. Even Lahore Metblogs has a separate category just for Basant!
But you had to be living in a hole to not know that basant has been banned for some time. A petition moved sometime around 2005, initially by none other than the mayor of Lahore, Mian Amer Mahmood. Slowly but surely, you witnessed an exercise in ‘how to control and change a city’s very culture through the power of political will’. The reasons quoted were not many – two in fact, one being the loss to human life and the other being disruption in WAPDA’s electricity supply causing monetary loss.
But here’s how I see it all:
The ban on basant is silly. Loss of life and loss of the ever-so-present WAPDA supply are not reasons at all. And here’s why: the loss of life is not because the kite-flying itself is dangerous. Kite-flying has been around for quite some time. The murderous streak now automatically tagged with basant itself, has been introduced through the development of stronger string. A lot of people think that it is the razor-like solution that the string is soaked in that causes the string to be a knife-on-the-loose. Although the sharpness is part of the reason, the main reason is that the string itself is very strong. There was a time, I remember, when I was able to snap the string by pulling on it with both hands. It is a typical way of checking a string’s strength – tug at it and see when it breaks. But recently, I would notice that it has become harder and harder to just ‘snap’ the string. You would have to resort to either some serious pulling or just use to teeth to sever the string. It is the combination of ultra-strong string with razor-sharp solution (a.k.a. manja) that makes the string a killer.
The real culprit has always been the string itself, and building upon that, you can see that the makers of the string are also the culprit. And by culprit I mean the ‘reason’ for the chaos, not the guilty party (guilt is for the courts to decide, remember?)

The reason the basant was and is still banned is not because the festival has turned deadly, it is because some people have invented and then sold this killer string to a lot of unsuspecting people. In fact, the real reason is that the administration has found it beyond them to crack down on the few string producers that manufacture the deadly string.

Sunny Deol on our political masters

From one of my friends here in Lahore, check out this ‘political satire’ :)
Nicely pulled off, mashAllah.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80PfS9tbW54
Nice…

P.S. Anybody here knows how to embed the damn videos on the metroblogs? The embed code just disappears after I save. Help on this, anyone?

It’s time for September’s Critical Mass Lahore!!!

Critical Mass -IIFellow Lahoris, Critical Mass Lahore has survived the summer and has been enjoyed through Ramzan. Now, it’s time to rally once more for the cause of public transport, sustainable development, democratic public spaces and, of course, the right to have fun on our own streets!!!

Join Lahore’s 10th Critical Mass Event at 5:00pm this Sunday 27 September 2009 from the Zakir Tikka intersection, Sarwar Road, Lahore Cantonment.

Critical Mass is about having clean cities that provide mobility and accessibility. Critical Mass is about clean transport. Critical Mass is about putting public good over private interest. Critical Mass is about making friends. Critical Mass is about reclaiming public space. Critical Mass is about showing a man or a woman on a cycle is the same as one in a ten lac car. Critical Mass is about democracy.

What do I need to participate in a Critical Mass Event?
All you need is a road-worthy cycle and an sense of fun. Buy, beg, borrow or steal a cycle if you have to, but join the Mass. Come, cycle around Lahore. Reclaim your city, and have more fun than you can imagine!

Where and how else do Critical Mass Events take place?
Critical Mass events are typically held on the last Friday of each month in over 250 cities all over the world. In Lahore, it is held on the last Sunday of every month. For information about Critical Mass Lahore, be at Zakir Tikka at 5:00pm this Sunday 27 September 2009 or visit the Critical Mass Lahore Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=38992998526) or the Critical Mass Lahore blog.

Important: Be on time!!!

It’s time for Lahore’s 6th Critical Mass cycling event

critical-mass-ii Time: 5.45pm
Date: 31 May 2009
Place: Zakir Tikka intersection, Sarwar Road, Lahore Cantonment

What is Critical Mass?

Critical Mass is about having clean cities that provide mobility and accessibility. Critical Mass is about clean transport. Critical Mass is about putting public good over private interest. Critical Mass is about making friends. Critical Mass is about reclaiming public space. Critical Mass is about showing a man on a cycle is the same as a man in a ten lac car. Critical Mass is about democracy.

Critical Mass is not an organization. It is an idea. It is about making a statement.
Everyone in Lahore knows how bad the traffic is. Critical Mass Lahore is a step towards making our city clean and taking our streets back.

Critical Mass is an idea. Make it yours.

What do I need to participate in a Critical Mass Event?
All you need is a road-worthy cycle and an sense of fun. Buy, beg, borrow or steal a cycle if you have to, but join the Mass.

Where and how else to Critical Mass Events take place?
Critical Mass events are typically held on the last Friday of each month in cities all over the world. For information about Critical Mass Lahore, be at Zakir Tikka at 5:45pm this Sunday 31 May 2009 or visit the Critical Mass Lahore Facebook page. Important: Be on time!!!

Nadeem Aslam reading from The Wasted Vigil

wasted-vigil
Wasted Vigil is Nadeem Aslam’s third and most powerful novel yet. It follows the lives of five damaged souls dealing with the repercussions of the “War on Terror” in later day Afghanistan. A work of deepest humanity, “The Wasted Vigil” offers a timely portrait of this region, of love during war and conflict. At once angry, unflinching and memorably beautiful, it marks Nadeem Aslam as a world writer of major importance.
nadeem-3
Nadeem shall be reading from ‘The Wasted Vigil’ and answering your questions at the Sayeed Saigol Auditorium on 10th April between 5-7pm.
This event is being arranged by The Last Word in collaboration with the LUMS Literary Society.

How?

How can this
attack-pics1
Happen in a city of this
madhu-lal1
madhu-lal2
madhu-lal4

(The attack on the police training school at Manawan in Lahore took place on the last and final day of the Mela Chiraghan)

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