MAJOR INDO-PAKISTAN CULTURAL CONNECTIVITY PROGRAMME NOVEMBER 1, TO NOVEMBER 18, 2008 IN PUNE, ALLAHABAD, KANPUR, LUCKNOW, VARANASI, SARNATH, DELHI AND MOGA, CITIES OF INDIA

FOUNDATION OF SAARC WRITERS AND LITERATURE, in collaboration with South Asian Fraternity invited poets, singers and painters from Pakistan to interact with their Indian counterparts at various places.
Out of 20 invited persons only 7 could reach because :

 visa was granted on 29th October night, so people from Karachi could not rush for visa to Islamabad and back to Karachi , and again to Lahore-Wagha-Delhi-Pune;

 there was massive earthquake in and around Quetta ;

Therefore, only 7 following persons could come:

1. Mr. Ali Baba Taj, Scholar and Poet of Urdu and Persian from Quetta University. He is doing research on the poetry of Jenab Bedil, who was born about 300 years ago at Patna . His poetry has been sung by noted singers of Balochistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan , Iran and India ;

2. Mr. Anjum Saleemi, Faisalabad, Publisher, Poet and Founder President of Humkhyal Group, Faisalabad ;

3. Mr. Jahangir Iqbal (Ejaz Tawakkal : pen name in poetry). Eminent Poet and Singer from Bahawalpur, settled in Faisalabad. He recites poems in Saraiki, Punjabi and Urdu. He sings classical and popular songs;

4. Ms. Rehana Kazmi. She was working in the Pakistan Embassy in Paris for about 18-20 years. Now she is working as Senior Administrative Officer in Islamabad. She is a Poet and a Painter. Her painting exhibitions have been arranged in Art Galleries in Paris and other European countries, and also in Islamabad;

5. Ms. Rukhe Neelofer Zaidi, a Painter and a Poet. She worked in UNESCO for about 10 years. Now, teaching Fine Arts at Lahore . Her painting exhibitions have been held in various countries, including India

6. Mohammad Akram, Musician from Faisalabad;

7. Fareeha Akram, 10-year old child Singer. She remembers by heart 300 Indian Bhajans, Ghazals and songs, and can sing in the voices of various popular singers. She was the star performer. Media gave excellent coverage to her. Sony and Zee TV offered to sponsor her for SA RE GA MA Juniors Programme.

FOSWAL welcomed them in Delhi.

After staying in Delhi for two days, and presenting 2 comprehensive programmes in Habitat Centre and in the ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS AND LITERATURE , they proceeded for their tour of Pune. Mr. Satya Paul, the Secretary General of South Asian Fraternity was kind enough to escort them and to conduct their tour across all the different cities they were scheduled to visit.

IN PUNE

They were welcomed at Sarvoday Samaj Sammelan, PUNE. Some of them recited their poetry and songs before the large audience of All India Sarvoday Sammelan on 6th November 2008.

The Sakal group of papers arranged Indo-Pak Mushaira on the evening of 7th November 2008 at Kale Hall, in the famous Gokhale Institute of Economics, on the premises of Servants of India Society, Pune, which was founded by the great freedom fighter Shri Gopal Krishan Gokhale in 1905.

Besides Pakistani poets mentioned above, 5 local poets also read their poems : Mr. Hissamuddin Shola, Mr. Aslam Chishty, Mr. Siraj Sholapuri, Mr. Dildaar Hashmi and Mr. Nazir Fatehpuri.

About 200 selected invitees in the audience enjoyed and applauded their poetry.

At the end of the Mushaira, Baby Fareeha and Ustad Ejaz Tawakkal entertained the audience with their classical Bhajans, Ghazals and popular songs.

Earlier, Sh. Satya Paul, Founder Secretary General, South Asian Fraternity, enlightened everybody about FOSWAL and its marvellous role in joining hands with the like-minded South Asian Fraternity to make the interaction possible. He also introduced the Pakistani friends.

IN ALLAHABAD

Lok Sevak Mandal, Centre, ALLAHABAD, welcomed the guests at its Rajrishi Tandon Sewa Kendra, Prayag Street , Allahabad , and arranged Indo-Pak Mushaira at its Community Centre.

Besides Pakistani poets, some local poets also recited their poems which were greatly applauded: Sh. Anshu Malviya, Sh. Yash Malviya, Sh. Priya Darshan, Sh. Imran Khan. Km. Kuhu Malviya, M.A. in Tabla, also performed with Baby Fareeha.

The delegation met Sh. Shams-Ur Rehman Farooqi, great Urdu and Persian scholar at his residence.

IN KANPUR

Then the caravan of peace moved to KANPUR on 10th November.

At Kanpur, Lok Sewak Mandal Kendra and some other organizations welcomed and hosted our programmes.

The exhibition of the paintings of Pakistani and Indian painters were arranged at Harihar Nath Shastri Bhawan.

The Mayor of Kanpur and representatives of various social, cultural organizations accorded them a memorable reception.

Besides Pakistani poets, 8 local poets also recited their poems : Sh. Ram Kishan Premi, Sh. Irshad Kanpuri, Sh. Azad Kanpuri

Sh. Shamsuddin Azmi, Sh. Pramod Tiwari, Dr. Pratik Mishra, Sh. Ansar Kanvari.

IN LUCKNOW

The delegation left for LUCKNOW by road.

They were welcomed at Lucknow by Ms. Roop Rekha Verma, former Vice-Chancellor of Lucknow University.

She arranged a memorable Mushaira on IPTA ground.

Next day the delegation was taken round the city for sight-seeing historical places like Residency, Bada Imambara, Art Gallery, Chhota Imambara etc.

Nawab Jafar Mir Abdullah of Lucknow welcomed them and showed them round the Chhota Imambara. He also hosted the lunch.

He took them to his ancestral house, where he is preserving many valuable ancestral, historical items and photographs.

In the evening, he came and stayed up to the end of Mushaira, followed by singing of Fareeha Akram, organized by IPTA (Indian People’s Theatre Association) and Saanjhi Duniya.

After dinner, they left Lucknow by the night train.

IN VARANASI

On 12th morning, they reached VARANASI. A large number of organizations welcomed them at the railway station.

Sarv Seva Sangh, Rajghat arranged a nice reception where representatives of various organizations were present.

The delegation went to the office of Lok Samiti and Mahila Chetna Samiti, founded by Sh. Jai Prakash Narain.

They organized a dialogue with the delegation.

IN SARNATH

The delegation visited SARNATH where Lord Buddha gave the first sermon a