THE FIRST-EVER REVOLUTIONARY ENDEAVOUR FOR CULTURAL CONNECTIVITY WITH NEIGHBOURING SAARC COUNTRIES LAUNCHED IN 1987

The parent organisation of the Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature (FOSWAL), the Academy of Fine Arts and Literature commenced its endeavours of cultural connectivity in India : by getting writers of all the Indian languages together, on the last Saturday of every month, since 1975.

The vision of cultural bonding and connectivity was extended to the neighbouring SAARC countries in 1987, when writers from Pakistan set foot on Indian soil for the first time since the Partition of the country in 1947, for the first-ever Indo-Pakistan Writers Conference.

Indian and Pakistani writers of the SAARC region had not interacted with each other as contemporary wordsmiths since Partition of the country in 1947, before our FIRST-EVER INDIAN-PAKISTANI WRITERS CONFERENCE in 1987. There was hardly any provision for writers to get NOCs and visas even.

This endeavour gradually emerged as the first-ever, unique and committed Non-Government organisation : the FOUNDATION OF SAARC WRITERS AND LITERATURE, which organised the FIRST-EVER SAARC WRITERS CONFERENCE in April 2000.

“We are the mad dreamers of the SAARC region. Let governments do their political and diplomatic work. Let us, the writers and the creative fraternity of the region, endeavour to create bridges of friendship across borders, and beyond borders” : declared the first-ever Resolution.

FOSWAL is honoured with the unique status of SAARC APEX BODY, with exclusive mandate to use the acronym SAARC and the SAARC LOGO for all its activities connected with writers and literature, and culture-oriented programmes in all eight SAARC countries : Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

In 2008, we invited writers from Myanmar too.

In 1999 we reached out to the writers, scholars, academics, journalists of Afghanistan. They have been participating in all our SAARC Writers Conferences and Literary Festivals since the last 8 years. Afghanistan was formally included in the SAARC family in 2007. We hope the same would happen with Myanmar also.

It is always the writers and intellectuals who are opinion-makers at intellectual and grass-root level, and who have the unique gift of foresight of visualising and deciphering, with rare sensitivity, the eternal civilisational bondings in a region, the bondings which go beyond the geographical boundaries.

FOSWAL provided the first-ever platform for writers and scholars, poets and academics, journalists and artists, peace and human rights activists, visual and performing artists, publishers and the literary minds, playwrights and translators of the SAARC region to interact freely with their contemporary neighbouring creative and intellectual fraternity, discussing issues connected with the Written Word, with History and Historical Memories, with the Anguish of Exiles and Homelessness, with Rootlessness which makes us Outsiders, with Understanding and Respecting the Otherness of the Others; sharing their common concerns with poverty, illiteracy and hunger, with terror and fundamentalism, with saving the sanctity of the written word, with the marginalised in literature

INDIA-PAKISTAN WRITERS CONFERENCE

SEPTEMBER, 1987, NEW DELHI

Ajeet Cour with Mr. Jamilludin Aali, a unique Poet from Pakistan, the only one who writes ‘Dohas’ of mixed Khari-boli and Urdu, in the style of Ameer Khusro

Ahmad Faraz and Ajeet Cour, unique contemporaries from India and Pakistan

Some of the ten writers from Pakistan, and India, who participated in the First-ever Indo-Pakistan Writers Conference, September 1987, New Delhi

Mr. Intizar Hussain Pakistan

Dr, Namwar Singh India

Dr. Akhtar Hussain Akhtar Pakistan

Mr. M.T. Vasudevan Nair India

Mr. Mohammad Mansh Yad Pakistan

Ms. Kishwar Naheed Pakistan

Ms. Fehmida Riyaz Pakistan

Mr. Fakhar Zaman Pakistan

Dr. Sibtul Has