Talk about Basila and the Street Crew – Press Release
Book Launch, Speaker Session / September 17, 2017

Girl Belonging to a Racial Minority Fights Social Ills through Civic Participation in this Comic Book Series Karachi, September 17: Basila, a young girl from the Makrani community of Sindh is an active citizen. From child labor to animal abuse, she is troubled by all social ills of the community. That’s where she rises to the challenge and takes to teach homeless aspiring artists to pursue their passion through painting visual messages of love, peace and interfaith harmony on public walls and open spaces. Streets of Karachi are her classrooms and the city walls are her canvas. Basila and the Street Crew is one of Azcorp Entertainment’s breakthrough comic books. While it focuses on various societal issues, it draws attention to a very important theme of social inclusion by introducing a transgender character. Riffat Apa, the aunt of the protagonist, is the leading character. She also shares the same passion for the country and her surroundings like Basila. With various incidents of transphobia reported every day in Pakistan, the need to normalize their existence is ever crucial. “More than anything, the transgender community of Pakistan wants acceptance”, said Anain Shaikh, the co-creator and illustrator of Basila and the Street Crew….

Dr. Raghavan on Indo-Pak Discourse
Speaker Session / May 31, 2015

Dr. T.C.A. Raghavan (Indan High Commissioner) spoke at Habib University on Wednesday, 27th May 2015. The topic of the discussion was “History and Diplomacy: Contextualizing India-Pakistan Relations” it revolved around, not the core differences, but similarities that bond the countries together. A bit about the speaker: Dr. T.C.A. Raghavan is the High Commissioner of India. He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1982. Prior to appointment as High Commissioner to Pakistan, he served as Indian High Commissioner to Singapore (2009-13). His previous overseas postings include Pakistan (2003-2007), United Kingdom (1995-1998), Bhutan (1992-1995) and Kuwait (1983-1986). During his last tenure in New Delhi (2007-2009) he was head of the territorial division in the Ministry of External Affairs responsible for Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. He has also served in different capacities in the Government of India in the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Commerce. Dr. Raghavan graduated from the St. Stephens College of University of Delhi and has a Post Graduate Degree in History from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. In 1992 he was awarded a Doctorate in Modern Indian History by the Jawaharlal Nehru University. Mr. Raghavan began by commending the management on the excellent…

Sorraya Khan on “Writing the Wounds of Pakistan: Tales of a Novelist’s Journey”
Speaker Session / April 30, 2015

Sorraya Khan spoke at Habib University’s Arzu Center on Wednesday 29th April, 2015. The topic of the discussion was “Writing the Wounds of Pakistan: Tales of a Novelist’s Journey” and she was joined by Kamran Asdar Ali and Asif Farrukhi who moderated the session. The talk was about her journey as a novelist and how she tackled difficult topics for three novels she published in the past decade. A bit about the speaker first: Sorraya Khan is the author of three novels, NOOR (2003), FIVE QUEEN’S ROAD(2009) and CITY OF SPIES (2015). She was awarded a US Fullbright Research Grant to conduct research in Pakistan and Bangladesh for one of her novels, and received a Malahat Review Novella Prize for what became a window into CITY OF SPIES. In 2006, she received a Constance Saltonstall Artist Grant, which took her to Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where she interviewed tsunami survivors. Over the years, her work has been published in various literary quarterlies, including The Kenyon Review and North American Review, and several anthologies. She is the daughter of a Pakistani father and a Dutch mother, was born in Europe, and moved to Pakistan as a child. She now lives in New…

Dr. Sarah Waheed on “Banning An ‘Unethical’ Text”
Speaker Session / April 9, 2015

Dr. Sarah Waheed spoke at Habib University’s Arzu Center on Wednesday, 8th April 2015. The topic of her lecture was “Banning An ‘Unethical’ Text: The Politics of Indo-Muslim Respectability in Colonial India” and it focused around a collection of short stories called “Angaaray”, a book which is still banned in its original form in both India and Pakistan despite its first publication over 80 years ago. An English translation by Snehal Shingavi has recently been published in India via Penguin Books. A bit about the speaker first Sarah Waheed, Ph.D., Tufts University, is an Assistant Professor of History and the Chair of South Asian Studies at Davidson College, North Carolina. Her current research and writing focuses upon cultural politics in India and Pakistan where she examines the links between religion, secularism, and decolonization by way of the lives and writings of South Asian intellectuals whose primary language was Urdu. This work is a project which challenges the misconceptions and assumptions about the emergence of Indian and Pakistani nationalisms and attempts to move beyond 1947 – the year of Indian independence, Partition, and establishment of Pakistan. Dr. Sarah Waheed is currently writing a book about Indo-Muslim transnational literary cultures and anti-colonial…

Ahmed Rashid on “Apparatus of Jihad: The State of Play”
Speaker Session / March 29, 2015

Press Release Ahmed Rashid talks about Apparatus of Jihad: The State of Play Karachi, March 27, 2015: Habib University, a first of its kind Liberal Arts and Sciences university, hosted a talk by Ahmed Rashid on ‘Apparatus of Jihad: The State of Play’ on March 27, 2015. The event was the inaugural event of Habib University’s Dean’s Lecture Series, and took place in the University auditorium. Habib University Dean’s Lecture Series hosts renowned individuals of their respective fields to represent governance, business and social sectors and share their expert opinions on the critical issues shaping the present day situation of Pakistan. The speaker was Ahmed Rashid, the celebrated journalist and author who has written extensively on Pakistan, Afghanistan, Central Asia and the prevailing NATO policies reshaping the region. Awarded the Nisar Osmani Award in 2001 for courage in journalism has also been referred to as ‘Pakistan’s best and bravest reporter’ by Christopher Hitchens, an English journalist. Among his best-sellers are Descent into Chaos, Taliban, Jihad -the Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia and The Resurgence of Central Asia that talk about the rise of the Taliban and their burgeoning reach in Afghanistan and beyond. Speaking of this talk, Rashid…

Conversation with Laurent Gayer
Author Meetup, Speaker Session / March 2, 2015

Laurent Gayer, author of Karachi: Ordered Disorder and the Struggle for the City, came to T2F for a session about Karachi city and its violence. The event was co-hosted by Desi Writers Lounge and T2F and moderator for the session was Sabin Agha, renowned journalist who has covered the difficult years of Karachi and currently works for the BBC. The session started at 7 pm and by then nearly 80% seats were occupied; soon additional chairs were required to for the latecomers. Farheen Zehra, Karachi representative of Desi Writers Lounge, made the introductions and Sabin continued the conversation from there. Most of the discussion centered around the content of the book itself, therefore much of the information can be gained by reading the book. The important points, however, are summed up as follows: – Up until the 1950s and 1960s, Pakistan had a strong student movement. Since Laurent experienced student movement himself in France, he was fascinated to know how they died in Pakistan … so much so that people don’t even know about the history of the leftist student groups that shook up governments and even brought them down on knees at occasions to fulfill demands. A whole chapter…

YOHSIN – Habib University’s Motto for Modern Education
Speaker Session / February 22, 2015

Habib University organized an institutional tour on Wednesday, 18th February 2015. Located near airport, the institution is placed at central point connecting Malir, Gulistan-E-Johar and Pehalwan Goth, making it accessible to large number of people since these areas are heavily populated. The tour got delayed since most of the media arrived late due to political situation in the city and once the people were here, we were joined by Habib University staff members Mr. Sibtain and Dean of Engineering Dr. Shoaib Zaidi. Sibtain started with the presentation regarding Pakistan’s standing in the global community in terms of human index and education. As expected, the picture wasn’t good but this time there was a different angle to view it from. We are often told that overall education is poor because we don’t have good education at school level. Sibtain and Dr. Shoaib argued that it’s not just the school but also universities that are not up to the par. To prove, we were shown rating of Human Development Index where Pakistan ranked 146 out of 186 countries and our spending on social sector was even lower than some of the poorest African countries. Dr. Shoaib gave a historical evidence as well where,…

Thomas Blom Hansen on “Modi and The Rise of Hindu Nationalism”
Speaker Session / February 17, 2015

Post by Habib University. Dr. Thomas B. Hansen spoke at Habib University’s public lectures series on Monday, 16th January 2015. The public lecture series is initiated by institution’s School of Science and Engineering as an interactive platform for academia and public relationship. It is meant to contribute to society in a meaningful way for development and evolution of constructive thinking. The topic of the lecture was Modi and the rise of Hindu Nationalism: A view from Bombay and was followed by an interview session with Dr. Aaron Mulvany. A bit about the speaker first: Thomas Blom Hansen is the Reliance-Dhirubhai Ambani Professor in South Asian Studies, Professor in Anthropology and the Director of Stanford’s Center for South Asia. He has broad interests spanning South Asia and Southern Africa, several cities and multiple theoretical and disciplinary interests from political theory and continental philosophy to psychoanalysis, comparative religion and contemporary urbanism. Author of The Saffron Wave. Democracy and Hindu Nationalism in Modern India (Princeton 1999) and Wages of Violence: Naming and Identity in Postcolonial Bombay (Princeton 2001). He is the co-editor (with Christophe Jaffrelot) of BJP and the Compulsions of Politics (OUP 1998), States of Imagination. Ethnographic Explorations of the postcolonial state (with F….

Panel Discussion on Karachi with Arif Hasan
Speaker Session / February 14, 2015

A panel discussion led by famed architecture of Karachi, Arif Hasan, took place at T2F (The Second Floor) on Friday 13th February, 2015. Panel was titled The Karachi “Situation”: Exploring Responses. It started just after 7 pm and the panel included, along with Arif himself, Sabeen Mehmud (Founder T2F), Karamat Ali (Executive Director PILER) and a youth activist from Lyari. Post by The Second Floor (T2F). The session began with the moderator telling the audience about the purpose of the meeting. It was a follow-up of a two-day conference held in December 2014 titled “Exploring Peace and Reconciliation: Towards a Karachi For All” under the banner of I AM KARACHI campaign. A document detailing the action plan, agenda, key points and proposed solutions of the conference was distributed among the participants as the moderator guided through some of the discussions held at the conference and solutions that were proposed. The panel discussion aimed at further responses from youth and general people to enhance the document and further develop a plan to improve situation of Karachi. Arif Hasan shared his experienced with the audience, telling everyone how Karachi changed from a well planned city to the current jungle of concrete it is…

John Keay on How India Was Mapped
Speaker Session / February 6, 2015

Post by The Second Floor (T2F). John Keay spoke during a session at T2F Karachi titled The Great Arc – The Dramatic Tale of How India Was Mapped on 5th of February. Starting at 7 PM and suffering from a few technical glitches, for the next hour John took us through the history of explorers who ventured through thick and thin to plot Indian territory, from the southern tip right up to the northern mountains. A bit about the speaker: Born in 1941 in Devon, England, John Keay was educated at Ampleforth College, York and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was a scholar in Modern History. His tutors included the historian A J P Taylor and the playwright Alan Bennet. He first visited India in 1965 and has been returning there about every two years ever since. After a brief spell as a political correspondent, he assisted in the revision of the last edition of John Murray’s Handbook to India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka (1975) and wrote Into India, his first book. A string of acclaimed works followed – and continues. The paperback of his The Honourable Company has been reprinted a dozen times and India: A History…