Blog 2013

Author:Maryam Arshad

KhyberPakhtoonkhwa: Ancient and Modern Perspective

From the melodious performances that swayed the crowd to the standing ovation put forward for a speaker ,it was a night that inspired the limited yet joyous attendees who lingered on to every bit of inspiration put forward by the dignified performers and speakers.
TEDx finally made its way as the first university event into the heart of Peshawar, historically known for its Khyber Pass(where even Alexander set foot), its old bazars, kehwa(green tea), its tradition, trade and hospitality ;currently trying to maintain harmony despite the ever growing unstable conditions of the region Amidst all this, TEDx was launched in Iqra National University, Peshawar.
This region is famously known for its beautifully vivid and bright truck art. A centuries old tradition was exhibited through our stage setting. The stage was a colourful mix of truck and buggy art. A beautifully painted peacock was exhibited on top of the stage just like any other grandiosely coloured Pakistani truck. Two wheels were attached, one on each side of the stage to complete the final look of the truck. Stage lighting at the right angles exemplified the stage of a wonderful décor.
The event featured two live talks and three live performances all related to Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa’s ancient and modern perspective.
Dr Shah Jehan took the floor as the first speaker .An energetic, powerful and impressive speaker who pulled his ideas and thoughts via his talk on the educational heritage of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa. He unravelled the rich educational history of this region. How it held home to the provision of quality education which has been made recognisable by over a century old history of formation of Islamia College(built in 1913) ,followed by the formation of University of Peshawar (in 1950).Over the passage of time, the private sector not only came in the picture but set up a benchmark of providing education, equivalent to international standards.
This was followed by a live performance. Nadir Anees, a celebrated rabab player, strung the rabab sublimely and mesmerised the crowd through the harmonious rhythm that described the fables of this land. The attendees enjoyed the live performance of our traditional instrument which has been hovered over by the influx of jazz, pop and hard rock music in the industry.
Next, Dr Abdul Rauf : a professor, historian and indeed an intellectual, narrated the tale of a school in Utmanzai in 1920’s . The school that produced leaders staged the first pushto drama and contributed positively towards development of the area. A school that witnessed independence of the country and brought laurels in terms of recognition and polished potential. That school was set up at the same time as some other Indian schools .The school produced notable people like the famous Pakhtoon poet :Ghani Khan, a notable political party leader: Wali Khan and focused on quality education. He discussed how greatness in terms of the education standards was pulled off by sheer negligence of the concerned authorities. His conversation stirred towards what could be done and how far we could have come along. His talk marked its paramount when he questioned why this school was not raised to a higher level whereas the schools built in India around the same time have produced leaders. His talk and question left a distinct mark on the audience for which he received a standing ovation from the enlightened audience.
Kehwa(traditional tea) was served soon after Dr Raufs talk which followed a small talk accompanied by a performance that pumped the crowd with excitement and joy. ‘Tora Da Jalkai’ (beautiful dusky eyes), these three words were just sung and the crowd roared with excitement. Warmth had been ignited by the melodious voice of the celebrated musician Gulzar Alam .Every bit of the live performance was savoured.
The night was wrapped up by the mime performance of We Can theatre group titled: Badlun (the change maker).It was a description of events that had taken place in this region since the twentieth century. Performers clad in the British attire marked a stupendous start and a brilliant end with depiction of the positive side of the region.
26th of October let attendees bask in the glorious history and information not known of, of this region and apprise of the current picture .It opened doors of ideas which can form the pavilion of all great idea generators, visionaries, artists and others: the future of KhyberPakhtoonkhwa.