The two-day colourful kaleidoscope of Lahooti Melo 2019 kicked off on Saturday at the Hyder Bux Jatoi pavilion ground in the University of Sindh, Jamshoro.
Organised by the University of Sindh in collaboration with Lahooti Organisation, the event was inaugurated by Sindh Minister for Education, Culture, Tourism and Archives Department Syed Sardar Ali Shah.
The inauguration was attended by Sindh University Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr Fateh Muhammad Burfat, Chief Executive Officer Lahooti Organisation Saif Samejo, Sindh MPA and noted literati Mehtab Akbar Rashdi.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Minister Shah said the theme of the festival ‘An ode to a Liberated Woman’ was poignant and fascinating.
“Woman is the most beautiful creation of Allah Almighty and Sindh has the unique distinction of producing Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai who is one of the greatest exponents of women liberation and empowerment,” he said.
Moreover, Shah said Sindh is also proud of its peaceful history. “Not a single weapon has been found during past and present excavation of various archaeological sites across the province, instead all that has been found contains music instruments and art edifices."
Dr Burfat said the university was proud to co-host Lahooti Gala, which is the academic home to 32,000 students. “Pakistan cannot make progress unless we liberate and educate women, mainstream them in all spheres of life,” he said.
The professor further said Sindh has an unusually enviable custom of honouring women.
MPA Rashdi maintained that all forms of violence and exploitation against women were in fact a brazen negation of customary cultural fabric and social spirit of Sindh that accorded maximum possible esteem and accolades to women.
Meanwhile, CEO of Lahooti Organization Samejo thanked Professor Burfat and his team for cooperation and collaboration and said the theme ''An Ode to a Liberated Woman'' represents layers and layers of steps of rising from individual consciousness to a collective one.
“Our inspiration is a story of a girl and a predator that started from our first festival.”
"The story no longer belongs to that predator but has become about the girl and her journey to healing," he added.
Novelist Muhammad Hanif, who was also in attendance, termed women as brave, talented and audacious and said no society can progress, lest it allowed its women to realise their fullest potential.
Former Executive Director of Lok Virsa Dr Fauzia Saeed remarked that female education and empowerment was the only viable option for Pakistan to prosper, while Dr Ghazala defined art as a powerful means of social transformation.
The first day of Lahooti Melo featured various sessions on diverse sub-themes of the event.
The panelists for the day included Syed Sardar Ali Shah, Mehtab Akbar Rashdi, Professor Dr Arfana Mallah, Amar Sindhu, Jami Chandio, Rubina Abro, Aisha Guzdar, Dr Fauzia Saeed, Muhammad Hanif, Nazish Brohi, Jami Mehmood, Rahma Mian, Amina Syed, Hamna Zubair, Ghazala Irfan and others.
A grand concert late evening with sketches and renowned musical bands, vocalists and cultural performers brought the day-long discussions and festivities to an end.