GHS hosts Ms Bapsi Sidhwa in conversation with Prof Ira Hasan Feb28


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GHS hosts Ms Bapsi Sidhwa in conversation with Prof Ira Hasan

On 27 February 2013, the Griswold History Society hosted the world renowned Pakistani author, Ms Bapsi Sidhwa in conversation with Professor Ira Hasan, Professor of English at FC College, and former Principal, Kinnaird College.

In the conversation Ms Sidhwa reminisced about her time in Lahore where people from different walks of life-Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Parsis and others-coexisted peacefully. When Professor Hasan asked if she found Lahore to be different since her last visit, Ms Sidhwa said that it had certainly changed but not too much, except that the Ravi river had become a ‘nala’ (a small stream)—to roars of laughter. Talking about her writing she explained that writing is an intensely personal experience and that is why she wrote about what she knew.

Ms Sidhwa advised budding writers to write about things they knew, about their own passions, surroundings, ideas etc. Ms Sidhwa also said that steadfastness was key to her success as she did not lose hope when initially no publisher accepted her work. She gave the example of Charlotte Bronte who had to go through scores of publishers before one accepted her novel, Jane Eyre-the rest, as Bapsi said, is history. Ms Sidhwa also lamented the rise of religious intolerance in Pakistan in the last few decades and blamed it for the exodus of so many non-Muslim from Lahore.

In a conversation which was as cosy as a dining table talk between two friends, but as intellectually stimulating as a college lecture, Ms Sidhwa spoke about her passion for writing, which especially got honed because she was a single child and writing was one way of sharing her life and experiences with the world. Ms Sidhwa also read a piece from her new work, a collection of short stories called ‘Their Language of Love.’

The Ewing Literary Society also participated in the event by arranging a dramatic reading of Ms Sidhwa’s novel, Ice Candy Man, by Ms Wania Khan.



With the Centenary celebrations of Kinnaird College, FC’s sister college, this week, this conversation between two old students of Kinnaird was extremely poignant as it not only celebrated one of Lahore’s most accomplished and celebrated daughters but also highlighted the role of Kinnaird and Forman Christian College in fostered the academic and intellectual environment of Lahore-past, present, and future.