Academic journal article Pakistan Historical Society. Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society

25th International Pakistan History Conference Silver Jubilee Session on 'Trends in South Asian History' 19-21 January, 2016, Karachi (Pakistan)

Academic journal article Pakistan Historical Society. Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society

25th International Pakistan History Conference Silver Jubilee Session on 'Trends in South Asian History' 19-21 January, 2016, Karachi (Pakistan)

Article excerpt

The 25th International Pakistan History Conference was jointly organized by the Pakistan Historical Society, Department of History, University of Karachi, and the Hamdard Foundation Pakistan.

The major aims of the conference were to bring to light the tremendous work in various fields of South Asian history and historiography and to provide a platform for a constructive interaction between historians.

* The Conference was held for three days, 'Day One' and 'Three' (Jan. 19 and 21, 2016) at the University of Karachi and 'Day Two' (Jan. 20) at the Hamdard University Karachi's main campus. On both the venues more than one sessions were conducted simultaneously in order to accommodate all the speakers.

* The Conference Executive Committee included Prof. Dr. Ansar Zahid Khan, Prof. Sharif al Mujahid, Prof. Dr. Tahera Aftab, Prof. Dr. Javed Hussain, Prof. Dr. Reza Kazmi Prof. Dr. Syed Jaffar Ahmed, Prof. Shama Habib, and Prof. Dr. Syed Muhammad Taha.

* About 120 Abstracts from Pakistan and abroad were received. The Abstract Approval Committee comprising Prof. Dr. Ansar Zahid Khan, Prof. Dr. Tahera Aftab, Prof. Dr. Reza Kazmi, Prof. Dr. Syed Jaffar Ahmed, Prof. Dr. Iqbal Chawla and Prof. Dr. Syed Wiqar Ali Shah, approved 75 abstracts.

* However, only 47 papers were presented in the Conference as the remaining speakers could not attend the Conference for various reasons including visa problems etc.

* Some of the learned scholars who graced the Conference included Prof. Dr. Richard Barnett (University of Virginia, USA), Prof. Dr. Yasmin Saikia (Arizona State University, USA), Prof. Michel Boivin (France), Prof. Dr. Abha Singh and Dr. Nishat Manzar (India), Prof. Dr. Tariq Rehman (Lahore), Prof. Dr. Iqbal Chawla (Lahore).

* The event was also attended by a large number of people from academia, diplomatic core, government services, civil society, media and business sector etc. We are extremely thankful to His Highness, the Consul General Republic of France, Mr. Francois DallOrso for gracing the occasion with his presence and interest.

Inaugural Session

The inaugural session of the Conference was held on January 19, 2016, in the Arts Auditorium, University of Karachi.

Mohtarma Sadia Rashid, President, Hamdard Foundation Pakistan and Pakistan Historical Society, presided over this session.

* Dr. Nasreen Afzal, the Conference Secretary formally welcomed the guests. The session was conducted by Dr. Hina Khan.

* Prof. Dr. Syed Muhammad Taha, the Chairman, Department of History, highlighted the glorious legacy of the Department illuminated by renowned scholars such as Prof. Dr. Mehmud Hussain, Prof. Dr. I.H. Qureshi and Prof. Emeritus Dr. Riaz ul Islam. Thanking the distinguished guests, he complimented the Chief Guest, Senator Raza Rabbani as a 'Symbol of Federation in Pakistan'. He also reiterated the significance of the Conference in reconstructing the narratives in the history of South Asia.

* The Keynote Address was delivered by Prof. Dr. Yasmin Saikia, the Nickachos Chair Peace Studies and Professor of History at the Arizona State University. Titled, 'Freedom Dream: Middle Actors and the imagination of Äzädi from Colonialism'. ?

* Prof. Saikia selected four 'middle actors' from South Asian history who visualized Äzädi (freedom) as a cherished goal, each in his own way. These figures included Fazal Ilahi, Iqbal Sheda'i, Maulvi Obaidullah Sindhi and Raja Mahendra Pratap among whom the first two were particularly focused. ?

* Prof. Saikia justified her selection, pointing out that these men unlike subalterns had 'visible and audible voices' in the archives; were not members of any political party but advocated "radical spiritual humanism rooted in the sub-continental culture in which state (governance), people and religion were considered interdependent"; "they popularized the discourse of Äzädi elevating it to a language and sentiment that the national parties as well as the public could relate to". …

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