GUJRAT -  Renowned writers, scholars and media persons attending the 2nd Gujrat Literary Festival (GLF-2018) here at Hafiz Hayat Campus of the University of Gujrat (UoG) on Wednesday focused the importance of what they called 'positive cultural nationalism' to promote compassion and empathy in the digitalized world through literature.

UoG Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Ziaul Qayyum, addressing the opening ceremony of the GLF-2018, said, "Literature promotes positive social values of compassion, tolerance and empathy. The importance of literature and art with regard to introducing reforms in society cannot be called into question."

"We need not necessarily read foreign literature. We have a treasure-trove of our own literature which sheds ample light on various facets of human life. Our culture is truly reflected in the works of our literary greats like Iqbal, Manto, Faiz and others. A true literary fiction is not just fiction, it provides us with a deep insight into something which a textbook of history is incapable of," said Asghar Nadeem Sayed during earlier sessions on Pakistani culture, history and civilization in Urdu fiction.

He was joined by Aksi Mufti, Masood Ashar, and Nasir Abbas Nayyar. Masood Ashar said that the boundaries and parameters of literature, especially fiction, are determined by the ever-changing social norms which lead us towards new direction for creating new literature.

A session on Faiz Ahmad Faiz was conducted by Muniza Hashmi and Sheeba Aalam.

"Literary fiction is not just entertainment. It is more than that. It helps us develop the all-important human characteristic of empathy which is missing in this digitalized age," Haris Khaleeq said in a session with Rabaha Arshad. Elaborating, he said that a solution to some of our present-day problems lies in our promoting a culture of book-reading, especially literary fiction, which is one of the most important sources of developing compassion and understanding other human beings.

Arfan Khosat and Sarwar Khosat in another session with Asghar Nadeem Sayed shed ample light on the history of PTV drama. Renowned writer and anchorperson Anwar Maqsood bewitched the audience with his typical light humour on social, political and literary topics.

Earlier, Prof Dr Ziaul Qayyum and Gujrat Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Ali Randhawa welcomed the guests to the GLF-2018. They included: Anwar Maqsood, Aksi Mufti, Masood Ashar, Asghar Nadeem Syed, Muniza Hashmi, Dr Nasir Abbas Nayyer, Haris Khaleeq, Arfan Khosat, Sheeba Alam, and Toshiba Sarwar.