Saturday, August 29, 2009

Workshop in Nawabshah

I conducted a five-hour workshop on Javidnama on behalf of Iqbal Academy Pakistan at Teachers’ Resource Centre, Shaheed Benazirabad (Nawabshah) on Thursday, August 20, 2009. It was attended by teachers from various schools in the nearby region. Details follow for those who may be interested:
  1. General questions elicited at the beginning of the sessions turned out to be mostly about whether Iqbal was a poet or philosopher, and whether the intuition of a poet could be trusted to guide in matters such as the life of a nation, its future and its identity. I refrained from answering these questions directly: usually by the end of these workshops, participants arrive at answers on their own, and the same happened here.
  2. Javidnama was introduced: blurb, introductory prayer and the two preludes which define the framing action of the epic.
  3. Participants were divided into seven groups and each group was asked to study a chapter of Javidnama with the purpose of presenting a summary before the whole class later. They were given 20-30 minutes for the purpose.
  4. Each group was given approximately 5 minutes for presenting the summaries (in the order of chapters). After each presentation, I added any important point of the story if had been left out (which wasn’t often).
  5. I then invited the participants to see that there was a natural progression through the seven chapters of the story, as if each chapter developed from the outcome of the previous one. Participants were also invited to explore parallels between these and the seven verses of Surah Fatiha.
  6. The participants were then invited to explore parallels between Javidnama and the “Seven heroines” of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai. The outcome was mind-boggling, to say the least.


  1. Today’s comment must start from the vivid photograph of KAS and must also end with that. This MAN OF LETTERS is for us the symbol of hope, source of inspiration and the guiding light. Here in this photograph where the modernity of KAS meets his traditions, this is KAS for us.

  2. I love to hear about this work in these various we get to hear about the "mind-boggling" outcome? I agree with Akhtar Sahib that the vivid photograph somehow portrays striking and significant meeting of scholarship and traditions. There is joy and vision in the faces and the meeting of hands - an inspiration for me as well on the other side of the world!