KARACHI: The tradition of storytelling acts as a catalyst for social change in the society and provides the required aesthetics for a progressive and inclusive society standing against intolerance and violent extremism.
The remarks were expressed by panelists, including veteran actor Jahanara Hai, theatre actors Fawad Khan, Meesam Naqvi and fashion icon Yousuf Bashir Qureshi in an interactive dialogue session on ‘Storytelling for Social Change: To create harmony and sustainable cultural diversity amid ethnic conflicts’ peace transformation, at the Media Baithak.
Jahanara Hai kicked off the session with her remarks that story started the very day when human beings started communicating with each other, adding that stories can not only inform people on civilizations, and collective moralities but also is a factor taken into consideration for raising awareness. She expressed her regret that the modern families are not taking forward the tradition of storytelling.
The actor said that the time has come for the writers to be innovative with their stories by maintaining originality while carrying the essence of folktales. “Until and unless a conscious effort is not undertaken we can’t revive storytelling on a grand scale,” he said. “It’s an art appreciated by the world.’
Theatre actor and director Fawad Khan maintained that the storytelling will always remain in the society until people are connected with Urdu. “Culture dies when a language is abandoned by people. But we have to always understand that stories are not limited to information. The teachers of today need to understand the storytelling techniques to better communicate stories to our younger generation,” he added.
Fashion Icon Yousuf Bashir Qureshi said that localised folk tales are the collective identity hence the tradition of storytelling must never be left abandoned. He said that the old stories are linked with the essence of our society. He reiterated that with changing times, stories should also accommodate technology and innovation for better communication.
The Media Baithak serves as a community space for cultural engagement of media and civil society representatives. It gives platform to distinguished voices from the fields of journalism, politics, academia and other fields to discuss contemporary issues of the society.
The organization has previously conducted sessions on youth the role of poetry in combating violent extremism, women empowerment, the role of qawwali in promoting positive values, journalists’ training on social media and the role of media in spreading peace and harmony in the society.