By Sher Alam Shinwari
PESHAWAR, April 27: The Peshawar Reader’s Club (PRC) arranged its second literary session for children here at Coffee Pot Literary Café, University Town, in which children read out their stories and poems crafted by them.
It was touching to listen to the children reading out about their life spent in the shadows of militancy in a creative style. The creative children kept the audience enthralled for over two hours during the session held the other day.
Speaking on the occasion, the founding member of the club, Nasser Yousaf, underlined the need for storytelling by mothers to arrest the fast disappearing habit and hobby of book reading. He said that the interest shown by children and the quality of their works was laudable. The basic objective of the PRC is to revive the tradition of storytelling and habit of reading which unfortunately has been fading away over the last years, especially youngsters have an aversion to read books, he regretted.
He said that reading was a wonderful experience brining a spiritual pleasure, wisdom and panorama of colourful images to avid readers, adding that teachers and parents should make their children use their gifted faculties and senses to add joy and fullness to their life. The habit of reading enhances creative power of the children and fires their imaginative flight, Mr Yousaf observed.
Ali Jan Afridi, a 6th grade student from Bara, while reading out his story said, “I heard a huge sound of blast which woke me up from my slumbering sleep in the middle of the night at my village. Fear-struck, my mom asked me to remain calm; I went to bed, and when I woke up next morning I saw that my school had been blown up by militants and my hopes to be a pilot in future dashed to the ground.”
Eshma Shinwari, 8, a grade-3 student from Landi Kotal, read out her story titled ‘Aleena and her garden.’ Her story was based on environmental protection. She wanted children to take care of the beautiful flowers spreading fragrance in every direction. “If I pick a flower, the garden will lose a unique fragrance and colour. A flower is hurt the same way we hurt a human being.”
Saqlain, 12, a young participant while commenting on the event said that he and his other colleagues learnt much from the gathering insisting that children should be given easy access to interesting books so that they could get inspiration from them for creative writing. “How can we form our ideas unless we read extensively? The story books specially charms us. I personally like picture stories,” he said.
Praveen Azam Khan, a member of the reader’s club, said that the unique event proved that KP children were very talented, creative and held a great promise as potential writers. Children produced a blend of wit, mystery, adventure and employed autobiographical genre to maximum effect which garnered accolades from the participants. She said that creative talent in the children could be exploited by providing them open forums to express and explore themselves.
Khalid Khan, a participant, told this scribe, “My children and me enjoyed this activity of the club. Such thought-inviting activities are rare in Peshawar which once had popularity for storytelling and literary events. We need to inculcate the spirit of inquisitiveness and curiosity among our youngsters and provide chances to them to read history, culture and music in addition to their routine school syllabus books.”
Mr Zulfiqar, a schoolteacher in Peshawar, said that reading sessions brought diversity to a typical classroom situation. Sharing ideas not only inspire youngsters but also fill them with wonder. A few good schools follow the golden tradition of bringing out annual literary magazines. Book fair is rarely held while library is reduced to a piece of decoration in our most schools. Reviving the habit of reading will make our youngsters do wonders, he concluded.
Shamamatul Amber Arbab, an avid bibliophile, said “Holding reading sessions is an effort to encourage young children to start expressing themselves through creative writings instead of violent and senseless video games or engaging into fights to vent the resultant aggression.” Some girl students from tribal areas also participated in the event and read out their creative works with confidence.–Dawn