“A Kaleidoscope of Pakistani Culture”
By Saad Bhatti

Ambassador Jehangir Karamat

Washington, DC: The Embassy of Pakistan and Rising Leaders jointly hosted the renowned Pakistani author F.S. Aijazuddin to Washington, D.C., for a special presentation titled “A Kaleidoscope of Pakistani Culture.” DCM Mohammad Sadiq served as the MC for the evening and introduced Ambassador Jehangir Karamat as well as provided background information on Aijazuddin. Ambassador Karamat appreciated that Aijazuddin could take out time of his busy schedule to visit the Embassy. Aijazuddin spoke before many distinguished and very interested American and Pakistani guests.
F.S. Aijazuddin is an accomplished author covering History, Culture, Art and Foreign Policy of Pakistan. He has puublished 11 books since 1986. In 1994, he became the Honorary British Consul at Lahore. Also, in 1997, he was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire). He is the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Lahore Museum, an International Councilor of the Asia Society (New York) and the Country Representative for Asia House, London.


F.S. Aijazuddin

Aijazuddin presented Pakistan through a lens: “a lens through which early visitors, warriors, administrators, artists and photographers visited our country, the lens of history through which the past became the present.” He showed about 80 slides, “each a rectangle of history, each an element of the ‘Kaleidoscope of Pakistan’ up to 1947.” According to Aijazuddin, Pakistan was a “cradle of civilization” and is located “in a very dangerous region, surrounded not only by enemies, but by friends.” For this reason, Pakistan contains “residue from Empires” that ruled in the past several hundred years.


A section of the audience



Aijazuddin explained how three major empires that came into power in Pakistan, the Moguls, the Sikhs, and the British, all have influenced Pakistan in lasting ways. He spoke with incredible witticism describing certain unique traits derived from each empire. The Moguls gave Pakistan the gates still being used today in Lahore; The Sikhs gave Pakistan the legacy of the long-lasting dispute over Kashmir; and the British gave Pakistan government buildings implanting Western democratic institutions as well as jails.


DCM Sadiq and Aijazuddin

Aijazuddin effectively captured the attention of the audience throughout his presentation and spurred much interest for questions at the end of his talk. One interesting question asked was whether or not all the buildings and monuments implemented during the three respective rules are still in use. Aijazuddin explained that 99% of all those buildings are still in use and that it is important to pay tribute to such monuments and gifts. Through the use of such buildings and monuments, Pakistan is really seen as a “residue from empires.” Ending on a positive note, Aijazuddin said, “It is important as a nation to have confidence and to move forward and progress as we are.” The guests were very impressed with F.S. Aijazuddin’s presentation and offered many congratulatory remarks.

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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