Young writer registers protest against skyscrapers’ curse on Karachi’s monuments


Palvashay Sethi reads out passage from ‘Kalam-e-Haibat’

Zubair Qureshi

‘Text of Terror’ or Kalam-e-Haibat is a protest against high-rise buildings in Karachi blemishing the beauty of the city, eclipsing its rich cultural heritage and defacing its monuments which are daily visited by hundreds and thousands of devotees. The city once known for its old Raj era buildings, churches, schools and mosques now lies hostage to bricks and cement structures kissing the sky.
Palvashay Sethi, the young emerging writer here on Saturday read out passages from her story ‘Text of Terror’ that is written in the backdrop of a high-rise structure being constructed by a real estate tycoon next to the shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi.
Literary and cultural organization Bazm-e-Wafa had organized the story reading session that was attended by a good number of writers, intellectuals and notable personalities of the town. While introducing the writer, her story and the literary organization Bazm-e-Wafa, celebrated story writer Mazharul Islam said Bazm-e-Wafa is named after Muhammad Younas Sethi Wafa who himself was a well-known literary person. In the days to come, we shall see more such gatherings of writers and poets under the banner of Bazm-e-Wafa, he said. About Palvashay’s story, Mazharul Islam said she had an inbuilt creative talent for writing story and story-telling too because of the fact that she belongs to a literary and intellectual family.
Palvashay who has done her Masters in Literature & Modernity from Edinburgh University is currently associated with Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi as Lecturer in English Literature. She has skillfully treated the subject of the unchecked real estate business in her story and different people’s response and its impact on their day-to-day living. According to Mr Mazharul Islam, the reader identifies himself with the writer when he reads how the centuries old monument of Abdullah Shah Ghazi who (as the legend goes) is considered the custodian of Karachi is threatened by a multi-storey tower nearby with new intersections, underpasses and flyovers.
Mazharul Islam said Palvashay has beautifully knit her story around the theme i.e. Don’t mess up with monuments of Karachi. This is her literary protest and she has registered it through her story that also has shades of mysticism. Mysticism he said is the binding force among the provinces, tribes and people of Pakistan.
Every year, hundreds and thousands of devotees visit Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s monument not only from Sindh but also from Punjab, KP and Balochistan. Same is the case with shrines of Multan which are visited by devotees from Sindh and rest of the country.
In her story, too, you will find streaks of mysticism and its conflict with modernism. Later, Palvashay Sethi read out a few passages from her story and won audience’s accolades.

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