ISLAMABAD – A very enlightening and moving interactive session on the topic of “Women and Literature; Reclaiming the Silenced Voice” was arranged by Research and Publication Cell at National University of Modern Languages (NUML), Islamabad, today.
The interactive session was addressed by Shahid Siddiqui, a renowned academician, who has comprehensively spoken on the topic with reference to his latest book “Languages, Gender and Power” and the same book was the major source of inspiration behind the discussion in the session.
The interactive session was also attended by Associate Professor Dr Sheena Ayub Bhatti, Head of Research and Publication Cell, Dr Nighat Ahmed, Head of English Studies, Mr Abdul Majeed, English Programs Manager at US Embassy, faculty members, students of PhD/MPhil Linguistics and Literature.
Shahid Siddiqui, while speaking the session, said that his book presents the analysis of every day life to show the interrelationship of language, gender and power and their impact on one another.
Mr Siddiqui said that language has a strong link with its speakers and no language is strong or weak but it’s the group of speakers of a particular language that decides its strength. He said it was not because of the innate strength of the English Language but because of the powerful group of speakers who owned it that English attained a prestigious status.
Mr Siddiqui said that “in contemporary technologically advanced communication systems, the process of stereotyping has gained tremendous speed and impact. The media through its news, plays, commercials, discussion programmes, movies and songs reinforcing the stereotypes by legitimizing them and amplifying their impact. He said that impact is so overwhelming that even the marginalised groups internalize the notions constructed against them by the dominant group.
He said that the process of stereotyping begins even before birth and has economic, cultural and familial aspects. In South Asian literature, voice of women has consistently silenced as the pressure of main stream society was such that women had to write with male pseudonyms.
He said that gender biases, stereotype and labels are clearly reflected in our daily language, proverbs, ads, dramas, plays, movies and literature and even gender stereotypes are engraved into children’s mind through nursery rhymes and fairy tales.
Dr Saddiqui also answered the questions raised by the students and faculty members and read some excerpts from his books.
Speaking at the occasion, Dr Sheena Ayub Bhatti said that this interactive session is one of a series being conducted for enrolled M.Phil/PhD students of English at NUML. Dr Saddiqui’s session was enlightening and productive. Keeping in mind the research at NUML is of international standard and exposure to experts in field of language, linguistics and Literature helps in rasining the standard of research”, she added.
She said that “to my knowledge Dr Siddiqui is the only expert who has written on Urdu ;iterature produced by Pakistani female writers.
In the end Dr Shaheena Ayub Bhatti presented University shield to Mr Shahid Siddiqui.