A peace march in Lahore FRIENDS OF SOUTH ASIA (FOSA)
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Friends of South Asia's
Second Annual Literary Evening

South Asian Writings on
War and Terrorism
Saturday April 16, 2005, 5pm
Room 104, Gates Computer Science Bldg.,
Stanford University

(see html flyer)

Come, muse over local writers and poets exploring themes that reflect the life and times we are living through.  (featured writers)

The event is free and open to all.

FOSA's second annual literary evening will feature readings of original works in a variety of genres and formats - fiction, essays, memoirs, plays and poetry -  in different South Asian languages as well as English.

This event is an attempt to grapple with the south-asian community's multi-layered responses to the experiences of war and terrorism. The evening will feature works that attempt to unpack South Asian responses to war and terrorism against the background of a shared history of colonialism, the struggle for Independence, the insurgencies and the internal strife; as well as the ongoing regimes of security unleashed by the State, here in the US as well as in South Asia.

Through these works, we will meditate on how the various labels that have been thrust upon South Asians  - informers, mutineers, terrorists, insurgents, resident aliens, illegal immigrants, ad infinitum - shape our responses to contemporary discussions about war and terrorism. Join us as we seek to understand the role that such labels play when used by the
state, the media, and dominant opinions to selectively frame whole communities as threats to national security, to a nation, or to any other ethnic or religious community.

View the "call for submissions" mailer

The readings/presentations at the literary evening will be in the following sequence: (subject to change)


Wajahat Ali
Wajahat Ali is a native Californian of Pakistani ancestry. While he considers "Domestic Crusaders"  to be his first play (readings of scenes from this play will be featured at the evening), he has been writing and producing plays and films since he was a child, enlisting his friends to be actors and crew. He began writing "The Domestic Crusaders" when he was a student in a short story writing class taught by Ishmael Reed at the University of California, Berkeley, and with his encouragement, continued working on it over the following two years. More info on Domestic Crusaders can be found at http://www.domesticcrusaders.com/

Abira Ashfaq
Abira Ashfaq practiced as an immigration detention attorney between 1999 and 2003 as a Soros Justice fellow and then as detention attorney at Boston College Law School for the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC).  She is interested in social, economic and racial justice issues worldwide, and has worked with various South Asian and other community groups in the U.S. on such issues.  She is currently working on a research project on women in jails in Pakistan.

Sabahat Ashraf
(in the words of Cemendtaur)
I don't know of any other individual who on a daily basis reaches out to as many people as Sabahat does via email. This writer-activist friend of mine grew up in Nigeria and started his writing career in Pakistan--in Karachi, besides being the editor of The Teenager magazine he wrote a column for the Biweekly Mag. He was also actively involved with WAR (Women Against Rape). Currently Sabahat writes for Spider, Pakistan's Internet magazine, and blogs extensively as iFaqeer, his nom de plume. His awareness and involvement in human rights and political issues in Pakistan, South Asia, and the US can be read at his blog, http://ifaqeer.blogspot.com. He also blogs at http://WadiWallah.blogspot.com, on "life, technology, and getting by in Silicon Valley". 

Sudhi Bangalore
Sudhi Bangalore is a chip designer by profession. Just as his name advertises, he is a native Bangalorean but moved to the SF Bay area in 1995, after having acquired a graduate degree in Electrical Engineering from MSU. Sudhi Bangalore has been active on a variety of creative fronts, including hosting radio shows and acting in local theatrical productions, and is also a member of various cultural and literary organizations of the Kannada-speaking community in the bay area such as Kannada Koota, KATTE (a Kannada Amateur Theater group) and Sahitya Goshti. Some of Sudhi’s poems have been published in the KKNC magazine and a comedy authored by him is to be staged shortly. Sudhi Bangalore can be reached at sudhi [at] aramane.com.

Ali Hasan Cemendtaur (in the words of Sabahat Ashraf)
Writing in both Urdu and English, Cemendtaur has written fiction, travelogues and social commentary. Urdu works include "Rasta jo manzil hai" (The Journey that is the Destination), 1997; "Khayaalbari" (A Shower of Thought), 1998, as well as the travelogues "Khushk-o-thar Mulk-o-Log" (Barren and Fertile; People and Places), 1998; Aag Hawa Mattee Paanee (Fire, Air, Earth, Water), 2001; and Rio 47 Din Late (Rio, 47 Days Late), 2001. His English travelogue is titled Thoughts and Travels, 1998. Unpublished works include the English novel "Elmustee--A Growing Island of Hope"; "Phir Mexico" (Again Mexico), an Urdu travelogue; "Dhanaksanay" (Rainbow of Tales), a collection of Urdu short stories; "Beauty, Power, Knowledge, Pride" (an English expose in the form of a novel); and "Phusur phusur" (Whisper, whisper), a book of Urdu humor.

Cemendtaur has also stepped into the realm of multimedia, with four audio CDs so far; "Mulaqaat", "Atom Bomb", "Bangalee kee Dokan", and "Khushbuon kay Rastay"--the last one with Bhashwati Sengupta. His CDs make a conscious effort to span the Urdu-Hindi linguistic mix.

Cemendtaur's seven published works are available for purchase online. He has written for the Daily Jang, the Daily Dawn, Wildlife & Environment (quarterly), "Jareeda" (the World Conservation Union's quarterly in Pakistan), the Pakistan & Gulf Economist and South Asia Politics, New Delhi. His writings can also be found online at Chowk, the Yellow Times, Newszoom, AsianOutlook, Dialognow, and ContactPakistan. He writes regularly for the Pakistan Link.

Sarah Husain
Sarah Husain is a Pakistani-American activist/ poet/ mother who was born in New York City but grew up in Hong Kong, Sudan and Pakistan.  She has been writing since the age of 16 and organizing grassroots anti-violence community projects, linking communities of colour around issues of police brutality, anti immigrant and detention, to anti-domestic violence work.   In 1997 she co-founded South Asians Against Police Brutality and Racism, a South Asian American grassroots community organization in New York City.  Her written and performance poetry deals with identity, memory, nation, violence, bioterrorism and the female body.  She has been published in Breaking the Silence: South Asian Americans and Domestic Violence and in several journals and websites, such as SAMAR, Shobak.org and Saudi Armaco.   Currently she lives in Tallahassee, Florida with her two-year-old daughter and is editing an anthology on contemporary “Muslim” women’s writings on War.

Maya Khosla
Maya Khosla migrated here from India 20 years ago. Her books include "Keel Bone", "Web of Water: Life in Redwood Creek" and "Heart of the Tearing". Her booklet, "Wild Treasures of Golden Gate’s Parks: Field Notes " is in press. She is the recipient of the 2003 Dorothy Brunsman Award, the 2001 Ludwig Vogelstein Award and the 1998 Americas Review Poetry Award. Maya Khosla spent 1998 at the Headlands Center for the Arts, learning that performance of written material creates an immediate and unpredictable space where words can leap out to re-create the messy worlds of nature and of humans.

Irfan Malik

Irfan Malik is a poet, fiction writer, and translator from Lahore, Pakistan. He has translated Punjabi, Urdu and Hindi literature to Swedish and English and vice versa. His published works of poetry include "Vich Jagrate Sutti Taangh" (In the Sleeplessness Sleeps Longing), "Akath" (Untold) and "Noon Ghuna" (Silent "N"), and his translations include "Ghoonghe" (Fossils - Urdu translation of modern Swedish short stories), and "Vaddha Hoia Ghaira" (Expanding Circles - Punjabi translation of the works of Swedish poet Gosta Friberg).

Shikha Malaviya
Shikha Malaviya grew up in England, USA & India. Her poems have been published in Waterstone, Switched on Gutenberg, Web Del Sol and other journals. She is also publisher and editor-in-chief of Monsoon Magazine (http://www.monsoonmag.com) - an online journal of South Asian Literature and Culture. She currently makes her home between the South Bay and India.

Saqib Mausoof
Saqib was born in Karachi, Pakistan and is currently a resident of San Francisco. He considers himself a late bloomer, in the grand tradition of George Burns and Colonel Qadaffi, and spent most of his early years studying the birds & the bees and avoiding engineering classes. He has only just started endeavoring into arts. He considers Salim Nasir, Rowan Atkinson and the cast of Monty Python to be his acting role models. In 2004 he played a 77 year old grandfather in Wajahat Ali's Domestic Crusaders directed by Carla Blank, a tormented rebel in Shahid Nadeem's Bulha directed by Vidhu Singh and an Indian Rebel in "Begum Sumroo" also directed by Vidhu Singh. In his spare time, Saqib likes to write short stories and travelogues.

Mahmud Rahman
As a teenager, Mahmud Rahman joined the movement that led to the independence of Bangladesh.  He witnessed the 1971 war up close, eventually joining the refugee exodus to India. Writing since he was twelve, Mahmud turned to fiction ten years ago. Last spring, he completed an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College. In his writing, Mahmud reflects on the times he has lived through: coming of age during insurrection and war; a brown-skinned college student in Boston during the racial violence of the 70s; and life in working-class Detroit during the collapse of the auto industry in the 80s.

Moazzam Sheikh
Born in Lahore, Moazzam Sheikh is a writer who currently makes his home in San Francisco. He is the editor of "A Letter from India: Contemporary Short Stories from Pakistan" [Penguin Books India] , which was published in January 2004.  He is one of the founding members of Another Subcontinent, an online journal and forum on south asian society and culture.

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