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Editorial: A step in the right direction

Libraries and cultural centres are reflective characteristics of such nations that are live to the value and importance of not only education and rapidly changing world but also that of their culture, tradition, literature, folklore and peculiar life style.

 The opening of Quaid-e-Azam Library and Noori Naseer Khan Cultural Complex Auditorium at the provincial capital indeed is a move in the right direction. The library and cultural centre are well designed and are equipped with all the modern facilities. The cultural auditorium has capacity of five hundred people, has its online website and a modern digital theatre which will enable the people of Balochistan to have a live glimpse of the cultural activities taking place in the theatre. Moreover, the Government was also generous enough to extend the endowment fund for the artists’ welfare from 5 million rupees to 50 million rupees. Similarly, the Quaid-e-Azam library is also well equipped with all the modern facilities and has a seating capacity of 500 students including the facilities of free wifi and internet facilities. Moreover, separate sections are also constructed for females and scholars which is a welcome move. Additionally, a dare care facility is also the part of the library making it all the more attractive for the public. To equip the young generation with the history of Pakistan a section on Pakistan Studies is also a distinct part of the Quaid-e-Azam library.

Strange as it is, nature’s wrath can sometimes prove to be a blessing in the disguise. The hitherto Balochistan Provincial Library and The Balochistan Cultural Centre, which were demolished, rebuilt and renamed as above, actually are no entirely new additions to the provincial capital’s infrastructure of education and cultural centres. However, the archaic buildings which existed heretofore at the same place were jolted by a moderate tremor some six years ago and cracks seamed the wall of both the buildings. After repeated protest of the students, readers and their unflinching struggle, the attention of the authorities was diverted and finally the goddesses of fortune showed her mercy upon the only public library’s fate in the provincial capital and funds were approved for its rebuilding and equipment. The process took 6 long years and a makeshift facility was provided to the students at an hall of Balochistan Culture and Tourism Department’s Building at Ispini road of the provincial capital with limited facilities. However, the students and general readers were not comfortable in the zone owing to the absence of silence and other required facilities at the temporary Hall. The process of building and completion of the building took almost 6 years and to the relief of readers and students. Thanks to everyone who supported the cause!

Book reading habits, scholarly discussions, exchange of views and thoughts in a peaceful environment and cultural activities are distinct features of progressive societies. These very characteristics beat down the aggressive trends, extremist views and violence and open up vistas of progressive thinking, educated behaviour, and civic conscience. A society like ours is in fact in the most immediate need of such facilities more than any. Ridden by sectarian strife, ethnic biases, rampant intolerance, civic illiteracy, and the list of social malaises perhaps runs inexhaustibly. The promotion of book reading, access to digital facilities and cultural activities are diluting acids for the ills that darken the dawn of this city.

Therefore, we suggest that the government should not be complacent with the inauguration of the said buildings and cashing the credit in charismatic speeches. It should rather think of providing such facilities to the provincial capital at every union council level at the very least. Moreover such facilities should not be limited to the provincial capital but all the district headquarters should have such facilities so that the change of social narrative takes places evolutionary rather than by force. The elected representatives of all the constituencies should also reflect upon this idea and spend their MPA funds on such schemes which have long lasting impacts on the society rather than wasting their funds on gutter schemes. We hope to see a difference in the offing! 

Published in The Balochistan Point on February 1, 2017

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