The Orangi Pilot Project and Legacy of Architect Perween Rehman @ MIT

Arif Hasan: Architect with ethics

Arif Hasan and Perween Rehman: Architects with ethics

Parveen Rehman, photo by Steve Inskeep, NPR

Perween Rehman, photo by Steve Inskeep, NPR

 An abbreviated version of my article on the symposium held at MIT to commemorate Perween Rehman and her legacy was published in The News on Sunday last weekend, titled Commitment personified. Below, the full text with additional links and photos:  

Speakers at a symposium in the Boston area last week, on “The Orangi Pilot Project and Legacy of Architect Perween Rehmanpaid tribute to the late architect and OPP director, as “a woman, architect and social activist”. They also discussed parallels between the issues faced by the urban poor in and elsewhere. Hosted by the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the symposium featured prominent academics from India, Pakistan and the United States. The event, spearheaded by graduate students Fizzah Sajjad and Hala B. Malik from Lahore, had been in the planning soon after the murder of Perween Rehman in Karachi on March 13, 2013. Continue reading

“Allow Woeser the freedom to express and to travel”

“Allow Woeser the freedom to express and to travel”: Prominent Asian intellectuals appeal for Tsering Woeser 

Chinese authorities have not only prevented the Tibetan writer and historian Tsering Woeser from receiving the prestigious Prince Claus Award for 2011 in Beijing (being awarded by the Dutch Ambassador to China) but her movements within Beijing have been restricted, says a statement issued from Kathmandu by Prince Claus laureates Arif Hasan (Karachi, Pakistan), Ganesh Devy (Vadodara, India), Jyotindra Jain (New Delhi, India), Kanak Mani Dixit (Kathmandu, Nepal) and Mehrdad Oskouei (Tehran, Iran). Continue reading

Melting-pot constituencies: ‘Karachiwala: A subcontinent within a city’

Karachiwala: A subcontinent within a city
By Rumana Husain
With essays by Arif Hasan, Dr Hamida Khuhro, Luthfullah Khan, S. Akbar Zaidi and Zubeida Mustafa
Designed by Asma Husain
Pages 330; hardcover fully illustrated with maps, photos, foldout pages
Price: PKR 2900 (USD 35)
Published by Jaal, Karachi , 2010

Excerpt from my review in Himal Southasian:

This is not just a book about how the city grew uncontrollably after 1947, with the influx of a million or so refugees seeking economic opportunity as much as refuge. Rather, this is very much the human story of a city that is a microcosm of Pakistan, where locals were long ago outnumbered by migrants or their descendents – not just from across the border, but from all over the country. As the author delves into the homes and lives of some 80 of these families, it is apparent that they have retained much of their distinct cultures – although, with the younger generations growing up in this ‘melting pot’, borders and boundaries have started to blur. Interestingly, some among the youths have embraced features of their religious identity that their parents had shrugged off. There is, for instance, the young Sikh who proudly sports a turban and beard that his father had cast aside; or the young Bohra woman who, after getting married, prevailed upon her husband and his parents to adopt a more religiously conservative lifestyle, even getting her mother-in-law to shed the sari in favour of the rida, the Bohri burqa…

This is Rumana Husain’s Karachi, and the Karachi of countless others. Through its diverse population, Karachiwala humanises and makes accessible this vibrant, cosmopolitan megalopolis – an on-the-ground retort to what most Western news reports reduce merely to a ‘port city in the southern province of Sindh’ in ‘nuclear-armed, Muslim-majority Pakistan’. In this, Karachiwala is more than just another well-designed coffee-table book: although ostensibly apolitical, it is a strong political assertion of multiple identities. Above all, it is a labour of love for all that the city and its denizens represent.  ………..READ MORE

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