Peeping Talents – Cover Story

Published in: Us Magazine, The News International
Friday, December 14, 2012


By Ali Suleman and Zunaira Afzal


Pakistan is a youthful country. According to the recently published “Pakistan: the Next Generation” report by British Council, 63 percent of the total population of Pakistan is below the age of 25. This means that in the next 20 years, the administration of the whole socio-political system of the country is going to be at the mercy of this 110 million populace. And where there is youth, there is innovation, there is passion, and there is dedication. With the growing trend of youth activism here in Pakistan, we get to see new initiatives being launched every day. Keeping the same thing in mind, today, we have compiled a list of youth-led initiatives in Pakistan that focus particularly on the promotion of literature in the youth. Read on and discover how our youth is serving literature…

Shashca 

Youth can change the future of Pakistan, both negatively and positively. It is the educated youth, who would be heading the administrative setup of Pakistan in the near future. But what we see today is that our youth is not socio-politically aware, the way it should be. They are not familiar with the political scenario of their country; they do not know the social issues faced by the majority of the people here.

Youth of Pakistan does not read newspapers, and a major reason for that is the difficulty and monotony of the language used in them. Understanding the same, a group of youngsters came out with “Shashca – Youth Ka Newspaper” to spread social, political and literary awareness in their peers. The best feature in this “Youth Ka Newspaper” is that it is world’s first newspaper in slang language, and the script used to write is Roman. This is specially used to target the youth, to give them socio-political awareness and to revive the reading trend in them.
With a core team of 11 people, the total number of people working directly for Shashca is over 80. Shashca has writers, editors, columnists, reporters, graphic designers, web developers and cartoonists too. Right now, Shashca is just an e-paper, uploaded every fortnight on http://www.shashca.com, having almost 1500 views per issue. But the team is not oblivious to the fact that digital and social media are not the only media they should be incorporating to revolutionise the thoughts of our youth; not everyone uses the internet. Therefore, Shashca is soon going to come in print as well, available on the stalls like any other newspaper. Till then, just keep on visiting http://www.shashca.com for latest news updates, and http://www.paper.shashca.com for the fortnightly paper.

Shashca’s Official website: www.shashca.com

The Voice Of Youth 

tVoY is an award winning network of 300 young talents from Pakistan, India, Nigeria, the Philippines  etc. It was initiated by a student of National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Pakistan, basically to cultivate relations with youth belonging to different strata of life. But behind this obvious reason, there lies a deeper visionary objective – that is to create a forum where the youth of Pakistan could mingle and enrich one another by their perceptions and views.

In a culturally, socially and linguistically diverse society like Pakistan, a huge ethnic divide is a curse. Unfortunately, diversity is not being taken as an advantage and the major shortcoming is of networking, socialising and intermingling of people belonging to different strata. Understanding the same issue, Momal Mushtaq founded tVoY so that the youth of different backgrounds can come together under one umbrella. It has utilised technology not only to establish itself but also to discard a popular belief that emerging markets are technology backwaters. It conveys the message of accepting diversity, because only when we accept each other for who we are, we can achieve the ultimate unity, peace, prosperity and progression. The project also aims to achieve self-sustainability by partnering with different youth-led societies, organisations and events as a social media partner. With representatives from over fifty institutes of the country and over seven thousand Facebook fans, tVoY has become one of the largest online youth communities of Pakistan.

tvoY Official Website:  http://thevoiceofyouth.com/

Element Prime

Element Prime is a monthly online magazine focusing on a broad genre of articles. It is providing an avenue for aspiring writers and avid readers to quench their thirst of creative thinking. It does not cater anything related to politics but encourages articles related to youth and their creativity. Constructive content is what they follow and have adhered to this rule ever since their debut issue came out in October 2011. It has earned great feedback due to its content and presentation. It has articles on world geography, science, sports, thought-provoking issues, economics, history and what not.

Element Prime is the brainchild of Muhammad Omar Iftikhar, a freelance journalist, who got immediate support by amazing writers from all over Pakistan. Natasha Hasan, a young student is the sub-editor of Element Prime. Their motto is, “Expressing our artistic flair through words which inspire, entertain, inform and give meaning to life.”

Element Prime Official Weblog:  http://elementprime.wordpress.com/

Revolution Flame

We live in a society that derives pleasure from violating human rights, forget caring to respect them. Half of our nation is uneducated and, educated are either socially sick or made sick by the society. So, Revolution Flame is basically a society that felt great need to bring a change in the thinking of the people. Revolutions bring drastic and far-reaching changes in the perceptions of society. Change is life and every generation needs a new revolution. Bringing that change is the motto of Revolution Flame, and they do it by conducting public surveys, releasing public messages and lectures and by arranging several competitions among the youth; they are involving the youth in positive activities in order to help them bring a change in their thinking. Since the launch of Revolution Flame  – that was four months ago – the overwhelming response from youth of Pakistan is commendable. Hundreds of young fellows participated in e-competitions namely ‘Ramadan is revolutionary’ and ‘Spread Love’. They have recently won merit award for Agents of Change category in Pakistan Blog Awards 2011. They discuss various social issues in their ‘Heart to Heart’ series that help our youth in better understanding the problems around us.  They have recently started posting daily photographic public messages with captions from many young writer and hope to publish a book by compiling this entire series. This series is getting awesome response from the users.

Revolution Flame Official Website:  http://revolutionflame.com/

A.V.I.R.A  

A.V.I.R.A stands for Awareness, Vision, Inspiration, Responsibility and Action. A.V.I.R.A was founded by Omer Irfan (student of Quaid e Azam College of Commerce, University of Peshawar and Syedda Anum Zainab (Virtual University, Quetta). A.V.I.R.A is a cause for change and focuses on different activities, social work, projects and e-events to expose the hidden talent of the youth of Pakistan. A.V.I.R.A is a very important life concept too. Being Pakistani and responsible human beings, we should understand our responsibilities and should take action for the prosperity of Pakistan. A.V.I.R.A’s mission is to make people aware of social problems, enlighten vision about future, inspire them intellectually, develop a sense of responsibility in them and compel them to take action in order to progress.

A.V.I.R.A publishes social awareness e-magazine in Pakistan that highlights different social issues in our society excavating the bases of society. There are about 2000+ online readers of their magazine.

A.V.I.R.A also raised a handsome amount through collection and then donated the whole sum of money to a needy girl’s family for her wedding.

A.V.I.R.A is now planning another project in which the causes of frustration in the youth of Pakistan will be highlighted. Some issues like terrorism and corruption are very prominent nowadays but we have to realise that there are smaller scale problems too that are inflicting our society on a larger level. These problems reside within the youth and causes emotional instability that hinders their performance in life.

The duo has been deeply influenced by the writings of the great philosopher of Muslim world and revolutionary poet, Allama Iqbal, who came out with the idea of a separate homeland for Muslims. His poetry made Muslims of subcontinent aware of their weaknesses. They are using his visionary idea after 68 years of independence to enlighten the youth in order to bring drastic changes in Pakistan.

A.V.I.R.A Official Weblog: http://www.joinavira.blogspot.com/

Identity Magazine

Identity Magazine is an effort of three young girls – Ayesha Siddiqui, Kiran Ashraf and Noor-ul-Ain Hanif. Basically, the idea of Identity Magazine originated when they were given a university assignment for their ‘Magazine Production’ course under the supervision of their teacher, Khalid Rehman. Their project inspired them so much that they planned to continue it as an online magazine.

The debut issue of Identity Magazine – December, last year – was wholly dedicated to Pakistani culture. The main reason of choosing Pakistani culture first is to inform everyone about Pakistan because it’s a fact that despite living in Pakistan, we don’t know about different ethnicities surviving in our country. Every region has its own specialty. Therefore, the issue included sports, food, short stories, spirituality corner, music and dance, interviews and much more related to Pakistani culture. However, its recent January issue was about the New Year and winter culture and in coming issues, they are planning to introduce many new interesting sections with games and other fun competitions. Moreover, they are also planning to cover underground talent and would present them to the world through their magazine.

Identity Magazines Official Weblog: http://identitymag30.wordpress.com/

Static    

The idea of ‘Static’ was derived from the notion that we, the people, are the root of all problems and we, the people, have the solution to all these problems. It’s in this context that Static was launched as a platform where people could rant about the social and societal problems and somehow endeavour to come up with viable solutions. It has become more of a youth-based platform, given the significant presence of Pakistani youth online, and it uses the platform to present its point of view – something which is often neglected or sidelined in the mainstream media. So in a way, Static is the alternate voice for the youth of Pakistan to express their opinion and engage them in meaningful discussion over relevant issues.

Anas Shafqat and Waleed Khalid primarily began Static as a venture where folks could gather to discuss issues that had been left either neglected, poorly addressed or not addressed at all. From defying taboos by talking about bold topics like blatant porn-watching and child sexual abuse to challenging stereotypes and highlighting the not-so-trivial issues, Static actually intends to break the monotony of the frivolous banter being published on countless other forums out there.

However, this is not the only front on which Static is working on. It has been  promoting reading in our literature-deprived society by supporting online magazines like Shashca and Circles to student magazines like VoL. They have also begun a ‘drive’ for inspiration to tap the dormant potential of our people by conducting surveys and analysing the issues most relevant to us. They encourage the people to come forward and present practical solutions for the issues that we face today – because at Static, they strongly believe in Gandhi’s quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Static Official Weblog: http://dastatic.wordpress.com/

It is heartening to see that the Pakistani youth is patriotic enough to introduce such initiatives to promote literature and awareness, and enrolling them in positive activities. So, all the pre-mature writers out there, what are you waiting for? Just log on to their sites and sharpen your vision and socio-political knowledge. This is just the beginning…

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