Archive for December, 2015

The Art of Kathak: A three-day workshop with Farah Yasmeen Shaikh

Monday, December 28th, 2015

Mon 4th, Tue 5th & Wed 6th Januray 2016 | 5:30 -7:30PM

A rising name in the world of dance, known for her powerful and evocative storytelling, technical precision, delicacy and grace, Farah Yasmeen Shaikh is breaking new ground, bringing a clairvoyant voice to the contemporary stage, whilst simultaneously maintaining the deep roots and traditional aspects of Kathak. 

Trained for two decades under Kathak icon, the late Pandit Chitresh Das, Farah was a lead dancer in the Chitresh Das Dance Company. She is now an internationally touring soloist, performing to sold out shows of her original choreographic works, most notably, her 2015 premiere of The Twentieth Wife at Z Space in San Francisco – telling the tale of Empress Noor Jahan, through a full-length performance of dance, live music, multimedia and live narration based on the author Indu Sundaresan. 

Currently touring in the US, The Twentieth Wife will tour internationally at the end of 2016. Farah is also developing her newest production based on the 1947 India-Pakistan Partition which is set to premiere in 2017. 

Three-day workshop at T2F:

Mon, 4th Jan 2016 – The Fundamentals 
Focusing on the four elements of Kathak – taiyaari, layakari, khubsurti aur nazakat, participants will be introduced to the fundamentals of Kathak and it’s relationship with musical accompaniment (not sure if we will have more than tabla hence this general statement). Learning the basic footwork, concepts of taal, tihai and a composition to understand how the dance and music come together. Participants will also have the unique opportunity to learn and experience Kathak Yoga – a technique developed by Farah’s GuruJi, Pandit Chitresh Das

Tue, 5th Jan 2016 – The Art of Storytelling
Kathak comes from the word kathak meaning to tell stories and the kathaka is the storyteller. Utilizing the Nava Rasa (nine sentiments as structured for classical dance of India) through the kathak style, participants will learn the hastaks (hand gestures), abhinaya (mime and expression) and nritya (combination of movement and expression) through excerpts of stories, poetry and song. Participants will also experience the role of music and percussion in creating moods to enhance the dancer’s movements. 

Thurs, 6th Jan 2016 – Innovation within Tradition
Explore how classical forms can continue to evolve and yet still maintain the integrity of its classical roots. Experience some of the innovations in kathak and Indian classical music, and specifically, have an introduction to the highly innovative technique of Kathak Yoga – an innovation of Farah’s GuruJi, Pandit Chitresh Das – a meditation in motion, pushing the physical and mental boundaries of the dancer. 

Farah will be accompanied by Yousuf Kerai and Ustad Khurshid Hussain on tabla. 


When: Mon 4th, Tue 5th & Wed 6th Januray 2016
5:30 – 7:30PM
Fees: Rs.3000 (for 3 sessions)
To sign up: 
T2F reception desk (in person)
Online Form: 

Note: No prior experience in dance or Kathak is required for these classes.

Q2P: Documentary Screening and Conversation with Paromita Vohra

Monday, December 28th, 2015

Sunday, 3rd January 2016 | 7PM

When you look at the toilet, you can see the city. Q2P peers through the dream of Mumbai as a global city and finds…public toilets… not enough of them.

As this film observes who has to queue to pee, we begin to understand how suppositions about gender, caste and class determine the shape of the city. Entering and exiting through the portal of the toilet we realize how the boundaries of public and private space keep shifting.

We meet whimsical people with novel ideas of social change, which thrive with mixed results. We learn of small acts of survival that people in the city’s lower depths cobble together. In the Museum of Toilets, at an all-night concert, in a New Delhi “international toilet”, in a Bombay slum, we hear the silence that surrounds toilets and sense how similar it is to the silence that surrounds inequality.

The toilet becomes a riddle with many answers and some of those answers are questions – about gender, about class, about caste and most of all about space, urban development and the twisted myth of the global metropolis.

Running time: 53 min | English & Hindi | India | 2006

Part of The City in South Asia workshop, sponsored by AIPS

The documentary will be followed by a Q/A session with the director, Paromita Vohra. 

About the Director:
Paromita Vohra is a filmmaker, writer and curator whose work has focuses on urban life, popular culture, gender, politics and art.


When: Sunday, 3rd January 2016
Where: The Second Floor (T2F)
Time: 7:00PM
Entry: Free! (Please support us by donating to

Book Launch: Surkh Salam by Kamran Asdar Ali

Monday, December 28th, 2015

Friday, 1st January 2016 | 7PM

Pakistan today stands at a critical juncture in its short history of existence. While much has been written about Pakistan, little is known about Communism or left-leaning politics in the country, post-partition, which played a key role in shaping Pakistani politics today. 

Kamran Asdar Ali here presents the first extensive look at Pakistan’s communist and working class movement. The author critically engages with the history of Pakistan’s early years while paying special attention to the rise and fall of the Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP), from Partition in 1947 to the aftermath of Bangladeshi independence in 1971. 

Since its formation in 1947 as a homeland for South Asian Muslims, Pakistan has been a configuration of shifting alliances and competing political and social ideologies. Pakistan has experienced three military takeovers and is plagued with geopolitical conflict – from Kashmir to Baluchistan, Waziristan – and while these aspects of Pakistan make headlines, in order to understand the complexities of these events, it is vital to understand the state’s relationship throughout history with its divergent political and ethnic voices.

One dominant feature of the state, along with its emphasis on the Islamic nature of its polity, has been the non-resolution of its ethnic problem – while the history of Pakistan is often viewed through the lense of unified Muslim nationalism, the author here also explores the history of Pakistan’s often tense relationship with its various ethnic groups – Baluch, Pathan, Sindhis, Punjabis and Bengalis.

Shedding light on a vital and little-researched aspect of Pakistani history, this book shows that military coups, Islamic radicalization and terrorist activities do not constitute the sum total of Pakistan’s history; that it, too, has had a history that included the activities of communist intellectuals and activists.

About the Authour:
Kamran Asdar Ali is an associate professor of anthropology and director of the South Asia Institute at University of Texas, Austin. 

Asif Aslam Farrukhi is a Pakistani writer, literary critic and editor. He has translated books from English into Urdu. He has edited and compiled many anthologies of Pakistani writers. He also writes for Dawn and other newspapers, and periodicals on literature.

Karamat Ali 
Imran Aslam 
Hoori Noorani
Prof Jaffer Ahmed


When: Friday, 1st January 2016
Where: The Second Floor (T2F)
Time: 7:00PM
Entry: Free! (Please support us by donating to

Year end Qavvaali at T2F by Subhan Nizami and Brothers

Monday, December 28th, 2015

Sunday, 27th December 2015 | 7PM

Join us at T2F for a traditional qavvaali mehfil featuring Subhan Ahmed Nizami & Brothers. T2F ends the year on this Winter Qavvali. Sending lots of wishes and happiness for the New Year.

Subhan Ahmed Nizami is a descendant of the prestigious “Qavvaal Bachon Ka Gharana” of Delhi. Some years after his family migrated to Pakistan, the Manzoor Niazi qavvaali group was formed, featuring cousins Subhan’s grandfather, Ustad Iftikhar Ahmed Nizami, and Ustad Bahauddin Khan. Munshi Raziuddin came to Pakistan, later, and also joined the group.

While Ustad Bahauddin left the group much earlier to form his own team, the families grew and reached almost 50 members. Each Ustad formed his own qavvaali troupe, adding to the wealth of the gharana’s heritage. Ustad Iftikhar Ahmed Nizami, the eldest cousin and the great-great grandson of Ustad Tanrus Khan, was extremely versatile and was blessed with a beautiful voice. His Radio Pakistan concerts were highly sought after performances that people would go out of their way to attend. His son, Ustad Afaq Ahmed Nizami was the family librarian, a specialist of Farsi kalaam, and a practitioner of classical music.

After Afaq Sahab’s passing in 1999, Subhan Ahmed Nizami, barely 18, formed his own qavvaali group to continue the legacy of his forefathers. In addition to performing in Pakistan, Subhan and his brothers have given several extremely well received concerts in France. The qavvaal troupe has taught the art of qavvaali to the French students of ethnomusicologist, Martina Catella, and performed to sold-out audiences at a festival organized by Radio France in 2014.


When: Sunday, 27th December 2015
Where: The Second Floor (T2F)
Time: 7:00PM
Entry: Rs.300 (Please support us by donating to

Peripheries: Poetry Reading by Sophia Pandeya

Monday, December 21st, 2015

Saturday, 26th December 2015 | 7PM

“I conceive of my poetry as an aerial root, carrying with it the depth and historicity that rootedness brings while being antenna-like in its awareness of the now, the ebb and flow of our inner and outer ecologies. Working with all of these elements to shape a distinct voice is my core alchemical process. I work from disparate sources constantly refining, choosing, juxtaposing and bending the raw metal of language to yield a nugget of surprise from the familiar.”Sophia Pandeya

Experience a liminal world of poetry that straddles east & west, sensual & spiritual, past & present. Poetry informed by strong oral traditions & mythos as well as the cadences of contemporary culture. 

Sophia Pandeya reads from Peripheries, her critically acclaimed collection of poetry, described thus by the author of Tunnel Vision & Survival Tips For Lunatics, Karachi’s own Shandana Minhas: ‘Sophia Pandeya’s poetry is a raft of filigree language, keeping both poet and reader afloat. Transplanted words sparkle in their new settings. Haunting, haunted work.” 

Sophia Pandeya is a Asian-American poet, writer and artist who was born in Karachi in 1964. Sophia writes in both English and Urdu, and has been translated into Bengali as well. 

She believes in a poetry that transcends linguistic, cultural, temporal, geographical and metaphysical borders. Her writing has been anthologized worldwide, in both print and online journals including Poetry International Rotterdam, The Adirondack Review, The Daily O, Aaj, BlazeVOX, Cactus Heart, Askew Poetry, Bank Heavy Press, Spilled Ink, Lantern Journal, Convergence, Antiphon Poetry UK, The Sunflower Collective, AntiSerious & many other publications. 

Peripheries, is her critically acclaimed debut collection of poetry, published in September 2015 by Cyberhex Press.

Links to her published works and blog can be found on her site:


When: Saturday, 26th December 2015
Where: The Second Floor (T2F)
Time: 7:00PM
Entry: Free! (Please support us by donating to

This used to be my playground: An exhibition by Jaffar Hasan

Monday, December 14th, 2015

Thursday, 17th December 2015 | 7PM

A nostalgic reminder of a childhood spent in the 80s in Karachi is Funland. Bustling with tourists and residents of the city, it offered entertainment to the myriad crowds who visited it every day. The thrill of the stomach churning rides bouncing off with dazzling neon streaks of light was worth surrendering to, even for a few precious moments.

The series, ‘This used to be my playground’ is a collective memory of Karachi that Jaffer revisits and represents through his photographic narrative.

In recent years, the upsurge in construction projects, has reduced Funland to a forgotten and dystopian amusement park, although it remains fully functional to date. Jaffer’s photographs emanate the isolation as well as the strange mixture of the beautiful, and the uncanny that surrounds its vanishing presence.

Jaffer Hasan is best known for his work in the fashion world. His photographs have been featured in publications such as Dawn, The News, Visage, Libas, Daily Times, OK! and Hello Magazine.

Jaffer did his early schooling in Karachi and Paris and divided his time between Montreal and Seattle to complete his degree course in Digital Cinema and Film.

Currently, he is based in Karachi and has been documenting parts of the city that are reminiscent of its glorious past with the keen eyes of an urban explorer.


When: Thursday, 17th December 2015
Where: The Second Floor (T2F)
Time: 7:00PM
Entry: Free! (Please support us by donating to

About The Founder

Monday, December 7th, 2015

sabeen2Sabeen started out as a graphic designer and multimedia developer in her teens. At age 16, while still in college she provided design and layout services for The Asian Woman. She also became a member of the Human Rights Commission (Lahore), attended meetings regularly and marched on the streets against injustices. She later worked on Pakistan’s first interactive CD-Rom, on Pakistan’s revolutionary, influential Urdu poet, Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

In 2000, she co-founded a new media company called b.i.t.s. that offered consulting and new media services to Pakistan-based blue-chip clients.

Sabeen soon got restless and in 2007 followed her true calling and founded Peaceniche, a Karachi-based non-profit organization dedicated to promoting democratic discourse and conflict resolution through intellectual and cultural engagement. Some of the projects she established under the PeaceNiche banner:

  • T2F's storyFaraar, a visual arts gallery to create visual arts awareness and promote and showcase emerging talent
  • Science ka Adda, a platform for debate and discussion about science and how it impacts our lives
  • Urdu Preservation Project, an archival project for urdu poetry and prose
  • Raahnuma, an online resource for victims of violence and abuse

Her most well known project and the centre piece of her efforts as a social entrepreneur was T2F, what she called ‘a community initiative for open dialogue featuring a café, bookshop and multi-purpose performance space for readings, talks, debates, theatre, film, dance, open mic nights, jam sessions and stand-up comedy.’ Sabeen directed all programming, operations, fundraising, volunteer management, marketing and outreach until her tragic death on April 24, 2015.

An active member and consultant for local and international initiatives, Sabeen was a fellow of the Asia Society’s India-Pakistan Regional Young Leaders Initiative, the former President of the Karachi Chapter of the Indus Entrepreneurs, the Secretary of the South Asia Foundation, a Founder-Member of the Citizens Archive of Pakistan, a Founder-Member of the All-Pakistan Music Conference and Co-founder of Pakistan for All. She also produced and managed, pro bono, websites for countless non-profit organisations in the areas of education, art, activism and human rights.

Sabeen was invited to speak at a number of conferences all over the world, including, the Jinnah Institute in Islamabad, the University of Michigan, New York University, the University of California at Berkeley, Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi and the Global Partnership for Effective Development in Mexico City.

She also blogged and wrote for leading print publications on a wide range of subjects, particularly arts and culture, technology and human rights.

Sabeen was so many things to so many people. Depending on when you caught her on her always busy productive day you could have an involved and informed conversation about the latest event at T2F, be privy to her hatred for a particularly unpleasant font, be schooled on qavvaalli, be preached to about the virtues of a particular piece of hardware, be enamored by her love of House M.D., be inspired by her energy and will to do what she thought was right and perhaps most importantly be bitten and infected by her charm and charisma.

Those of us who were lucky enough to have had Sabeen in our lives will always remember her for her generosity of spirit. Sabeen was and remains our dear friend and the love of our lives.

“I want her to be remembered as a human being who cared very deeply for people who were oppressed or people who couldn’t speak up – for freedom of expression. Somebody who was lively, intelligent, fun and very caring. She talked a lot about love. I think Sabeen defies definition.”

Mahenaz Mahmud, BBC Interview

Poster for Tomorrow: An Exhibition of 100 best posters on Right to Healthcare

Monday, December 7th, 2015

Thursday, 10th Dec – Sunday 13th December 2015

Poster for Tomorrow Pakistan & PeaceNiche/T2F in collaboration with Human Rights Commission of Pakistan will be organizing an exhibition of 100 best posters, selected from 4980 entries on the theme of Right to Healthcare. 

Every year Poster for Tomorrow chooses a basic human right to address. In 2015, it is the universal right to healthcare. Graphic designers from around the world were invited to make posters on this theme – this year the contest received 4980 posters from more than a hundred countries, once again setting a new record. 

People don’t have access to the treatment that could save their life even in the world’s wealthiest countries, for financial or logistical reasons. Poster for tomorrow wants to draw attention on this right as it is enshrined in Article 25 of the Declaration of Human Rights. Artists focused on three specific ideas: universal access to healthcare, eradication of immunizable diseases, and access to drinking water.

Renowned Human Rights and Peace activist Prof. S. Haroon Ahmed will inaugurate the show and give a talk on the issue at the occasion.

About ‘Poster for Tomorrow’:
We are men and women around the world who believe that a poster, a simple, arresting image combined by a powerful piece of text, can be a force for change. A poster that when posted on a wall or on the net can make somebody sit up and take notice of an injustice and inspire them to take action. And that’s what we hope to do – to try and stop injustice.

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Date: Thursday December 10, 2015
Venue: The Second Floor (T2F) | Time: 5:00 pm

Daily Timings: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm (Exhibition will continue till Sunday December 13, 2015)

Entry: Free!

(Please support us by donating to

BjPTi Saamnay Wali Sarhad: An Impromptu show featuring Sanjay Rajoura

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

Saturday, 5th December 2015 | 7:30PM

Join us on Saturday evening for an impromptu show featuring Sanjay Rajoura.

Sanjay Rajoura, 42, is an Indian humourist and a political critic, who uses stand-up comedy as his tool of expression. Born and raised in New Delhi, Mr Rajoura studied information technology and was part of India’s booming software industry for 10 years, overseeing projects in India, Singapore and the United States.

In 2009, Mr Rajoura quit is flourishing career and returned to India. Through his work as a Hindi-language performer, he has consistently tried to steer the art form away from its elitist, English-speaking, big-city moorings, which is marked by its uncritical embrace of privilege, patriarchy and power.

On stage, Mr Rajoura’s politics is palpable as he laces his stories about caste injustice, gender bias, rural-urban divide and economic exploitation with wit.

This year, Mr Rajoura co-wrote and produced the hit song on India-Pakistan ties called “Mere Samne Wali Sarhad Pe”, which became an instant online sensation in both sides of the border. 

Mr Rajoura blogs about social and political issues and is currently writing a film based on Karachi.


When: Saturday, 5th December 2015
Where: The Second Floor (T2F)
Time: 7:30PM
Entry: Rs.350/- (All proceeds from this event will be donated to T2F )