On the weekend of 25th – 27th March Lahore was full of fervor as the Social Innovation Mela was in town. In an attempt to connect modernity with tradition, Social Innovation Lab at LUMS organized a three-day event filled with a variety of intellectual experiences aimed at exploring the Lahori tradition and reclaiming our forgotten identity.

The Mela commenced on the 25th of March with Justice (r) Jawwad Khwaja emphasizing upon self-realization in his keynote speech. “My heart kept asking me for the Holy Grail; although it was within the heart itself, the heart kept demanding it from strangers,” quoted Mr. Khwaja. In the second half of the day, Mr. Irfan Qureshi brought out the nuances of Lahori Nastaleeq, which was followed by workshops on Fresco Painting by Ustaad Rafaqat, and on Architects and Architecture of Lahore by Taimur Khan Mumtaz.

The second day was about experiencing Lahore through guided tours. Director Archeology Saleem ul Haq led a tour of Lahore Fort and informed about how the Fort sustained many alterations over time with the change of rulers from Mughals to Sikh. Lahore Shanasi Foundation guided a tour of Gurdwara Ram Das and many participants, for the first time, learned how every Gurdwara also acts as a sanctuary for the poor and school for the students. A tour of sacred Lahore traversed through the revered tombs of Hazrat Mian Mir, Khwaja Bihari Begum, Dervesh Mian Natha, Prince Dara Shikoh and Khan Bahadur. Tours were followed by an exhilarating walk through the Lahori Bazar to Masjid Wazir Khan. Taimur Khan Mumtaz told how this mosque was built for the common people in the heart of the city; and how it is unique in its visible association with mysticism. A panel discussion followed consisting of notable academics regarding the need to form a customized education system intending at creating thinking minds in the society.

The concluding day showcased more intellectually stimulating panel discussions on “Toolkit for Community Interventions” and “Sources of Identity Formation” that were focused on finding ways to sustain our sense of individuality and community in this increasing tide of modernity and material progress.

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