Habib University’s Arzu Program of Languages and Literature launched the third volume of the Arzu Anthology earlier this week. In addition to poetry, short stories, and flash fiction for the last two volumes, this time the anthology included academic writings of HU students as well as stories closer to their hearts.
What makes the third volume unique is the fact that it was completely student led; the editorial team included Fareha Siddiqui (Editor-in-Chief), Zuha Lutfi, Areeba Mohsin, Syed Maria Wahab from the Class of 2023, and, Samana Batul, Akansha Thakur and Syeda Dua Zehra Zaidi from the Class of 2024.
Moreover, no particular theme was followed in order to allow diversity. “You can find pieces ranging from artworks to academic writing and of course, Urdu and English prose and poetry. Every piece had such a distinct voice, I cannot wait for all of you to read them,” shared Fareha, a Comparative Humanities major at Habib.
While the first two volumes were launched at the Karachi Literature Festival, the third volume was released at an in-house event held on campus while adhering to Covid-19 SOPs. During the ceremony, contributors were given a chance to recite their poems or stories for the audience.
One such recital was by S.A. Aamir of the Class of 2020 who shared a heartbreaking story from the life of his grandparents who were separated in 1971 in his poem, “Undying Love,” leaving a lump in the listener’s throat.
It was also an emotional sight when numerous students took to the stage to pay tribute to the late Dr. Asif Farrukhi and reminisce how the literary legend never ceased to inspire his students inside and outside the classroom. “He was one of the pioneers at Arzu and I’m glad most of our senior students acknowledged that and we could include some memory of him at the release. He will always be in our hearts,” added Fareha.
Dr. Ryan Davidson, the faculty advisor on the Arzu Anthology, believes that it is of the utmost importance to have projects like the Arzu Anthology and readings and open mics. “If one student reads one piece from the Anthology and really connects with it then we have done our job in making the world a better place in the small way that we are capable,” he added.
Arzu Anthology, Volume 3 was initiated, edited and compiled during the pandemic and so all forms of communication were through online platforms only. However, according to Fareha, it was admirable how the process went so smoothly.
The anthology is an example of how Habib nurtures the talents of its students and inspires them to strive for excellence.