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Thursday, November 08, 2018

There is a reason to support T2F …

Sabeen Mahmud, born 20th June, 1974, was assassinated on 24th April, 2015 by those that hated Pakistan.

She was marvellous in every way. I knew her for 26 amazing years as a Student, as an amazing Colleague, as a Friend, as a member of my Extended Family, as a Mentee, and as a Mentor!

I was in the car behind her a few seconds later, after the event at T2F, and had just turned left when she was shot. I was at the hospital when she was pronounced dead.

Sabeen started T2F (The Second Floor - since it was on that floor where she opened it).. There were 6 other founding members and I was one of them*.

The concept behind T2F - a not-for-profit NGO, was to have a place to sit and chat and discuss things with others that one rarely, if ever, met otherwise. 

One object was supposed to ensure that guns and violence would end. People would listen to others. Discuss and talk about their views. Learn from each other. At least be willing to understand that in a free country there were going to be 'other' views, too … and, if not agreeing with them, one could allow them to exist. Or change them through discussions.

In most cases ARGUMENTS meant FIGHTS; T2F felt that DISCUSSIONS promoted UNDERSTANDINGS.

The exhibition space of T2F was meant for Large Discussions, Qavvaalis, Music, Book Launches, Science ka Adda, Urdu Preservation Project, Arts, Performances, Photography Shows, Plays. Even courses or small discussions helped many people to share their ideas. People from around the world have spoken or performed at T2F. 

There have been many other things that T2F has done: Creative Karachi Festival at Alliance Francaise (another one coming up shortly!), T2F supporting SOT recently at Beach Luxury, and many more.

Internationally it held Dil Phaink in London - a large exhibition of taking Karachi to London! It won an Award from Prince Claus Funds in Nederlands.

When Sabeen was assassinated, major newspapers and events around the world - from Universities to the main road events - mentioned her, wrote articles about her, featured her in books, and even composed music about her.

All this has survived, often with great difficulty, for 11 years now. Most of it through support by its fans. 

You must understand and believe that supporting T2F is a tribute to the greatest public place in Pakistan. Drop a tip when you attend an event. Whether it is a rupee or thousands, in cash or by bank account. It needs your support to go on.

If you are into Qavvaalis, do go to the Arts Council T2F Fundraiser with Fareed and Abu. Tickets are Rs 2000 each and the evening will be truly great.

I left T2F after Sabeen's death …
for working without her seemed impossible.

I rejoined as Director when Khalid Mahmood took the place over from Sabeen's mother, who found it difficult to carry on working there through this terrible tragedy. KM and others wanted a person there who had been part of the original team.

Having left the Directorship on the 1st August 2017, I stayed on as Executive Director until we found Arieb Azhar who joined us and then I left the place, finally.

But only 'officially'.
T2F is part of my life and will always be
the centre outside my own house.

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