Recap Time : Daastan’s 2020

The year 2020 took the world by storm due to its uncertainties. It had its own upsides as well as downsides. 2020 for Daastan was rather eventful and not without its challenges. It opened a learning window for us to grow and achieve new milestones. So take a trip down the memory lane with us as we review the year 2020 at Daastan!

Daastan turned 5!

2020 began for Daastan on a great note.We made it halfway through the decade working towards the vision of bringing literature in Pakistan to light from its stagnant period of decline. 5 years around the sun living this dream! So what better way was there to celebrate this five year anniversary, with none other than hosting a Literary Party.

Having a literary party, made our celebration one of a kind. It was an afternoon of good ol’ literary goodness filled with talented people showcasing their performances. We also paired it with an interactive discussion session and a reflection on Daastan’s vision, struggles and perseverance.

Daastan And The New You:

Relishing in the spirit of New Year and symbolic rebirth, we at Daastan in a collaborative venture with Youth Impact, brought to you a Goal Setting Workshop. The purpose of this workshop was to encourage youth. To enter the new year with a clear vision of their goals . The workshop not only focused on the goal setting but also inspired young minds to play their part as future builders of our society.

Now Introducing Memberships!

Our journey of five years at Daastan was full of learning, growing and making a respectable name in the literary industry. Daastan is a fruit harvested from seed sown with our passion, driven and watered with our untiring efforts. However our path has not been without hurdles. From the setbacks faced, we learned some much needed lessons. The lessons due to which we have decided to recourse to new ways moving forward.

Daastan was a passion project and it still is. The difference now is that we are looking for individuals who hold the same passion as us for literature and social work and are willing to invest and believe in a vision of growing together and giving back to the community. So from last year, we have introduced Author Memberships for our Publishing services. You can view our Membership Packages here at Qissa.

Visit Qissa

Write 4Peace: Letter Writing Movement

At some point in our lives we have all taken the help of words, letters and cards to convey our emotions. This tradition of olden times of jotting down words is a powerful tool for touching someone’s soul. Daastan took into consideration this very objective of letter writing. This led us to joining hands with White Falcon Publishing to bring a creative initiative forward. The aim was to write letters and through them start dialogues about peace across borders. We compiled these gems of peace, appreciation and celebrating differences in a book titled “Chitthi Sarhad Par Sey”.

#KissKiStory – A plea for Tolerance

We launched thematic campaign in the month of February – as the theme of love and connections is central to this month. However our inspiration was to bring a perspective into this conversation by talking about something that our society needs. So we opted for tolerance, an attempt to create less judgment and more understanding towards people’s different ideas and expressions of love. Moreover, we wanted to draw attention towards the importance of consent . It’s an often overlooked matter of our society. So Kiss-ki-Story was our drop in the ocean towards debunking Valentine Day myths and stereotypes.

Tribute to Asrar Jamayee

Asrar Jamayee was a gem of Urdu poetry. His works are literary masterpieces and one of a kind. Even though his life was not short of hardships, he had a fighting spirit. Misfortune befell him after being declared falsely dead. He fought hard to prove that news wrong but his pleas went unheard. In April 2020, Jamayee breathed his last. We at Daastan paid a little tribute to him as a gesture of gratitude and respect. Our favorite memory of Jamayee is seeing him smile , holding his book Tanz Paray. We are happy that we were able to bring Jamayee’s last book to the public from the platform of Daastan.

The Book Launches

Daastan is not only a publishing platform for young aspiring authors.It also aims to make sure that the book is marketed properly and reaches a well deserved audience. For this purpose, Daastan hosted book launches for the literary works published by us in the year 2020.

Let’s have a quick rundown on publications brought to you by Daastan in 2020.

Book Launches are our favourite part of the whole process of publishing. They mark the time for harvesting one’s long nights of patience, hard work, execution of ideas, juggling with manuscripts and all the behind-the-screen work that goes into writing a book.

Our book launch events have been unique in nature for each work of literature. They all reflect the authors’ inspiration behind their books. We conducted fun activities in those events and had meaningful interactive sessions with individuals from many walks of life.

#WeToo – Daastan X Storiestoaction

Daastan in collaboration with Stories to Action initiated a writing campaign that laid bare the struggles of women surrounding sexual and reproductive health. The campaign was a derivative of the #metoo campaign that destigmatized conversations about sexual harassment. Our aim was to create a safe space for women where they can share their stories of pain and strength.

BlackOut Poetry Challenge

Black Out poetry is an innovative way of curating poems with already existing texts. The ability to produce an original work of poetry from pre written texts is what makes this challenge so fun and unique. We at Daastan, urged our writing community to do the same and the results were Ah-mazing!!

We made it to TedTalk!

Tedtalk! It’s a mouthful of a word, a dream come true, an achievement unlocked, one of the many milestones and a reward for consistency. It took us 10 long years of sweat, blood and tears to get here, a dream of changing the lives of storytellers. We achieved our motto to bring the writers back to their rightful place. Syed Ommer expresses his wish regarding TedTalk along the lines of;

“Well it was a dream almost ten years back when I would listen to TedTalks whole day long dreaming that one day, I will be there, on the stage, addressing the world , sharing an idea worth spreading.”

Daastan at a Youth Leadership Conference

Our CEO, Syed Ommer Amer has represented Daastan and Pakistan on national and international forums alike. In June 2020, he was invited to speak at a Youth Leadership Conference. He discussed the vision of Daastan among the attendees of the conference and emphasized on the importance of equipping the youth with tools necessary to tackle the social problems.

Daastan on Global Forums

Our CEO , Syed Ommer was invited as a Guest Speaker on different platforms to represent Daastan. We are happy to announce that we made it to

  • Restless Development Foundation
  • Awareness 360
  • The Platform by CGSS
  • Allama Iqbal Open University’s Global Conference
  • Invest Inn Pakistan
  • Dorr – Threads of Kindness

Visit to Faiz ul Islam Orphanage

Among all the other glitzy bits of 2020 at Daastan, this visit to Faiz ul Islam deserves a highlight of its own. Our CEO, Syed Ommer has a passion for educating kids and making their lives better. We at Daastan understand the struggles and perks of being a student. Our young ones are the future builders; they need the guidance and someone to believe in them more than anything else.

Storytelling with Slum Kids

Storytelling with Slum kids was a day away from the grind of life. A day of reflection, to give back to the community. A day to re-evaluate our priorities. A volunteering event filled with storytelling and smiles.

 It’s time for a Webinar!

The perilous and uncertain times of Covid, forced us all to stay inside. With all the world at pause and so much free time at hand, Daastan conducted virtual workshops, webinars and live streaming sessions. Few of our virtual adventures amidst covid included:

Daastan’s new venture breaks all records!

In 2020, Daastan’s publishing team tapped into an uncharted territory. We came out with children’s books that encompassed really significant topics in a remarkable manner. Our children’s books proved to be a huge success and broke all sales records.

Mera Jism Mera Hai’ was the best one in the category with ‘Legacies’  and ‘Darna nhi Bachna na’ as runner ups. Check out this amzing children’s book video here:

Sham e Adab – an evening dedicated to Urdu Literature

We are all aware that Urdu Literature is no more in its heyday, it’s an art that needs reviving. As Pakistanis and literature enthusiasts it is our responsibility to do our part in reviving it. Sham e Adab was one such attempt and dedication. We gathered eminent figures of Urdu Literature such as Ms Neelam Ahmad Bashir. She is an acclaimed drama and script writer. Overall the event was a tribute to Urdu Language and appreciation of our local language and culture.

Tell a Tale – Art in its Various Forms

Tell a Tale was a storytelling meet up hosted by Daastan in Lahore. Lahore can be considered Pakistan’s art province because of its rich cultural background. It is also home to the country’s best art institute NCA , National College of Arts. The event was all about appreciating art and literature, indulging in their beauty and letting it bewitch you!

We had amazing spoken word poetry performances that entranced the listeners and fruitful discussions on the evolution of storytelling.

Life Line Podcast

Our CEO, Syed Ommer has represented Daastan on many fronts and shared the vision of Daastan globally. But the lifeline podcast was something more up close and personal in nature. Syed Ommer was invited to talk about his own journey and building Daastan up from the bottom. He talked about his process of falling, getting back up, falling and trying again and again until he found a way that works for him and aligns with his vision. And now with the lessons he learned from life, he is changing the lives of storytellers!

Qissa Goi – Daastan X Movers

Qissa Goi was Daastan’s last collaboration for the year 2020. Movers and Daastan hosted a virtual poetry contest. The aim was to search for literary souls all around the world and cultivate a live session of individuals reciting their poetry pieces. Such a thing is a beautiful juxtaposition of poetry with real life experiences and exchange of ideas all across the globe. In the final events, we saw that juxtaposition come to life.

Daastan hopes you enjoyed this run down of 2020 with us. Our vision has always been to promote meaningful literature and reading culture in Pakistan. With literature as our tool and medium we have always tried to bring constructive changes in our society. This glimpse at 2020 also showed how each project of ours this year too, was directed at further spreading our vision. Join us today and help us bring change!

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Noor Hashmi
Noor Hashmi is a student of literature at Numl University. She is an aspiring poetess. She runs a blog by the name of “Diaries of Huda” sharing her journey through poetry. In her free time, she loves to paint and bake.

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