Organizers

Fauzia Rafique, Ajay Bhardwaj, Shahid Janjua
Saif Khalid, Shahzad Nazir Khan

Fauzia Rafique

Author/Activist, Surrey Muse, Surrey CA. Project Manager

Fauzia Rafique is a Pakistani Canadian author and activist who has published two novels and a collection of her poems. Through creative writing, blogging and community development work Fauzia supports freedom of expression and equality. She was a co-founder and the editor of Diva: a Quarterly Journal of South Asian Women (Toronto 1988-1994), and the organizer of a 3-day national conference of women of South Asian origin residing in Canada and the USA (Toronto, March 17-19, 1993). In 2013, Fauzia declined Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal to protest against Canadian Government and British Monarchy for refusing to meet hunger-striking Indigenous leaders. She publishes blogs on Punjabi literature, blasphemy and honor killings. She is a co-founder and the coordinator of Surrey Muse. More is here: Fauzia’s webpage

Ajay Bhardwaj
Scholar/Filmmaker, UBC, Vancouver CA

Ajay is doing his Ph.D. in UBC on gender and labour histories of Punjabi Canadians in the lower mainland. His films have been reviewed in peer-reviewed journals such as Visual Anthropology and Contemporary South Asia, screened at universities, international film festivals and community and activist events. He started off as a left-wing agitprop theatre activist as an undergraduate student in Delhi. His interest in culture and politics led him to pursue a Masters degree in Political Science at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) followed by a Masters in the Mass Communications at Mass Communications Research Centre in Delhi. Anand Patwardhan’s documentaries were a strong inspiration but Ajay’s documentary work had to wait for another decade as he took a plunge in the mainstream television industry and directed and produced a wide variety of programmes including the popular science magazine. He made his first documentary- Ek Minute Ka Maun (A minute’s Silence) on the murder of a left-wing student union president of the JNU in 1997. It was followed by a number of commissioned documentaries including So Shall You Reap on the devastating impact of GM crops on Indian farmers and farming, and Of Land Labour and Love on the sustainable agricultural practices of tribal peasants. Five years on, his search turned inwards which led to a decade of engagement with the north-western state of Punjab resulting in a trilogy of documentaries— Where The Twain Shall Meet, Thus Departed Our Neighbours and Let’s Meet At Baba Ratan’s Fair— located at the intersection of Dalit religiosity, performance traditions and memories of partition. ajaybhardwaj.in

Shahid Janjua
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Saif Khalid
Activist/Organizer, CPPC, Surrey CA

Dr. Saif Khalid is known for his anti-war activism, support for resistance movements, human rights, gender equality and socioeconomic justice for all. After earning his PhD in Plant Virology from Sofia, Bulgaria, he served Pakistan Agriculture Research Council in various capacities till moving to Canada in 2002. Since then he has been active in public life, and he is a leading member of Committee of Progressive Pakistan Canadian (CPPC), Fraser Valley Peace Council (FVPC), South Asian Network for Secularism & Democracy (SANSAD) and Communist Party of Canada (CPC). As well, he is a valued supporter of many more community based organizations.

Shahzad Nazir Khan
Activist/Organizer, CPPC, Surrey CA

Shahzad Nazir Khan is a peace and social justice activist who immigrated to Canada from Pakistan in 2006. He is an Executive Member of the Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians (CPPC) where he has carried out numerous initiatives to raise awareness about the issues related to South Asian diaspora. Through his work with South Asian communities in Metro Vancouver, he celebrates ‘unity in diversity’. Shahzad did his Master’s in Business Administration as well as in Agriculture (Agronomy) from University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (Lyallpur), Pakistan. He is in agricultural sales & marketing industry for over fifteen years now yet his main interest and passions are poetry, literature and music.

We gratefully acknowledge
that we are on the unceded Coast Salish territories of
the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen,
Qayqayt, Tsawwassen, Musqueam,
Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

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