You may know that year 2009 is being celebrated as the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009). There have been events all over the globe, including in Pakistan, where the Khwarizmi Science Society (KSS) – one of the country’s most active grass-roots science associations – has held numerous “astrofests”, or falakyati melas, as they are known in Urdu.
The astrofests are the society’s latest initiative in popularizing science and bringing modern scientific knowledge to remote and far-flung areas of the country.
A live astronomical observation of the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn and Venus at the Okara District Public School and College in the Punjab, which drew over 2000 men, women and children to an event that was transformed into a festive carnival by the school headmaster.
Similar melas have also been arranged in Lahore’s Punjab University and at a large school in Phoolnagar, some 70 km from the provincial capital Lahore. These events have attracted several thousand schoolchildren and our most inspiring mela took place in September in an all-girls school in Shahdara, along the banks of the river Ravi.
Click here to keep reading the complete article by Saadat A Siddiqi and Muhammad Sabieh Anwar, describing how a series of astronomy events in Pakistan over the past year could help to boost the public’s interest in the subject